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Letters

CLIVE BARKER: NO BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: “Hellraiser” [August 31–September 6]. Superb conversation between Clive Barker and Dennis Cooper. Hats off to all involved.

—W.K. Scott Meyer Burbank

DEAR EDITOR:

Clive Barker on the cover of the L.A. Weekly? This guy doesn’t even register a “1” on L.A.’s celebrity Richter scale. Let’s be a little more discerning and place some emphasis on stories that have real value to your readership.

—Harold Bickersby West Hollywood

DEAR EDITOR:

Dennis Cooper’s interview with Clive Barker contained the most insightful observations on the fundamental reasons for the “cult of celebrity” I have ever read. I am fascinated by the multitudes of people for whom movie stars, musicians and talk-show hosts are more real than their own relatives and who spend a lot of their psychic energy on people they don’t know and probably never will. Conversely, it must be unnerving (or perhaps ego-inflating) for a newly minted celebrity to suddenly realize that he or she is the subject of the fantasies of millions of people he or she has never met. Mr. Barker is right that “Sex lies underneath our appetite” for celebrities, and that way too many folks “attach themselves to unworthy divinities.”

—Mike Hambly Santa Monica

DEAR EDITOR:

In regard to guest editor Dennis Cooper’s lavish and somewhat incestuous interview with Clive Barker: There is so much wrong, it’s hard to know where to begin. Perhaps Mr. Cooper should have excused himself from the task of writing the piece in the first place, since his slavish devotion to “Renaissance dude” Barker massively intrudes on any claim to objectivity, or even reality, in approaching the subject. The questions went from the sublime to the ridiculous. Cooper never “came across a detail that was clichéd or lazy” in Barker’s work — give me a break! Is this an interview or a tongue bath? Admitted, Mr. Barker has broken some ground in his chosen area, but his writing, both for the screen and the printed word, is clichéd, masturbatory, juvenile in the extreme, and so limited in scope as to appeal to an audience that is challenged both emotionally and in age. I think Dennis let the moment go to his head. Okay, so he admires Barker. Drastically. Keep it between the sheets, please, honey. Work this flabby doesn’t belong in a literary supplement, much less in the pages of the L.A. Weekly.

—Stephen Patt, M.D. Santa Monica

DEAR EDITOR:

Just finished reading your cover story on Mr. Barker. How pretentious and overblown can you get? As for Mr. Barker’s new Disney connection, this symbolizes nothing more than his final capitulation to the grandest of all Hollywood schlockmeisters. Things must be getting pretty tight, financially speaking, in Cliveland. As for your cover photo — how about some originality, guys? This “look” was done in the mid-1980s by a true original — Bruce Springsteen.

Mr. Barker represents the worst Hollywood has to offer — an aging, lackluster talent looking for a large piggybank to supplement his diminishing fortunes. Truly a real-life “horror story” of epic proportions!

—Craig Hathaway Los Angeles

DEAR EDITOR:

Dennis Cooper’s Clive Barker interview was the most well-rounded journalistic portrayal of the man I’ve ever read. While I hoped they would delve a little deeper into Barker’s homosexuality (of which I was unaware beforehand), the two authors superbly conveyed several key aspects of the creative whatsis, always a difficult subject to verbally translate from the abstract into layman’s terms.

—James Nolan Los Angeles

BLACK, WHITE, GRAYDON AND (JUST A TOUCH OF) BROWN

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: “Freddie Gets Fingered” [August 31–September 6]. “The problem, of course, remains not one of blackness or brownness but whiteness,” says Ernest Hardy. Freddie Prinze Jr. is too “whitebread,” too “bland,” and often appears in “movies in which the whitest of white folk are at the center.” Hardy then whines that Prinze is “just ethnic enough to have flava, but not so much that he doesn’t blend in effortlessly into the airless [read: light-skinned] films in which he’s starred.” Let’s see, Ernest: His father was Puerto Rican and Jewish; maybe he should show up in all his movies in a drop-top Chevy with a big Star of David dangling from the rear-view mirror, sporting an accent à la Rosie Perez. Would that make him ethnic enough for your discerning palate? According to Hardy, “whiteness” is so pervasive and insidious that even hip-hop and Latino music are not safe from its tentacles: “J.Lo shares peroxide with Lil’ Kim and Beyoncé.” Peroxide? Oh my God, that means . . . blond hair! Holy highlights and streaks, it’s everywhere! Hey, Lil’ Kim also likes to dye her hair bright red and sometimes even green. Does this mean she secretly â longs to be . . . what? Irish?

Enough of this toad. Or is having your own little black racist-in-residence just so hip and cutting-edge that you just can’t help yourselves?

—Graydon Murrell Los Angeles

DEAR EDITOR:

Yet again, Ernest Hardy speaks the truth, breaking down the question of why Freddie Prinze Jr. is so successful, and I cannot agree more — he’s non-threatening (with a touch of “Latino spice”), and that’s how Hollywood likes it! I am glad that Mr. Hardy addressed the issue of whiteness and how it continues to play a role in the success of our peroxide-made-blond “artists of color” like J.Lo, Beyoncé, Lil’ Kim and Shakira. Hardy has always spoken honestly in his articles, and I always keep my eyes open for articles written by him. I hope that you continue to support his work.

—Joe Hernandez-Kolski Los Angeles

GROANS BEAT SMIRKS, 2-1

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: John Powers’ “Meanwhile Back at the Ranch” [September 7–13]. An excellent article. I am one of many who no longer get “news” from TV and radio, but from the Internet. Sites like buzzflash.com, bartcop.com and smirkingchimp.com give me links to great articles like this. Thank you. I hope this article gets reprinted in every paper in America. I feel we’re rapidly losing all the gains made in the last few decades.

—Mike Price Auburn

DEAR EDITOR:

Thanks to John Powers for his insightful and significant analysis of the press and the Bush administration. His is among the very few voices that say it as it is. At a time of personal despair over the state of the nation, and the erosion of our democracy in a few short months, this was a beacon of light, for it focused on the truth, and that is all we have at the moment. I feel a bit more hopeful for the moment, because the article made so much sense in a time of such madness. Thank you again.

—Regina Avraham Brooklyn, New York

DEAR EDITOR:

The only problem with this analysis is that Powers keeps acting as if Bush himself is doing something besides picking his nose and passing gas.

—Sam Snedegar Pensacola, Florida

THE COSTS OF WRONGSAYING

DEAR EDITOR:

Re: Charles Rappleye’s “Pangs of Hollywood” [September 7–13]. Interesting article on the George Christy tribulations and what went on behind the scenes. One quibble: You said the investigation by Cahners cleared Variety editor in chief Peter Bart of wrongdoing. Actually, I think they found him culpable of many of the claims on offensive language used — that’s why they docked him three weeks’ pay and sent him to sensitivity training. At least that is my reading of it.

—Keith J. Kelly New York Post


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