Don’t Look Down

The article by Daniel Hernandez about Barack Obama’s recent rally in Los Angeles [“The Audacity,” Feb. 23–March 1] is nothing more than Hernandez’s slanted perception of the event. I don’t believe that the majority of the people in attendance, myself included, agree with his assessment of the afternoon. We didn’t wait for “hours”; we waited an hour and 15 minutes past the time the barackobama.com Web site announced that the gates would open. I came to get a better understanding of who Mr. Obama was. I didn’t come just to hear a formulated speech. Barack Obama talked with the crowd, not just to it. Frankly, I found it refreshing. I think Hernandez, from his elevated press platform behind the crowd, cannot accurately report from that vantage point.

Julia SherburneSanta MonicaThe Opinions of Others

Regarding the review of The Lives of Others [“The Stasi Who Came in From the Cold,” Nov. 24–30, 2006]: Scott Foundas seems to miss the point that precisely because so many East Germans were spying on each other, the whole Stasi regimen/regime became not, as in the Soviet Union, a mainly state-sponsored invasion of civil liberties, but rather a family affair of immense, intrusive, conflicted duties and betrayals (sometimes even comical and poignant amid tragedy). The Lives of Others shows how tragic and farcical, with tragedy winning, this common bet from two sides of the socialist coin turned out to be, with suicide a not-uncommon “choice” of those socialists who felt and were in fact betrayed by ideologues, power mongers and sycophants. The film makes its point with no nostalgia for the old East and with no apologies for telling the truth about the banality of evil.Ty GeltmakerLos Angeles

In Scott Foundas’ review of The Lives of Others, it appears he can’t make basic sense out of a tremendously good film. It’s not that I disagree with his aesthetic critique, it’s that he totally misunderstood the film as an apology for the East German secret police, when it’s just the opposite. What is this guy doing reviewing films?

Dan CisekWashington, D.C.

Teaching the Dream

Regarding Seven McDonald’s 24 Seven column [“Meet Me At…,” Feb. 2–8], I was appalled to read the quote from my colleague Matthew Kogan. When McDonald said she had not heard of Evans Community Adult School, Kogan replied, “That’s because you aren’t from El Salvador.” Evans, where I have taught English to adult immigrants for the past 34 years, is the largest public school teaching foreign adults in the U.S., with more than 7,000 ESL students from 96 different countries. We also have computer classes and academic classes granting high school diplomas. I just had to clear up the record regarding this most remarkable place with the most incredible students trying to learn English to partake of the American Dream.

Planaria PriceLos AngelesCut Remarks

Regarding Steven Leigh Morris’ interview with Edward Albee [“Who’s Afraid of Edward Albee?,” Feb. 23–March 1] about Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in which Albee says, “Nobody will notice the cuts I’ve made,” I beg to differ. There is an extremely powerful scene at the end of Act 2 in which George elicits from Honey that she did not have an hysterical pregnancy but, in fact, purposely ended her pregnancy. It’s a stunning revelation that also gives George the idea to “kill off” his and Martha’s son. And it makes Honey’s later cry of “I want a baby!” all the more poignant. This scene was cut. Since V.W. is one of my favorite plays of all time, I not only noticed the cut, but missed it terribly.

Richard CampStudio CityPeace in Our Town

I worked on the staff of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from 1965 to ’68, and thought the film Rwanda Rising by my friend Andrew Young was an excellent opening to a really great Pan African Film Festival. While I appreciated the stylistic writing of Ernest Hardy’s negative comments on the film, I think he missed the point [“Never Forget,” Feb. 9–15]. I also took interest in Mr. Hardy’s much more in-depth review of the HBO film on the tragic Crips vs. Bloods “war.” It seems that the media give far more time and coverage to the negative, violent aspects of the African-American community than to providing a positive, hopeful story. While Mr. Hardy makes light of the peaceful progress in Rwanda as documented in Rwanda Rising, he misses the message: that the families and friends of those murdered in the genocide of the ’90s have found a way to make peace with the killers — which might even jolt gangbangers in L.A. to a recognition that ending their conflict is a real possibility. Instead, he gives a good deal more space to the substance of various conspiracy theories put forth and other well-intentioned aspects of the HBO film. If the Weekly and other media were not so quick to put down the work and words of a great man like Andrew Young, generations on the way up might be encouraged to take the advice of the O.G.s who tell them to stay in school and stay out of trouble. Substan­tive reporting about effective programs that produce results for inner-city kids might be a catalyst for peace.

Willy LeventhalMontgomery, Alabama

Shut Up About Singing

Regarding Linda Immediato’s commentary on the Grammys: You think Carrie Underwood sings better than Henley and after 34 years you finally understand “Desperado” because she sang it. How does one respond to stuff like that? How does a weekly like yours allow a reviewer to say such ridiculous things? As Al Pacino said in And Justice for All: “Don’tcha care? Don’tcha even care?”

Vince BrooksWilliamsburg, Virginia

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