THE HIGH COST OF RESEARCH
Thank you for the cover story “Dance With a Stranger: Falling in Love at 40 Cents a Minute” by Evan Wright [January 2228]. Los Angeles culture is the union of virtually innumerable subcultures; further, these subcultures are made up of even more distinct groups, each with its own system of values, purpose and acceptable means of achieving that purpose. Wright did a great job of discovering the fractal nature of our culture. He began with the wide picture of a small story (the dance-for-pay scene) and started closing in, trying to get a better resolution (each individual dance hall), until he got to the grainy units (the dancers and customers). As he moved in, the story did not get simpler; instead, Wright got into whole new stories and could have kept on going forever, if only he had not been paying so much per minute.
In Mark Cromer's piece on Dan Singleton [“Another Domino Falls,” January 2228], our newspaper gets an offhand reference that reflects the problem with repeating rumors without any attempt at verification. Not only is the Daily Breeze nowhere “near collapse,” as the rumor asserts; we just completed the most profitable year we've had since 1991. We are in a stronger competitive position than we've been in years.
Rumors are never-ending in our business, but I wouldn't want your readers to believe there is substance to this one.
Editor, Daily Breeze
Re: Aaron Fontana's “Homeless Hype” [OffBeat, January 2228]. Why are you even bringing up this issue of The Big Issue vs. Making Change? When push comes to shove, it seems to me that TBI has a right to publish whatever it wants, wherever it wants — and to give the publication away or sell it with a vendor program. And Making Change has a right to publish the way it wants to. There should not be an argument, nor should other papers keep stirring one up. Making Change seems to spend more time badmouthing TBI than putting out and vending itself. TBI is a good magazine, and I for one think it should be left alone and allowed to do what it can do. Making Change should be about the business of putting out a publication and putting the homeless in its area to work. We have a small quarterly, StreetViews, that we put out here in Cheyenne, and the purpose is to give a voice to the homeless — and we give it away.
This debate needs to be over with.
Director, Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless
THERE GROWL I
In Dave Shulman's article about Mike Kelley [“What Makes the Worm Growl,” January 2228], Shulman writes, “Kelley's work tends to, among other things, expose public language as an ever-present proprietary construct the ritualized misinterpretations of which have brought on shitloads of cultural havoc.” It sounds to me like Shulman is the expert on shitloads.
WES IS MORE
Just wanted to say thanks for Joe Donnelly's wonderful article on Wes Anderson [“The Road Wes Traveled,” January 29February 4]. I've been a dedicated fan of Anderson's since I rented Bottle Rocket a couple of years ago, and I thought the article provided a nice perspective that a lot of other interviews and articles have left out — a more personal perspective. By the way, y'all don't happen to know how one can get ahold of the 13-minute black-and-white short, do you?
In your OffBeat item of February 511 “Puff Pastry,” you succeed both in smearing Rupert Murdoch and showing your constitutional ignorance when you speak of his “notorious penchant for jettisoning the First Amendment” because you don't care for his not publishing certain books. A private publisher is free to refuse to publish a book for any reason, or no reason at all. The First Amendment limits what the government may do vis-à-vis its citizens, not what citizens may do with respect to each other. To assist your recollection: “Congress [emphasis added] shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” (As a wit once put it, “Freedom of the press applies only to those who own presses.”)ä
I sentence your writer to 40 hours of remedial civics class.
–David Sternlight, Ph.D.
In Queena Sook Kim's article “Hemp Madness” [OffBeat, February 511], disinformation was perpetrated against the Canadian organization Hemp Agro International, which recently spearheaded a commendable effort to move the hemp industry forward and provide an environmentally friendly operation to help rebuild Nicaragua. The Nicaraguan government, pressured by the U.S. DEA, has imprisoned the botanist for the project, and his treatment has been abominable. This was clearly the furthest thing possible from a drug operation. The group obtained all necessary permits and conducted the operation completely aboveboard. The Chinese hemp seed for the project was shipped through a U.S. port and cleared by customs. The study was a scientific one and fully documented. The DEA stepped in at the last minute and forced the Nicaraguan government to turn on the growing operation. When will our country wake up and realize that drugs are not the problem, the war on drugs is? And please inform Ms. Kim that she needs to do more research before painting such a misleading picture.
DEPT. OF CHEAP SHOTS
Re: Ben Ehrenreich's “Compassion Caper” [OffBeat, January 511], written in response to an article I wrote for the Los Angeles Police Protective League's newspaper The Thin Blue Line regarding the pursuit and subsequent suicide of a double-homicide suspect. Crime is not pretty, nor are the results of crime. The police are to be commended for successfully bringing to an end a very long pursuit that could have resulted in traffic accidents and the loss of more lives. The fact that the suspect chose to end his life at the termination of the pursuit rather than surrender into police custody was an ending no one expected. Yes, it was sad — but not because of anything done by the LAPD.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Re: Jonathan Gold's Counter Intelligence column. It is obvious to me he eats or has eaten at every Chinese restaurant in the San Gabriel Valley. For this I am glad, but enough is enough. I eat in L.A. proper, and I love Chinese food, so why not find something great within the city? Most of us are just not going to schlep so far for any meal.
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