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DEPENDING ON HAROLD “LIKE A GOOD CHAD”
For Harold Meyerson’s analysis of the recent presidential appointment . . . oops, I mean election: Keep fighting the good fight. We’re counting (and recounting) on you.
—Mary Beth Culp
Re: “A Choice Experiment” [December 15–21]. Being an avid anthroposophist who is quite familiar with the Waldorf School System and the inspiring life and work of Rudolf Steiner, I was appalled by Howard Blume’s false portrayal of this progressive and compassionate man. The most preposterous of Blume’s departures from the truth was his reference to what he describes as the “element of racism” in Steiner’s work. In the 40-odd books and collections of Steiner lectures I’ve personally studied, I have never encountered any such element.
Also, Blume has incorrectly portrayed the Waldorf School paradigm. He asserts that it “fails to emphasize formal reading until the third grade,” when, in fact, it is not a matter of failure here, but a matter of choice. The entire Waldorf educational system is based on what adherents believe to be a subtler understanding of the child’s early development, and the relative delay in imparting instruction in reading and writing is a deliberate effort to allow particular creative capacities to develop fully before the child approaches the challenge of the written word.
—Daniel T. Mackenzie
HOWARD BLUME REPLIES: The Steiner citations in the article were verified by the Weekly’s fact-checking department. They were referenced to explain why some oppose publicly funded Waldorf education. I profess no expertise on either the works of Steiner or the Waldorf-style teaching methods that evolved from his beliefs. That is why I asked our fact-checking department to verify my description of Waldorf teaching methods with the faculty of Rudolf Steiner College. In deference to Steiner admirers, I have posted a detailed response from the Anthroposophical Society in America on the same portion of the Weekly Web site that contains the charter-school series.
Howard Blume gets right to the crux of the alternative-school movement. Whether via charter schools or vouchers, what is really going on today is parental demand for choice. Test scores and other factors are red herrings. All that matters is that parents possess the absolute and final freedom to determine how their children are educated. It’s beside the point if their decision to opt out of public schools results in an inferior education.
West Los Angeles
DEAD AIR, LIVING FLAME
Jay Babcock’s article on Jim Ladd [“Dead Air,” December 8–14] echoed the sentiments many of us non-idolatrous baby boomers hold toward him. There’s so much to dislike about the guy — his phony space-face blather, his two-dimensionality, etc. — but one gradually, grudgingly comes to understand that that’s him! He’s not putting on airs, he really is the way he is, and you can’t fault him for being himself. Then there’s his programming. The moment one realizes the entire music scene of the ’80s and ’90s was formed in the ’60s and ’70s, and that the best new musicians are the ones who have absorbed those influences well, one understands that Ladd is the only one out there truly keeping the flame lit.
—Marc S. Tucker
Re: “Sanctuary” [cover story, December 15–21]. Great story by Nancy Rommelmann. I’d like to see more articles by her. King Eddy’s sounds like a place I’d like to hang out.
Jersey City, New Jersey
DERRICK’S TURN IN THE BARREL
In regards to Derrick Mathis’ review of Jill Scott’s third Los Angeles show [Slush column, December 15–21], I think it was a little on the racist side of things, as was Jill Scott’s tired tirade. There were plenty of interracial couples present, and my white man and I were in the center of the room. I didn’t see any Cameron Diaz look-alike being dragged along by some pushy brotha that the whole room took time out to stare at. And . . . “jungle fever”? Please! This is the year 2001 in the heart of Los Angeles. Not 1959 in Alabama.
Reading Derrick Mathis’ article about DJ Marques Wyatt [“Departure Lounge,” December 8–14], we’ve heard it before, and it gets annoying after a while. Los Angeles artists such as the Teflon Dons, Deep Swing, Miguel Plascencia, Aztech Sol and Big Sam have a wall full of work to their unnoticed credit, while the masses are continually updated on Wyatt’s biography. Mathis states, “Wyatt does it all because he’s committed to keeping â the West Coast at the forefront of dance music.” I think it would be more true to say, “Wyatt does it all because he’s committed to keeping himself at the forefront of dance music.” Can we please have coverage of the L.A. dance-music scene that’s reflective of a community, not just an individual?
BEST IN SLEW
I wanted to compliment Bob Mack for an excellent article/interview on Geddy Lee [“There’s Something About Geddy,” December 8–14]. I’d say this is the best I’ve read in the recent slew of publicity surrounding the release of My Favorite Headache. So many of the articles I’ve read have been by interviewers who hated the man, or were merely sycophants.
St. Louis, Missouri
Awesome Dan Epstein article on the BellRays [“A Little Faith,” December 1–7]. May they continue their quest to save rock & roll.
KEEP IT HIDDEN, PLEASE
I can’t for the life of me figure out why Ella Taylor, in her review of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [December 15–21], insisted on giving away a crucial plot point having to do with the ending of the film and one of its main characters. Miss Taylor is no friend to her readers if she is going to spoil movies for us. Glad she liked the film. It’s a good one, even if I did know how it was going to end before I went.
CONGRATULATIONS, AND WE HOPE SO TOO
I was very surprised and happy to see Tom Christie’s article [“Into Finn Air,” December 15–21] of our capital, Helsinki, on your travel section on the Web site. Even when the story was short, it was nice to see that a small country like Finland gets recognition in his article. There was small error, tho, on a Finlandia Hall architect. The Finlandia Hall design was made by Alvar Aalto, not Arvo Aalto. Alvar Aalto was an architect. Arvo Aalto was a politician.
Hope your paper is useful when we come to L.A. to our honeymoon in August . . .
In the Calendar-section notice entitled “It’s a Wonderful American Life” by Libby Molyneaux [Good Times, December 15–21], This American Life was referred to as a National Public Radio program, which is incorrect. Public Radio International (PRI), in fact, distributes this program, which is produced by WBEZ in Chicago.