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So What if He Hollers? Readers Respond

So What If He Hollers?

Our tournament naming If He Hollers Let Him Go the best L.A. novel ever generated pleas for books that didn't make the cut — and debate about how Hollywood abuses writers ("And the Best L.A. Novel Ever Is ..." by Sarah Fenske and "Why Has the Greatest Hollywood Novel Never Been Made Into a Hollywood Movie?" by Paul Teetor).

Nick Beck, author of Budd Schulberg: A Bio-Bibliography, writes, "Paul Teetor's piece on What Makes Sammy Run is nicely written but only partly on target. Louis B. Mayer — as much as he disliked Budd Schulberg — actually asked Schulberg in 1950 to adapt his novel for MGM. Budd turned down the deal because he couldn't believe the studio would be true to the story. In apparent retaliation, Mayer instead made The Bad and the Beautiful, which Schulberg conceded was 'an effective film' but 'a ripoff of Sammy.' The Kirk Douglas character in B&B (Jonathan Shields) is every bit as ruthless as Sammy Glick.

"It's all too easy to say that Hollywood loathes and detests self-criticism, or that What Makes Sammy Run? is anti-Semitic, or to assume that Budd Schulberg and Elia Kazan made On the Waterfront to justify their testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. It's easy. But it's not true."

Other readers were baffled by our — apparently — egregious rankings. Jon Krampner writes, "Having never read If He Hollers ..., I can't speak to its merits or demerits, but any individual or group of individuals who think Less Than Zero is better than Ask the Dust should not be trusted within a freeway mile of a printing press."

Sherrill Johnson says of her favorite L.A. novel, They Thirst by Robert McCammon: "What could be better than vampires in Los Angeles????" And m.garabedian plaintively queries: "No Parable of the Sower (1998) by Octavia Butler? People of Paper (2005) by Salvador Plascencia?"

Ballona Brouhaha

Readers continued to war over the fate of the Ballona Wetlands, a rare surviving marsh and uplands where heiress Wallis Annenberg envisions a 46,000-square-foot visitor center ("Wallis Annenberg's Development at Ballona Wetlands: Edison Boss Attacks 'Eco-Jihadists' ").

Ruth Lansford, of Friends of Ballona Wetlands, writes: "In the grand tradition of Rupert Murdoch and Fox News, the Weekly believes that the big lie, if repeated often enough, becomes the truth. Your claim that, in our settlement agreement, the Friends were prohibited from criticizing the Playa Vista development is simply untrue. As our attorney pointed out when you first made that false statement back in the '90s, our settlement agreement conceded to the Friends the right to comment before any public forum and we were not obligated to support the development."

On the other side, Susan writes that Ballona "is a place filled with incredible birds and wonderful wildlife. The rest should be saved from having a dog and cat shelter on this great open space."

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