Coming to America
I was amused by how the Samaritans who were arrested [“Dead in Their Tracks,” Feb. 24–March 2] don’t see their actions as being questionable. So, any smuggler can put a “humanitarian” decal on their van and be given free rein to move illegals from one place to another? What these organizations fail to accept is that smugglers can abuse the privileges that the Samaritans have created for themselves. The article mentions Border Patrol agents who were involved in trafficking. Could this not also happen with volunteers at organizations like the Samaritans?
Also, the article refers several times to “restrictionist, anti-immigration” measures. I don’t know anybody who is anti-immigration. My grandparents were all immigrants. The frustration comes when a single nation (Mexico) feels it has a right to more immigration into the U.S. simply because they share a border. There are many nations on this earth that suffer greater political and economic strife than Mexico, and we have an immigration policy to address that. The only fair immigration policy is one that allows a proportionately equal number of individuals in from all nations.
Playing to the Crowds
I find the central premise of Steven Leigh Morris’ article on the showing of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard at the Mark Taper Forum [“Classical Gas,” Feb. 24–March 2] to be without merit. One would have an easier time comparing apples and oranges.
All of Shakespeare’s plays except one or two were written about famous real people or legends of real people. He wrote of tragedy and of grand spectacle. Chekhov was more spare and subtle, and practiced completely the virtue of showing and not telling better than anyone.
Chekhov was an absurdist of incredible power and complexity. He believed that people’s very nature is to preoccupy themselves with vanities. He made his own stories up, provided cutting social commentary with some of the most incredible poetic elements, aimed to capture his times, found poetry in plainness, believed in verisimilitude (probably the first to capture people “not listening” to each other on the stage), was not afraid to fool his readers, and as a practicing physician developed psychological insight which paved the way for all modern writing.
Chekhov when done right can reduce an audience to tears like no one else. He realizes that most pain in the world is caused by other humans and because of this he makes us ashamed for being human.
For an African-American the parallels of his time and American history are easy to see. The Cherry Orchard ends on a note of mystery about what the future holds for them. Can they maintain hope? I find it chilling.
Anyone who keeps up with the news today should know that the peasants may or may not yet be at the gates, but push them any harder and I promise you they will be.
Chekhov’s greatness is his insight that people who continually indulge their vanity that the reality we live in can change overnight, that the nature of reality, where few have so very much and most have very little, will again be the only possible reason for our own society’s demise. With all that is going on in the world, this time it may be global.
John Stephen Blyth
I’ve always been curious how Bill Rosendahl [“The Miseducation of Bill Rosendahl,” Feb. 24–March 2] expected to help the tenants without a solid game plan and perhaps the necessary legal and political firepower to put it into action.
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I can see from your article that not much has changed in terms of rectifying the situation. Rosendahl’s motion, if passed by the L.A. City Council, would have the effect of continuing to delay the inevitable. He might as well just give the tenants more hugs. The only way the evictions at Lincoln Place can be stopped is if AIMCO agrees to come back to the bargaining table, or if the city makes a serious effort to challenge AIMCO’s posturing.
Now it’s a matter of whether those in office will maintain the status quo, or demonstrate a little leadership pursuing a more decisive course of action on behalf of the tenants. Thanks,