Letters From OC Weekly Readers

I have attended a class in which a professor used the words of Ikeda to give us ideas. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this, but it is confusing when no other school would use his teachings in a lesson. The fact is people honor Ikeda at this school and are expected to make efforts to show appreciation for him. They are not required to, but it is definitely an expectation that is created by the student population. This most likely will change as more and more non-SGI students are accepted to the school. As for the SGI professors, I can only hope they have not put their fellow professors through the same trouble.

Student, via ocweekly.com

As an atheist student at Soka University of America who has had no affiliation with SGI, let me just say that I felt more religious discrimination in one day of public high school than I have ever felt here. I would go so far as to say that I have not felt any and that this article is only trying to draw readership for its advertisements by sensationalizing private legal issues. I guess if that were the goal, mission accomplished.

Details

Letters may be edited for clarity and length. E-mail to letters@ocweekly.com, or mail to Letters to the Editor, c/o OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste. 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or fax to (714) 550-5908.

Nate Maynard, via ocweekly.com

This is purely shock journalism. Ms. Woo will regard her work as tantalizing. Advocates of the SGI will consider this article petty. The side of the victim in this article—which is directly slanted in support of—is extremely happy, as if she has won a great victory. Seek your truth.

Silverbackninja, via ocweekly.com

Great article, horrible cover art.

Drewrx, via ocweekly.com

Whatever issues are flaring at Soka University, your choice of cover is pretty damn offensive. The fact that the writer is Asian doesn't dampen its childishly racist overtones. Maybe next you can run an article about the Japanese tsunami with a cover depicting scores of "Buddhaheads" being swept away by the flood.

Lostinanart, via ocweekly.com

I'm appalled at reading this article and the ridiculous cartoon! As a reporter, please do thorough research. It is creating a false image of an incredible school and its community.

Anonymous, via ocweekly.com

Editor Ted B. Kissell responds: On the topic of the cover art, I could sit here and try to explain what we were getting at, metaphorically, with the cartoony illustration of the looming Buddha-like figure and the smaller people in his hands, but you know what they say about having to explain a joke. And I don't think anyone is upset about the cover because they didn't "get" it.

In recent days, I've talked to several intelligent people of good conscience who didn't see the image as ethnically insensitive. I've talked to just as many intelligent people of good conscience—and with no ties to SGI or Soka—who told me the image was goofy, fucked-up or both.

I'm writing this note to let you know that if you think the illustration crosses the line from irreverent and ironic into a flat-out racist caricature of an Asian person, then you should direct all of your ire against the person who's really responsible for it: me.

As the editor of this paper, I wouldn't have let it go out the door if I'd thought it crossed that line. Around here, we like to offend people on purpose, not by accident—and always in the service of some larger satirical goal. The cover should offer a powerful visual statement that both distills and amplifies the essence of the story, not become a distraction from it.

If you think the cover showed crap judgment, then the crap judgment in question was mine and no one else's. Please let me know your thoughts directly at tkissell@ocweekly.com.

CLARIFICATION
In Michelle Woo's March 11 cover story, "The School On a Hill," a court document was quoted that referred to Hare Krishna as "an alternative Buddhist sect." The Hare Krishna movement is, in fact, a Hindu group.

CORRECTION
In Alexis Hodoyan-Gastelum's March 4 Locals Only story, "Think Ink," Kat Von D was mistakenly identified as being involved with the MusInk festival. Von D hosted the event in 2008. The Weekly regrets the error.

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