Our interview with David Lynch drew abundant praise from his fans last week. But that response paled in comparison to the cascade of comments on a blog post about British chef Jamie Oliver's attempt to publicize the quality of food served in L.A. schools.
Readers turned our Squid Ink food blog comments section into a fascinating debate about school food, the responsibility of parents in feeding their children, and the role Oliver should or should not play in trying to upgrade LAUSD menus while he is here shooting his ABC reality show, Food Revolution.
First, Music Editor Gustavo Turner's in-depth talk with Lynch ("The L.A. Weekly Interview: David Lynch, (Non-)Musician," Jan. 14).
From reader MuzakMan: "A wonderful musical journey through the mind of a kind and creative man."
WonderWoman writes: "I always loved David Lynch — now I just adore him — so interesting, smart, passionate, lively, witty, humble, I could go on and on.
"A big thank you, Gustavo, for just asking (good) questions, letting the man talk, and not getting in the way like so many journalists do when doing interviews. And you are one lucky bastard to get to sit down with Lynch at his pad in the Hills and talk film, music, painting, life and more.
"Lynch, with his talent and fame, could easily choose to be the biggest prick in the world — instead he is one of the coolest dudes around.
"I never tire of The Elephant Man and Mulholland Dr., my two fave Lynch films; he is the finest American filmmaker, hands down."
IS JAMIE OLIVER GOOD FOR SCHOOLKIDS?
Food writer Amy Scattergood touched off a robust discussion by covering a publicity stunt staged by Oliver. The healthy-food guru poured 57 tons of sand into a school bus, saying it represents the amount of sugar Los Angeles schools' students ingest every week from flavored milk alone.
Oliver is frustrated that L.A. Unified will not allow him to film inside its cafeterias, and frustrated that his sugar stunt drew coverage from exactly one newspaper — the Weekly.
Reader Leo Soderman writes: "Take a look at what is offered in the school lunches. I did, and my daughter is allowed to have lunch at school no more than once a week, usually when they have a favorite of hers. The food selections are awful. I'm a single dad and I can produce far healthier lunches quickly — and ones that she'll eat.
"You can try to denigrate Oliver for his 'stunt,' or you can realize that there is a huge problem with childhood obesity that Americans seem unwilling to face. The stunt was designed to show — in a graphic manner — the amount of sugar that kids are consuming just in their milk. This doesn't count anything else.
"Is there a requirement to put flavored milk on the menu? No. The only requirement for it is the contracts for food service. And that is exactly what Oliver has railed against.
"His concern is for the health of the kids. If he was looking just for publicity, there are far easier ways for him to do it."
Reader Brett is skeptical: "Oliver oversimplifies the problem by leaving out such details as how disruptive his cameras will be to the operation of schools, liability issues, privacy issues for the children, and so on. He doesn't want to fix the feeding of LAUSD students; he wants to be SEEN fixing the feeding of LAUSD students."
Reader Dach replies: "Don't be stupid. Let's snap our fingers and let Jamie Oliver be the knight and have him 'fix' the problem without publicity?
"The ignorance is the first step of the problem. The publicity is what will drive the people to know there is a problem, and hopefully lead to a fix."
English Rose sends in this comment from far, far away: "Jamie did something similar here in England, his home country. We get similar comments here — people who care about the health of children are right behind him, encouraging him, helping him, thanking him. Those who don't care about their children's health just accuse him of doing it for the fame.
"School dinners here have been transformed thanks to this guy. They're still not perfect by any means, but at least the companies who win the contracts for school dinners now have to prove they are providing (relatively) healthy food."
The last word comes from Bobby1: "Aside from denial and ignorance being cornerstones of American culture, just follow the money to determine who doesn't want Jamie in L.A. schools. Discover who feels threatened by the truth and you will have your answer."
PARKING AND THE COWBOY
We hereby correct two errors from recent issues.
In a story in the Jan. 14 issue about the proposal to sell city parking garages ("City Council Fears Driver Backlash," by Gene Maddaus), the Weekly incorrectly reported that city financial advisers will not be paid if the city's parking garage concession brings in less than $200 million. The story should have said that provision applies only if the advisers' contract is terminated before a deal is completed.
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Also, last week's interview with David Lynch stated that the character Cowboy appears in Lynch's film Lost Highway. Stupid. The character is in Mulholland Dr. (or, as it was known in some countries, Mulholland Drive).
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