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WORK IT, GIRL

Re: “DIY
Design” [cover story, May 10–16]
. I still haven’t got past reading about
Marlene Salcido, but I’d like to let you know that she has always had style.
Thanks for a great story on a local girl working hard to make her dreams come
true.


—Monica De La Hoya
Los Angeles

WIR SIND HAMBURGUESAS

Re: “An Exquisite
Scar: Life and Commerce Along the Alameda Corridor” [May 17–23]
. Living
in Hamburg, Germany, I now see people strolling, biking, skating through abandoned
industrial docks that will soon be restructured into a mix of housing, culture,
entertainment, trade and commerce. It is highly interesting, therefore, to read
stories of those L.A. urban areas and notice an increasing awareness of citizens
towards their forgotten inner-city environments.

—Bodo von Ulmenstein
Hamburg, Germany

 

LEGITIMATE DESIRES

Re: Ben
Ehrenreich’s article “A Family Divided” [May 17–23]
. I’m supportive of the
idea that Jews should continue to criticize what’s wrong with Israel’s policies,
as well as what’s wrong with the Palestinians’ actions. This needs to happen
even in this time when Israel has been subject to unprecedented attack. It’s
been difficult to find ways to express my support for both the continued (restored)
security of Israel and justice for the Palestinians.

But if the organizers of a demonstration can’t bring themselves to clearly
call for Israel’s ongoing existence and safety as a Jewish state, they’re not
going to get much Jewish support. They shouldn’t expect it, shouldn’t complain
about it. Support for Israel is a core conviction of virtually all American
Jews of every political and religious stripe, a few left sectarians notwithstanding.
Hopefully someone else will create an action that speaks to the legitimate national
desires of both Israelis and Palestinians, and the desire of many American Jews
to support both.

—Nathan Landau
Berkeley

 

NOT-SO-PETTY LARCENY

John Payne’s “Wheels
of Steal” [May 17–23]
was a typically biased piece of tripe written by a
dink-head scribe who probably has never picked up a guitar in his life. Every
one of these Napster/file-sharing stories makes the songwriter appear as the
bad guy. Payne all but lays out the blueprint for stealing songs from the Web,
then says there’s nothing to be done about it. How about starting the article
with the plight of starving songwriters and what can be done to protect them?
To say there’s nothing to be done about the illegal downloading of songs and
we should just turn our heads is absurd. People will pay for a service if it’s
delivered to meet demand. Payne gives 10 words at the end of his essay about
the songwriter’s rights — how decent of him. If this piece he wrote appeared
in a hundred other journals and he was not compensated in any way, do you think
he’d say, “Oh, at least my name is out there”? Very doubtful. Why don’t you
call the Napster guy what he is — a thug, a criminal, with no respect whatsoever
for the artist. He should be in jail. Yes, sharing a song with a buddy or two
is here to stay. It’s when 10,000 people are in on the scheme that it becomes
horrendous.

—Steven Rosen
West Hollywood

 

I have been unable to find “inexpensive audio recording software” to record
analog 45s from my jukebox to listen to in my car. I have a “burner.” I have
been to many stores and made lots of phone calls — please, where and how much?

—Chuck Striegel
Los Angeles

EDITOR’S NOTE: You may not want to ask Mr. Rosen, above, about that.

 

Re: Judith Lewis’
“Power to the Peer” [May 17–23]
. What always seems to amaze me when I read
articles on peer-to-peer networks and the “plight” of the Recording Industry
Association of America is the often overlooked solution. It’s basic economics,
people! Consumers will always choose the least expensive product unless the
more expensive alternative offers features or services that are worth the difference
in cost. Face it, RIAA, using copyright laws and the Digital Millennium Copyright
Act to strong-arm consumers into more expensive, less flexible products is no
way to solve your poor research and development woes. Read John Payne’s “Wheels
of Steal” article about copying via analog sources in the same L.A. Weekly
issue. What next, outlaw headphone jacks because people could use them to copy
digital music?

The solution: Instead of spending billions on copy-protected CDs that are
doomed to fail, cut the price of your CDs to $9.99 or less. â All of them. Second,
offer products or services that mp3-swapping fans can’t get electronically,
like band merchandise at reduced costs or pre-sale concert tickets. It’s time
the RIAA got creative and innovative and stopped lobbying Congress to increase
their copyright and patent controls. Their current practices are just plain
un-American.

—J. Riedel
Northridge

POTSHOTS FROM THE PULPit

If Michael Dougan had made a single salient point about
Michael Moore in last week’s potshot party [PULPit,
May 17–23]
, he could have counted himself in good company among other empty-handed,
empty-headed social-critic wannabes who have nothing to offer but potshots at
other social critics. Dougan proves himself even more useless than that. What
exactly was his point? That Michael Moore shouldn’t charge money for his books?
That liberals who make money shouldn’t be trusted? How convenient for the status
quo that both conservative nut balls and bitter liberals alike perpetuate the
idea that the only liberals worth trusting are poor and unsuccessful fringe
folk who are too “real” for the mainstream media, or financial success.

—Mike Saenz
Venice

 

When the pulpIT (or PulPiT, or PULPit or however you capitalize the damn thing)
page was first introduced, I was intrigued by the possibilities of an additional
page of comics. So far, no good. First it was Bob Callahan’s feeble attempts
at humor; this week, it’s a singularly unfunny and uninformative attempt at
the character assassination of Michael Moore by some fellow named Michael Dougan.
What’s next? Are you going to have your boy Marc Cooper draw “Mumia Follies”?
Feh.

—Ted Kane
Los Angeles

 

SOMETHING ABOUT OUR GENERATION

This is for Hazel-Dawn Dumpert, in regard to “A
Thousand Clones” [May 17–23] . .
. Thank you! I had such a problem with
The Phantom Menace, and I could not figure out what it was. I watched
the latest installment last night, and it left the same bad taste in my mouth.

I could never put my finger on why, but Dumpert nailed it. There’s something
emotionally fake about the computer stuff. Your brain realizes it and automatically
detaches. It makes sense, too. That’s how our generation is: unemotional and
glib. We dig the special effects, and we like not having to be emotionally invested
in the characters.

—Jim Kunz (28 years old)
Mount Washington

 

LETTERS WE NEVER FINISHED READING

It is a shame that a critic like Tony Mostrom should
be allowed to contribute such negative trash to the L.A. Weekly. In his
summary of “Drones and Dreams” covering the World Out of Tune (WOOT) Festival
at Highland Grounds [May 17–23], Mr. Mostrom would have the reader believe that
the band Swallow “empties the place.” In fact, this is a downright lie. From
my very clear vantage point onstage, I was fully aware of playing to a captive
and appreciative audience . . .

—Meredith Borden
New York City


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