GUDE ON BRENDAN
War” [Box Populi, April 4–10] contains some of the best and most evenhanded
descriptions of media distortion that this old media-studies professor has seen.
Although he only mentions “moral relativism” in passing, I sense a kindred spirit
who is trying to navigate between the fundamentalists on the one hand and the
moral relativists on the other. Too many people only use media to confirm their
prejudices and are only vaguely aware that they are being manipulated. It is
refreshing to see Bernhard cutting his way out of the ideological haze generated
by a postmodern media concerned only with pushing their own dumbed-down version
of events. As we say in Australia, “Good on ya, mate.”
Re: Steven Mikulan’s
“No Politics, Please, We’re American” [Open City, April 11–17]. I’m glad
someone finally portrayed the incomparable Janeane Garofalo so positively.
The press, both conservative and liberal, have taken their turns bashing the
fearless actress since she went out on the talk-show circuit. The mainstream
media and Congress look the other way while Bush attacks Iraq and our civil
liberties, but she’s in there fighting and providing a voice for myself and
millions of others against the war. And because of her “unpopular” opinions
and unpaid efforts, her upcoming sitcom for ABC may be shelved. This debunks
the theory that everyone in show biz is speaking out to further his or her career,
Ms. Garofalo and the Dixie Chicks have found out the awful truth: When you
sell your art, you become a merchant. And just like any other merchant,
you are entitled to the right to free speech as long as you don’t mind people
exercising their right to not buy what you are selling — for whatever reason
they choose to exercise that right, including what just came out of your big
mouth. Up with free speech, down with whining!
Re: “What’s Gone
Wrong in Iraq?” [April 4–10]. Well, at least Doug Ireland makes a consistent
point: America is to blame for everything. We put Saddam into power (a historical
half-truth at best). We put the sanctions in place. (Well, no. Bush wanted to
take Baghdad at the time, but to quell fears of instability in the Middle East,
the U.N. convinced the American regime to join them in pushing for sanctions.)
Plus, of course, only we kill civilians. Doug is so oblivious to his own bias
that he doesn’t appear to recognize that, even by his own report, Saddam and
the Ba’ath Party killed 350,000 Iraqi civilians to quell one (of many) uprisings
against his vicious regime. We may have encouraged the uprising, but Saddam
was a cruel dictator, head of a power base that reigned by fear tactics, including
threats to execute the families of people who didn’t fall in line with party-leadership
decisions, and regular, ruthless assassinations of political opponents.
If America were ruled the way Iraq was under Saddam, Ireland himself would
unquestionably have been targeted by the feds for speaking out so harshly against
the government. I’m glad to live in a country where Ireland can express such
blind prejudice against his own country and feel safe doing so.
BEYOND MONSTER-TRUCK BLOWOUTS
Kudos to the L.A. Weekly and Howard Blume for
the story on the rebirth of the much-missed Cleveland Free Times [“Start
the Presses,” April 4–10]. The collapse of the Free Times was a devastating
blow to the Cleveland art and music scene. Although Scene magazine is
still in circulation, it offers little more than a yearly restaurant guide,
sex ads and the most recent updates to future monster-truck blowouts. I wish
Matt Fabyan the best of luck, and welcome the Free Times back into our
lives. C-town may once again receive a weekly alt-magazine with a bit of journalistic
MR. NICE GUY
Harold Meyerson’s column on Richie Perle [“Perle
the Impervious,” Powerlines, April 11–17] is terrific, and terrifically
well-written. My wife went to Hollywood High with the guy, says he was nice.
Where did it all go wrong?
I am writing to correct an error in Harold Meyerson’s
Neocons’ War” [Powerlines, March 28–April 3]. He writes, “It was a lovely
scenario, but to believe it, the neos had to willfully forget countless lessons
of history, and at least one law of thermodynamics: that for every action, there
is an equal but opposite reaction.” The law to which Meyerson refers is not
a law of thermodynamics, but is Newton’s third law of motion.
—Sharad J. Shanbhag
Re: Deborah Vankin’s “Curb
Your SUV” [March 28–April 3]. This article should have been titled “How
To Marry a Millionaire and Drive a Hybrid Car, Too!” I wonder what kind of car
Laurie David or Elizabeth Wiatt’s housekeeper, nanny, gardener, cook, accountant,
personal assistant and manicurist drive. Listen, I have no problem with their
desire to save the Earth, but do they have any idea or understanding of who
they are saving it for? As a result of their husbands’ success, these are some
of the wealthiest, most privileged women in the world — and the most out of
touch. I found the tone of their activism to be very well-intentioned, and very
elitist. Instead of “Let them eat cake,” it’s “Let them drive a Prius.”
I blame celebrities (Arnold, rap musicians, etc.) for foisting the SUV trend
on us in the first place, so kudos to Laurie David for trying to reel in the
Hollywood crowd. I fail to see why all the actresses I see in Studio City need
a 3-ton truck to carry a lipstick case and a script. Also, I can’t see why anyone
would drive a gas-guzzling tank with questionable safety ratings aside from
its being trendy. Hybrids rule!
IN THE NOW
Here I am, an L.A. expat living in Byron Bay, the alternative
heart of the antipodes. Seven whole years in self-imposed exile — until now.
I have discovered the L.A. Weekly online! Yes, we have less pollution,
less population, but we lack your endless distractions and attractions. My Aussie
boyfriends’ exasperation: “You’re living in the past!” How can I ever explain
that your publication makes me feel like I’m in the now. I miss L.A. still,
though I nearly didn’t survive living there.
Byron Bay, Australia