Standing Up for the Ladies
L.A. Weekly has sunk to new lows with its dubious cover story about the Vicious Ladies party crew [“Flying High With the Vicious Ladies, Jan. 19–25]. This non-story is the equivalent of those “shocking” exposés that air on sleazy Channel 9 newscasts during sweeps week. Teens like to party! Some of them smoke pot and drink . . . even do nitrous!
Apparently, because these kids happen to live in poor neighborhoods, readers are supposed to be appalled. I’d bet that there’s not a single Weekly staffer who didn’t attend similar functions when they went to high school. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that it’s a fantastic idea for kids to get wasted — but teens partying is simply not a news story.
The lurid cover graphics and leering story try to establish some connection between the tragic death of 14-year-old Emmery Munoz and her membership in the crew. The girl was a member of the crew and she was killed, but these facts do not establish any sort of cause-and-effect relationship. Nor does quoting police as they try to vilify these kids serve to prove anything. Do these police “fret” so much about the teen parties going on in Malibu or Beverly Hills? I wonder.
This non-story does a disservice to the kids it smears as well as your paper. For the most part, the kids sound like fairly responsible young people who are trying their best to steer clear of the truly bad elements that surround them.
Means to an Electoral End
I wanted to commend Ms. Diana Ljungaeus on the excellently sourced article regarding my native country of Equatorial Guinea [“Malibu Bad Neighbor,” Jan. 19–25]. I am sure you will receive some negative feedback, probably from those with a pecuniary interest of some sort. She obviously has done her job exceedingly well, exposing the truth and allowing the facts, not emotion, to state the case.
I am firmly committed to unseating Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, through legal, diplomatic and/or other means. He knows it, his corrupt family and government know it, and those with vested interests in the country as well as the region know it — intimately. (John Albert did a Weekly piece on me back in December 2002 titled “The Man Who Would Be King.”)
In time, we shall see who has the last Cheshire cat grin.
Presidential candidate, Equatorial Guinea
The Industry’s Standards
I was impressed by the article “All I Want for Christmas Is a New Music Industry” [Dec. 29–Jan. 4] by Kate Sullivan. It’s a pleasant surprise to see that not all media are on the side of the radio stations, and that some realize the critical need we have for new and inventive music.
I hereby nominate Kate Sullivan for Empress of the World.
Ministry of Silly Sitcoms
Pardon my belated response to the wee bit written by one Robert Abele in the Dec. 29, 2006, edition [Surf Report, “Fawlty Programming”], but John Cleese (much as I appreciate most of what he has done, even if those short films in the early 1970s did suck) was not responsible for the “finest situation comedy.” That the “English aren’t above running a classic into the ground” is not grounds for Cleese to hold bragging rights, nor even to claim that a particular sitcom is the best ever produced. (After all, when was I Love Lucynot shown in the United States? And can it be said to be the funniest program ever?) No, as much as I have long loved Fawlty Towers and Cleese’s philological slapstick, the “finest situation comedy [the U.K.] has ever produced” is none other than Yes, Minister. Were folk in the U.S. familiar with the show, as well as its serial sequel, Yes, Prime Minister, perhaps a different president would be seated today. Then again, The Prince remains unread by the vast population despite the book’s age being 500 years.
Los Angeles/New York City
Orly Olivier received an honorable mention in the Feature Story category of the Pilsner Urquell International Photography Awards for her images of children living on Skid Row. Her work ran March 8, 2006, accompanying a story by Sam Slovick, “Coming of Age in the Mouth of Madness.”
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Gone, Never Forgotten
Jonny Whiteside’s “The King Is Dead. Long Live the King!” [Jan. 5–11] is about as good as it gets concerning the late, great James Brown. Of all the many tributes I have had the privilege to read, Whiteside hits it with the appreciation and respect Soul Brother No. 1 deserves. Say it loud . . .