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Re: “Schmooze Dot Com” [July 14–20]. Though my season on the Internet party circuit was (blessedly) shorter than Brendan Bernhard’s, I saw enough to realize that the “digitally empowered” are no closer to harnessing the Net’s potential than I am, not least because they brashly underestimate its populist appeal. For every overpaid “Chet” in the “elitist” dot-com “club,” there are 100 Charlie Lesters (www.137.com) creating their own Web sites for the sheer joy of freely sharing their ideas (and their vacuum-cleaner museums) with other surfers.
As for VIC, I attended just one of their events, only to be left standing, midsentence, as my two “colleagues” raced off to grab the last remaining seats in the front of the auditorium. I sat in the back, alone, left at my first opportunity and haven’t looked back since.
I wanted to thank the Weekly and Brendan Bernhard for “Schmooze Dot Com.” I am comforted that others feel that the Internet and its online community do not hold absolute sway. While I will not demean the importance of this new communication medium nor the efforts of its architects, I hold especially dear the aspects of our condition that are not “replaceable behaviors.”
As a member of the new I.T. dreamers, I am inclined to admit that Brendan Bernhard’s article “Schmooze Dot Com” is right on. The Internet industry is filled with glazy-eyed techno-geeks with decreasingly relevant connections to the real world. However, that is the U.S., where you have everything already and the Internet is more about convenience. I would like Brendan to come visit Ecuador and see what the Internet is doing to people’s lives here. Cable TV and Internet access are rapidly changing Latin American society, changing the way we think about ourselves and the world.
And it is not just in people’s homes. The plethora of Internet cafés scattered throughout the region’s smaller towns and rural areas attests to that, as do the lines of people outside the cafés waiting to get in to log on or watch some cable. The Internet is giving us the opportunity to get closer than 6,000 miles away to eclectic culture, to stop living in 1992. It’s giving us the opportunity to communicate with loved ones continents away at rates we can afford, and it’s absorbing sectors of the population that would now be unemployed. I.T. industries in Ecuador are beginning to allow people from the lower economic strata with enough initiative to study CIS at a state-sponsored school to break out of the cycle of oppression. Suddenly their skills are in demand, regardless of class or racial origin.
What can I say? I came here as a tourist, and the Internet got me to stay. I now have a small design and programming firm employing 12 people, and the future looks very positive for continued growth in the foreign market. And when I feel cut off from the world, I just download KCRW and the L.A. Weekly site off the Web, and suddenly I’m connected to what’s going on in L.A. again.
—Charles J. Moseley
Re: the Internet story. What’s this guy talking about? I don’t get it. He went to a bunch of parties, and he’s complaining? Maybe he could switch jobs with me next time. He could go ride a motorbike through the streets of L.A., and I get to go to parties at Skybar and the Playboy Mansion, and write about it. Where’s Hunter S. Thompson when you need him?
Reading the Weekly has always raised emotions at my house. As a baby boomer, I’ve always run with my Gen-X brother to the store or the computer to review the latest edition. Usually my brother is touting an article, and I’m mumbling about how biased the political articles are and how unsettling it is to see all those ads. Yet we fight over the issue to read all the terrific articles.
However, this week just put me over the edge! On one page was Robert Lloyd’s terrific article on my favorite author and mentor, Carolyn See. It was my pleasure to study and work with Carolyn at Loyola Marymount University, and Mr. Lloyd captured her spirit and conveyed the honesty and realism in her work. I was beginning to feel really good about your paper. Then, I scrolled down to look at a few more articles. There was a vague title regarding George Bush. Thought maybe your newspaper was on a roll and would give your readers the whole story, for a change. WRONG!!! â
The OffBeat item on George P. Bush, Russell Contreras’ “Bush’s Little Brown One” [July 21–27], typified the ignorance of yet another condescending, liberal, exploitative writer. Being of Latin heritage has nothing to do with the classes you take in college, the people you hang out with or the events you attend. It has to do with heritage, knowing where you come from and being proud of that fact. It has to do with values, traditions and, most importantly, family.
Having worked with the Bush family, it disgusts me to hear anyone, especially another Hispanic, say that they are “using” George P. to sway votes. George P. is far too smart to be used. And I assure you, neither Jeb nor Columba Bush would allow their son to be exploited. George P. is doing what any other Latin would do. He is helping his uncle reach out to our community and personalize his message.
