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MAKING NOT SO NICE
Harold Meyerson’s “Make Nice” [August 4–10], reporting the protests during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, missed the point. The single message that protesters are trying to make clear is that George W. Bush and the Republicans, like Al Gore and the Democrats, are minimizing or ignoring human needs, peace and justice. In other words, the current presidential elections are anti-democratic.
Meyerson does not seem to understand that the delegates are not the protesters’ only audience, not even the main one. The protests intend to help wake up the American people. We say we want better schools, health care, safe neighborhoods, jobs, an end to police brutality, and clean air, water and land (just to mention a few concerns). Well, where are our tax moneys going? Where is our control of public lands and airwaves? Who is putting money and action toward those needs? Who is talking about the fact that our No. 1 exports are weapons and arms, or that we have thousands of nuclear weapons on hair-trigger alert? This is nuts!
And this is what protesters are trying to get Americans, including reporters, to understand, so maybe they will demand that our presidential elections deal with people’s needs honestly and directly. We need journalists to report substantially, clearly, consistently and frequently on the issues ignored by George W. Bush and Al Gore.
Meyerson has rightly said that protests are not enough. People need to be working in the communities in many ways to establish populist, progressive, civic-minded strategies and solutions to the horrors of the current corrupt corporate-minded political system. People need to follow up on what Colin Powell challenged the Republicans to do in recognizing that affirmative action has existed far too long for the wealthy. (I would add far too long subsidizing the violence of the military.) Many activists are trying to do exactly this kind of locally based work, so maybe that is why there were less than the expected numbers of protesters in the streets of Philly.
Meanwhile, people were arrested, with some held on obscenely high ($1 million) bail for misdemeanor charges that stemmed from assembling in nonviolent protests. Is this what we mean by “liberty and justice for all”? Is that what we mean by “free elections”?
The protests at the Republican and Democratic national conventions are one means to help ensure we are not enslaved by corrupt politicians and corrupt political parties, or by our own apathy and cynicism.
THE SHADOW KNOWS
Thanks for your coverage of the Shadow Convention. I hope you’ll continue to cover this special convention that exposes the areas the other conventions neglect — especially the harm the “war on drugs” is causing to American families. We must find better ways of dealing with the drug problem, and the only way we’re going to do this is through open and truthful discussion.
Re: Harold Meyerson’s “Liberty and Justice for All: The Democratic Party Platform You Won’t See” [August 11–17]. Your proposed planks for the Democratic Party are absolutely frightening! Most Americans would not wish to exist in such a workers’ paradise. I note you never mention liberty, or freedom, or reward for the achievers of our society. At any rate, now that this simple person has had a chance to view your “manifesto,” I shall do my small part to block your views and implementation of same. Mr. David Horowitz certainly has you people nailed! Having moved amongst you, I believe he has much to tell us.
—Richard W. Cooper
Just read the “Liberty and Justice for All” would-be platform from the “progressive” side of the Democratic Party. In that whole piece, the word freedom was used three times. The idea of freedom, or winning our freedom back, or increasing the freedom of Americans from government and having control over their own lives, was nowhere. I am really saddened that the people who could be considered the enemies of GOP fascism have developed into equally, if not more, disturbing proponents of fascism, looking for government to control the thoughts, actions and intentions of the citizenry from cradle to grave. That platform should have been called “Jackboot Liberalism for All.”
NOT THEM AGAIN!
Thanks for the comprehensive article by Greg Brouwer on the invasion of the fire ants [“Them,” August 4–10]. As mentioned in the article, Rachel Carson outlined â this problem 38 years ago in Silent Spring, showing the futility of trying to eradicate “them.” But when gigantic profits are at stake, who’s listening? Brouwer’s article once again proves her thesis.
—John J. Hunt
Re: “Them.” Don’t worry, they don’t eat much.
San Antonio, Texas
Congratulations to the L.A. Weekly and to Sara Catania for highlighting, in the article “It’s Not Easy Being Green” [July 28–August 3], the need for additional trees in Los Angeles. However, this otherwise informative article is flawed by some unfortunate misconceptions re the City Street Tree Division. The Windsor Square Association has found Chief Forester Gonzales outstanding in his support of our local effort to encourage tree planting and responsible tree care. The Tree Division staff — and particularly Supervisor Troy Galleros — are appropriately fanatical in their opposition to chain saws used to overtrim trees. If you overtrim or hat-rack a street tree, you may expect a prompt citation. The overburdened city staff’s dedicated efforts deserve our praise and support.
