Raging Against a Homophobe

Regarding Marc Cooper’s dismissal of my book Schwarzenegger Syndrome
With Arnold
,” June 3–9], I cannot avoid the feeling that Mr. Cooper’s
distorted description of the book itself, along with his remarks about my photo
on the book jacket — an homage to Louise Bourgeois, whose faux fur I am wearing
in the picture — is not an honest appraisal, but retribution for my one personal
encounter with Mr. Cooper, many years ago, when I was covering the federal trial
of the officers in the Rodney King case. Mr. Cooper made it so obnoxiously clear
to me that he regarded himself as the only person qualified to write about anything
to do with Los Angeles and California that after he had exhausted my patience,
I informed him that he struck me as a semieducated, boorish, pompous twit, an
impression that nothing he has subsequently published has done anything to ameliorate.
At that time, Mr. Cooper also had an obvious case of raging homophobia, something
to which I am not normally especially sensitive, but in his case could not ignore.
I’m sure he vigorously defends gay rights when striking noble poses in The Nation
and elsewhere, but he’s a fag-bashing asshole, in truth.

—Gary Indiana
New York

Marc Cooper responds: Alas, we, the “semieducated” products
of state college, certainly aspire to but rarely achieve the levels of erudition
and refinement expressed here by Gary Indiana. But just as he gets the Schwarzenegger
story wrong, so does he rewrite our one face-to-face meeting in 1992. Indiana
popped into L.A. to write about the Rodney King trial and asked me to lunch
to pick my brain. We were both working for the Village Voice at the time so
I readily consented. I recall a pleasant and friendly meal at Hugo’s during
which I shared some local lore, wished Indiana well, shook his hand, and even
picked up the tab. Sorry, Gary: My less than effusive review stems not from
any sense of retribution, but merely because your book was not very good.

A Gem Uncovered

I can’t thank you enough for that much-deserved cover piece on
one of the divine gems of Los Angeles, Stephan Hoeller [“Exile
in Godville: Profile of a Postmodern Heretic
,” May 20–26]. I have been
reading and listening to Mr. Hoeller ever since discovering him years ago on
KPRC’s Roy of Hollywood. In a city that is a veritable cornucopia of spiritual
thinking, Stephan stands out with his balance of earthy, humorous insight and
lucid explanation of Gnosticism, an enduring treasure of Western spiritual thought.

—Dianne Lawrence
Los Angeles

I have just finished reading A.W. Hill’s hilarious article “Exile
in Godville” and found it astounding. How could a story as red and ripe
as the history of Gnosticism have avoided ink for so long? My sincere compliments
to A.W. Hill for ferreting out Stephan Hoeller and his merry band of Gnostics.
And right here in legendary Hollywood! Why, not too long ago I had to swerve
around a huge 6-foot clump of blue plaster in the road. Glancing upward, I noticed
what seemed to be a missing chunk of sky! Chicken Little, St. Thomas, Stephan
Hoeller and Truman all seem to know the same thing — look to the skies.

—Rich Cook
Santa Monica

Exposure = Cancer

Although I do appreciate Judith Lewis’ article on the high cost
of nuclear power, “Split
Over Atoms
” [May 27–June 2], I was nonetheless dismayed to see her
give credence to the hormesis theory, which (shockingly) suggests that radiation
is good for your health.

Nothing could be more ridiculous. The National Academy of Sciences
regularly reviews the state of radiation health research. Its findings, published
as “Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation,” consistently point
to a linear, no-threshold model of exposure. In other words, the greater the
exposure to radiation, the greater the possibility of cancer. At least that’s
what the National Academy of Sciences says. But, instead, if you want to take
the opinion of a wacko academic — be my guest.

The nuclear industry is pushing through new regulations allowing
it to place radioactive garbage in local landfills, to be sent to scrap yards,
and to be used as road-building material. These efforts should be resisted.
More exposure to radiation will result in more cancer.

—Jonathan Parfrey
Executive director,
Physicians for Social Responsibility — Los Angeles

Winning Streak

Four Weekly writers have received honors for their efforts
in two different contests. In the Best of the West contest, Celeste Fremon won
first place in the Project Reporting category for her yearlong series covering
the lives of
the Aguilar family
. Also in Best of the West, Marc Cooper won second-place
honors in the Immigration and Minority Affairs Reporting category for a piece
on the politics of Indian gaming, and John Powers received second place for
General Interest Column Writing.

Jonathan Gold is a winner in the Association of Food Journalists’
Awards Competition 2005. The category is Restaurant Criticism (150,001–350,000


In the 826LA story in last week’s special issue on indie publishers
(“I Wonder Why
All the Kids Don’t Go to 826”
), we misspelled Melissa Mathison’s name,
wrongly stated that 826LA is in partnership with the Green Dot charter schools
(the center is publishing a book with students from Animo Inglewood), and failed
to note that executive director Pilar Perez is also a McSweeney’s editor.

LA Weekly