Times have changed, Hispanics have an option. The Republican Party has not closed the door to Latinos. Perhaps too few Latinos have knocked on the door and asked to come in. Or should we expect them to assume we want them in? The Democrats do, just like they assume we want more inefficient social programs and higher taxes.
Did anyone think of asking George P. why he didn’t flaunt his ethnicity or his family name? Could it be that he was more concerned with getting through school and relaxing when he had a chance? Or could it be he didn’t want to draw attention to himself or his family, or risk being harassed? Or could it be other students didn’t think he was “Latin” enough?
The first time I experienced the sting of discrimination, it was from the president of my university’s club for Mexican-American students. I was raised in a strict Mexican-American family, and I wanted to bond with others who had experienced the same. She told me I was too fair-skinned, that I acted too white and was too smart. Then she told me not to bother coming to any more meetings. So I didn’t. I got an excellent education and only associated with those individuals who didn’t care if I was beige, pink or spotted. Is it so hard to imagine that the students at Rice are above such pettiness?
Since it is an election year, could your writers possibly attempt to get the full story and educate, or at least inform, the readership? Thank you.
—Lisa J. Avila
Former appointee to the George W. Bush presidential administration; currently
Western Regional Representative,
Republican National Hispanic Assembly
Re: Lina Lecaro and Derrick Mathis’ “Beat Freaks” [Music supplement, June 23–29]. A major oversight: While covering house music in L.A., you missed DJ Richard Humpty Vission and Power Tools Mix Show. A pioneer of L.A.’s house-music scene, RHV poured techno and house into downtown clubs such as Jolt at the Variety Arts Center, almost 10 years ago. RHV’s radio show produced by Gerard Meraz was also the first house-music show to cover the L.A. underground — DJs, club culture and politics. Currently, Power Tools airs on KPWR 105.9 FM from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. Sunday mornings. Meraz has also put RHV on the Web at www.powertoolsmixshow.com. Power Tools remains a viable outlet for the musical expression of international and local DJs alike. To hear how the show blends the commercial and noncommercial sects, tune in: Power Tools is in the middle of the annual DJ â contest. RHV and Meraz have equally created a space for house music and its junkies to meet and exchange music; just thought you might like to know.
SCORE THREE FOR CARTMAN’S MOM
Your publication is simply beyond the pale. Whatever the value of the editorial content, it cannot redeem the raft of prostitution ads that splatter an ever-increasing number of your pages. It is of concern to me that your lurid paper is readily available to children whose natural curiosity might lead them to some of the debased photographs of women posed in various positions of sexual enticement. The ads are at once demeaning, depraved and disgusting. Your paper is a sad commentary on how greed can eclipse morality and journalistic ethics.
It’s bad enough that every hooker in Los Angeles has her name and number in the Weekly, but do you think you could possibly keep shit like the syphilis ad on Page 48 of the L.A. edition [July 21–27] in the back of the paper? It really pisses me off to be visually assaulted by a bunch of naked guys groping each other, one of them depressing another’s nipple, with the caption “Sex It Up.” Yes, it’s helpful to talk about STDs, but like I said, you really need to keep that offensive shit in the back of the paper. And for your information, I am heavily tattooed, have seven piercings and purple hair, and am a female, non-homophobic goth-rock musician, not some Mormon in a suit spouting family values. Still, not everything is acceptable!
In order to read about progressive politics, I’ve grown accustomed to the Weekly’s advertisements for prostitutes and breast-augmentation surgery, even though they chafe against every progressive and feminist bone in my body. But now I’m supposed to accept advertisements that include graphic, pornographic images of group homosexual sex? You say you’re concerned about people who have AIDS and STDs, yet you endorse an ad that encourages extremely risky behavior. (Condoms or no, group sex is a very dangerous practice, period.) Homosexual activists should be up in arms about this ad campaign. It continues to promote the idea that gay men are nothing but lascivious animals who think that engaging in sex with three strangers can be both safe (give me a break) and fun (sounds like sex addiction to me!). I thought those same activists had been telling me for years that this stereotype is false.