ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, EXPATRIATE
How utterly offensive and ridiculous it is for Marc Cooper to suggest that
the wall separating a small portion of Mexico from the United States is a greater
evil than the Berlin Wall [“On
the Border of Hypocrisy,” December 5–11]. The Berlin Wall was constructed
by a totalitarian government intent on maintaining power by terrorizing its
own populace and preventing anyone from fleeing. People attempting to cross
over it were deliberately murdered on the spot.
The wall on our own border, on the other hand, was constructed in an (obviously feeble) attempt to regain some semblance of control over a region straining under the influx of countless illegal aliens (and yes, the proper term is “illegal aliens”). I agree that hypocrisy exists in the reluctance of the government to crack down on business exploitation of cheap illegal labor, but I would prefer that we correct that half of the hypocrisy rather than give up and open the border to all comers. I would gladly pay a little more for my produce than feel left out in the land of my birth because I don’t speak the language.
I recently returned from a multiday camping and hiking trip in the Buenos Aires Wildlife Refuge, which occupies a huge stretch of upper Sonoran desert, grasslands and mountains along the Arizona side of the U.S.-Mexico border — the heart of the illegal-immigrant “funnel.” I witnessed first-hand the incredible damage the immigrant influx is having on the local environment. Foot trails criss-crossed the desert foothills. With almost unimaginable frequency we encountered makeshift campsites littered with discarded clothing (too often children’s), empty water bottles and other abandoned items.
While the human toll is paramount, one mustn’t ignore the impact our immigration policy is having on the incredibly rich and fragile border environments. One must also sympathize with the long-established and widely scattered ranchers and Native American communities whose homes and land are repeatedly trampled and invaded.
There’s a simple way to stop the deaths of Mexicans trying to cross our U.S. border: They should just stay home.
FREE TOMMY BONG
Looks like the U.S. Judicial Machine is gearing up for future busts by the Thought Police. (Oh, man . . . I was only thinking about having a toke . . . doh!) But hey! They’ve gotta keep that privatized prison business going, don’t they? Pack in more and more prisoners, who will work away for two bucks an hour on manufacturing contracts with big corporations who will get richer and richer . . . but I digress.
In the meantime, best wishes and prayers to the Chong family [“Chong
Family Values,” December 5–11]. A little advice from north of the border:
Come home, Tommy. Bring your whole family. You won’t be harassed here.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
The lies and deceptions used to keep marijuana illegal are more absurd than the justifications for the witch hunts of yesteryear. The prohibitionists cannot come up with one valid reason for outlawing cannabis that stands the test of science, medicine or common sense.
Have you ever heard of somebody smoking a joint and going on a homicidal rampage? It’s never happened; it’s pure fiction. But that’s the basis for criminalizing marijuana.
86 THE SALAD
of Pain” [November 28– December 4] was a fairly meticulous accounting of
the heavy social, environmental and health costs imposed by agribusiness in
order to bring a head of lettuce to a restaurant table, but it gave no hint
there is an alternative to the dismal story it tells. Organic foods and fully integrated food systems — embracing bioregionalism, Natural Systems Agriculture, farmers’ markets, Alice Walker’s “Slow Food,” and community supported agriculture farms (CSA) — are the answer to the unsustainable corporate model that has declared war both on nature and farm communities.
Readers of the Weekly would be well advised to Google any of the above-listed concepts from the organics movement and start the process of disconnecting themselves from the tragic harvest your reporter so vividly depicts. They hold an alternative and an end product
very different from his desultory “Cheesecake Factory experience” and the caesar salad that he could not finish.
The prejudice of Ms. Lewis’ article [“What
Part of No Do You Still Not Understand?,” November 21–27] is evident when
she talks only about women who have been victimized by date rape. If we apply
the same standards of date rape (being verbally coerced into having sex or being
touched sexually without one’s consent) to women, then we would find that many
men have also been the victims of female-initiated date rape. I have been to
more than one frat party/dance club where women got drunk, threw off clothing
items, rubbed up against men, touched men sexually without their consent, and
otherwise acted in ways which would be defined as date rape were these actions
to be conducted by men. Obviously, if men applied the same standards to women’s
behavior that women do to men’s, we would see thousands of American women brought
to court for sexual harassment and date rape.
National Coalition of Free Men-Los Angeles
WORD UP, GANGBANGERS:
LIVE AND LET LIVE
Dear Ms. Pelisek, I don’t know what ex–gang members you
talked to [“Silver
Lake Gang War,” October 10–16]. But you have NO idea how bad gangs are in
the Silver Lake, Sunset, Marathon, Vendome and Parkman area. They drag race
on Silver Lake Boulevard every night, from around 3 a.m. until daybreak. All
you hear are gunshots, broken glass, car alarms, barking dogs, and people climbing
over fences, trying to open doors or windows of apartments.
After your article, there were six “moving” garage sales. The next weekend there were 11 that I saw. Two of our tenants moved, and I am looking for a place as well.
The Weirdos were hardly shortchanged or victims of “ham-fisted
revisionism” in We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk,
as Jonny Whiteside suggests with his churlish, ill-informed dismissal of
our book [“Destroy
All Music,” December 5–11]. We clearly state in the intro that we weren’t
doing full bios of each band but were attempting to create an overview of a
culture, time and place through oral history. The 300-page book covers 10 years
with more than 150 witnesses offering testimony.
Obviously, it was impossible to record every participant’s stories, and so, for example, in the chapter on the Weirdos, John Denney speaks for the band while at least seven people (folks from other bands, scenesters) attest to the Weirdos’ talents as great songwriters as well as being the first real L.A. punk band. Hardly a “gnat’s bladder worth of ink” as Whiteside would have it, nor “murky” or “selective.” In fact, Whiteside shows his bias with his crack about Darby Crash: “Death Is the Best Career Move.”
Whiteside’s charge of revisionism is a curious one. If only we had that kind of power over 150-plus people — and often contentious souls at that! While our subjects certainly had plenty of conflicts of memory, we tried to relay as faithfully as possible what was told to us, contradictions and all.
Until it’s bettered (and we hope someday it will be), We Got the Neutron Bomb still stands as the most in-depth and widely distributed history of the Weirdos’ significance to date. As for borrowing the title of our book from a Weirdos song, that simply emphasizes how important we thought the Weirdos were to L.A.’s punk scene. Besides, Please Lick Me was rejected.
—Brendan Mullen and Marc Spitz
Editor’s note: Brendan Mullen is a regular contributor to the L.A. Weekly.
REPEATING THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST
In our 25th-anniversary issue article “Chicks
With Wit” (December 12–18), we repeated two errors made 25 years ago in
the very first issue of the L.A. Weekly. In that issue, the name of comic
Cathy Cahn was misspelled, and comic Diane Nichols was misidentified as Ann
Kellogg. Both women appeared on the cover of that first issue. Nichols is “still
a working comic,” and Cahn says, “I’m still in the business, acting, writing