By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
LENO, RONA ET AL.
I’m writing in reference to Nikki Finke’s fine article about Jay Leno’s conversion to the Rupert Murdoch view of reality [“The Right Comic,” October 10–16]. It’s about time people woke up and smelled the propaganda. What I don’t understand is why Hollywood — ostensibly a liberal community — continues to support Leno. His job depends on the very people whose values he insults each and every night.
Take, for example, Kevin Smith. He did a regular gig on Leno. Smith probably would think twice before taking any action that would aid Ann Coulter or Sun Myung Moon’s Washington Times. Why does he place Jay Leno in a different category? Why on earth does Hollywood continue to pander to this Rush-like smear-master? He needs the good will of the entertainment industry a hell of a lot more than the industry needs him. Boycott Leno!
Please tell me that Nikki Finke’s column about Jay Leno was satirically written so I can laugh properly. Can she seriously state that Jay Leno has no right to support Arnold Schwarzenegger? What I cannot grasp is the notion that Leno should not show favor to a political figure because we invite him into our homes via his program. What about prime-time player Martin Sheen, who has made it his personal mission to deride President Bush, or sitcom stars Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg? Are they not equally required to back off of their views?
Ms. Finke undermines her own point when she advises Leno to return to an evenhanded position by savaging the president on a nightly basis. I take this to mean that Nikki views an individual as being fair and nonpartisan only when he agrees with her.
Nikki Finke sounds outraged that somebody in Hollywood maybe tilting right. Leno is, like a majority of average Americans, perhaps waking up to the ruse and joke that is liberal public policy.
Nikki Finke’s passing slap at Rona Barrett in the context of the David Begelman affair was beneath her. I am an Emmy Award–winning television producer and writer, and I had the privilege of working for Ms. Barrett in the ’70s and ’80s, not only at Good Morning America, but the Today Show, Tomorrow Coast to Coast and Entertainment Tonight. Since that time, I’ve also had the pleasure of working with Quincy Jones, Dick Clark and Jay Leno, among many others. From my experience, Rona is easily their equal as far as integrity and hard work go.
Ms. Finke mentions David McClintick’s 1982 book Indecent Exposure, about the Begelman scandal. Even the most casual look at that book will see McClintick not only quotes liberally from Ms. Barrett’s daily reports on Good Morning America, but also credits her for pointing out the true extent of the damage Mr. Begelman’s behavior wrought in the entertainment industry of the ’70s.
—Bill Royce Beverly Hills
DEVASTATED BUT NOT TERMINATED
Re: “Jonestown for Democrats” [Dissonance, October 10–16]. Marc Cooper calls Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory “direct democracy.” No, Marc, when people go to the polls fed up and powerless with the current administration and misled by the mainstream media into voting for a candidate who ran with no real platform save his image, that’s called a farce. Those of us who actually work for peace and social justice in this country were devastated on Tuesday. You were busy writing another smug, liberal-bashing column.
Marc Cooper is disingenuous when he writes “MoveOn[.org], showing its true partisan colors, is distributing posters that read — can you believe it? — ‘I love Gray Davis.’” The posters actually read, “Suddenly, I love Gray Davis. Vote NO Recall Oct. 7,” a very different message. Perhaps Marc didn’t get the sarcasm. The lesser of two evils is often the evil of two lessers. We have only to look to the 2000 presidential selection to see that.
Marc Cooper’s articles on Gray Davis and the recall have been simply excellent. As good as it gets as far as I’m concerned.
I was astonished to see a left-leaning columnist actually refer to Juanita Broderick in print with the respect and assumption of credibility her story deserves. I will add laweekly.com to my bookmarks.
—Kenneth Watson Atlanta, Georgia
NOT SUCH A LONG WAY, BABY
Re: Judith Lewis’ “The Face in the Toilet Bowl” [October 10–16]. As an early committed member of the second wave of feminism — in New York City, in the late ’60s — I am constantly scrutinizing the backlash of many of the ideas and battles we fought so hard to set in motion. The ’90s weren’t good, but the 2000s seem to be getting worse and worse. Your insights into people’s identification with bullies and humiliators were, sadly, exactly right. I haven’t seen any other cultural analyses of The Bully and his followers as insightful as yours. Thanks from an old-time feminist, author and educator.
In her article of the week of October 3–9 [Cakewalk, “Black Like I Thought I Was”], Erin Aubry Kaplan admirably ‰ reports on the absence of any “black” genetic signature in the biological profile of a person who has always recognized himself, and has always been recognized by others, as black. For those of us who think, like Ashley Montagu, that race is among Western culture’s most dangerous myths, the absence of any such genetic signature is as “surprising” as that 1 equals 1. Americans still don’t get it! Like the concepts of witch, phlogiston, the ether and even bivalent sexuality, race is a biologically empty folk concept concocted for culture and population control.
KILL BILL? WHATEVER. JUST TRY NOT TO MISQUOTE HIM
Re: “Once Upon a Time in the East” [October 10–16]. John Powers misses the point of Tarantino’s opening frame in Kill Bill. The purpose of the quote is not to give the film, as Powers says, “a tacky, freewheeling air.” The quote (“Revenge is a dish best served cold”) is a subtle joke. Tarantino attributes it to the Klingons. But, of course, it is lifted from Shakespeare. That the creators of Star Trek lifted it — at all — is Tarantino’s point.
By attributing the quote to the Klingons, rather than to Shakespeare, Tarantino is, in essence, saying: “I have brazenly stolen to make this film. And I don’t care. And neither do you.” But, like Gene Roddenberry, he has stolen not to co-opt but to (hopefully) enrich his original vision.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, there is no such quote in Shakespeare. You’re doubtless thinking of Pierre Ambroise François Choderios de LaClos’ “La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid” (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 1782).
I am writing with regard to your recent “Best of L.A. 2003” issue [October 17–23], in particular to the item posted by David L. Ulin and titled “Best Literary Startup: First Cut Books.” I just wanted to point out that he made reference to this company’s Web site and it was incorrect. The correct site is: www.firstcutbooks.com. Can you please run a clarification, as this does a disservice to my niece, Lucia Silva, who has worked so diligently to get her online store running. As a small independent, it is essential that others know about her. We appreciate your including her business as one of the best — we concur! Thank you so much.
Thanks for Luis Reyes’ Best Midnight Movies pick, but I’d like to mention that our screen is no longer “seasoned.” We replaced our much-worn screen in the summer of 2002, and now we’ve got a beauty, clean and pristine.
—Jim Nicola, manager Nuart Theater, Los Angeles
—Alisa Becket Los Angeles