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OTHER MOOT POINTS
Re: the L.A. Weekly’s endorsement of Antonio Villaraigosa for mayor [March 30–April 5]. How can you endorse a man who is in the back pocket of the United Teachers of Los Angeles? Kiss school reform off if Antonio gets elected, because he will not have the courage to stand up to the UTLA — or any other union. I see L.A. sliding into the same mediocrity that hit other big cities during the ’70s, and once again the working class and the poor get the shaft.
I agree that Antonio Villaraigosa should be elected mayor . . . of Mexico City. Villaraigosa’s loyalty is only to “la raza.” He has absolutely no loyalty to U.S. sovereignty, citizenship or law. He proved this when he joined the charge in the California Assembly to allow illegal aliens to obtain California driver’s licenses and identification cards.
Let me get this straight: In your endorsement for the 32nd Congressional District, you felt that Tad Daley “boasts the most impressive credentials and much the most thoughtful platform of all the 16 candidates.” But, incredibly, you wind up concluding that because Daley “lacks the assets” needed to get the word out about his progressive and sensible views regarding national and global concerns, the only remaining option for voters is to choose one of the less qualified but presumably better bankrolled candidates. Excuse me for asking, but when did the size of a candidate’s campaign war chest become the primary criterion a voter should use when deciding who would do the best job of representing his or her views in Washington?
I guess the situation wouldn’t be so tragic if you didn’t also agree that the 32nd “deserves better representation than that which would be provided by any of the three front-runners in this race,” one of whom you wound up reluctantly endorsing (though with your collective editorial fingers firmly holding your collective editorial nostrils closed). Indeed, the best reason you could advance for endorsing Diane Watson is the likelihood that her term in office would be “shorter” than those of candidates Murray or Holden. Ouch.
Maybe I don’t understand the complicated ins and outs of modern big-time, big-money politics, but the way I learned the basic principles of citizenship back in elementary school was that you voted your conscience and for the person who is best qualified for the job. Based on everything I know about his positions on the most important issues of our time, Daley meets those tests. Based upon the positive tone of its election coverage, the Weekly appears to believe the same thing. Sadly, it appears that your editorial staff also believes a thoughtful and impressive candidate like Daley — a candidate who has to rely upon a low-budget, grassroots campaign to spread his message — should be bypassed in favor of those with closer ties to the powers that be.
You like Tad Daley. I like him. Senator Alan Cranston liked him. Politically active celebrities Martin Sheen, Jeff Bridges and Michael Douglas like him. Why won’t you help us elect a candidate we all like?
Ernest Hardy’s review of The Brothers [“Bourgeois Brotherhood,” March 23–29] was totally off the mark. African-Americans will go and see what they like, and I’m sorry it just happens not to be a shoot-’em-up, drug-infested pimp picture so you critics can say, “Wow, now that was really art!”
Kudos to reviewer Ernest Hardy. His unchecked truthfulness is wonderfully refreshing, and his critique is on point. Among black people, there has been considerable backlash against the films set in the hood under the notion that these films do not fully represent black reality. While that is certainly true, I’d much rather see a thousand Boyz N the Hoods (another film in which Morris Chestnut starred), with rich characters struggling with complex issues, than one with pretty cardboards with the same values perpetuated in the worst hip-hop video. Ironic, isn’t it, because the same people who are likely to condemn the misogyny, materialism, etc., in the lowbrow hoodie film are blind to the very same issues in their beloved weekend-on-the-black-vineyard flicks? In promoting positive, diverse black images, status does not guarantee humanity. We â need to be more concerned with the quality of our storytelling. So give me a hustler having a moral crisis any day over the pretty boy with no soul to preserve from the git-go. Thanks, Ernest, for keepin’ it real.
Bronx, New York
BLOOD AND SOIL
Re: “Hidden Spain” [March 23–29]. Contrary to what Josh Kun may think, there is nothing “cool” or “hip” about Basque separatism and its racist, xenophobic, ethnocentric Weltanschauung rooted in blood and soil, no more so than any other similar belief anywhere else. Kun appears to have bought into the historical revisionism propagated by groups like Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) and Euskal Herritarok, in which the Basques are always victims outside the power structures of their Spanish (and French) overlords, despite considerable Basque participation in the more unsavory aspects of Spanish colonialism. (Sabino Arana, the 19th-century founder of Basque nationalism, for example, displayed a mania for racial purity and eugenics rivaling that of Alfred Rosenberg and the abertzale — Euskera for “patriotic” — movements of today, employing violence against left-wing politicians and journalists in the Pais Vasco and elsewhere.) I wonder if Kun is next going to write an article celebrating America’s “white nationalist” militia culture of similarly self-styled “patriots” as part of the “hidden America that . . . has always been.” By celebrating Basque separatists who have killed hundreds of people in the name of asserting their ethnic superiority based on their Rh blood type, he celebrates the Spanish equivalents of Timothy McVeigh, et al. Praising the ETA in the name of celebrating Spanish diversity is like praising the militias of Idaho and Montana in the name of celebrating American diversity. Ni modo. (No way.)
As for Negu Gorriak: Rock & roll history, from Jefferson Airplane to Public Enemy, has taught us that great rock bands and songs can have lousy politics.
BEYOND NORMAN ROCKWELL
Lalo Lopez’s tirade against Steve Breen’s take on Grant Wood’s American Gothic [“Give It a Rest, Blondie,” March 30–April 5] misses the point entirely. The original painting, which both Mr. Lopez and Mr. Breen parodied, is not a flattering portrait of America. In fact, Wood painted the picture as a bitter attack on the provincialism, intolerance, narrow-mindedness and bigotry that prevailed in his day and age.
Then again, perhaps Latinos like Mr. Lopez are seriously misrepresented. In terms of bigotry, intolerance, provincialism, ignorance, etc., he matches all the folks he loves to hate. So when Latinos find themselves the subjects of unflattering social criticism à la Grant Wood, I hope he doesn’t put on a crybaby act. Remember, Lalo, you asked for it.
—William Joseph Miller