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LENO, RONA ET AL.

I’m writing in reference to Nikki Finke’s fine
article about Jay Leno’s conversion to the Rupert Murdoch view of reality [“The
Right Comic,” October 10–16]
. It’s about time people woke up and smelled
the propaganda. What I don’t understand is why Hollywood — ostensibly a liberal
community — continues to support Leno. His job depends on the very people whose
values he insults each and every night.

Take, for example, Kevin Smith. He did a regular gig on Leno. Smith probably
would think twice before taking any action that would aid Ann Coulter or Sun
Myung Moon’s Washington Times. Why does he place Jay Leno in a different
category? Why on earth does Hollywood continue to pander to this Rush-like smear-master?
He needs the good will of the entertainment industry a hell of a lot more than
the industry needs him. Boycott Leno!

—Joseph Cannon
Agoura Hills

 

Please tell me that Nikki Finke’s column about Jay Leno was satirically written
so I can laugh properly. Can she seriously state that Jay Leno has no right
to support Arnold Schwarzenegger? What I cannot grasp is the notion that Leno
should not show favor to a political figure because we invite him into our homes
via his program. What about prime-time player Martin Sheen, who has made it
his personal mission to deride President Bush, or sitcom stars Ted Danson and
Whoopi Goldberg? Are they not equally required to back off of their views?

Ms. Finke undermines her own point when she advises Leno to return to an evenhanded
position by savaging the president on a nightly basis. I take this to mean that
Nikki views an individual as being fair and nonpartisan only when he agrees
with her.

—Brad Slager

Fort Lauderdale

 

Nikki Finke sounds outraged that somebody in Hollywood may be tilting
right. Leno is, like a majority of average Americans, perhaps waking up to the
ruse and joke that is liberal public policy.

—Ned Williams

Nashville

 

Nikki Finke’s passing slap at Rona Barrett in the context of the David Begelman
affair was beneath her. I am an Emmy Award–winning television producer and writer,
and I had the privilege of working for Ms. Barrett in the ’70s and ’80s, not
only at Good Morning America, but the Today Show, Tomorrow
Coast to Coast
and Entertainment Tonight. Since that time, I’ve also
had the pleasure of working with Quincy Jones, Dick Clark and Jay Leno, among
many others. From my experience, Rona is easily their equal as far as integrity
and hard work go.

Ms. Finke mentions David McClintick’s 1982 book Indecent Exposure,
about the Begelman scandal. Even the most casual look at that book will see
McClintick not only quotes liberally from Ms. Barrett’s daily reports on Good
Morning America
, but also credits her for pointing out the true extent of
the damage Mr. Begelman’s behavior wrought in the entertainment industry of
the ’70s.

—Bill Royce
Beverly Hills

DEVASTATED BUT NOT TERMINATED

Re: “Jonestown for Democrats”
[Dissonance, October 10–16]
. Marc Cooper calls Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory
“direct democracy.” No, Marc, when people go to the polls fed up and powerless
with the current administration and misled by the mainstream media into voting
for a candidate who ran with no real platform save his image, that’s called
a farce. Those of us who actually work for peace and social justice in this
country were devastated on Tuesday. You were busy writing another smug, liberal-bashing
column.

—Shannon Paaske
Long Beach

 

Marc Cooper is disingenuous when he writes “MoveOn[.org],
showing its true partisan colors, is distributing posters that read — can you
believe it? — ‘I love Gray Davis.’” The posters actually read, “Suddenly, I
love Gray Davis. Vote NO Recall Oct. 7,” a very different message. Perhaps Marc
didn’t get the sarcasm. The lesser of two evils is often the evil of two lessers.
We have only to look to the 2000 presidential selection to see that.

—Leslie Strunk
Burbank

 

Marc Cooper’s articles on Gray Davis and the recall have been simply excellent.
As good as it gets as far as I’m concerned.

—Bob Mullally
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

 

I was astonished to see a left-leaning columnist actually refer to Juanita
Broderick in print with the respect and assumption of credibility her story
deserves. I will add laweekly.com to my bookmarks.

—Kenneth Watson
Atlanta, Georgia

NOT SUCH A LONG WAY, BABY

Re: Judith Lewis’ “The
Face in the Toilet Bowl” [October 10–16]
. As an early committed member of
the second wave of feminism — in New York City, in the late ’60s — I am constantly
scrutinizing the backlash of many of the ideas and battles we fought so hard
to set in motion. The ’90s weren’t good, but the 2000s seem to be getting worse
and worse. Your insights into people’s identification with bullies and humiliators
were, sadly, exactly right. I haven’t seen any other cultural analyses of The
Bully and his followers as insightful as yours. Thanks from an old-time feminist,
author and educator.

—Lila Karp
Santa Monica

UNSIGNED, UNLABELED

In her article of the week of October 3–9 [Cakewalk,
“Black Like I Thought I Was”]
, Erin Aubry Kaplan admirably ‰ reports on
the absence of any “black” genetic signature in the biological profile of a
person who has always recognized himself, and has always been recognized by
others, as black. For those of us who think, like Ashley Montagu, that race
is among Western culture’s most dangerous myths, the absence of any such genetic
signature is as “surprising” as that 1 equals 1. Americans still don’t get it!
Like the concepts of witch, phlogiston, the ether and even bivalent sexuality,
race is a biologically empty folk concept concocted for culture and population
control.

—James M. Drayton
Kyoto, Japan

KILL BILL? WHATEVER. JUST TRY NOT TO MISQUOTE
HIM

Re: “Once Upon a Time
in the East” [October 10–16]
. John Powers misses the point of Tarantino’s
opening frame in Kill Bill. The purpose of the quote is not to give the
film, as Powers says, “a tacky, freewheeling air.” The quote (“Revenge is a
dish best served cold”) is a subtle joke. Tarantino attributes it to the Klingons.
But, of course, it is lifted from Shakespeare. That the creators of Star
Trek
lifted it — at all — is Tarantino’s point.

By attributing the quote to the Klingons, rather than to Shakespeare, Tarantino
is, in essence, saying: “I have brazenly stolen to make this film. And I don’t
care. And neither do you.” But, like Gene Roddenberry, he has stolen not to
co-opt but to (hopefully) enrich his original vision.

—John Erdos
Sherman Oaks

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, there is no such quote in Shakespeare. You’re doubtless
thinking of Pierre Ambroise François Choderios de LaClos’ “La vengeance est
un plat qui se mange froid
” (Les Liaisons Dangereuses, 1782).


BEST CORRECTIONS

I am writing with regard to your recent “Best
of L.A. 2003” issue [October 17–23]
, in particular to the item posted by
David L. Ulin and titled “Best Literary Startup: First Cut Books.” I just wanted
to point out that he made reference to this company’s Web site and it was incorrect.
The correct site is: www.firstcutbooks.com.
Can you please run a clarification, as this does a disservice to my niece, Lucia
Silva, who has worked so diligently to get her online store running. As a small
independent, it is essential that others know about her. We appreciate your
including her business as one of the best — we concur! Thank you so much.

—Elizabeth Gallegos
Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Thanks for Luis Reyes’ Best Midnight Movies pick, but I’d like to mention
that our screen is no longer “seasoned.” We replaced our much-worn screen in
the summer of 2002, and now we’ve got a beauty, clean and pristine.

—Jim Nicola, manager
Nuart Theater, Los Angeles

 

Re: Best Round Building, thank you for noting the Cinerama Dome, built by
Welton Becket — whose name, please note, is spelled with just one T.

—Alisa Becket
Los Angeles