Windsor Square Association Tree Committee
Earlier this year, many of your writers — such as John Seeley, Joseph Treviño and, especially, Harold Meyerson — wrote powerful pieces on the L.A. janitors’ strike. Being transplanted from Detroit, I assumed the L.A. Weekly (as with most free weeklies with any political writings) to be a strong leftist, pro-labor publication — much needed in towns like L.A., where papers like the Times, which dominate, are part of corporate-owned media empires.
As a member of the Screen Actors Guild, then, I’ve been shocked and disappointed by the lack of coverage of our strike against the advertising industry. I would think any ambitious writer would be fascinated to see an old union like ours basically take on the entire corporate world. I don’t expect any positive coverage from the larger media outlets, since they are owned by the same people we are fighting. But I would hope a paper like yours would investigate the skewed numbers and propaganda that have been used to fight us.
Our fight is wreaking havoc on the film industry. We have more or less run most commercial shoots out of town (and into Canada). The strike is beginning to be felt financially by many people in the industry (some of them workers and business owners who claim to be wounded, innocent bystanders, but when this strike started — and it looked as if it would be “business as usual” with scab actors — they were all eager to take part, and now that the work has dried up, they are crying “Foul!” at us).
With more labor problems looming in the entertainment industry and with the town already bracing for possible strikes by SAG and the Writers Guild because of problems with television and film contracts, this will be a story too big to ignore (especially when high-profile shows like Friends are interrupted — then the Weekly will be fighting with Entertainment Tonight for a scoop and an angle).
As this strike continues to make an impact, I look forward to reading about it on your pages and seeing what your crackerjack team of writers makes of it. But please, don’t ignore it any longer.
AD HOMINEM AD NAUSEAM
I was very upset when I read the opening line of Miriam Jacobson’s review of my play The Tangled Web [July 28–August 3]: “Eyal Alony shows his contempt for mankind in general and for women in particular in his misguided one-act comedy about abusive relationships.” I cannot argue with Ms. Jacobson’s opinion of the play itself, as it is just that — her opinion. However, as regards her assertion that I have contempt for women, nothing could be further from the truth. The play is about the circle of victimization in relationships between men and women, and there is absolutely nothing in the show that suggests that I am a misogynist. Yes, there are chauvinistic jokes in the play, made by a character who does not respect women. However, that character gets his comeuppance in the end, as he is spurned by his lover in much the same way that Nora slams the door on her dominating hubby in A Doll’s House. Would anyone accuse Henrik Ibsen of having contempt for women? Give me a break. I suppose that if I wrote about the KKK, that would make me a racist, or if I wrote about Jeffrey Dahmer, that would make me a cannibalism enthusiast. The Tangled Web has been produced at three different theaters in Los Angeles, and never before have I been accused of having contempt for women. Not only is the statement not true, but it has no place in a professional theater review. Ms. Jacobson’s job is to comment on the play itself, not to make false and defamatory statements about those involved. Clearly, Ms. Jacobson has issues of her own, but she should learn to curb her anger when she’s putting someone’s name in print. It wouldn’t be amiss for the L.A. Weekly to do some better editing as well.
Writer-director, The Tangled Web
Re: Paul Cullum’s “Absolut Art Guise” [August 4–10]. The Art Guys have unfortunately failed in their postmodern attempt to alchemize the commercial and the artistic. They have fallen prey to the power of advertising to co-opt everything in its path, because they failed to learn a basic thematic lesson that Warhol and Duchamp transmitted in their work: The Art Guys failed to immunize themselves against their own magic. More plainly put, they have fallen victim to the very fantasy system they are trying to use. They remind me of a commercial director I worked with who confused the beer campaign we were shooting with a road movie.
Marina del Rey
Last week’s article on Ted Hayes (“Waiting for Lefties”) incorrectly stated that both Dome Village and the adjacent site of the National Homeless Convention sat on land leased from Holiday Inn. The Village is actually on property leased from a private-partnership corporation, and the convention was held in a parking lot donated by the United Parcel Service.