A CERTAIN RATIO
Re: The Writing on the Wall in the Weeklys March 1420 issue. I assume Doug Harvey was simply setting up his assault on a bunch of disappointing shows when he whined that he gets out to galleries at least once a month, that he only goes to galleries when an out-of-town friend is visiting, and that he can hardly make it to the galleries anymore. Still, taken at face value, its an appalling, pathetic, snobbish and cheesy complaint to hear from a weekly art critic. If he really means it, he should consider quitting. Give someone with more energy and enthusiasm a chance. Looking endlessly at art good, bad and indifferent is his job. Not only that, its how a critic gets good at his job.
Harvey snivels, How much crap is one expected to endure and keep coming back? One good shot out of 20? In the 20 or so years Ive been in the art world, Ive found that the ratio of crap to non-crap has remained pretty consistent. Harvey writes as if Los Angeles were in some sort of dismal, dark age for art. If he thinks things are so bad and boring there, again, he should leave immediately, go someplace where the art is better. Or maybe he should get away from art altogether . . .
Lets make a deal. The L.A. Weekly borrows me from the Village Voice for four months, preferably winter months. The Weekly pays me a ridiculous amount of money, puts me up in an apartment and provides a car. Ill go to 20 galleries a week and Ill write about whats good and bad out there. And I wont whimper.
Jerry Saltz Senior Art Critic, Village Voice New York City
It's sad to read that your arts writer can't be bothered to actually go to the galleries in L.A. unless prodded, and even sadder that he has resigned himself to believing that the art scene here is an exercise in futility, dominated by crap. Sure, not everything you see is stellar, but the defeatism implied in Mr. Harvey's analysis is a body blow to those of use trying to run art spaces in L.A.
Mr. Harvey should find another job, and leave art writing to those who take joy in the adventure of discovering art worth writing about, which if he even bothered to look for it can be found all over this city. Sure, there's crap out there, just like in every other field, but keep looking: There's is no shortage of worthwhile art to write about.
Bert W. Green Los Angeles
Margaret Wertheim should have checked her references a little more closely when she quoted mathematician Kurt Goedel in her article To Infinity and Beyond [March 713]. Goedels theorem does not say that every mathematical system contains paradoxes (propositions that can be proved both true and false). If this were the case, then our systems of mathematics would be useless for describing the world around us. Rather, Goedels theorem states that no sufficiently developed mathematical system can be both paradox-free and completely provable. What this means is that there are mathematical statements which cannot be proved or disproved, a quite different affair from what Margaret describes.
Daniel Rizzuto, Ph.D. Pasadena
ROUND AND ROUND WITH MOTHER THERESA
It was wonderful to finally read a simple and complete condemnation of Christopher Hitchens recent about-face in Doug Irelands Getting Bush Whacked [March 1420]. What, one wonders, would Hitchens self-annointed patron saint George Orwell think of his backing of the despotic Bush regime? Orwell must be turning over in his grave to find that Hitchens thinks the best way to deal with the Fascists in Spain would have been to invade Angola, a rough analogy to the present plan of the Bushites to invade Iraq as a means of dealing with Osama & Co.
Hitchens deludes himself if he thinks Bush actually hopes to get rid of the terrists. The Bush goons have been masturbating to dreams of a Global American Empire (a U.S. Army/Halliburton Joint Venture) since childhood and have now found the perfect umbrella to cover all contingencies at home and abroad. The neocon (and old-con, I suppose) hawks have always been hunting for new enemies to justify reductions in our civil liberties and increases in our martial proclivities. Now they have the perfect enemy, an enemy (Iraq today, Iran tomorrow, Yemen the day after) to which they apply their fuzzy logic and justify any defense budget, any degree of secrecy, and a series of calls to arms discreetly timed to affect elections appropriately a state of governance of which I have a hard time imagining Orwell approving.
Yetsuh Frank New York City
As Doug Ireland talks to Christopher Hitchens, its easy to notice that Hitchens isnt always listening. In fact, Hitchens isnt always talking. Im glad that Ireland has such famous friends, but its also a shame that no one would listen to his drivel except in the context of interviewing someone of renown.
Max Wyeth St. Joseph, Missouri
Re: Harold Meyersons On the Brink [Powerlines, March 1420]. Just a couple of corrections to an otherwise very fine analysis: George H. Bush the elder was never ambassador to China. He was envoy ambassador status was given China in 1979 by Carter. George W. Bush did visit China briefly while his father was envoy; it was a short holiday visit in which W. hardly ventured outside the U.S. Embassy compound. That detail can be checked, and I think it further reinforces the thrust of Meyersons article. Also, the envoy versus ambassador rank is an important distinction because Kissinger and Nixon demoted Bushs active foreign-service-rank billet while getting him far away from the stormy GOP political scene and any opportunity to make a play for one of those resignation offices (V.P. or president) that were looming on the horizon at the time.
Michael Murtaugh Long Beach
DUMB BOMBS AWAY
I must take issue with the 1,400-word dumb bomb John Powers dropped on President Bush in his article The Big What If [On, March 1420]. Im nauseated by the traitorous bands of self-righteous protest pansies and peace posses who have surfaced amid the Iraq debate. On the brink of global unrest, our fighting forces are about to demonstrate to the world why fist-fucking violates decency laws. Semper fi, you filthy bastards. The only reason half of L.A. is able to sit on its collective ass all day nursing $5 coffee Slurpees while I fix toilets is that America already rules the world. The only reason bubble-headed Hollywood pill poppers are able to complete a yoga session without having their chakras suicide-bombed by some terrorist scumbag is because the United States has been doing shit right for two and a quarter centuries. Amen.
While many see Iraq as nothing more than a wasteland of mud huts and concertina wire, I see a posh desert oasis in the embryonic stage. In five years time, I hope to be sitting poolside while Sean Penn serves me mai-tais and Martin Sheen adjusts my chaise longue and rubs Coppertone on my back. Of course, Id prefer Jessica Lange, but shell be too busy doing my laundry.
War is not the answer. It is the question. Yes is the answer. And to all of the Islamic extremists planning the Big One, you can run your jihad up my fucking ass. Ill leave the light on for you.
Everett Jack Falconer Santa Monica
The Two Police Stories in your March 1420 issue, by Celeste Fremon (Out of Time) and Charles Rappleye (The Silent Squad), should have been titled Two Anti-Police Stories. Taking the side of these criminals is irresponsible and encourages thuggish behavior. You should show the fine work of law enforcement, not write sob stories about dead lowlifes.
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Brian Chandler Pasadena
Last weeks Calendar theater review of the play First Love, at the Odyssey Theater, erroneously credited Ron Sossi as the director. Allan Miller actually directed the production.