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Overstated and overrated
Re: “Gay Shame” [June 9–15]. The L.A. Weekly has once again allowed Douglas Sadownick to ramble endlessly in a poorly thought-out mishmash of circular logic and hoary overstatement. First of all, Sadownick offers little to justify his unwavering support for Clinton despite the man’s repeated betrayal of gays. A Republican president would be excoriated for such miserable legislation as “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” which has been linked to an increase in harassment of gays in the military. Then, while freely admitting that Bush is largely an unknown quantity on gay issues (he has at least met with the gay Log Cabin Republicans), Sadownick has the nerve to compare a Bush win in November to Hitler’s ascension to power in the early 1930s. How does he expect to be taken seriously as a journalist?
Regardless of who becomes president in November, gay civil rights will only advance when a majority of voters support them. Radical activists and anti-assimilationists do little to advance that goal. In fact, the threatening, hyperbolic tone used by people like Sadownick has probably done more to undermine gay causes than all the Dr. Lauras and Senator Knights combined.
Also, you might want to rethink the “Jesus Christ was gay” photo caption. I know all you hip urban liberals think that kind of thing is funny, but there are an awful lot of Christians in this country (some of whom are not even right-wing extremists) who find such statements patently offensive. Can gays really afford the political capital such antics undoubtedly cost?
I like reading the extreme-left perspective of the L.A. Weekly, but I’m growing bored with filtering the offensive bile out of the articles. Is it your goal to turn others away? Insulting and skewed remarks litter Weekly articles like a Tijuana street. Is that the rep you guys are going for — offensive liberal rather than liberal offensive?
While I agree with Mr. Sadow nick that the prospects of Bush Jr. as president are rather scary, I think his article is deeply flawed. The comparison with Weimar Germany and the Jews is ridiculous at best, offensive at worst. Furthermore, the whitewashing of Clinton as the great president of gay America is ill-informed. Clinton has failed to effect lasting positive change on gay issues; hiring gays and lesbians is not going to have much effect beyond his presidency, as Mr. Sadownick points out himself. The last president to effect lasting change was Bush Sr., under whom the ban on gay and lesbian immigrants was lifted. Most of the progress in the last few years is due to state courts declaring anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional, as well as supporting gay and lesbian families (e.g., in Vermont).
Let’s not forget Clinton and Gore completely wimped out on gays in the military and haven’t put any teeth into hate laws. Republican gay bashers live at the extreme radical fringe of the GOP and, as such, are nonplayers. Bush may not talk the talk of the two-faced Clinton, but he’s politician enough to know that he can’t afford to alienate this constituency. Let’s get real here. Clinton isn’t and never has been a supporter. He may say he is, but his actions prove otherwise.
Regarding Douglas Sadownick’s article “Gay Shame,” I have to question the thought process of a writer who calls Bush’s policies “Orwellian” then proceeds to cry because these policies will be a detriment to so-called “hate crime” bills. Adding additional punishment to a criminal because of what he was thinking or what he believed at the time of the crime is Orwellian in its own right. It is also unequal protection under the law.
I am greatly disturbed at being misquoted in Doug Sadownick’s article. I never said that “Personally speaking . . . Clinton has been a disaster on all levels,” and, as should be obvious from some of the other quotes attributed to me in the article, I don’t believe that. I spoke at length with Sadownick and made it clear that I think Clinton has done more for lesbians and gay men than any prior president. His weakness in dealing with ongoing discrimination in the military and marriage does not erase his important contributions to gay equality.
In addition, I did not say that the Romer vs. Evans decision “won by one vote, 5-4.” I told Mr. Sadow nick that this landmark gay civil rights case won by two votes, 6-3, and that the two-point win was due to Clinton’s appointment of Justices Ginsburg and Breyer. I know that when reporters work without a tape recorder, they sometimes have to reconstruct quotes, but it is upsetting to have quotes put in one’s mouth that contradict either the facts or one’s actual views.
—Jon W. Davidson
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund
Sadownick acknowledges his mistake on the Supreme Court ruling but believes he quoted Davidson correctly.
