Re: Steven Mikulan's “Low-Definition TV” [December 2430]. I just wanted to say that Steven Mikulan was generous in his assessment of L.A. news. As a Golden Mike Awardwinning radio reporter, I can't for the life of me understand why so many young people want to rush into the arms of mediocrity by working in local TV news. Then again, I do. This is L.A., where gimmick passes as innovation, and fame is more important than accomplishment.
Excellent article by Steven Mikulan. I must correct one small aspect, however. The article spoke of KABC's Johnny Mountain's early beginnings at WTVK Nashville, Tennessee. Actually it was WTVK-26 Knoxville, where I served as director of the morning 90-minute coffee-talk program with Mountain as co-host.
REVENGE OF THE HAPPY ONES
Re: Hope Urban's “In Search of a Home” [December 1723]. I am enormously disappointed by Doug Ring's playing of the race card in his remarks regarding the opposition to locating the Children's Museum at the Los Feliz BoulevardRiverside Avenue site. While predominantly Anglo, the Los Feliz community is also a multiracial, multicultural community. African-Americans, Koreans, Japanese, Filipinos, Latinos, Armenians, Iranians, Turks, Canadians, British, Germans and people of other ethnicities live in Los Feliz. Mr. Ring cannot show that Los Feliz opposes the Children's Museum coming because it will bring “large quantities of children who represent the diversity of Los Angeles to Los Feliz,” because that is untrue, and he knows it.
As president of the Los Feliz Improvement Association, I spent four years working with the DWP to restore the William Mulholland Memorial Fountain, a gateway to Los Feliz and Griffith Park and one of the most important cultural monuments in all of Los Angeles. Shame on Doug Ring for causing a legitimate discussion of traffic gridlock and historic beauty to sink to the level of racial conflict. That is not the way to build what is good for children, families or Los Angeles.
Commission for Children,
Youth and Their Families
City of Los Angeles
According to Doug Ring, not only do Los Feliz residents hate children, we are also racists. The truth is, we are proud of the diversity of our community, and of Los Angeles as a whole. (Perhaps we should look at the lack of diversity in Pacific Palisades, where Mr. Ring lives.) Mr. Ring's efforts to build the new museum in Los Feliz are not about encouraging diversity; they are about corporate money, developers and campaign contributions.
I always look forward to the issues of the Weekly that feature the Outlaw L.A. column. In an otherwise drab newspaper full of tired old leftist clichés, it is the bright spot. But the last Outlaw L.A. that ran — Tulsa Kinney's “Tijuana or Bust” [December 2430] — amounted to a silly recitation of a trip to Mexico to get pharmaceutical drugs from a doctor. What was the purpose of the piece? To tell the world that the drug laws are different there? So what?
If writing an article about a trip to a pill doctor in Tijuana is somehow Outlaw L.A. material, let me write about my harrowing journey to a Bakersfield chiropractor.
–Kate Ann Zimmer
In his well-meaning capsule review of Snow Falling on Cedars, John Patterson says that during World War II, “Japanese-born citizens [were] interned in concentration camps” in this country. Like most other Americans, I also deplore this sad and unjust chapter in U.S. history. However, Mr. Patterson's phrasing is misleading on two counts.
First, before 1952 immigrants to the United States from Asia were, on racial grounds, legally prohibited from becoming naturalized citizens. (And, incidentally, all Asian immigration was officially halted between 1924 and 1943.) Therefore, there was no such thing as a Japanese-born U.S. citizen before 1952.
Second, it was not only Japanese immigrants who were interned in the camps without due process of law; so were their American-born children, all of them U.S. citizens by birth. Mr. Patterson's confusion about this aspect of the Japanese-American internment may have been abetted by Snow Falling on Cedar's most egregious flaw: the film's miscasting of its Japanese-American female lead. The character of Hatsue, the reporter's â childhood sweetheart, is born in the United States, grows up in the United States and goes to school here. However, the filmmakers saw fit to cast the role with a Japanese-national actress, Youki Kudoh, who speaks her lines with a distracting accent. The movie leaves the misimpression that its U.S.-born Japanese-American characters are Japanese nationals, not American citizens. Although it attempts to condemn the internment, Snow Falling on Cedars ironically drives home the same misunderstanding about Japanese-Americans that led to the internment in the first place.
OUR MAN IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Re: Ernest Hardy's “10 Things I Hate About the Last Millennium” [December 2430]:
1. Okay. He didn't like Samuel L. in Pulp Fiction. However, as a fictional character, Mr. Jackson's role was in line with the other overdrawn fictional characters. Also, I found him to be a much “cooler nigger” than most of the hip-hop cool that is prevalent in music videos and Boyz N the Hood movies.
2. I agree that the sappy, formulaic queer film should be executed on sight. However, the same fate should befall many a straight film. Such crap is not limited to just one film genre. Should we see more drag queens in films? Only if they are drawn as real people, not just comic relief.
3. Give me those “Oh, Lawd Have Mercy” films over those “Boyz” films any day. The reason being that they are much closer to my reality. Soul Food was my family, almost to a man. The Best Man so reflected my friends at that age that I wondered which of my buddies wrote it. If Mr. Hardy's complaint is overall film quality, see my No. 2.
4. Hip-hop straight-to-video movies: I overwhelmingly agree. They suck.
5. Robin, Whoopi and Billy movies: What happened to those guys, anyway?
6. Wasted Hong Kong talent? How about wasted talent, period (i.e., my No. 5)?
7. Oprah's “Big Mama” movie roles: I thought I was the only one who noticed.
8. Much-hyped movie soundtracks: Why even bother to make the film?
9. Brad Pitt's recent roles: so true, so true.
10. Equal-opportunity nudity: Personally, this particular double standard has never really bothered me, but to each his own.
I think Mr. Hardy's list says a lot more about him than it does about recent films in general. But hey, even media critics need the spotlight every now and then.
Contrary to the assertion in last week's Powerlines, state Senator Richard Polanco did not endorse City Councilman Nick Pacheco in his 1999 council race; in fact, he endorsed his opponent.
An article on Rocketdyne last week misidentified Gregg Dempsey as a Department of Energy employee; he works for the Environmental Protection Agency. Also, activists were invited to inspect cleanup efforts, not radioactivity levels, at the defense contractor's former nuclear facilities. And a nuclear “hot zone” in excess of background radiation levels was identified in a Rocketdyne document, not in government reports, as the article suggested. The Weekly regrets the errors.
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