Free-Market Airwaves

I found Nikki Finke’s treatment of Air America’s financial duplicity, and CEO Danny Goldberg’s admission that his primary motive was to “make a lot of money,” quite revealing [“Goldberg Flies Air America,” April 1–7]. If she were writing about any right-wing media outlet, these would surely have been condemned as yet more proof of the right’s corrupt and fascistic lie machine. But since they are in the service of a viewpoint Ms. Finke happens to support, they get a nod, wink and chortle.

Most ironic is that despite her penetrating insight, Ms. Finke completely fails to appreciate the deeper meaning of this story. Namely: The success of Air America is proof that despite the advent of Bush/Hitler, not only is freedom of expression alive and well in America, but also the capitalist free-market system actually ­encourages a diversity of viewpoints — and that creativity, combined with discipline, can lead to prosperity; that a spirit of competition enhances and refines our ideas and expressions; and that (as the above faux pas reveal) it is not just Republicans who are fallible, but rather it is man’s nature itself which? is imperfect.

—Mike Quinn
Los Angeles

A Sneer Miss

How predictable that L.A. Weekly should dismiss Ian McEwan’s immensely subtle, immensely important novel Saturday [“24,” by Brendan Bernhard, March 25–31]. It’s enough that the protagonist is “prosperous” (the first adjective for him that the review employs) and will go unpunished for his prosperity — but then to read that he is “skeptical of the anti-[Iraq]-war position”! One can almost hear the reviewer shudder. Why would anyone read a novel, however humane and incisive, however accomplished in the literary sense, whose politics don’t agree with ours? The reviewer all but declares this when he notes with an audible sneer that the book’s descriptions of London’s anti-war demonstrations “are less Guardian than Daily Telegraph.” Is it only fools who think they can learn from differing points of view?

I offer a story from my own book-reviewing past. Commentary magazine, in its neocon heyday, once asked me to review History: A Novel by the great communist author Elsa Morante. The book was genius-good, and I said so. The (infamous) conservative editors were furious and made a statement I will never forget: “It can’t be good! Her ideology is wrong and this must have consequences for her art!” I never darkened their in-trays again, and the episode drove me to the left.

I regret to find now that a liberal publication such as yours can be equally boring and close-minded.

—John Romano
Santa Monica

Bernhard replies: John Romano is spectacularly wrong in his accusations. Actually, I’m the guy at the Weekly who was in favor of the Iraq war, who defended Fox News, who ridiculed Dominique de Villepin, who went after Al-Jazeera and Lars von Trier for their anti-Americanism, and whose questions made MoveOn’s Wes Boyd go crimson with rage. My criticism of McEwan’s novel had nothing to do with his politics.

Mixed Reaction

In response to Rizwati Freeman’s diatribe over the use of the word “mulatto” by Kevin Y. Kim [Letters to the Editor, April 1–7], the letter writer ought to stop falling for the victimhood syndrome. For Rizwati Freeman’s information, “mulatto” is widely used in Latin America and European countries like Spain and Italy without racist connotations. It simply describes the offspring of black and white parents. The word “mulatto” ought to be used more in the United States in place of bland equivalents like “biracial”; after all, biracial could be a mix of Chinese and white, white and Indian, and so on. Or maybe we should use “colored” to describe black/whites, as it’s done in South Africa. Again, the point is that when it comes to race, Americans have a lot of growing to do yet. As a foreign-born American, I still can’t understand why Americans (both black and white) call a person with any degree of black/white ancestry “black” rather than mulatto or, heck, even white for that matter!

—Vincent Hamon
Los Angeles

No Fan of Wood

While U2 deserved to be included in your picks of the week [Calendar, April 1–7], your writer’s blanket generalization of their fans did not. In his backhanded pick, Mikael Wood lamented that the opening band, the Kings of Leon, would “probably be booed by douche-bag U2 fans fond of the word ‘fag.’ ” For a band that has sung about relationships and God for the majority of its career, to characterize its fans as dim-witted homophobes is appalling. The next time Mr. Wood attempts to display his laughable lack of journalistic integrity, he should focus on crap like Limp Bizkit.

—John Hardin
Los Angeles

A Lack of Director

Regarding Alan Rich’s review of UCLA’s production of the opera Lorca [A Little Night Music, March 25–31]: Rich has pointed out that UCLA has done some very fine opera productions in past years. The one factor that is missing in the current production of Lorca is William Vendice, who until recently was music director and the driving force behind Opera UCLA. His leadership, the absence of which Mr. Rich should have pointed out, would most likely have lifted a decidedly mediocre piece to at least an enjoyable and interesting level.

—Chris L. Christensen
Los Angeles

Rich replies: Twenty Toscaninis couldn’t have lifted that piece.


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