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Violence in Our Midst

Regarding the L.A. Weekly’s article and photo [September 30–October 6] on a gay Iranian man’s account of mistreatment by the Iranian government, abuse — homophobic or not — deserves condemnation; however, this is a daily occurrence worldwide as well as inside the U.S. itself, so where’s the equal reporting and outcry? Progressive people should be suspicious whenever alleged “human-rights violations” suddenly hit the headlines, especially when the country in question is one that the U.S. government has announced it intends to invade or, at least, politically pressure.

Not to say this man’s assault isn’t real, but so are the thousands of assaults and murders of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people inside our own borders and in countries that are allies of the U.S. Case in point: There was no condemnation by the U.S. government when transgender youth Gwen Araujo was murdered here in California. Where are the articles and photos on LGBT people currently raped, beaten and mistreated in U.S. prisons? Only when it is politically expedient does the U.S. recognize us as human, let alone equal.

If the U.S. really cared about the human rights of LGBT people, the Bush administration would stop supporting the right-wing bigots who vilify us, and grant us full equality, including the right to legal, civil marriage.

The U.S. wants to turn public opinion against Iran as a pretext to invade and intervene. As it has in the past, the U.S. is exploiting the plight of oppressed people to achieve its own narrow, political goals.

—Joe Delaplaine
Los Angeles

Blue in the Heartland

I am responding to “The Big Red One — What’s the matter with Oklahoma?” by Jon Alain Guzik [October 7–13]. Though his experience with Oklahoma was true for him the week he was here, I do need to tell you there is quite a contingent of Democrats in this state that are determined to turn it into a BLUE state. Even the current governor is a Democrat. Nice. I moved here from Los Angeles a year ago, and for fun, I go to Democratic Party fund-raisers so I can feel comfortable politically. I do, however, find the need to tread lightly in some circles. Though it seems there might be more Republicans in Oklahoma, there aren’t. They just make a very distinct sound that seems to drown everyone around them out. I have found Republican Okies to be very mean and vicious about their politics (and gossip). When I first moved here and was introduced around, some people said to me, “You must know a lot of liberals out there in Caleefornia, doncha?” Like being liberal was a terminal illness. But I do not despair, because many Californians have relocated here and their influence on this state is just beginning. Guthrie is my hometown, and I love it. Just know that everyone in Oklahoma is not a conservative and Guthrie actually is a very nice party town. You should have come to Guthrie when the International Bluegrass Festival was here. It’s the best party in town (next to the Democratic Party). And the Guthrie High School football team is “The BLUE Jays.” Yes, there are some distinct backwards country folks out here, but you gotta have a sense of humor and realize there is some material for a good screenplay in the red Okie silliness that actually exists. PEACE!

—Linda Kaye
Guthrie, Oklahoma

Clooney Bin

I thought Scott Foundas’ piece on George Clooney [October 14–20] was terrific and allowed us to see a thoughtful person shedding a boxed-in “role” he has been assigned in the media pageant. Foundas made a minor error, however, in calling Syriana Steven Gaghan’s directing debut. Gaghan made a previous film, the not-so-ambitious (and, frankly, slightly tepid) Abandon, in 2002.

—Dileep Rao
Los Angeles

Any Cheese With That Wine?

Great job on the Best of L.A. edition. I found your write-up about Joe Coulombe — the Joe behind Trader Joe’s — very interesting. Even more interesting was that the same man who believed we should have access to affordable wines and cheeses is also helping bring us unaffordable jeans (True Religion). Glad I’m saving all that money on two-buck-chuck!

—Christine Hardy
Los Angeles

Hawthorne, Née Rashomon

Suzy Beal remembers the Hawthorne she lived in in 1966, and a grand piece of writing it was (great water heater), but I worked at Northrop, and it never seemed to me like that at all. When I started work there in 1965, I had to circle around the Watts riots to get there, and in all the time I was in the area, it seemed nothing like the quiet place she remembers. Quiet was where I lived in Newport Beach. Hawthorne was the city, and there seemed to always be something going on. What a different view two people can have of the same place of the same time.

—Ellis Glazier
La Paz, BCS, Mexico

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