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CRITIQUING THE CRITIC
Boy, do I feel for Rich Kane ("I Was a Rock Critic for The Orange County Register," Dec. 4). There he was, watching concerts for free, but "you can't enjoy the show as you ordinarily would. . . . You gotta scribble down notes." The humanity! From there, we learn that Show freelancers are underpaid (shocking: underpaid journalists?) and that they sometimes suffer bad edits (because at other papers-including the Weekly, I'm sure-reporters always agree with editors). Then Kane explains how horrible the Register editorial pages are, which is important, since that has absolutely no bearing on his stint as a rock critic. If it did-if some right-wing conspiracy dominated news coverage-Kane probably wouldn't have been sent to review Marilyn Manson. But he didn't review Marilyn Manson -because the record company left him one free ticket instead of two. How can someone work under these conditions?
Worse still, the Show section dedicated Sunday to "fine arts," ignoring rock music and movies, which were instead shuffled into the twice-as-large Friday section to wither away. Then some employees wore ties, so obviously they were vacant-eyed drones. It's a wonder Kane didn't walk away sooner from interviews with George Clinton and Joshua Redman to work in a more liberal, liberating field like salt mining.
But the biggest tragedy, perhaps, is that Kane's assignments were downsized, and he was never given that carrot of a full-time job. The Register's biggest sin, Kane concludes, is that they never recognized his talent. For shame.
-Stephen Lynch, formerRegister staff writer, Budapest, Hungary
Rich Kane responds:Wow, Steve! Even I didn't have to flee to Eastern Europe to escape the Reg's long, bony claws! Your knee-jerk screed is mostly sanctimonious claptrap, so I'll just say that I never wanted or sought and would have refused a full-time gig at theReg if I had been offered one-I have morals, fer chrissake! And, hey, I don't have anything against neckties. WeWeekly menfolk have been known to wear them on occasion. We are, though, much better looking in them thanRegister people are.
I just finished reading the article Rich Kane wrote about the OC Nazi Party paper housed in Santa Ana and, having worked for them for a time, laughed my way through! I only worked in graphics at the North County papers (and his thoughts are right-on), and I want to thank Kane for using his professional word power to put into print what I have been feeling for some time.
Like Kane, I escaped, but I went to the Times to ply a trade among the just-as-corporate-but better-paying-whores in downtown Los Angeles.
-John Webb, Fullerton
I lived in Hollywood for six years and waited with bated breath for each Thursday to come around so I could get the new LA Weekly. I loved their coverage of all aspects of city life, most of all the areas I didn't actually live in. But when I moved to the city of Orange, the thing that disappointed me most (next to Diedrich's horrendous excuse for coffee) was the OC Weekly. I took issue with the shorter, less in-depth articles, the lack of overall weight to the paper (this has to last me a week, for crying out loud!) and the lack of calendar events taking place out here. So I threw you over for The Orange County Register. EEEEEEEKKKKKK! The only thing of value is the letters section-and that's for entertainment value.
I came crawling back to you on my bloody hands and knees and have forgiven the lack of entertainment. It's really not your fault Orange County has so few art houses for films and that Laguna Beach has spawned a cult of art zombies in pink and yellow and highly saturated teal. And the Reg doesn't have much to say about even those small rays of light.
The truth is the OC Weekly is the only direction I have gotten here behind the Orange Curtain, and now the Register props my door open so I can bring in the groceries. Kudos to Rich Kane for getting the hell out.
-Trisch Deehring, Orange
The editors respond: Thanks for the, uh, compliment. Now please pack your bags and move back to Hollywood because you're just way too cool for us squares out here in the sticks.
DON'T SLAG VAN AND BOB
In his review of Bruce Springsteen's new box set ("No Irony, Please, We're Bruce Fans," Dec. 4), Cornel Bonca states: "Everyone knows [Bob] Dylan is worth one good album a decade now, that [Van] Morrison's records are as scattershot as his concerts." Everyone? I had the great fortune of catching Morrison, Dylan and Joni Mitchell at UCLA this summer, and although it was the only time I've seen Morrison live, it was definitely one of the best shows I've seen, fulfilling all the expectations I had. Did Bonca catch that tour? What about the Enlightenment and Poetic Champions Compose albums? These rank as some of Morrison's best work-even after he created so many brilliant albums from 1968 to 1979 (probably the most inspired group of albums of all time). Why slag Morrison? Just to make Springsteen look better? What good does this do?