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
A FAMILY AFFAIR
After reading the third installment of Celeste Fremon’s “An American Family” [“Hanging On — Barely,” June 4–10], I have to say that I think it’s absolutely disgusting that a devoted family man like Luis, who had the courage to turn his life around (and I personally know how hard that is), is sitting in a jail cell while the real crooks, the people who run this country and its corporations, are allowed to ruthlessly murder, rob, rape and torture, and then run free. How can such injustice even be fathomable? Well, Frances said it best: “Money-money-money . . . that’s what it’s all about, right?”
The Aguilars are being taken advantage of in the worst way because they are poor and Hispanic, while the richest 1 percent run amok regardless of the consequences, secure in the knowledge that they can financially bail themselves out of any kind of trouble that arises. A shining example of this comes in the form of the Enron executives. These people — dirty rotten criminals of the worst kind — stole millions of dollars from us and made us all suffer in innumerable ways. But no one seems to care that the perpetrators are running free, just like no one seems to care that an innocent, obviously framed man is rotting in prison.
Celeste Fremon’s “An American Family” series is a truly masterful piece of journalism. I usually approach the L.A. Weekly with some degree of reluctance because of what I feel to be an overtly leftist sentiment, but Fremon refuses to compromise her objectivity. Her reporting is very informative, and yet with all the detail she provides, she still gives the readers the privilege of forming their own opinions. This is best illustrated by the way she covers the neighborhood’s efforts to oust the Aguilars from their East L.A. home. Is it a mean-spirited conspiracy by cops and neighbors? Or are there truly questionable dealings around that home? Ideas are beginning to form in my mind. I cannot wait to read the next installment of this series.
HAVES AND HAVE-MORES
In “Please, Sir, I Want Some Moore” [May 28–June 3], John Powers repeats a distortion that Michael Moore conveys in his new documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11. President Bush did indeed tell fund-raisers that they looked like the “the haves and the have-mores . . . Some people call you the elite. I call you my base.” When I first heard this statement, I, like Powers, was shocked. However, I was skeptical that a president would ever say something so brazen in a world in which manipulation of public communication has been perfected to a science.
Bush was speaking to a non-partisan crowd at the annual Al Smith dinner, which donates all money raised to charity. Moreover, the Al Smith dinner is known for its self-deprecating humor. Bush was essentially mocking himself by saying what his political enemies would love to hear him say. Unfortunately, the left — like all political groups — prefers to believe what confirms its worldview.
John Powers replies: Thanks to Mr. Franklin. He’s absolutely right about the speech and its context. It actually took place in October 2000, before Bush became president.
Libby Molyneaux’s remark contrasting Primus with Frank Zappa, who she says was amazing in the studio but never onstage, is peculiar [Concerts Calendar, May 28–June 3]. I am curious to know how many, and which, Zappa shows Molyneaux has attended.
Isn’t it peculiar that many of Zappa’s releases were compiled from live recordings with little or no overdubbing, not to mention the “Stage” series of releases, as well as a recent two-disc release of a live show in Australia? Amazing shows? Nah, not with the likes of Terry Bozzio, George Duke, Jean Luc Ponty, Adrian Belew, Warren Cuccurullo, Aynsley Dunbar, Steve Vai, Archie Shepp, Don Van Vliet and Ruth Underwood — to name only a few of the dolts who performed live with Zappa.
Snide, off the cuff, hipper than thou — go figure.
Libby Molyneaux replies: I saw Frank Zappa at the Palace in ’83. He played with his back to the crowd and looked even more bored than the rest of us.
AND THE WINNERS ARE…
Congratulations to the L.A. Weekly writers who were honored at the 46th annual Southern California Journalism Awards, an event sponsored by the Los Angeles Press Club.
Steven Leigh Morris won 2nd place in the Entertainment News or Feature category for “Raging Gracefully” [April 18–24]; Michael Kaplan won 2nd place in the News Feature category for “Dealing with the Master” [May 16–22]; Jeff Anderson won Honorable Mention in the Investigative/Series category for “Ghosts in the Machine” [July 4–10]; Erin Aubry Kaplan won Honorable Mention in the Columnist category for “Black Like I Thought I Was” [October 3–9]; John Powers won Honorable Mention in the Entertainment Reviews/Criticism/ Column category for “To the Rectum, and Back Again” [March 7-13]; and, finally, the staff of L.A. Weekly won Honorable Mention in the Special Section News or Features category for our special issue celebrating our 25th anniversary [December 12–18]. Also, Greg Critser won a ’03 Harry Chapin Media Award for his book Fat Land, an excerpt of which — “The Fat Man Sings” [August 7–12, 1998] — appeared in the Weekly.