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Raging Against a Homophobe 

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Raging Against a Homophobe

Regarding Marc Cooper’s dismissal of my book Schwarzenegger Syndrome ["Half-Drunk With Arnold," June 3–9], I cannot avoid the feeling that Mr. Cooper’s distorted description of the book itself, along with his remarks about my photo on the book jacket — an homage to Louise Bourgeois, whose faux fur I am wearing in the picture — is not an honest appraisal, but retribution for my one personal encounter with Mr. Cooper, many years ago, when I was covering the federal trial of the officers in the Rodney King case. Mr. Cooper made it so obnoxiously clear to me that he regarded himself as the only person qualified to write about anything to do with Los Angeles and California that after he had exhausted my patience, I informed him that he struck me as a semieducated, boorish, pompous twit, an impression that nothing he has subsequently published has done anything to ameliorate. At that time, Mr. Cooper also had an obvious case of raging homophobia, something to which I am not normally especially sensitive, but in his case could not ignore. I’m sure he vigorously defends gay rights when striking noble poses in The Nation and elsewhere, but he’s a fag-bashing asshole, in truth.

—Gary Indiana New York

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Marc Cooper responds: Alas, we, the "semieducated" products of state college, certainly aspire to but rarely achieve the levels of erudition and refinement expressed here by Gary Indiana. But just as he gets the Schwarzenegger story wrong, so does he rewrite our one face-to-face meeting in 1992. Indiana popped into L.A. to write about the Rodney King trial and asked me to lunch to pick my brain. We were both working for the Village Voice at the time so I readily consented. I recall a pleasant and friendly meal at Hugo’s during which I shared some local lore, wished Indiana well, shook his hand, and even picked up the tab. Sorry, Gary: My less than effusive review stems not from any sense of retribution, but merely because your book was not very good.

A Gem Uncovered

I can’t thank you enough for that much-deserved cover piece on one of the divine gems of Los Angeles, Stephan Hoeller ["Exile in Godville: Profile of a Postmodern Heretic," May 20–26]. I have been reading and listening to Mr. Hoeller ever since discovering him years ago on KPRC’s Roy of Hollywood. In a city that is a veritable cornucopia of spiritual thinking, Stephan stands out with his balance of earthy, humorous insight and lucid explanation of Gnosticism, an enduring treasure of Western spiritual thought.

—Dianne Lawrence Los Angeles

I have just finished reading A.W. Hill’s hilarious article "Exile in Godville" and found it astounding. How could a story as red and ripe as the history of Gnosticism have avoided ink for so long? My sincere compliments to A.W. Hill for ferreting out Stephan Hoeller and his merry band of Gnostics. And right here in legendary Hollywood! Why, not too long ago I had to swerve around a huge 6-foot clump of blue plaster in the road. Glancing upward, I noticed what seemed to be a missing chunk of sky! Chicken Little, St. Thomas, Stephan Hoeller and Truman all seem to know the same thing — look to the skies.

—Rich Cook Santa Monica

Exposure = Cancer

Although I do appreciate Judith Lewis’ article on the high cost of nuclear power, "Split Over Atoms" [May 27–June 2], I was nonetheless dismayed to see her give credence to the hormesis theory, which (shockingly) suggests that radiation is good for your health.

Nothing could be more ridiculous. The National Academy of Sciences regularly reviews the state of radiation health research. Its findings, published as "Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation," consistently point to a linear, no-threshold model of exposure. In other words, the greater the exposure to radiation, the greater the possibility of cancer. At least that’s what the National Academy of Sciences says. But, instead, if you want to take the opinion of a wacko academic — be my guest.

The nuclear industry is pushing through new regulations allowing it to place radioactive garbage in local landfills, to be sent to scrap yards, and to be used as road-building material. These efforts should be resisted. More exposure to radiation will result in more cancer.

—Jonathan Parfrey Executive director, Physicians for Social Responsibility — Los Angeles

Winning Streak

Four Weekly writers have received honors for their efforts in two different contests. In the Best of the West contest, Celeste Fremon won first place in the Project Reporting category for her yearlong series covering the lives of the Aguilar family. Also in Best of the West, Marc Cooper won second-place honors in the Immigration and Minority Affairs Reporting category for a piece on the politics of Indian gaming, and John Powers received second place for General Interest Column Writing.

Jonathan Gold is a winner in the Association of Food Journalists’ Awards Competition 2005. The category is Restaurant Criticism (150,001–350,000 circulation).

Correction

In the 826LA story in last week’s special issue on indie publishers ("I Wonder Why All the Kids Don’t Go to 826"), we misspelled Melissa Mathison’s name, wrongly stated that 826LA is in partnership with the Green Dot charter schools (the center is publishing a book with students from Animo Inglewood), and failed to note that executive director Pilar Perez is also a McSweeney’s editor.

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