I would like to commend Ella Taylor for writing “Burning Bush” [June 25–July 1], the best review of Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11 that I have read. Although I am strictly against both the Iraq invasion and the Bush administration, I do take issue with some of the techniques employed by Moore, objections that Ms. Taylor’s review helps elucidate. Her reasoned analysis is refreshing when compared to the raw emotion driving the support and dissent surrounding the film.
I think Ella Taylor’s review is pretty inaccurate. The purpose of watching Bush get ready to make his speech is to illustrate that politics is show business. And the point of watching Bush read My Pet Goat is to show that he knew his country was under attack and didn’t realize he had a job to do. Apparently neither does your reviewer. She calls Moore a “simplifier.” Was Moore supposed to put the last three years on film? Or the 20 years of previous administrations and American businesses (à la Halliburton) supporting Saddam so he could terrorize his people and Iran? Or to try to explain in a two-hour film that bombing people isn’t all that liberating? Jeez; what’s the girl want from a movie?
One glance at the “Kids Rock” cover [June 18–24] and anyone who’s already noticed Seven McDonald’s near-blind obsession with lil’ people could guess the story’s author. Her fixation is so obvious it forces one to ponder why she hasn’t devoted some print space to autobiographical material relating to her own child-star career and rock & roll pedigree. It would be a win-win situation for everyone: We would get to enjoy her near-constant name-dropping and undying adoration of thrift-store fashion sensibility, and Ms. McDonald would get to work out her issues without running up a big-time therapy bill.
Maybe L.A. Weekly’s editorial office enjoys having a mascot who devotes her journalistic career to a written version of Bob McCalister’s opening routine on Wonderama, but the bit is played-out beyond belief in “Kids Rock,” in which McDonald hangs out on endless street corners with countless kiddies and treats us to her fanzine-style approach to reporting. True, I’m reading, so something’s working. But I only keep up with the contributions so I’ll be able to get the biggest yuks from the growing legion of readers whose collective jaws drop with the predictability of her subject matter. This isn’t journalism; it’s the contents of a schoolgirl’s dream book.
Art Goldberg and Susan Philips articulate the problems of the anti-war movement well in Steven Mikulan’s “Two Words” [Open City, June 18–24]. While the Kerry Factor is a big deal, what has kept me away from anti-war protests is the linkage that groups like ANSWER make between Bush’s war in Iraq and the politics of the Israel/Palestine conflict.
Since Vietnam, Jews have contributed a vast number of protesters to anti-war movements. But no self-respecting Jew will go to a rally where Ariel Sharon is compared to a German dictator or where the so-called Israeli occupation is labeled genocide. Although Goldberg and Philips say this in a different way to Mikulan, I nevertheless believe it is a more important factor than John Kerry in keeping protests down.
MY OLD FRIEND
As a movie watcher, I have enough respect for those behind and in front of the cameras on the Graduate sidebar (it’s not a sequel or a prequel, so I think “sidebar” is an appropriate description) to give this project the benefit of the doubt. It would be nice if Ms. Nikki Finke and all the Hollywood naysayers would at least let the movie be made and released before they start throwing spears at it [Deadline Hollywood, “Say It Ain’t So, Mrs. Robinson,” June 25–July 1].
Pembroke Pines, Florida
What a shame that Steven Mikulan spent so much time comparing Chuck Smith’s and my adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s play Next in Line to the Bradbury short story it was based on [“Rocket Man,” June 25–July 1]. Unfortunately for Mr. Mikulan’s thesis — that we “shifted the focus” — the play was based on two Bradbury short stories, “Next in Line” and “Interval in Sunlight.” I say unfortunately because in expounding on what the playwrights did or did not do, the play itself was not reviewed.
I was under the impression that the L.A. Weekly observes the protocol of reviewing, which is to cover the essential factors of a production. I am not blaming Mr. Mikulan; we neglected to make clear the origins of the play. But if he was bent on writing an essay about the rights and wrongs of adaptation, a phone call to the adapters might seem self-evident.
Mikulan replies: For the record, I did comment (favorably) on the set and called the play wordy and filled with somewhat stagy dialogue. I did not write the quote you attribute to me.
Congratulations to the L.A. Weekly writers who were honored at the ninth annual Alternative Newsweekly Awards, an event sponsored by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. Kristine McKenna won 1st place in the Arts Feature category for “The Ace is Wild: The Doug Chrismas Story” (October 10–16, 2003); Brendan Bernhard won 2nd place in Arts Criticism for his Box Populi columns “A Head Above” (April 18–24, 2003) and “How AMERICAN Is It?” (May 2–8, 2003); John Curry won 2nd place in Editorial Layout for “A User’s Guide to Kicking” (August 22–28, 2003); Kate Sullivan won 3rd place in Music Criticism for “Against Small Odds” (October 31–November 6, 2003), “Boy Wonder” (April 11–17, 2003) and “Vinyl Fetish” (February 7–13, 2003); and Vince Beiser won 3rd place in the News Story (In-depth) category for “Harvest of Pain” (November 28–December 4, 2003).