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
SYMPHONY OF SLAMS
The L.A. Weekly’s constant rationalizing and minimizing of its outrageous left-wing bias is nothing new, but how can Harold Meyerson actually make such an insupportable argument as “A hunt for ideologically driven or monomaniacal newspapers in America will turn up more dailies than weeklies” [“Hold the Politics,” Powerlines, January 24–30] and still expect to be published? Oh, that’s right. It’s the Weekly. You guys can say anything you want, and anyone who disagrees with you even slightly receives the standard barrage of liberal epithets: reactionary, racist, homophobe and, your worst insult of all, Valleyite. The irony is your disdain for the Valley and its middle-class denizens reveals the elitism inherent in your snooty Westside iconoclastic attitudes. To justify the Weekly’s stultifyingly narrow view, Meyerson points to “a soupçon of ideological tilt in the talk-radio market and its TV counterpart, the Fox News Channel.” Is he kidding? At least Fox hires avowed leftists like Geraldo Rivera and Alan Colmes to balance the so-called rightists. Who does the Weekly have to balance its gaggle of aging hippies, dilettante academicians and “special interest” advocates? Nobody, that’s who. And despite Meyerson’s claim that the New Times was somehow “classically neocon,” Jill Stewart was the lone voice of centrist ideas in that otherwise standard-issue Lenin/Lennonist rag. But I guess even one dissenter is too much for the delicate sensibilities of L.A.’s “people of conscience” (or whatever fatuous, intellectually masturbatory name they have for themselves these days).
Anyway, if the Department of Justice investigation was the result of Machiavellian machinations engineered by the Bush White House, maybe it’s time for you all to stop dismissing him as so stupid. After his so-called “theft” of the White House in ’00 and his wrangling of both houses of Congress in the next cycle, it seems he’s got all you liberals flummoxed. L.A. may have a boundless and inflexible appetite for the Weekly’s brand of softheaded utopian piety, but the whole rest of the country obviously prefers Bush’s down-home populism.
—Tony Blass Winnetka
The suggestion that alternative weeklies aren’t far more politically opinionated than any major daily (the Daily News included) is such contrarian nonsense that it’s hardly worth commenting on. And the categorization of the New Times as neoconservative only proves how myopic Meyerson’s world-view has become. If anything, New Times gave Democrats an easier pass than the Weekly did, but at least some attempt was made to dish out praise and blame evenly to both sides (clearly not the case at the Weekly, notwithstanding Harold’s second-to-last paragraph, where he trots out the two nice things his paper has said about Republicans in the last 10 years as evidence of its evenhandedness).
Basically, two large corporations (Village Voice Media and New Times) have conspired to slash this city’s political dialogue in half for the sake of boosting profits. If Meyerson didn’t happen to work for one of them, he’d be camped out on the Justice Department’s steps demanding an investigation. What a fucking hypocrite.
—Steven Kedrowski Los Feliz
Harold Meyerson fails to identify — let alone analyze — the responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Justice. The various examples of media homogenization he cites are certainly lamentable, but if anyone should remedy this problem, it is our elected representatives. By contrast, the role of the DOJ is to enforce existing laws. Mr. Meyerson cites no examples of the U.S. government’s failure to prosecute illegal behavior. With regard to the New Times/Village Voice Media case, the DOJ’s interest in promoting diversity is mandated by statutes that are already on the books. DOJ lawyers are not promoting — and should not be promoting — diversity in any other context.
—Jeff Norman Los Angeles
Shortly after reading Harold Meyerson’s article about the alleged collusion between Village Voice Media and the New Times company (Jesus, talk about good riddance), I flipped the page to the Night Music column, where Alan Rich, per his usual, was finding nothing good in L.A. Opera — he hates them, the Philharmonic, everybody. In fact, I’m almost as sick of reading him as I was of reading the New Times. Anyway, the thought struck me — if thedeal between New Times and Village Voice has to be revisited, maybe you could send Alan Rich to Cleveland and find someone to cover classical music in L.A. who isn’t predisposed to think it’s all shit. Plus, I’d be interested to see if the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra might possibly measure up to Mr. Rich’s standards, or if he’s just congenitally hostile to live music.