Re: Erin Aubry’s review of American Pimp [“Freakshow Bro’s,” June 9–15]. I have a very hard time understanding why Ms. Aubry feels it is the Hughes brothers’ responsibility to humanize blacks for white Americans. Here we go again with the thinking that, regarding racism, there is greater culpability in the behavior of some blacks than there is in plain ignorance on the part of some white Americans. I say that the white friend of hers who thought that white people should stay away from the film, presumably because the onscreen images would reconfirm their fears about black men, is an idiot. As a black man, I’m not afraid of the Hughes film, because I’m not a pimp nor have I ever aspired to be. As for the minority of black men who are, maybe they’ll support the film much as real “wise guys” supported The Godfather.
Hold the Ballona
Filmmaker Sheila Laffey’s rebuttal [Letters, June 2–8] to Marc B. Haefele’s critique of The Last Stand [City Limits, May 12–18] unwittingly confirms the validity of the Friends of the Ballona Wetlands’ decision not to participate in her documentary. In the first paragraph, she labels the Friends “pro-development advocates” despite the fact that she knows that we do not advocate Playa Vista, and are not about to support the development unless and until we determine it will not have an adverse impact on the Ballona Wetlands. We have not yet made that decision, and won’t until we see the upcoming environmental-impact report.
The Friends don’t want to “suppress” Laffey’s film; we merely want to point out its appalling deficiencies. Anyone who wishes to read our critique or to examine the Friends’ true position and learn about our activities should visit us at our Web site, www.ballona friends.org.
President, Friends of Ballona Wetlands
Playa del Rey
Can you say “Snake oil?”
Re: Hope Urban’s “Unbroken Will” [June 16–22]. Welcome to Mr. Cimmarusti’s Neighborhood. Does anyone really think that switching one eyesore [the Van de Kamp bakery] for another makes Ralph Cimmarusti a neighborhood savior? I see him as more of a pariah: a snake-oil salesman peddling yet another crappy box development and burger joint. How original! If all developers were like him, we’d be gagging down McBurgers at the site of the old Helms Bakery, and parking our cars at the Old Towne Pasadena Parking Garage and Strip Mall. Our neighborhood deserves better than this unimaginative, unoriginal “concept.” And to top it off, if we don’t like it, we deserve to have our houses trashed! (“If someone did throw a rock through [activist Miki Jackson’s] window, I don’t blame them one bit.”)
I propose denying Mr. Cimmarusti and his company, Lucia Properties, the privilege of bidding on any and all work within Los Angeles city limits until he retracts his support of vandalism and criminal behavior.
Thank you for the fine story by Bill Gibson on Playa Capital [“Playa’s Problems,” June 16–22]. This kind of truth-telling is essential in our current social climate. It is very difficult generally for all media sources — excepting NPR, in my opinion — to get the facts out without some spin.
Do the arithmetic
Re: Chuck Stephens on Titan A.E. [“Space Junk,” June 16–22]. This is the stupidest review I’ve ever read. “The year is 3028, the film is Titan A.E., and the future of the human race is . . . white.” How can the future of the human race be white if, of all the humans going to the new planet, only two were white? This guy is seriously bitter about something.
I want to applaud Chuck Stephens for the Titan A.E. review. It was the only review I’ve seen so far that drew the comparison with anime. I have always found anime entertaining precisely because it addresses sophisticated emotions and has some finesse in telling the story. Titan looked spectacular, but I outgrew Johnny Quest ages ago.
Thanks for Erik Himmelsbach’s “Boys Are for Noise” [June 9-15], a positive article on Hanson, one of the most talented bands making music today. Unfortunately, the radio industry hasn’t caught on yet. In spite of the number of requests to hear Hanson’s singles, stations are not giving the band their fair share of airplay. (One station restricts the hours in which Hanson music can be played.) In all my 40 years, I’ve never seen such deliberate discrimination doled out on a decent band.
I really enjoyed the article you wrote on Hanson. I love their new album, and I am excited to hear adults giving them credit for an amazing job. Thank you again.
I would like to say that I think the “Hanson Busts Out” article has to be one of the best articles I have recently read about Hanson. Finally a journalist actually listened to the CD before judging it. Total brilliance!
Glen Burnie, Maryland
Thank you very much for Erik Himmelsbach’s wonderful and thoughtful review of Hanson’s new album. I have had the album for a while now and love it to death. It is always great to see that people are actually listening to the album before writing the review. Job well done.
CORRECTION: In last week’s Music in Los Angeles 2000 pullout, Marsha Kerasidis of the Gig in Hollywood was misidentified on the page thanking supporters of L.A. Music 2000.