I read Howard Blume’s article “Dueling for an Education” [May 3–9] and almost choked on my Cheerios. Mr. Blume seems to think the LAUSD has an obligation to teach school in two languages. Sorry, but that’s laughable. I was a substitute teacher for the district for five years, and I hate to tell you, but we were barely succeeding in teaching one language.

What they tell you is all true: Resources are terrible, teachers get paid little, new enrollment is huge due to immigration. These challenges leave the district hard-pressed to teach the fundamentals properly. You cannot expand when your foundation is cracking. I taught the bilingual program for five years and never really figured out what it was — or if it really existed. I do know this: I was sending Hispanic kids off to middle school with third-grade educations because their curriculum was so half-assed in both languages. They paid the price.

L.A. is a city of the future and will prosper through clear communication. At this point, we can only afford to choose one language, and that is English.

—Adam White Burbank



Re: “The Internationalist” [Weekly Literary Supplement, May 3–9]. Christopher Hitchens is correct when he describes how Orwell “got it right” regarding Stalinist Russia. Orwell’s experiences in Spain certainly confirmed the problems with state socialism, especially in its Stalinist variety. However, 1984 was set in England because — and this is clearly and explicitly set out in his essays from 1939 through 1946 — a similar totalitarianism was on the rise in that country. His experiences in wartime England somewhat mirrored the experiences of those living under Stalinism. Orwell feared totalitarian socialism not because it was socialist (Orwell was always a socialist), but rather because it was totalitarian (Orwell was a very libertarian socialist). States, corporations or mobs, as well as shadowy cabals of bomb throwers, were anathema to a man who characterized decency and fairness as the un-theoretical qualities of socialism. Unfortunately, these qualities were often abandoned, in his view, by those in power in any nation.

—Adam van Sertima Montreal, Canada


I’m an animation student working on my thesis film about Bruno Schulz. David Grossman’s article “Too Much Hurt” has reminded me of why I undertook this project in the first place, and I want to thank him for so eloquently describing how I felt when I read about Schulz’s death.

—Joshua Harrell Los Angeles


Your May 3 literary supplement “Writers on Writers They Love” should have been titled “White Guys on White Guy Writers They Love.” Couldn’t you have found one woman or someone of color to contribute? C’mon, it’s the new millennium.

—Tim Walton Los Angeles


EDITOR’S NOTE: For the record, Claire Messud and Shelley Jackson are women.


Re: Jay Babcock’s “Midnight Movies at the Planetarium” [May 3–9]. I’m curious as to why Babcock refers to Ariel Sharon as “a nutjob Israeli prime minister fat man with an arsenal of 100 nukes and an itchy revenge finger playing brinkmanship, congenitally incapable of thinking beyond the tit-tat exchange” without making any mention of his lunatic adversary Yasir Arafat, the grandfather of modern terrorism whose lips constantly flap like a Disneyland Audioanimatronic robot? It takes two to tango, you know. Maybe Babcock should stick to reviewing music and leave world affairs to the grown-ups. He appears to be in over his head.

—Todd Honig Hollywood


Re: “I, Bug” [May 3–9]. Manohla Dargis is the biggest jackass I’ve ever heard. To insist on changing the Spider-Man outfit and to say it’s a shitty movie is the biggest pile of shit I’ve ever read. I think Manohla needs to get his [sic] stick out of his [sic] ass and realize Sam Raimi made the movie to the comic. Changing the costume would have been awful. Doing anything out of line with the comic, let alone the cartoon, would have made any Spider-Man fan pissed. If Manohla is a big enough jackass to say the stupid-ass remarks, he [sic] better have good reason to back it up, because his [sic] reasons were the worst.

—Matt Landis Pittsburgh


The guy [sic] who wrote this review should be fired ASAP. This guy’s [sic] movie picks prob include A Very Brady Sequel and Scary Movie 2. This guy [sic] is dumb, and your city is dumb. New York makes way better movies, and we are not dicks. I’m all about detaching L.A., like in the cult classic Escape From L.A. with Kurt Russell. Serves you right. Dargis, since you were the only bad review I have read on my buddy Spider-Man, I send this hate mail to you, friend. Look out or you will be caught in spidey web.

—Charles Salerno New York City


I found Spider-Man a breath of fresh air, since I can identify with the character. I greatly appreciated how Spider-Man was not altered in any way; he wasn’t re-created into how Hollywood saw fit. Throughout the whole movie, Spider-Man managed to keep his comic-book-like integrity. In closing, I think your writer should stop reviewing movies if he [sic] has no knowledge of the story behind it.

