Ever Hear of “Spoiler Alert”?

I don’t read movie reviews anymore until after I’ve seen the movie because they often give things away. But unfortunately I did read Nikki Finke’s “Have They No Shame?” Oscar article [January 28–February 3]. And without any warning (ever heard of spoiler alert?), she gave away something major about Hilary Swank’s character in Million Dollar Baby.

—Rhonda Pantell

Los Angeles

Thanks, Nikki Finke, for giving away key elements from Million Dollar Baby. Totally ruined it for me.

—Christopher Perez

San Fernando

I’m trying to recall a more idiotic not to mention more poorly written article than the one by Nikki Finke on the Oscars.

Dances With Wolves won the Oscar “because of its use of [the] Sioux Lakota dialect.” Huh? Annette “Bening has the sympathy vote . . . after all she ‘plays house’ with a has-been.” First of all, Bening and Warren Beatty are married and have a house full of children — and Beatty’s a has-been? What on Earth are you talking about? The ageism, sexism and racism throughout Finke’s diatribe is simply nauseating. Strike that — it’s infantile and sick.

Taylor Hackford is put down because the syllable “hack” is part of his name? Guess what — “fink” is part of the author’s name.

—Saul Davis

Studio City

Speak Well of the Dead

Regarding the phrase “purple-permed punk photographer Jenny Lens passed out fliers to promote her Web site” in the article about Johnny Ramone’s memorial at Hollywood Forever [A Considerable Town, “Rock & Roll Cemetery,” January 21–27]:

I have never had a perm nor owned a hair curler in my life!! I have natural, God-given curls Shirley Temple would envy. The flier was titled “Celebrating the Ramones in California, 1976–1978.” The fliers were avidly requested by the fans, and I never mentioned they were my photos. I told people I made it so fans would have a memento from that day. The innermost Ramones circle didn’t find a problem with them either. But what can I expect when the first line of the article is critical of what Johnny’s widow, Linda, was wearing?

Next time send someone who reveres the person who is being honored. Your article didn’t serve anyone well. The ceremony was touching beyond words and gratifying, especially for those of us who loved the Ramones since they first landed in L.A. in August 1976.

—Jenny Lens

Santa Monica

Left in the Cold

I could not agree more with John Powers’ sentiment in “A Vision of Our Own” that “the left hasn’t done the hard, slow work of thinking through what it means to be progressive” [January 21–27]. However, I find that values played a larger role in the outcome of the election than Powers supposes. While taking a different approach to value issues may have not won Democrats the latest election, the approach of playing to the right’s values may have cost them greatly in the long term.

Democrats will only find failure in trying to become the diet-Republican party (same great taste, half the values). My friends and I will never again succumb to the “lesser of two evils” dilemma, as was the case in the past election. Instead, our votes will go to third-party candidates with unwavering progressive values.

—Brent Clermont

Los Angeles

I agree with Marc Cooper that the Democrats’ intellectual infrastructure will be useless without new ideas [“Democrats Move to Plan B,” January 21–27]. However, I disagree with him and seemingly every other progressive who tries to address this problem. Like Marc, they almost invariably prescribe a class-based appeal and grassroots organizing.

It is utterly clear to me that the Democrats will never capture people’s hearts and minds by espousing an economics that is a lite version of the Republicans’ neoliberalism. The voters will always trust purists more than moderates.

Instead, I believe that Democrats should espouse and propagate two key economic concepts: ecological economics and a greater reliance on land taxes. Ecological economics starts from the holistic vision that everything is connected to everything else. It can be summarized as “full-cost accounting.” Applied, it would require that prices include the costs of disposal and pollution.

I urge you to read the works of Herman Daly and The Corruption of Economics by Mason Gaffney. They will open your eyes to the new ideas everyone is searching for.

—Danila Oder

Los Angeles

As much as I despise what I like to refer to as “limousine liberals,” I think that Marc Cooper needs a major reality check as to the way the world works. The system in which we as progressives are attempting to effect change is unfortunately grounded in the almighty dollar. The idea that we can change the world through strength of belief and rational thinking alone is extremely naive. I love your column, Marc, but you can’t fight fire with drum circles.

—Brandon Avery


I had one of the biggest, uncontrollable laughs of my life when I saw the cover of your latest issue [“The Next Four Years: A Survival Guide,” January 21–27]. Sandow Birk’s image, clever and good-natured in its humor, is at the same time a serious and powerful statement about the dire threat facing us. It’s just brilliant.

—Bill Woolery

Studio City


A listing for the New Beverly Cinema [Film Calendar, Revivals, January 21–27] had the wrong date for the Grindhouse Film Festival. Our apologies to readers who were inconvenienced by the error.

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