By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
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YOUR HITLER PARADE
Thanks for your cover story on the racist mobilizing at the Shack (Rich Kane's "Springboard for Hitler," Sept. 7). Several of us went to the club on the Thursday night the Weekly came out—usually billed as "hip-hop night"—with a flier proposing a boycott until the Shack stops profiteering from racist terror. One of the bouncers came out and informed us that the Shack "wasn't racist. We have n*gg*r [sic] bands, too."
It is unacceptable to offer a venue where various Nazi factions can unite their forces, rouse members and new recruits with racist musical propaganda, liquor them up, and send them back out into the community. Anyone interested in responding to the dangers posed by these organized white supremacist groups and their propensity for racist violence can write or call Anti-Racist Action/People Against Racist Terror, P.O. Box 1055, Culver City, CA 90232; (310) 495-0299; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.antiracist.org/issues.html or www.antiracistaction.Michael Novick
Though I have no sympathy for hatemongers of any kind, it seems that the protesters at the Shack would like to stop the fascist bands from playing at the club. I don't understand the Left at all. You want to take away the freedom and liberty of those bands and their fans? It seems that this makes them even more committed to their cause, just as anti-abortion protesters made women for choice work that much harder. Who will boycott the Shack? People who don't like hateful rock music? Oh, no! The more compassionate Nazi-rock fans? 'Scuse me while I laugh my ass off. Nope, the only way to deal with "racist" rock fans is to give them their tiny club in Orange County and let them rock. And don't you know they probably loved that Hitler-guitar illustration on your cover. Sometimes you guys can't do anything right!B. Dirk Yarborough
I notice Rich Kane seems to talk a lot of shit in his articles and diagree [sic] with some beliefs and in the same sentance [sic] support them. This is in regards to the recent article about "Spring board [sic] for Hitler." Were you even at the show to know what happened? No you weren't. So how would you know what was said and by who[?] Did you fail to realize that these "protesters" are shouting out vulgar words at the people attending the show[?] You don't have to agree with the beliefs of the concertgoers. But I am the "gwen stefani look alike" that said "if i wasn't pregnant I would kick your ass[.]" [T]he funny thing is you failed to mention what was said to me before that comment came out of my mouth, you know what kind of cloths [sic] I was wearing[,] but you can't pay enough attention to what these bastards are shouting at me. But I guess that wouldn't be important to someone who works for the jew media because your purpose is to report anything that will benefit your communist friends. It would just be nice to see an honest reporter report an honest event. . . . [T]he shows wont [sic] stop and neither will we. Didn't your mother ever tell you to keep your mouth shut when you don't know what your [sic] talking about?Sexy Skinbyrd
When I saw Hitler on your cover, the first thing that popped into my head was, "'Bout fuckin' time." I mean, really, Hitler deserves to be on more covers. And not to answer the "Are Germans looking for another Hitler?" question that you usually see. Because the answer to that is obvious—of course the Germans are waiting for another Hitler. The importance of this Hitler cover, as opposed to the others, is that it finally shows Hitler rocking out! Hitler always had style and charisma, and that's all you need to be in a rock band. However, I have one minor complaint. Hitler would never play bass. Hitler would only be the front man. He wouldn't even settle for lead guitar. Can you imagine Hitler with calluses on his fingers? Nope, Hitler was a lyricist, admittedly one who would belt out a rocker about killing Jews and conquering the Rhineland, but, gawddammit, enough of a wordsmith to get all of Germany to commit horrific war crimes. So get it right with next week's Unity Valkyrie Mitford cover (playing keyboards, natch).Stoopid Jonny
AND OUR BAGELS ARE
LIKE TOAST WITH A HOLE!
Steve Lowery criticizes New Yorkers ("Political Football," Sept. 7) for feeling they are superior? Here are a few reasons New Yorkers feel that way—particularly in relation to Southern Californians and especially Orange County. 1) We generally do not need magazines such as yours to report on neo-Nazi skinhead organizations. 2) Most people in New York can graduate from a two-year junior community college in two years. I cannot tell you how many people I have met from Orange County who are in their seventh year of community college. 3) At Italian or French restaurants in New York, there is an Italian or French chef in the kitchen who has typically trained in Europe or a culinary institute for several years. In Southern California, it's a migrant worker. 4) Advertisements for penile or breast augmentation (signs of insecurity) can't be found in the NY Times. They are everywhere in the LA Times. 5) Baseball, hockey and basketball games sell out in New York. Orange County packs stadiums for monster-truck shows and religious revivals—events often associated with hicks. 6) New York considers lawyers, doctors and CPAs to be desirable and prestigious positions. In Southern California, it's pool sweepers, landscape workers and loan officers. 7) In New York, a person who earns $50K per year cannot live in a nice apartment in Manhattan and/or afford a luxury car. In Southern California, $50K finds a person who drives a 10-year-old Mercedes (but replaces the decal and claims the car is only three years old) and four roommates who share a two-bedroom apartment just to say they live in Newport Beach.R.M. Klein
Southern California-born Steve Lowery receives mail in such volume that he long ago stopped bothering to answer it personally. His New York-born assistant, Carmine, responds: Now why ya gotta be bustin' Mr. Lowery's bawls like that, huh? Why? It's bad manners, for one thing—and Mr. Lowery, well, he's very sensitive. Things like this, they offend him. And it's not good to offend Mr. Lowery. Not good at all. Trust me. Now I got some advice for you, and I suggest you pay close attention: pull your Greenwich Village head outta your Bowery Boy ass. Keep it out for about five seconds. If you're smart—and gettin' through community college in two years, you're obviously not stupid—that should be long enough to realize your goddamn letter actually proves Mr. Lowery's most-excellent point. And then I suggest that you sit down and write another letter. And this time, be nice. Be very, very nice.
