SYMPHONY OF SLAMS
L.A. Weekly’s constant rationalizing and minimizing of its outrageous
left-wing bias is nothing new, but how can Harold Meyerson actually make such
an insupportable argument as “A hunt for ideologically driven or monomaniacal
newspapers in America will turn up more dailies than weeklies”
[“Hold the Politics,” Powerlines, January 24–30] and still expect to be
published? Oh, that’s right. It’s the Weekly. You guys can say anything
you want, and anyone who disagrees with you even slightly receives the standard
barrage of liberal epithets: reactionary, racist, homophobe and, your worst
insult of all, Valleyite. The irony is your disdain for the Valley and its middle-class
denizens reveals the elitism inherent in your snooty Westside iconoclastic attitudes.
To justify the Weekly’s stultifyingly narrow view, Meyerson points to
“a soupçon of ideological tilt in the talk-radio market and its TV counterpart,
the Fox News Channel.” Is he kidding? At least Fox hires avowed leftists like
Geraldo Rivera and Alan Colmes to balance the so-called rightists. Who does
the Weekly have to balance its gaggle of aging hippies, dilettante academicians
and “special interest” advocates? Nobody, that’s who. And despite Meyerson’s
claim that the New Times was somehow “classically neocon,” Jill Stewart
was the lone voice of centrist ideas in that otherwise standard-issue Lenin/Lennonist
rag. But I guess even one dissenter is too much for the delicate sensibilities
of L.A.’s “people of conscience” (or whatever fatuous, intellectually masturbatory
name they have for themselves these days).
Anyway, if the Department of Justice investigation was the result of Machiavellian
machinations engineered by the Bush White House, maybe it’s time for you all
to stop dismissing him as so stupid. After his so-called “theft” of the White
House in ’00 and his wrangling of both houses of Congress in the next cycle,
it seems he’s got all you liberals flummoxed. L.A. may have a boundless and
inflexible appetite for the Weekly’s brand of softheaded utopian piety,
but the whole rest of the country obviously prefers Bush’s down-home populism.
The suggestion that alternative weeklies aren’t far more politically opinionated
than any major daily (the Daily News included) is such contrarian nonsense
that it’s hardly worth commenting on. And the categorization of the New Times
as neoconservative only proves how myopic Meyerson’s world-view has become.
If anything, New Times gave Democrats an easier pass than the Weekly
did, but at least some attempt was made to dish out praise and blame
evenly to both sides (clearly not the case at the Weekly, notwithstanding
Harold’s second-to-last paragraph, where he trots out the two nice things his
paper has said about Republicans in the last 10 years as evidence of its evenhandedness).
Basically, two large corporations (Village Voice Media and New Times) have
conspired to slash this city’s political dialogue in half for the sake of boosting
profits. If Meyerson didn’t happen to work for one of them, he’d be camped out
on the Justice Department’s steps demanding an investigation. What a fucking
Harold Meyerson fails to identify — let alone analyze — the responsibilities
of the U.S. Department of Justice. The various examples of media homogenization
he cites are certainly lamentable, but if anyone should remedy this problem,
it is our elected representatives. By contrast, the role of the DOJ is to enforce
existing laws. Mr. Meyerson cites no examples of the U.S. government’s failure
to prosecute illegal behavior. With regard to the New Times/Village Voice Media
case, the DOJ’s interest in promoting diversity is mandated by statutes that
are already on the books. DOJ lawyers are not promoting — and should not be
promoting — diversity in any other context.
Shortly after reading Harold Meyerson’s article
about the alleged collusion between Village Voice Media and the New Times company
(Jesus, talk about good riddance), I flipped the page to the Night Music column,
where Alan Rich, per his usual, was finding nothing good in L.A. Opera — he
hates them, the Philharmonic, everybody. In fact, I’m almost as sick of reading
him as I was of reading the New Times. Anyway, the thought struck me
— if thedeal between New Times and Village Voice has to be revisited, maybe
you could send Alan Rich to Cleveland and find someone to cover classical music
in L.A. who isn’t predisposed to think it’s all shit. Plus, I’d be interested
to see if the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra might possibly measure up to
Mr. Rich’s standards, or if he’s just congenitally hostile to live music.
