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Kudos to Alec Hanley Bemis for his well-thought-out article on the state of the music business [“Anarchy in the Music Biz,” September 24–30]. Bemis “gets it” much more than most knee-jerk record-industry bashers. He is correct in that mid-tier artists are selling more CDs today than they were five years ago and that this is largely the result of consumers being able to preview material on the Internet and through other sources. This allows music to spread faster via grassroots methods.

However, loath as I may be to defend the actions of major record labels, I must point out that the “blockbuster” corporate music mentality (and resulting musical dreck) of recent history has been accelerated by factors outside of the labels’ control. Consolidation of radio station ownership and the resulting homogenization of playlists among stations owned by monsters like Clear Channel have been huge factors. Nearly as important has been the growth of Wal-Mart, Best Buy and other “big box” retailers, who use hit music as a loss leader to get customers in the doors.

The majors cater to these marketplace factors under pressure to deliver shortsighted, quarterly profits for their shareholders. It is certain to bite them on the ass in 10 years when the Interpol and Modest Mouse catalogs are outselling the J.Lo and Limp Bizkit ones, but hey, that’s corporate America for ya.

—Clark Benson Almighty Institute of Music Retail Hollywood


I am not “weary,” as Susan Atkins put it [Letters to the Editor, “Todos en la Familia,” October 1–7], of Celeste Fremon’s ongoing series about the Aguilar family’s troubles [“Longing for a Reprieve,” September 17–23]. Actually, I am grateful for her reporting on what goes on in my own city, and I find the series fascinating, enraging and at times disturbing. What I am quite weary of are the suburbanite cranks like Ms. Atkins who persist in complaining about the very existence of this type of reporting. The solution, Ms. Atkins, is simple: If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

Susan Atkins may not be aware of this, but there are many Latino, black and white families who, like the Aguilars, try to live by the rules and make an honest living, but often find themselves treated unjustly by the police, the court system or the economic power structure (which in L.A. means the real estate developers and financial institutions). Not to acknowledge that reality would be the real insult.

Pity poor Susan Atkins. How dare anyone remind her that sometimes the LAPD does target people for retaliation and even perjury, as in the Rampart case and many others? How dare anyone even suggest that people who try to improve their lives and go straight may find the system rigged against them? How dare anyone write an article about anything other than minorities living happy, free, fair and 100 percent virtuous lives? Oh, poor, poor Susan Atkins.

As with her Manson Family namesake, I guess any appeals to her compassion fall on deaf ears.

—Tom Louie Los Angeles


With all due respect, is Nikki Finke on crack? Her article on why Big Media is pro-Bush [“When Might Turns Right,” October 1–7] is a joke, right? I mean, she’s writing this sort of tongue-in-cheek, right? She’s not really trying to equate a network’s decision not to advertise a product to CBS’s decision to run a fabricated story on a network newscast and claim it to be true for a whole week after the very documents supporting their story proved to be forgeries? Did I mention that CBS was warned that the documents were likely forgeries well before the broadcast but the network chose to run the segment anyway? Oh, and how about CBS acting as a liaison between the Kerry campaign and the source of these documents — can’t forget that. And Nikki seems to think there is some sort of parallel between these two events?

—Greyson Proctor Vancouver, Washington

Nikki Finke’s article is laughable! Accusing mainstream media of being pro-Bush?! Heck, Dan Rather tried to use some fake documents to help Kerry. Which news channels is she watching? She complains about TV ads by pro-Bush people? The ratio of Kerry’s 527 ads to Bush’s 527 ads is 4 to 1. This article is a bunch of garbage unworthy of L.A. Weekly.

—Tony Backdounis Los Angeles


In the film review of Woman Thou Art Loosed [Calendar, October 1–7], it was incorrectly stated that T.D. Jakes is pastor of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, when in fact Charles E. Blake is the pastor. T.D. Jakes is pastor of the Potter’s House in Texas.

Last week’s issue — Best of L.A.: The Seven Deadly Sins [October 8–14] — had a few sins of omission and commission. In the item “Poor Pores Zitiful You,” Miss Lee of Larchmont Beauty Center was said to have had plastic surgery. Miss Lee has never had plastic surgery; she is a natural beauty.

In “Best Yoga Teacher for Kids,” the Web site should have been listed as

Finally, due to an editing mistake, Sara Wolf’s piece “Best Chocolate Kisses” had two endings, which made it seem as if she has two girlfriends. The piece should have had one ending (As my lover says, this is chocolate that grabs you by the clit— er, genitalia, and doesn’t let go) and Sara has only one lover.

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