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
Letters may be edited for clarity and length. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send to Letters to the Editor, c/o OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or fax to (714) 550-5908.
NOTE TO SELF: WE ARE NOT THE ONION
A giddy anticipator of the Weekly when it seemed full of promise and cage-rattling journalistic intent lo those many moons ago, I find it an awfully annoying and frequently unnecessary read these days. It has become completely advertiser- and personality-driven. Do we have to get one more special Las Vegas section in the paper? Or one more boob-job clinic? Or hear about so-and-so's brother or kid or grandmother or whatever? Or so-and-so's million favorite restaurants? Or reviews of shoes and belts and pants in the Arts section? What the fuck? I thought alternative journalism was supposed to be an alternative to journalism. In this county, that would suggest an alternative to the Register: safe, mediocre and audience pandering. The Weekly has become redundant, unnecessary and as status quo (preaching to its own converted audience) as any other publication. Those rare weeks that I do pick it up and hope for something other than cheeky, too-cool-for-school, we're so clever and you're not writing are few and far between. Where in the world is the outrage? The pursuit of the truth? The journalistic exposťs? Jim Washburn? You're not The Onion. You're not the DailyShow. You're a paper quickly losing any relevance. But I guess you think putting scantily clad women on your cover is relevant. No wonder the Village Voice jettisoned you.
The editor responds: Thanks for the fresh, new criticism, and by "fresh" and "new" I mean that we received a letter almost exactly like yours after publishing our first issue in September 1995. First, the Village Voice didn't jettison us—we were sold, along with the Village Voice and the four other papers in Village Voice Media—to the Phoenix-based New Times; the New Times thought so little of us as a group that it jettisoned its name and is now known as Village Voice Media. As for advertisers, yes, you caught us: we have advertisers. That's why this summer we have run such pandering cover stories/advertisements as our profile of Kenyan novelist, UC Irvine professor and political activist Ngugi wa Thiong'o; our investigation into the whereabouts of alleged terrorist Khalil Deek; and an examination of Little Saigon gang king "Little Hitler." Look, I don't know if you were absent that day in economics, but money is required to run a business, and a newspaper—even an alternative newspaper—is a business. So, yes, we run ads for boob outfits. We also accept ads for movies, clothing stores and nightclubs. We don't discriminate. Don't like the Las Vegas advertising section? Here's a tip: don't read it. We write about restaurants because people go to restaurants. We write about clothes because people wear clothes. We try to avoid that tendency to think that the only things worth writing about are things we're interested in; that we always know best. You know that tendency, don't you? It's called authoritarianism, and those on the left are as susceptible to it as those on the right. As for us being "too-cool-for-school," I'll leave that for other, more qualified and/or totally cool people to judge—which, of course, precludes anyone who uses the phrase "too-cool-for-school."
AN IMPERIAL ADORATION
I am a fan of the pastrami sandwich rather than the burrito at Imperial Burgers [Gustavo Arellano's "This Hole-in-the-Wall Life," May 4], but I wanted to let you know that if you haven't tried their steak sandwich or their beef dip, you have missed out. I've lived near the place for most of my life; that it hasn't been declared a state landmark I can only ascribe to corrupt political wrangling.
Michael Di Massa
THAT TAXING TOLL
I would like to thank OC Weekly for Alex Brant-Zawadzki's excellent article on the rampant misuse of public funds by the TCA in hiring Porter Novelli to spin its attempt to build a toll road that would destroy San Onofre State Beach and Trestles ["Hey, Porter!" Aug. 18]. I spent three days last week accompanied by my two sons and wife surfing different breaks at Trestles. My boys love the fact that at Trestles they can surf what to them are Endless Summer-style waves, watch flocks of shorebirds, and look for sea creatures at low tide. We all enjoyed long walks together on what is one of the most beautiful beaches and natural areas in Southern California. What I also love about surfing Trestles is that the park inspires lots of smiles on everyone who uses the area—from the military families and Marines taking a much-needed break from their service to our country, to fishermen casting for fish that thrive on the clean water and the beautiful reef, to the tens of thousands of surfers who are addicted to riding cobblestone point waves. So here's a suggested headline for the next TCA press release that won't cost the public a dime and win our hearts and minds at the same time: "TCA Cans Toll Road: Agency Admits Scam Project Would Destroy One of California's Most Beloved State Parks."
Serge Dedina, Ph.D.