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The Right Side of Wrong

I was really annoyed at Brian Truman’s diatribe against the ZeitList issue [December 24–30]. What is his idea of balanced journalism? K-Fox News, Lou Dobbs, the McLaughlin Group, Bill O’Reilly, talk radio, Hannity and Combs, CNN? I found a lot of important information in the ZeitList edition. I applaud your courage in running it. Remember, the right side of the issues is really wrong.

P.S. For the first time in a long time, Marc Cooper wrote something that was halfway intelligent., i.e., "Nuts and Dolts."

—William Joseph Miller
Los Angeles

C’mon People, Smile on Your Brother

I have looked at the news on your Web site and must say, as a seminary student, I am horrified at the lack of factual information, and the high level of divisive and hate-inciting words that are there. The values I have found there are far from traditional, as I hold the American value system is one that values all people, individually. We love others not because they earn our love; we love because we are capable of loving others.

—Tim Hamilton
Los Angeles

Turkish Injustice

Turkey needs no apologies, not from Oliver Stone or anyone else. And they certainly didn’t need Paul Krassner’s cuddly story in the L.A. Weekly to make themselves look good ["Oliver Stone Apologizes to Turkey," January 7–13]. Turkish arrogance and Western corporate greed have been more than enough to whitewash that nation’s evil history.

For Stone to apologize to Turkey over such a trivial matter as his depiction of one man’s punishment for dope smuggling is like a writer apologizing to Al Capone for daring to criticize his wardrobe in a gossip column.

Stone’s collaborator and Midnight Express book author, Billy Hayes, says that while locked up in the hellish Turkish prison system, he "discovered [his] reason for being, which is simply to love." Awww, how heartwarming. Such an epiphany is a luxury that was denied the 2 million innocent Armenians slaughtered by the Turks during World War I.

Hayes’ incarceration for hashish smuggling, though a typically barbaric instance of Turkish justice, is a relatively invisible stain on the Turkish government and people when compared to the Armenian genocide.

Stone’s flawed but courageous films JFK and Nixon have gone a long way in opening America’s eyes to the institutionalized murder and corruption in our own government. But given the timing of his apology, with Europe on the verge of pursuing a lucrative deal with the devil — Turkish E.U. membership — and with Western oil giants’ nearing completion of the major oil pipeline from Baku to Ceyhan that conveniently bypasses Armenian territory, Oliver Stone’s apology is an outrageous boon to Turkey’s blood-soaked image.

—James Adomian
El Segundo

Flunking the Acid Test

Thanks for the article on the Merry Pranksters ["The Day-Glo Effect," December 31, 2004–January 6, 2005] and their ground-breaking psychedelic travels through America.

I’d like to add that the article was well-written and nicely organized . . . however, it was neither of these. Mr. Hoinski made many strange historical leaps while telling the "story" of Kesey, Babbs and the rest of the Prankster crew, leaving me (and maybe other readers) confused.

Why were there only approximately 30 lines devoted to Hoinski’s interview with the brilliant Ken Babbs? I would much rather have read what he has to say about the Acid Tests and less about the Reverend Paul Sawyer and Larry Schiller . . . who appear to be just minor figures in the big Acid Test scheme of things.

It also seems as if large chunks of the article were simply regurgitating things Tom Wolfe already covered very well 30 years ago in his Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

And it also seems as if every article in the L.A. Weekly somehow revolves back to how the writer "feels" or "thinks." I care little for this kind of journalism. These days the L.A. Weekly is nearly unreadable because of sloppy, emotionally charged first-person journalism. When an article is concerned with historical events, I want to read about the events, not about how the author felt in school.

Side note: What possible reason was there for Hoinski to include a lengthy list of "the characters -giving shape to the verse" (William Burroughs, Carolyn Cassady, Neal Cassady, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Bill Graham, The Grateful Dead, Chet Helms, John Clellon Holmes, Herbert Huncke . . .")? In an issue devoted to the bloated, insulting and space-wasting events in the -grotesque and chaotic life of the Aguilars ("An American Family"), such a name-check is just a waste of -valuable column space.

Thanks again for printing the Prankster article. Maybe other -readers (new to the Pranksters) can sift through the fat and find some meat in the article somewhere. I found very little (meat, that is).

—Kurt Benbenek
Sky Pilot Club member #101
Long Beach

Correction

In the article on the Pranksters, credits were omitted for two photographs by Ronald "Hassler" Bevirt: a photo of Ken Babbs (Page 25) and the repeated photos of Gretchen Fetchen (Page 26). The images were from the book The Further Inquiry. "Hassler" now resides in Eugene, Oregon. The Weekly apologizes for the oversight.

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