GENERAL RELIEF, MEET MAJOR DYSFUNCTION
Re: “L.A. on $7.37 a Day” [July 2329]. A million thanks for one of the best articles I have read in years, an article that managed to put a real, human and dignified face on poverty. Perhaps “poverty” is the wrong word, because while Joanie Murray may not have money, she has dignity and integrity enough to shame our acquisitive souls. Thank you, Celeste Fremon, Anne Fishbein and Joanie Murray, for your honesty.
Bravo to Celeste Fremon, whose article accurately illustrates the day-to-day struggle of those trapped by our sick city's General Relief system. I too receive G.R., food stamps and all the other horseshit, and live with the paranoia of wondering whether or not I will find myself homeless because I forgot to cross a T or dot an I. God bless you, Joanie, wherever you are, and good luck.
The Welfare Reform Act was a disastrous mistake. It should never have been enacted. At a time when the federal government is planning to give billions of dollars in tax breaks, mainly to the rich and the corporations, because of a record surplus, we are going to take away from the chronically indigent what little help they receive. If there were enough jobs for these people, and if they were mentally and physically capable of sustained gainful employment, it would be less of a hardship, but hundreds of thousands of people who haven't a ghost of a chance of getting a (nonexistent) job are about to be cut off completely without a dime or even the remotest prospect of a salaried position. It is tantamount to a death sentence. It is an incitement to crime, prostitution, drug abuse and mental illness. What are these people supposed to do if they can't get work — lie down and die? Quietly starve to death? Commit a crime so that they can at least be assured of three square meals a day in L.A. County Jail? To terminate these people's benefits, paltry and inadequate as they are, in a society that can easily afford to continue them, is a brutal and barbarous act, unworthy of a democratic and ostensibly egalitarian society.
–Charles B. Edelman
Thank God there is the L.A. Weekly to give some reality and much-needed perspective to the ego-driven Angelenos who exist in our two-headed city. There is such contrast and irony in L.A., and I'm glad Celeste saw it and pointed it out in such a poignant way. I will never forget Joanie.
Celeste Fremon writes with something that has disappeared from city bureaucrats: compassion. It's unpopular to be poor. And God help you if you're black and female. Rather than cut back entitlements, maybe reorganization of the managers who oversee these programs — the arrogant boors realize they can get away with mistreatment of the most disenfranchised among us — is in order.
People such as Joanie Murray have no business being on General Relief. Joanie quite frankly does not want to work, evidenced by the fact that this 44-year-old woman has amassed a grand total of one year of work experience. Joanie claims, “Domestics is my field.” She needs to be informed that one year of employment does not constitute a “field.” Joanie's entire so-called job search seems to be concentrated in this field, yet she has not worked since 1993. Maybe it's time for her to start looking in another field. What's wrong with working in the fast-food field?
To Joanie, a job is a “backup,” something to fall back on when she can no longer freeload off taxpayers. She purports to be “too old and independent to live with her mother,” yet has no problem asking Los Angeles County to support her. Rather than fervently pursuing employment, she occupies her time buying new pantsuits and getting a manicure to “keep her spirits up.”
I'm looking forward to November 8, 1999, the day Joanie's benefits terminate. I'm sick and tired of seeing my hard-earned tax dollars handed out to such deadbeats.
Re: “Rogan's Heroes” [OffBeat, July 2329]. It's called “Free” Republic because the true meaning of free speech is upheld. With 50,000-plus hits per day, it's a bit difficult for one person to monitor every word, even if he tried. Practically every word you liberal socialists utter is offensive to me, and I consider it hate speech, yet no one censors you. Your favorite buzz word, “tolerance,” as defined by your ilk, means all beliefs are equally valid; therefore, the beliefs of conservatives are as â valid as yours. Get over it, and stop creating divisiveness among Americans.
I think it is irresponsible for your publication to pick out a few very isolated remarks from the Free Republic Web site out of context, without mentioning the response those flagrant replies elicit from the rest of us.
