Comments: Bikram Battle 

Thursday, Jul 26 2012

Can a yoga pose be subject to copyright? That was the question raised by Rebecca Moss' cover story last week about the fight between Bikram Choudhury, one of the world's most famous yoga instructors, and his former student Greg Gumucio ("The Hot Yoga War"). And it definitely got readers talking.

"Egotistic, self-appointed, greedy — these are not words typically associated with yoga, but completely descriptive of Mr. Choudhury," Tlinca writes. "I don't want to sweat; I want to puke."

Quincyatomz disagrees. "I think this falls under 'intellectual property.' The Yogi wins, no?"

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Steev Beeson writes, " 'Hot yoga,' 'very large pile of money,' yoga war,' etc., are so antithetical to the core ideas behind yoga that your article is ridiculous enough to be laughable. As my yoga teacher once said: 'The asanas are the way into prana (breathing). And prana is the way into meditation.' Perhaps this wouldn't sell a lot of advertising. But it's the truth about yoga and why it is still around and more valid than ever. Perhaps Bikram and his boy could stand to be reminded."

But Beeson adds that our issue wasn't entirely laughable. "A couple of good things about your publication this week: Amy Scattergood's 'Will Forage for Food' — thank you, Amy! — and Nick Pinkerton's review of the new Batman movie. I know, it's sad and bad timing, but the first paragraph was so right-on about Chris Nolan's films as to make me change my entire opinion of this film critic. I will from now on take him very seriously. The kid KNOWS what he's writing about! Thank you, Nick!" No, thank you, Steev!

Hired Hacks

Readers also had much to say about Gene Maddaus' story about Andy Chung, a state-licensed limo driver caught up in an LAPD sting designed to go after unregistered cabbies — even though his paperwork with the state was all in place and he claimed he'd followed the rules ("Car Wars," July 20).

Joe 37982 had little sympathy. "The guy had a history of arrests for violating taxi ordinances. In this situation, he asked if the caller were the police or not. Now he's playing dumb about it. The laws aren't 'byzantine.' Drive a cab or limo and by day two you'll know what you can and can't do."

But Romanzak151 has a similar story of police overreach. "I got caught up in the same kind of thing," he writes. "I put an ad on Craigslist offering to run errands for people. Got a call offering me $60 for a ride. When I replied that I would prefer not to drive people around, the price was increased to $75. I really needed the money, so I went to get the guy. I got arrested in front of the Figueroa Hotel, but they took me to another location for booking so they could keep picking up other drivers for the same setup."

The consequences? "A 'no contest' plea at court got me a $300 fine, which I cannot afford to pay. They gave me a year to pay, so I will either end up dead by then or go to jail. I have heart failure and am unable to work in a regular job. I looked into selling hot dogs and read about the lady who got 45 days in jail for wrapping hers in bacon. She had all the permits from the city but didn't have the $26,000 hot dog cart that was required in order to sell bacon. The Nazis said they were following orders at Nuremberg; cops will say the same thing here. The officers were sympathetic to my situation, but they want to keep their jobs, too. Sorry state of affairs they have going on in this allegedly FREE COUNTRY!"

The Phxrising agrees. "Poor Mr. Chung is a living example of how the LAPD lies — will do anything, say anything — to get their convictions and what a piece of dung Carmen Trutanich is."

Louispfreely brings it back to immigration: "We let illegals walk around with impunity, but God forbid someone give someone else a ride."

Vote Skippers

Not surprisingly, readers also had vitriol for the Democratic State Assembly members who — rather than anger the state's teachers unions — skipped a vote that would allow school districts to fire teachers who commit sex crimes ("Democrats Kill Bad-Teacher Law," by Patrick Range McDonald and Jill Stewart).

Charles Bean writes, "What is the 'due process' for a teacher who has molested a child? Should they get a letter of reprimand, or maybe the parent should beat the crap out of the teacher?"

Nancy writes, "Those legislators and union members who allowed this bill to pass [sic] deserve our unending disdain, not only in real life but at the ballot box."

Adds Ventura Capitalist, "These despicable union Democrats think nothing of bargaining away the welfare and safety of children for their own greed. Could they possibly be any more disgraceful?"

But the final shot comes from Frank Newcomer, who writes, "I'm gonna vote for Attila the Hun next election. At least he had a sense of humanity." Um, since when?


That story about State Assembly members bowing to union pressure included a quote from a letter stating that the bill in question "would allow employers to send out a notice to dismiss during the summer when many certificated personnel are not in town." The letter came from the California Teachers Association, not Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers Los Angeles, as we erroneously stated. We regret the error.

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