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All Finked Up

A few thoughts on Nikki Finke’s article on industry excesses [“Really
Big Packages
,” April 22–28]. I’m managing director of a small Scottish production
company currently going into pre-production on a remake of the 1949 Ealing comedy
classic called Whisky Galore (in the U.S. it was called Tight
Little Island). Our budget will be similar to Sideways,
using some of the best U.K. talent both in front of and behind the camera.
For anywhere outside the L.A. studio system, ours is quite a high budget. I
suppose it’s the way of the world, but the extravagances that you’ve highlighted
in your article drive me up the wall. We could probably have made our film from
the expenses of the CEOs you’ve mentioned.

We enjoy your articles; they’re really well-written and informative, and we
look forward to reading them each week. It must make the human subject matter
uncomfortable reading them (if they’ve got any room for a conscience left in
their egos!). Please keep up the good work; we don’t have a magazine like yours
in the U.K.

—Ed Crozier
Glasgow

I have been a faithful and admiring reader of the L.A. Weekly for
a long time. Accordingly, it is with dismay that I say that I have never seen
an article so unworthy of the paper as Nikki Finke’s attack in the May
13–19 issue on Arianna Huffington
and numerous others of the presumed rich
and famous. The jealous hostility and animus leap off the page in a blinding
flash of green and bile.

But perhaps Finke’s article itself is just some “sick hoax,” contrived by Ms.
Huffington to gain sympathy; or was conceived as an educational parody on trash
journalism at its worst.

—Robert H. Powsner
Point Reyes Station

My God, what is Nikki Finke’s intention . . . to be the Ann Coulter of media
commentary?

She is the most shrill, defensive, nasty, mean-spirited, tactless, generally
unpleasant columnist I have ever read.

Good luck keeping her on a leash. She is so deeply self-serving she comes across
as someone who would have no problem putting out your eye if it served her purpose.

—Jhone Daniels
Encino

The Not in Our Name Crap?

Marc Cooper [“Back
to Iraq
,” May 20–26] understands that the Bush administration “has plunged
us and the Iraqi people into a well of blood a half-trillion dollars deep” and
“bears heavy moral responsibilities for unleashing this whirlwind of death and
destruction.” Cooper ultimately throws up his hands and concludes that he can
offer no workable alternative. Along the way, he stresses that “the Not in Our
Name crap won’t cut it either . . . we don’t atone for the sins of the Bush
administration by abandoning the Iraqi people and pretending that the ‘resistance’
that would come to power is anything but fascist.”

Those of us who are active with the Los Angeles Chapter of the Not In Our Name
project are very curious about what “crap” Mr. Cooper has in mind. Perhaps this
is an acronym for a new rallying cry such as “Conscientious Resistance to Armed
Provocation.” Or maybe he just assumes that our views are senseless or shallow.
We wonder if he has actually read our Statement of Conscience or Pledge of Resistance,
which are posted at www.notinourname.net.

As the crisis in Iraq steadily deepens, some people hold out hope for a “cure”
in which all parties can be left in a position that will be no worse than where
they were at the beginning of 2003. No one wishes that 1,600 American lives,
tens of thousands of Iraqi lives and $500 billion or so of American taxpayers’
money have all been wasted — or, worse yet, applied to yield disastrous consequences.
Geez, would America look bad! Such fervent wishes, however, hardly provide the
basis to continue policies that are demonstrable failures. Have we learned nothing
from Vietnam?

The American people do have a moral obligation to the Iraqi people (and the
rest of the world) to atone for the damage that has been a direct consequence
of the Bush administration’s unprovoked and unilateral actions in Iraq (especially
since we apparently re-elected the man). It should be perfectly obvious that
the first steps must be clearly to renounce (indeed, to punish) the Bush administration
and to discontinue the most blatant and abrasive part of that policy — the U.S.
military occupation of the sovereign nation of Iraq. Though not undoing the
wrong, that would at least stop throwing fuel on the fire.

Beyond atoning for our nation’s policy of military and clandestine terrorism,
the American people should also atone for our individual and collective apathy
and greed. We are a very wealthy nation. A decent level of carefully considered
generosity toward our poorer brothers and sisters around the world (and not
merely the Iraqis, whose economic infrastructure we have destroyed) would not
only produce substantial “peace dividends” but also re-assert our own national
morality as an end in itself.

