By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
FRANKIE COME LATELY
Re: Marc Cooper’s “White Man’s Burden” [Dissonance, June 14–20]. A little history lesson is in order for Mr. Cooper and his readers. For more than 30 years, David Dotson was part of a regime in the LAPD that routinely violated people’s civil rights, committed violent acts of brutality and spied on people simply because their views were different. He was part of the system that did this; he said and did nothing for 30 years. When it was convenient for his future (he aspired to take over the helm of LAPD after Daryl Gates), he suddenly turned Frank Serpico and spoke out against these abuses. Had he done so as a young sergeant, that would have been admirable, but instead he went along with the “good old boys” for years. Then, when it was politically advantageous for him, he spoke out. Mark Cooper calls that “cojones”? Integrity? What has the man been smoking? David Dotson comes from the same bolt of cloth that Gates, Vernon and the rest of the Parker Center clones came from. I have more integrity in my left pinky than he ever will. All of us are stakeholders in who is selected for that job, so let’s not waste valuable time discussing obviously ridiculous candidates. We need David Dotson for chief of police like we need Daryl Gates back.
Marc Cooper’s message was clear. I liked what I heard about Dotson. Helping to create a groundswell is admirable, particularly since he does sound like the best man for the job. Too damn bad it’s against his own wishes. Could drafting him entice him, one wonders?
—Ms. Dale McElroy
IDENTITY CRISES OF THE SMALL AND SHAPELESS
Although I groove with both “high Modernism and Tin Pan Alley,” the synthesis that Harold Meyerson refers to in “City Without a Story” [May 31–June 6] hasn’t defined New York for more than half a century. In fact, the New York I remember from my stay there as far back as 1960 was more Robert Frank’s Pull My Daisy than Edmund Wilson’s I Thought of Daisy. You guys and gals miss the point when you claim (1) that L.A. has no history, and (2) that a cliché mythos will cure a city’s ills. Every spot on this planet is going through an identity crisis, and has since the amoeba.
I was born in L.A. My parents moved to L.A. in the early part of the last century, and if L.A. doesn’t have a history, then neither do I. I disagree that spatial separation necessarily creates dysfunction. I disagree that we should live like ants (as Mike Davis suggests) to free up the space around us. We live on a rotating sphere; therefore “Any point is the center.” The whole is everything. This said, breaking up the city is not the solution. The shallow motives of the Valley secessionists suck.
Re: “The Big Rewrite” [June 7–13]. Stephen Wolfram’s gambit is interesting, but not far from the work of Richard Feynman that became Feynman’s legacy to physics: the investigation of quantum mechanics through diagrammatic analysis. The difference between the two thinkers is that Feynman remained in the complexity of science, never trying to reduce it to a systematic approach, whereas Wolfram mistakes the tool he invents for the world he is trying to describe.
I am afraid that Wolfram is far from the radical he imagines himself to be. He remains on the beaten path. He should take a trip into real complexity — look what it did for his mentor!
FOR SOCCER RIOTS
I enjoyed Brendan Bernhard’s “Games Without Frontiers” [June 7–13]. I am not a big soccer fan, but like Bernhard, I am surprised when those around me know nothing and care less about the contest. I compare this to my 1998 World Cup experience. I was a student in Mexico City the day the national team upset Germany. Like everyone else at the Jesuit University, I cut class to watch the match. (Picture chanting nuns and dancing law students.) Afterward, my friends and I waited for hours at a bus stop while downtown fans jubilantly tipped vehicles. I â can only imagine the bedlam in London this week when Argentina fell.
The World Cup is supposed to give us a temporary break from our usual reality. The workday stops, and wars are limited to a 45-minute time span. Strangers get together and celebrate. And Brendan, somewhere on your block there is a party going on — some Latinos are festejando the English win or, I should say, Argentina’s loss to England. In the spirit of the World Cup, you should knock on a door and join them.
Just a brief correction on your publication’s lively, enthusiastic piece about the World Cup. South Africa fired their Portuguese coach Carlos Queroz after a dismal performance in the African Cup of Nations early this year, where South Africa scored two goals in four games and were eliminated on penalties by hosts Mali. South Africa is currently coached by the enigmatic Jomo Sono, a South African soccer legend and former club manager cut from the same cloth as megalomaniac Zulu chieftain Mangusuthu Buthelezi.
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