OILY, BUT SUBTLE
Marc Cooper is right about the sloppiness of the film Power and Terror, but he misses the point in his analysis of Chomsky’s views [“Left-Footed,” January 24–30]. Just because Chinese and Russian regimes murdered more of their own people than we did doesn’t mean we aren’t, as Chomsky says, “one of the worst” when it comes to 2 million to 3 million dead in Vietnam, our brutal behavior in Central America (which Cooper knows all about), not to mention a long history of violent expansionism, gunboat diplomacy, imperialism. We may be subtler than the commies, but once you cross a certain line — say, inviting a death-squad leader to dance at the inaugural ball, as Guatemalan thug Mario Sandoval Alacan did at Reagan’s second — what’s the difference, morally speaking?
Cooper points out that the hijackers weren’t the poor, rising up against oppression. But so what? The American Marines, and the culture they represent, aren’t either. Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein — wacko fascists that they are — see themselves involved in a long struggle between societies, and believe they must use violence to get what they want. Just like us.
Finally, Cooper predicts that a socialist society in the United States would make the fanatics hate us even more. Does this mean we have to abandon the social safety net? And how does Cooper know this? Is he implicitly agreeing with President Bush’s war cry, “They hate us because we are free”? If so, why don’t they hate Japan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, France, Sweden, Canada, etc.? They hate us because we are imperialists disguised as Democrats. The kind of society Chomsky envisions would not use military might, as the U.S. has done for a century, to protect oil. In that case, maybe they wouldn’t hate us.
—Abe Fabrizio Long Beach
BOTH DEAD WRONG
So, Sara Catania thinks that outgoing Illinois Governor George Ryan is a hero because he commuted the death sentences of 167 inmates to life! [“The Accidental Hero,” January 17–23]. Considering the acts of brutality of these men, including torture and rape as well as murder, it’s hard to understand Catania’s position. It is impossible to accept it as moral. She says that Ryan is now spoken of in the same breath as the Nobel Peace Prize — along with mass murderer Arafat, no doubt. It is ironic that many of America’s liberals and progressives are out to save the skins of some of the worst killers in the world — Arafat, Saddam Hussein, even the common murderers who have terrorized our own communities.
Catania calls herself a “crime and communities” researcher. Going easy on murderers only endangers the very communities she ostensibly cares about. What next, amnesty for Osama bin Laden?
—Bob Kirk Los Angeles
Re: Steven Mikulan’s “Who Would Jesus Bomb?” [January 24–30]. What an asinine story. Iraq is who he would bomb. The Iraqis are non-believers, and their leader is a tyrant dictator who murders and rapes his own people. He hates Christianity and the Jews. He does not believe in the fact that Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for all of the human race. The article is written by a person who knows little about Bible doctrine, which is the reason our country was punished on 9/11. He can find out the truth at www.berachah.org. This thinking is killing our country, just as it did Rome. President Bush is a believer in God and an excellent leader. Liberalism is killing the country also.
Had Doug Ireland taken the time to research his article “I’m Linda, Fly Me” [January 17–23] like a professional journalist, he would have known that Northwest Airlines not only was nowhere nearbankruptcy, but has beaten analysts’ expectations continually over the last eight years. Northwest has been among the most profitable of the five major airlines in the U.S.
I have no words to express my admiration for Marc Cooper’s article “The Real Thing” [Dissonance, January 31–February 6]. It’s an incredible relief to realize there are still people who can see where the Bush administration’s arrogant and ignorant attitude toward the rest of the world is taking us. Does anyone else see in his face the pure fear that I see? He is a scared child — with a loaded gun.
—Marcelo Coelho Los Angeles
I was present at Ronnie Mack’s last Barn Dance, reviewed by Jonny Whiteside in the current Live in L.A. column [January 31–February 6]. I was truly dumbfounded by Whiteside’s assault on Randy Weeks’ performance, which read like a personal attack. My friends and I had a good time listening and dancing in the aisles to Mr. Weeks and band. Whiteside should keep his angst, frustration and jealousy (that’s what it sounds like to me) to himself and let those of us with good taste enjoy ourselves. Perhaps the reference to a “sun-dried mud pie” was really just a reflection he saw in the mirror while shaving.
—W. Kessler Venice
Brendan Bernhard’s story on the miniseries Crime and Punishment [“Students Against Old Ladies,” Box Populi, January 24–30] comes with a photo of the actress playing Sonya. The caption says that it is Kate Ashfield, but I’m quite sure it is actually Lara Belmont.
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