IRAQ, A HARD PLACE
Ian Williams’ “The
Case Against the Anti-War Movement” [September 20–26]. It’s not Saddam Hussein
who’s going to die; it will be innocent Iraqis continuing to die, along with
some of our own soldiers. Perhaps Mr. Williams can find some tears for them.
I see no need as a reader to endure this kind of hectoring condescension. I
thought that this sort of thing was the reason why you kept Marc Cooper around.
Mr. Williams is as irrelevant to the anti-war movement as it is to him. Whether
the same can be said about the L.A. Weekly will remain to be seen.
Ian Williams accuses anti-war activists of praising Hussein and Milosevich.
This is virtually slanderous. I challenge Williams to cite any such praise from
the most prominent anti-war organizations. I’ve been organizing against war
for 20 years and have never heard any such praise, except when Serbian nationalists
tried to hijack the opposition to intervention in Yugoslavia. But they’re not
anti-war; they’re pro-Serb, and Williams ought not lump us together. As far
as Ramsey Clark praising the Butcher of Belgrade, I humbly request that Mr.
Williams educate me with a quote, in context, to support this contention.
Despite what Williams writes, anti-war activists do criticize Hussein, Milosevich
and other tyrants, usually long before anyone else does. Remember that both
these men were clients of the United States for years. In yet another ridiculous
assertion, Williams argues that anti-war activists do not show concern for “the
locals.” Clark and Scott Ritter, currently two of the movement’s most visible
icons, are among many outspoken critics of the effects of American bombs and
sanctions on Iraqis. The anti-war movement has consistently and loudly deplored
the conditions that result from American warfare, and this is amply documented.
How Williams could miss this is simply unfathomable; it is at the heart of anti-war
Williams also distorts the role of the United States in supporting Iraqi attacks
on Kurds and Shiites. The Reagan administration did not simply “overlook” and
“cover up” these atrocities; it indirectly funded Hussein’s weapons programs,
and directly provided technological assistance and intelligence that enabled
Wars” [September 20–26], Christine Pelisek implies that only those who have
seen military service (in whatever form such service might take) have the insight
to commit our armed services to war. If Pelisek were suffering a heart attack,
would she refuse my efforts at CPR just because I’m not a doctor?
Re: John Powers’ “Republic
Relations” [On, October 4–10]. Who cares what the Europeans think of us?
I don’t. Aren’t these the same people that brought us World War I and II? They
should know better, but they don’t. They should be able to recognize a Hitler
when they see one. If Hitler had developed nukes before we did — we would be
living in a much different world today. Thank God for the Yanks, and thank God
for Tony Blair.
LEAVE HIM OUT OF IT
Re: Marc B. Haefele’s
“Autumn Follies” [September 12–18]. I just want to set the record straight
that Antonio Villaraigosa for the last 12 years has never been a resident of
the 14th Council District — he has resided, and continues to reside, in the
1st Council District. Furthermore, MALDEF(Mexican American Legal Defense and
Educational Fund) recommended the boundaries that kept Mr. Villaraigosa in the
1st Council District, and the citizen commission recommended these boundaries
to the council during redistricting.
Also, District Attorney Steve Cooley’s report clearly states that Xavier Becerra’s
mayoral-campaign staff were responsible for the Gloria Molina impersonation
and its planning; their detailed confessions can be found in that report. I
had nothing to do with that idiotic campaign action.
AN ASTONISHMENT OF WORDS
I come to praise the Michael Ondaatje interview with film editor Walter Murch
excerpted in your paper [“Eyes Half Closed,” September 20–26].
The conversation that unfolds between them about the art of film editing and
cinema in general is an astonishment of words. It’s refreshing to read the thoughts
of two professional artists talking about the essence of creativity instead
of hallucinating about Hollywood box office — two guys exploring how moments
in movies like Coppola’s The Conversation and The Godfather were
sculpted into epiphanies from the raw materials shot in the moviemaking process.
Ondaatje zeroes in on key distinctions that Murch artfully ä makes that invite
the reader to get excited and involved in imagining the parallels between great
moviemaking and building the great cathedrals of Europe, or composing musical
masterpieces. It was all very inspiring and — what the hell — edifying, for
GARBO NO QUITTER
Re: “The Devil Is a Woman: The Films of Marlene
Dietrich” [Film Special Events, September 20–26]. In her overview of a LACMA
retrospective of Dietrich, Hazel-Dawn Dumpert manages to pack a number of factual
and judgmental errors in a longish paragraph. Garbo, of course, worked only
for MGM in her American film career, not Warner Bros. Garbo did not “give up”
but even after an absence of six years tried to return to movies, only to have
the attempt regrettably scuttled due to financing. Garbo was a unique presence
in film, who often transcended her material by offering characterizations of
extraordinary human depth; Dietrich, on the other hand, was an amusing and self-amused
star with insouciance and great cheekbones. Comparing the two always was a silly
pastime, and knocking one to promote the other is an idle exercise at best and
at worst an insult to both individuals.
—Harry Eugene Baldwin
RUSH TO JUDGMENT
Re: Bob Mack’s review of Rush
[Live in L.A., October 4–10]. So your faithful reviewer got to the show
late, left early, and all he could really say about it was that he liked a couple
of the tunes, but then it bogged down. Hmm. Can I have a job as a music reviewer
with your publication? Obviously it doesn’t require much effort or thought.
I’ve read Doug Harvey’s review of Lipstick
Pistols,” October 4–10] three times, and I still can’t figure out what he
was looking for. His disappointment at the lack of “spitting” suggests that
he was hoping to see lip-synched re-creations of John Lydon’s legendary performances
— a sort of “Pistolmania,” I suppose. Instead, punk is presented (quite brilliantly)
in the context of history. And that’s because punk music is history.
If grunge died with Kurt Cobain, punk died with Joey Ramone. The only contemporary
musician with any “punk” sensibility is Steve Earle — and he doesn’t look anything
like Johnny Rotten.
In Sandra Ross’ review of A Noise Within’s production
of Macbeth, she referred to the drama as “one of Shakespeare’s lengthier
plays.” Macbeth is, in fact, one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays, and
definitely his shortest tragedy.