This may be nitpicking, since the purpose of the OC Weekly is to sell ads and tell us where the "culture" is, not to be culture itself. In "Ken Kesey Kultur Kampf" (Aug. 31), Paul Brennan goes on about how the theme of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is that madness is a truer, more creative and liberating way of perceiving the world than sanity. But this theme does not exist in either the book or the movie based on it. Did we read the same book? Oh, that's right—Brennan didn't read the book. In fact, he sounds a little jaunty about admitting it. Is it possible that, like Brennan, the "intelligent friend" to whom the idea really belongs is so confused by postmodern culture he just feels like he's read the book? If Brennan really had read the book, he'd know that the theme is the opposite of "madness is positive." One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is about going sane. That is what's being celebrated when the narrator escapes from the asylum (for Brennan's benefit, that comes at the end of the book). Taking up the cause of defending a book you haven't read in order to defend intellectual freedom against "them yokels" is one thing. Going on about its imagined premise and passing this off as cultural criticism, seems very, well, d'oh!Burt Griswold
Editor Will Swaim responds: When I taughtCuckoo's Nest to university freshmen, I occasionally ran across horrible misunderstandings of its simple theme. I thought those dark days were behind me. And now your note arrives. It's not enough that I edit all day and then go home to do dishes, change diapers and listen to my neighbors debate the virtues of shades of beige exterior house paint. Now I'm expected to teachCuckoo's Nest again. Ready then, Burt? Here it is: the good guys inCuckoo's Nest are nominally insane; their overlords are nominally sane. As the novel progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that what's at stake is the very definition of "sanity." Kesey's sense is that the idea of sanity is hegemonic and so brutalizing that "insanity" is the only reasonable response (cf. Jean Genet, Michel Foucault and other Frenchmen). The only way out is to transcend that framework in death (McMurphy's murder) or through literal escape (the Chief's bolt out the window). If this theme and Kesey's straw characters (Nurse Ratched may be one of the most Dickensian characters in late 20th-century literature) really intrigue you, you might consider reading as an antidote the philosopher Ken Wilber, paying special attention to his notion of the pre/trans fallacy ("anything nonrational gets swept up and indiscriminately glorified as a direct route to the Divine, including much that is infantile and regressive and prerational") and the social critic Tom Frank (who points out that such prerational behavior is essential to marketplace consumption—see hisThe Conquest of Cool). Finally: Brennan wasn't defending the book but criticizing it. And theWeekly doesn't exist to sell ads or "be culture itself." It's a multimillion-dollar trap designed to lure letter writers into acts of self-humiliation. And it works.
HER STAND IN THE GRANDSTANDS
Come on, Rebecca! You don't ever cross a picket line (Rebecca Schoenkopf's Commie Girl, Sep. 7). Sure, disagree with the tactics and the goals of the strikers—we should always maintain a healthy criticism of such things—but don't cross a picket line. Ever. Labor has enough trouble in this country. Yes, the refs strike sucks. And their reasons are perhaps less than noble. But solidarity is, I think, more important than seeing a Raiders game. In the end, you are simply trying to rationalize a decision that you know in your heart was wrong.
While NFL referees aren't exactly in the same class as SEIU members, the principle of labor over management should still hold something in the 21st century. And lest you think I'm too heartless and critical, your paper's cover story on the Shack kicked ass. Everyone knows white supremacy is alive and well in OC; it's just something we never discuss.Robert Cruickshank
Rebecca Schoenkopf responds: I'm sorry, Robert. I'm feeling surly and not quite saintly enough to sacrificeanything for those who (a) don't need me—they're doing quite well with their corporate-VP day jobs—and (b) are themselves about as likely to stand behind those with real struggles as they are to recognize the Nike boycott. Or didn't you notice that swoosh on their stripes? That's child labor, Robert—child labor behind locked doors, 13 hours per day. And guess what? They're still starving. The referees can go to hell.As for my boyfriend: hey, absolutely not your business. Thanks for playing!