—Michael Norasing Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

One of the best, fun, slicker-than-whale-sh*t-on-an-ice-floe flicks I have ever seen! Is Manohla Dargis’ head completely up the behind, or what? Needless to say, I will look no more to your publication for your opinions on film. Thanks!

—Rory D. Woods Los Angeles

Please fire the reviewer who gave the stupid bad review of Spider-Man, or at least next time send someone under the age of 50 to give an honest review.

—Anthony Brown Memphis, Tennessee

Either about 90 percent (maybe more) of America, and most of the entire free world, are idiots for loving everything about Spider-Man, or Manohla Dargis was dropped as a baby and never recovered.

—James Mattingly Antioch, Tennessee

I am writing in "response" to the Spider-Man movie review recently posted on your Web site. I hate to say, but where does the writer get off smashing this wonderful movie down so horribly that you don’t get a good movie review but a harsh slander on Sam Raimi and the special effects? This review seemed more like a writer wanting to show off his [sic] enormous vocabulary instead of actually watching the movie and writing an honest movie review. Example: "ejaculating long, white streams of webbing from his wrists." Whoa! Hold on, man! Big vocabulary gone wrong!

—Thomas Rippy Bowling Green, Kentucky

How on earth could you have assigned Manohla Dargis to review Spider-Man? Her analysis was sophomoric, to say the least, and clearly indicated a complete lack of understanding of the concept and character of Spider-Man. Her pretentiousness and utter inability to relate to this kind of film on its own terms rendered her review irrelevant. Who cares whether his butt jiggled or his "package" was less than her fantasy? The review reveals more about her own insecurities and sexual preoccupations than it does about her understanding of the cultural context of the film. Of course his face is covered! It’s the essence of the costume, and a pre-existing condition of making the film! Yes, he wears a unitard. Duh. What else would he wear? A two-piece? And who cares?

Next time, please have someone review this kind of movie who at least gets the concept. Everyone I know who’s seen the film loved it, as did my entire family.

—Josh Freeman and assorted outraged friends Santa Monica

It’s the opinion of this reader Manohla Dargis intended to jump on the bandwagon of tanking overhyped movies and is probably at this moment choking on the overwhelming number of rave reviews, to say nothing of the enormous box-office numbers. Later this month, she’ll probably tell us that Star Wars should have been left in the early ’80s.

—Pete Griffin Nashville, Tennessee

Whoever wrote the Spider-Man review is a complete moron caught up in another world.

—Jesus Jerusalem

I just wanted to tell you this: Talk your shit when you make your own great movie, since you know so much about them.

—J.C. Lake Worth, Florida

Your reviewer doesn’t really know what he or she was looking at. I would be embarrassed. Perhaps another career is in order.

—Frank Checa Miami, Florida

Manohla Dargis is a very bitter person who knows a few catchy phrases.

—Ken Lamb Enfield, Connecticut

Where did you get your critic degree, clown college? Like, seriously, this movie was truly amazing all by itself. People gave it standing ovations at both screenings I went to, and I can honestly say this is in my Top 5 for all-time greats, and I have seen a lot of movies.

—Vishal Singh Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

When I noticed Manohla Dargis was reviewing the Spider-Man movie, I knew instantly that the Weekly would be giving their Film Pick of the Week to some artsy-fartsy indie film instead of to the wall-crawler. Sure enough, I was right. Next time, please send someone who likes superhero movies to review them.

—Howard Hallis Los Angeles

I think you need to watch the Spider-Man movie again ’cause apparently you didn’t pay attention to it ’cause if the movie made over $114 million, it must be very good. I saw it three times plus everybody else that saw it said the same thing, so I think you need to see it again ’cause you are out of your mind.

—Adam Roberts Portsmouth, New Hampshire

I watched Spider-Man expecting to dislike it as much as other recent Hollywood fare. This movie is as good as or better than Richard Donner’s first Superman, and it puts the Batman series to shame. I realize it is an opinion, but I walked away with a smile on my face and feeling good. (The last time that happened was when I saw The Matrix.) By the way, his costume is not square at all. Superman is the one that needed the update, as evidenced by the new TV series Smallville.

—Jeff McCluskey Santa Barbara

You could make a better movie about me, right?

—Spider-Man New York City


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