Please visit the Web site. Its politics will not be to your liking, but you may get a new respect for the type of people who have thoughtful things to say about issues. We don't tolerate the idiots any more than you do!
–Toni S. Maynard
You should be aware that on any Web-based discussion group, there will be postings by those who intend to cause a stir. Sometimes these postings are even done by those who wish to discredit the site (maybe L.A. Weekly readers?). At any rate, you seem to be confusing anti-illegal-immigration with racism.
Stick around, Free Republic. Engage in some debates. We are always looking to hear and debate the leftist point of view.
I am not a poster on, or a member of, F.R., but I do read it to get the conservative view of things, much as I read Salon and The Nation to get the left-wing view. If you are condemning F.R. because it allows free expression of sometimes hateful and ignorant thoughts, please condemn all avenues of free speech, not just the ones you disagree with.
EIGHT OUT OF 11 AIN'T BAD
In “Master Class” [July 2329], Paul Malcolm wrote that “the Hitchcock series represents a singular opportunity for anyone who hasn't spent the '90s jetting off to Berlin, Toronto, Venice and Cannes” to see the films of international directors such as Claire Denis, Kinji Fukasaku, Ken Loach, Deepa Mehta, Garin Nugroho, Idrissa Ouédraogo, Lynne Ramsay, Arturo Ripstein and Tsai Ming-Liang. L.A. cineastes who know better didn't have to do that, because the UCLA Film and Television Archive has screened the works of the above-mentioned directors — except for Fukasaku, Mehta and Ramsay — at various times throughout the '90s, frequently with the directors in attendance. Of the films in the Hitchcock series, three actually received their U.S. or local premieres at the Archive: Ripstein's Divine, in February of this year; Tsai's The River, in 1997; and Nugroho's And the Moon Dances, in 1996. In 1990, the Archive organized a Ripstein retrospective that subsequently toured North America and Europe.
Malcolm does a disservice to L.A.'s film culture by presuming less than there actually is. If he laments “the vagaries and neglect that pass for foreign-film distribution in the United States,” that's all the more reason for him not to overlook the efforts of organizations like the Archive that are doing something about that lack.
UCLA Film and Television Archive
Imagine my surprise to discover my name in the pages of the L.A. Weekly [“Basil Expedition Goes to Holyland,” OffBeat, July 30August 5]. It's not every day that a reporter from a “scrappy” rag like the Los Angeles Independent has the pleasure of being simultaneously patronized and plagiarized in such a worthy paper. I must confess that a less-than-close study of the Los Angeles Times' fine “My Favorite Weekend” column led me to erroneously report in “Virtual Holyland” (L.A. Independent, July 21) that actor Michael York had visited the Holyland Exhibition in Silver Lake. In fact, as you pointed out, he just hopes to go someday.
Determined not to make the same mistake twice, I took special care reading your equally OffBeat section. It was then that I noticed the eerie similarities between your writer's take on the Holyland Exhibition and my original piece. With the exception of a single credited quote, other parts of my “Virtual Holyland” article made it onto the pages of the Weekly without attribution, making it appear that OffBeat had actually conducted independent research on Holyland.
Wasn't it Michael York who said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Maybe not. In any case, I don't know whom to thank for the compliment, since your author neglected to include a byline.
Los Angeles Independent
THEY CAN'T ALL BE JIMI HENDRIX
A couple of weeks ago, you ran a photograph of guitarist John Pisano in the jazz section of the Weekly. It shows him playing left-handed, and I thought, “Uh-oh” — and “It's one of Claxton's.” This week, I saw a similar shot of guitarist Nels Cline, and I thought, “Uh-oh” — and “It's one of mine.”
Why do layout artists reverse pictures left to right? We photographers allow you some artistic license, but now you're distorting the facts and messin' with history. This is just irresponsible journalism. I wonder how many homers McGwire would have scored last season had you had him hit from the other side, or how many of Odets' characters would be sitting around waiting for Righty.
Y'all need to quit doing this shit now.
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