Brendan Bernhard’s “The Television War” [Box Populi, April 4–10] contains some of the best and most evenhanded descriptions of media distortion that this old media-studies professor has seen. Although he only mentions “moral relativism” in passing, I sense a kindred spirit who is trying to navigate between the fundamentalists on the one hand and the moral relativists on the other. Too many people only use media to confirm their prejudices and are only vaguely aware that they are being manipulated. It is refreshing to see Bernhard cutting his way out of the ideological haze generated by a postmodern media concerned only with pushing their own dumbed-down version of events. As we say in Australia, “Good on ya, mate.”

—Lorenz Gude Perth, Australia



Re: Steven Mikulan’s “No Politics, Please, We’re American” [Open City, April 11–17]. I’m glad someone finally portrayed the incomparable Janeane Garofalo so positively. The press, both conservative and liberal, have taken their turns bashing the fearless actress since she went out on the talk-show circuit. The mainstream media and Congress look the other way while Bush attacks Iraq and our civil liberties, but she’s in there fighting and providing a voice for myself and millions of others against the war. And because of her “unpopular” opinions and unpaid efforts, her upcoming sitcom for ABC may be shelved. This debunks the theory that everyone in show biz is speaking out to further his or her career, doesn’t it?

—Christopher Perez San Fernando

Ms. Garofalo and the Dixie Chicks have found out the awful truth: When you sell your art, you become a merchant. And just like any other merchant, you are entitled to the right to free speech as long as you don’t mind people exercising their right to not buy what you are selling — for whatever reason they choose to exercise that right, including what just came out of your big mouth. Up with free speech, down with whining!

—Alan Jacquemotte Detroit, Michigan



Re: “What’s Gone Wrong in Iraq?” [April 4–10]. Well, at least Doug Ireland makes a consistent point: America is to blame for everything. We put Saddam into power (a historical half-truth at best). We put the sanctions in place. (Well, no. Bush wanted to take Baghdad at the time, but to quell fears of instability in the Middle East, the U.N. convinced the American regime to join them in pushing for sanctions.) Plus, of course, only we kill civilians. Doug is so oblivious to his own bias that he doesn’t appear to recognize that, even by his own report, Saddam and the Ba’ath Party killed 350,000 Iraqi civilians to quell one (of many) uprisings against his vicious regime. We may have encouraged the uprising, but Saddam was a cruel dictator, head of a power base that reigned by fear tactics, including threats to execute the families of people who didn’t fall in line with party-leadership decisions, and regular, ruthless assassinations of political opponents.

If America were ruled the way Iraq was under Saddam, Ireland himself would unquestionably have been targeted by the feds for speaking out so harshly against the government. I’m glad to live in a country where Ireland can express such blind prejudice against his own country and feel safe doing so.

—Patrick Webb Ventura


Kudos to the L.A. Weekly and Howard Blume for the story on the rebirth of the much-missed Cleveland Free Times [“Start the Presses,” April 4–10]. The collapse of the Free Times was a devastating blow to the Cleveland art and music scene. Although Scene magazine is still in circulation, it offers little more than a yearly restaurant guide, sex ads and the most recent updates to future monster-truck blowouts. I wish Matt Fabyan the best of luck, and welcome the Free Times back into our lives. C-town may once again receive a weekly alt-magazine with a bit of journalistic integrity.

—Jason Kunes Cleveland, Ohio


Harold Meyerson’s column on Richie Perle [“Perle the Impervious,” Powerlines, April 11–17] is terrific, and terrifically well-written. My wife went to Hollywood High with the guy, says he was nice. Where did it all go wrong?

—James Boyk Los Angeles


I am writing to correct an error in Harold Meyerson’s article “The Neocons’ War” [Powerlines, March 28–April 3]. He writes, “It was a lovely scenario, but to believe it, the neos had to willfully forget countless lessons of history, and at least one law of thermodynamics: that for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction.” The law to which Meyerson refers is not a law of thermodynamics, but is Newton’s third law of motion.

—Sharad J. Shanbhag Pasadena


Re: Deborah Vankin’s “Curb Your SUV” [March 28–April 3]. This article should have been titled “How To Marry a Millionaire and Drive a Hybrid Car, Too!” I wonder what kind of car Laurie David or Elizabeth Wiatt’s housekeeper, nanny, gardener, cook, accountant, personal assistant and manicurist drive. Listen, I have no problem with their desire to save the Earth, but do they have any idea or understanding of who they are saving it for? As a result of their husbands’ success, these are some of the wealthiest, most privileged women in the world — and the most out of touch. I found the tone of their activism to be very well-intentioned, and very elitist. Instead of “Let them eat cake,” it’s “Let them drive a Prius.”

—Sara Owen Los Angeles

I blame celebrities (Arnold, rap musicians, etc.) for foisting the SUV trend on us in the first place, so kudos to Laurie David for trying to reel in the Hollywood crowd. I fail to see why all the actresses I see in Studio City need a 3-ton truck to carry a lipstick case and a script. Also, I can’t see why anyone would drive a gas-guzzling tank with questionable safety ratings aside from its being trendy. Hybrids rule!

—Michael Humphrey North Hollywood



Here I am, an L.A. expat living in Byron Bay, the alternative heart of the antipodes. Seven whole years in self-imposed exile — until now. I have discovered the L.A. Weekly online! Yes, we have less pollution, less population, but we lack your endless distractions and attractions. My Aussie boyfriends’ exasperation: “You’re living in the past!” How can I ever explain that your publication makes me feel like I’m in the now. I miss L.A. still, though I nearly didn’t survive living there.

—Lisa Franklin Byron Bay, Australia


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