I found Nikki Finke’s treatment of Air America’s financial duplicity,
and CEO Danny Goldberg’s admission that his primary motive was to “make a
lot of money,” quite revealing [“Goldberg
Flies Air America,” April 1–7]. If she were writing about any right-wing
media outlet, these would surely have been condemned as yet more proof of
the right’s corrupt and fascistic lie machine. But since they are in the service
of a viewpoint Ms. Finke happens to support, they get a nod, wink and chortle.
Most ironic is that despite her penetrating insight, Ms. Finke completely
fails to appreciate the deeper meaning of this story. Namely: The success
of Air America is proof that despite the advent of Bush/Hitler, not only is
freedom of expression alive and well in America, but also the capitalist free-market
system actually encourages a diversity of viewpoints — and that creativity,
combined with discipline, can lead to prosperity; that a spirit of competition
enhances and refines our ideas and expressions; and that (as the above faux
pas reveal) it is not just Republicans who are fallible, but rather it is
man’s nature itself which? is imperfect.
A Sneer Miss
How predictable that L.A. Weekly should dismiss
Ian McEwan’s immensely subtle, immensely important novel Saturday [“24,”
by Brendan Bernhard, March 25–31]. It’s enough that the protagonist is “prosperous”
(the first adjective for him that the review employs) and will go unpunished
for his prosperity — but then to read that he is “skeptical of the anti-[Iraq]-war
position”! One can almost hear the reviewer shudder. Why would anyone read
a novel, however humane and incisive, however accomplished in the literary
sense, whose politics don’t agree with ours? The reviewer all but declares
this when he notes with an audible sneer that the book’s descriptions of London’s
anti-war demonstrations “are less Guardian than Daily Telegraph.”
Is it only fools who think they can learn from differing points of view?
I offer a story from my own book-reviewing past. Commentary magazine,
in its neocon heyday, once asked me to review History: A Novel
by the great communist author Elsa Morante. The book was genius-good,
and I said so. The (infamous) conservative editors were furious and made a
statement I will never forget: “It can’t be good! Her ideology is wrong and
this must have consequences for her art!” I never darkened their in-trays
again, and the episode drove me to the left.
I regret to find now that a liberal publication such as yours can be equally
boring and close-minded.
Bernhard replies: John Romano is spectacularly
wrong in his accusations. Actually, I’m
the guy at the Weekly who was in
favor of the Iraq war, who defended
Fox News, who ridiculed Dominique de
Villepin, who went after Al-Jazeera and
Lars von Trier for their anti-Americanism,
and whose questions made MoveOn’s Wes
Boyd go crimson with rage. My criticism
of McEwan’s novel had nothing to
do with his politics.
In response to Rizwati Freeman’s diatribe over the use of the
word “mulatto” by Kevin Y. Kim [Letters
to the Editor, April 1–7], the letter writer ought to stop falling for
the victimhood syndrome. For Rizwati Freeman’s information, “mulatto” is widely
used in Latin America and European countries like Spain and Italy without
racist connotations. It simply describes the offspring of black and white
parents. The word “mulatto” ought to be used more in the United States in
place of bland equivalents like “biracial”; after all, biracial could be a
mix of Chinese and white, white and Indian, and so on. Or maybe we should
use “colored” to describe black/whites, as it’s done in South Africa. Again,
the point is that when it comes to race, Americans have a lot of growing to
do yet. As a foreign-born American, I still can’t understand why Americans
(both black and white) call a person with any degree of black/white ancestry
“black” rather than mulatto or, heck, even white for that matter!
No Fan of Wood
While U2 deserved to be included in your picks of the week [Calendar,
April 1–7], your writer’s blanket generalization of their fans did not. In
his backhanded pick, Mikael Wood lamented that the opening band, the Kings
of Leon, would “probably be booed by douche-bag U2 fans fond of the word ‘fag.’
” For a band that has sung about relationships and God for the majority of
its career, to characterize its fans as dim-witted homophobes is appalling.
The next time Mr. Wood attempts to display his laughable lack of journalistic
integrity, he should focus on crap like Limp Bizkit.
A Lack of Director
Regarding Alan Rich’s review of UCLA’s production of the opera
Lorca [A Little
Night Music, March 25–31]: Rich has pointed out that UCLA has done some
very fine opera productions in past years. The one factor that is missing
in the current production of Lorca is William Vendice, who until recently
was music director and the driving force behind Opera UCLA. His leadership,
the absence of which Mr. Rich should have pointed out, would most likely have
lifted a decidedly mediocre piece to at least an enjoyable and interesting
—Chris L. Christensen
Rich replies: Twenty Toscaninis couldn’t have
lifted that piece.