If you spent the last two decades wondering what the heck happened to David Faustino, the little guy who played Christina Applegate's brother on Married ... With Children — or pondering whether, by chance, Faustino profoundly influenced the West Coast rap scene — well, last week's feature story was for you ("Bud Bundy, Original Gangsta," by Ben Westhoff). Sure enough, we heard from numerous readers delighted with our choice of cover subject.
"Really enjoyed the Faustino profile," writes Bigmouth. "In fact, I gotta give general props to L.A. Weekly for its profiles. They're well written and almost always reveal something new and interesting about the subjects. Keep up the great work!"
Not everyone was so pleased. Reader Zach quotes one line from Westhoff's piece: " 'He's actually an influential figure in the history of West Coast rap, as responsible as anyone for bringing a then-niche genre to the masses here'? Hey, Ben Westhoff, you gotta leave that crack alone. He threw a party for some spoiled, underage rich kids. End of story."
Yet that's not, apparently, the end of the story. Zach continues, "Not to say he's not an original fan, or that it's bad that he got some artists paid, but if you're gonna do a cover story about L.A. folks who brought rap to the West Coast, then maybe feature 1580 KDAY or Freestyle Fellowship (the Ramones of WC hip-hop). And if you wanna actually talk 'West Coast' and peeps who were pioneers in the beginning, then you had better locate your nearest Born to Mack album and listen to it. Maybe do a feature on Freddie B. There is an amazing history to our coast. Let's make sure we get it right."
That led reader Edvi to defend Faustino's rap skills: "Faustino used to come to our record store in Pomona and come to the open mics. Yes, he is a real rapper and has serious skills. It's a bit shocking 'cause people have stereotypes of what a rapper should look like, but this guy has been rapping since the '90s."
A reader who calls himself Why Fame, however, is less concerned about Faustino's hip-hop cred and more concerned about what his ongoing pursuit of fame says about our city. "He seems like a very nice guy, but, boy, did this article depress me about L.A.," he writes. "Like every other mega-insecure, talentless wanna-be 'entertainer' in L.A., born in Beverly Hills or not, he is 'addicted' to the attention he gets from the tour buses and promoting his new 'rapper.' I use quotes 'cause they still had to mention Married ... With Children before taking a crappy stage for 10 whole minutes. Just sad. Like, Vegas-sad."
Then there's Karina Lopez, who's less worried about L.A. and more about our creativity. She implies, in fact, that we may have reached Vegas-sad. "Bud Bundy and pole dancers that want to be taken seriously? You ran out of ideas this week, didn't you?!"
We also heard from readers who disliked our Dec. 2 piece on attempts by Parent Revolution, an organization funded by Eli Broad and Bill Gates, among others, to assist parents in taking over failing schools ("Pulling the Trigger," by Simone Wilson).
"L.A. Weekly, L.A. Times, what's the difference?" moans reader Baseball Junkie. "You guys keep putting up a negative attack on teachers and our union, blaming us for children and their parents for making little or no effort to learn or the corrupt garbage our district administrators are always up to. Why am I and other teachers only be held accountable? My son is in school; my wife and I think we have something to do with his immense success. However, I also give credit to his teachers and his school. Why is school reform not focusing on everyone involved in our students' education? Because Broad, Gates and others want to make money privatizing schools?"
Reader Inquiry2 is equally peeved, only her targets are illegal immigrants. (Sigh.) "This is crap!!!!! Most of these parents are illegal and their kids speak little to no English at home," she writes. "They suck up tax dollars which should be given to American students and they run back to Mexico when they need an escape but everyone else is doomed to their fate. Schools are, in fact, bad — I agree. But one of the reasons they are bad in California is because we are trying to educate Mexico's citizens. We should send them the bill."
The same reader calls out one of the parents quoted in our story, who says her fourth-grade child can't read. "Education involves: the parent, the student and the teacher. But it seems that this parent only believes the teacher is to blame," she writes. "I ask a very simple question: What is she doing to help her child other than blame the teacher? I know this parent. She speaks no English, and she is not involved in her daughter's education directly. She is being used for this sham operation 'Parent Revolution.' " Is that Vegas-sad, or just regular L.A.-sad? You be the judge.
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Please send letters to Comments, L.A. Weekly, 3861 Sepulveda Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90230. Or write us at ReadersWrite@laweekly.com. Full name and contact information preferred.
Our Dec. 2 story "Dance Dance Revolution" misspelled the name of dancer Nadia Sharif. It also wrongly identified the pole-dancing organization United Pole Artists and misspelled the name of its founder, Annemarie Davies.