OILY, BUT SUBTLE
Marc Cooper is right about the sloppiness of the
film Power and Terror, but he misses the point in his analysis of Chomsky’s
January 24–30]. Just because Chinese and Russian regimes murdered more of
their own people than we did doesn’t mean we aren’t, as Chomsky says, “one of
the worst” when it comes to 2 million to 3 million dead in Vietnam, our brutal
behavior in Central America (which Cooper knows all about), not to mention a
long history of violent expansionism, gunboat diplomacy, imperialism. We may
be subtler than the commies, but once you cross a certain line — say, inviting
a death-squad leader to dance at the inaugural ball, as Guatemalan thug Mario
Sandoval Alacan did at Reagan’s second — what’s the difference, morally speaking?
Cooper points out that the hijackers weren’t the poor, rising up against oppression.
But so what? The American Marines, and the culture they represent, aren’t either.
Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein — wacko fascists that they are — see themselves
involved in a long struggle between societies, and believe they must use violence
to get what they want. Just like us.
Finally, Cooper predicts that a socialist society in the United States would
make the fanatics hate us even more. Does this mean we have to abandon the social
safety net? And how does Cooper know this? Is he implicitly agreeing with President
Bush’s war cry, “They hate us because we are free”? If so, why don’t they hate
Japan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, India, France, Sweden, Canada, etc.? They hate
us because we are imperialists disguised as Democrats. The kind of society Chomsky
envisions would not use military might, as the U.S. has done for a century,
to protect oil. In that case, maybe they wouldn’t hate us.
BOTH DEAD WRONG
So, Sara Catania thinks that outgoing Illinois Governor George Ryan is a hero
because he commuted the death sentences of 167 inmates to life! [“The
Accidental Hero,” January 17–23]. Considering the acts of brutality of these
men, including torture and rape as well as murder, it’s hard to understand Catania’s
position. It is impossible to accept it as moral. She says that Ryan is now
spoken of in the same breath as the Nobel Peace Prize — along with mass murderer
Arafat, no doubt. It is ironic that many of America’s liberals and progressives
are out to save the skins of some of the worst killers in the world — Arafat,
Saddam Hussein, even the common murderers who have terrorized our own communities.
Catania calls herself a “crime and communities” researcher. Going easy on
murderers only endangers the very communities she ostensibly cares about. What
next, amnesty for Osama bin Laden?
Re: Steven Mikulan’s “Who
Would Jesus Bomb?” [January 24–30]. What an asinine story. Iraq is who he
would bomb. The Iraqis are non-believers, and their leader is a tyrant dictator
who murders and rapes his own people. He hates Christianity and the Jews. He
does not believe in the fact that Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for
all of the human race. The article is written by a person who knows little about
Bible doctrine, which is the reason our country was punished on 9/11. He can
find out the truth at www.berachah.org. This thinking is killing our
country, just as it did Rome. President Bush is a believer in God and an excellent
leader. Liberalism is killing the country also.
Had Doug Ireland taken the time to research his article “I’m
Linda, Fly Me” [January 17–23] like a professional journalist, he would
have known that Northwest Airlines not only was nowhere near bankruptcy,
but has beaten analysts’ expectations continually over the last eight years.
Northwest has been among the most profitable of the five major airlines in the
I have no words to express my admiration for Marc
Cooper’s article “The
Real Thing” [Dissonance, January 31–February 6]. It’s an incredible relief
to realize there are still people who can see where the Bush administration’s
arrogant and ignorant attitude toward the rest of the world is taking us. Does
anyone else see in his face the pure fear that I see? He is a scared child —
with a loaded gun.
I was present at Ronnie Mack’s last Barn Dance,
reviewed by Jonny Whiteside in the current Live
in L.A. column [January 31–February 6]. I was truly dumbfounded by Whiteside’s
assault on Randy Weeks’ performance, which read like a personal attack. My friends
and I had a good time listening and dancing in the aisles to Mr. Weeks and band.
Whiteside should keep his angst, frustration and jealousy (that’s what it sounds
like to me) to himself and let those of us with good taste enjoy ourselves.
Perhaps the reference to a “sun-dried mud pie” was really just a reflection
he saw in the mirror while shaving.
Brendan Bernhard’s story on the miniseries Crime
and Punishment [“Students
Against Old Ladies,” Box Populi, January 24–30] comes with a photo of the
actress playing Sonya. The caption says that it is Kate Ashfield, but I’m quite
sure it is actually Lara Belmont.
Fairfax Station, Virginia