An expedited withdrawal of U.S. occupation forces from Iraq will not magically
eliminate the instability and violence our policies have unleashed. Regardless
of what the U.S. does, things may get a lot worse in Iraq and in the Middle
East in general (and I would not “pretend” otherwise). But, as the situation
in Iraq continues to deteriorate under U.S. military occupation, it is not enough
to simply decry the lack of a happy alternative, as Cooper has done. Each day
that America waits to bring all of its troops home only deepens the ultimate
tragedy. Americans must clearly renounce the Bush policies of pre-emptive war
and occupation. That display of conscience is, I guess, the “Not in Our Name
crap.”

[

—John Strain
for Not in Our Name Los Angeles

Disney’s Defenders

The “Disneyland
Memorial Orgy
” illustration in Paul Krassner’s column [May 13–18] is well-drawn,
and even a little arousing. But you know what? I’m not having it. Disneyland
back in the day was BRILLIANT: twinkly lights, fireworks, mermaids in the submarine
lagoon, and the Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Buddy Rich big bands on the
same night, all for the $1.50 admission price. It was so much happier and more
wholesome than Southern California’s new E-ticket thrill ride: the Freeway-Chase-Which-Ends-in-a-Shooting.
I appreciate irreverence, but Snow White and Mickey can’t be faded!

—Matt Reid Cohn
Long Beach

My daughter picked up your magazine, which I do not subscribe to, and opened
it up to the Paul Krassner cartoon of Disney characters. She handed me the paper,
crying. You should be ashamed of yourself for publishing this in a giveaway
magazine. I wonder if Disneyland has seen your cartoon yet and what their view
will be?

—Pauline Rios
Los Angeles

It’s a No-Go

What the hell’s happened to the L.A. Weekly?

Overnight, it seems, you’ve changed. Something drastic has happened. Perhaps
someone (or something) has taken you over. And just like when the pod people
took over in Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
no one says anything — or pretends not to notice.

The great writing’s still there, thank God, but your new format — in a word
— sucks!

There’s an old expression you might have heard (or maybe not). It goes something
like this: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

So why did you “fix” the L.A. Weekly? Was the old one broke?

Why the small type? Why the new font? Why the cluttered layout? Why the superimposed
“Z-Channel” logo on top of the Neighborhood Movie Guide?

But most of all, why, oh why, have you taken to ordering people to go to certain
plays, movies and concerts? Has an alternative publication suddenly decided
to become an Orwellian voice of authority? Are you single-handedly trying to
usher in the age of Big Brother? Or have you simply decided that mere recommendations,
mere Picks of the Week, are not enough anymore? Now, in this wonderful new century
of ours, the morons and simpletons of this city need more than gentle urging
or suggesting to see a particular event — they need to be TOLD what to do! They
need to be told to GO!

“GO,” you have plastered all over your publication. “GO!” And this monosyllabic
command to us mindless peons is so vital and necessary, apparently, that it
precedes the title of the film or play, creating such interesting new hybrid
titles as “GO UGLY” and “GO CRASH.” And, I suppose, if you recommended the Go-Go’s,
“GO GO-GO’s.”

Well, here’s an order for the L.A. Weekly. Ready?

“GO FUCK YOURSELVES!”

—John Travers
Los Angeles

Despite your recent “Theater
in Exile
” cover and your awards for outstanding achievements on the stage,
the recently diminished space devoted to capsule theater reviews comes across
as a hypocritical move, amounting to an abdication of your responsibility to
adequately assess the quality of local productions. Now, one is hard-pressed
to know if the single-sentence summary is the telegram version of a critic’s
opinion or a line lifted from a press release.

Reverse course, please.

[


—Aram Kouyoumdjian
Los Angeles

Corrections

In a review of The Threepenny Opera [“The
Scum Also Rises
,” May 19–25], the wrong character was credited with singing
“The Jealousy Duet.” The performer was Rebecca Metz, as the character Lucy.
Also in the issue, an item in the Politics listings stated that Bob Avakian
would attend a reception at the Central Library on May 23. In fact, the author
was not present at this celebration of his memoir, From Ike to
Mao and Beyond: My Journey From Mainstream
America to Revolutionary Communist.

We’re Honored

The Los Angeles Press Club released more nominations in its Southern California
Journalism Awards contest, and two L.A. Weekly entries were on
the list. Joe Donnelly is in the running for Best Sports Feature, and Howard
Blume was nominated for Best Signed Commentary.

Other news: the post-election cover depicting George W. Bush in satanic garb,
designed by Shelley Leopold and illustrated by Shepard Fairey, was included
in the Design and Art Direction annual as “a historical record of great creativity.”

LA Weekly