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SURELY, YOU (IN)JEST
I really enjoyed Gustavo Arellano's cover story on "OC's 97 Best American Restaurants" [Jan. 14]. But I have to ask: How can a Mexican afford to eat at so many places? Surely he couldn't have been a busboy at all these restaurants.
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The Mexican replies: Surely, I could! More iced tea?
I had to write a letter after reading "Josh" and his inquiries about the Steve Rocco/Andy Kaufman connection [Letters, Jan. 7]. He sounds like so many of these "conspiracy-theory" junkies who jump on any inconsistency they read in the paper or internet, whether they are fact based or not. I, too, am a conspiracy theorist, but a more concentrated and rational thinking one. From what I've researched, Andy Kaufman and Elvis are dead. Steve Rocco is probably the same ex-pro skater Steve Rocco who was a fan of the "comically political" punk band the Dead Kennedys, and he's just following in DK frontman Jello Biafra's footsteps by getting involved in a little politics and monkey wrenching it.
Neil "Newtboy" Saldaa
The stuff Nick Schou is doing on Kaufman/Rocco is first-rate—utterly brilliant.
I'm a big Nio Astronauta fan, and I don't agree with Gustavo Arellano's review ["Live Reviews," Dec. 3, 2004]. He's the typical Latino who doesn't know anything about new music. There's more stuff out there, and he is stuck on the same rock en espaol. Gustavo, your taste is old and if you don't open yourself up to other forms of art or music, this is as far as you're gonna go. Well, I don't think you're gonna get it anyways.
Gustavo Arellano responds: More iced tea?
You suck, Orange County. This is about your unwillingness to support a place like the Liquid Den [Ellen Griley's "Clubbed," Jan. 7]. You want your hipster clubs with "ambience," lots of plush sofas and lots of cover bands and crappy electronic music. Well, you can have them. Enjoy your one hour—or more—wait to get in and the watered-down, $8 drinks once you get inside. Liquid Den had real atmosphere with real people listening to real bands playing their own music. Now it's not there anymore and that's a shame, not only for the bands who played there but for the music fans who found the incredible charm of a small, dark place that wasn't in the prettiest part of town. Viva Liquid Den!
I loved Nick Schou's piece about Gary Webb ["Kill the Messenger," Dec. 17, 2004]. He will be missed. It's amazing how people roll their eyes when I describe the work of reporters such as Schou or Webb, people who make an excellent case about the CIA turning away from international drug dealing in order to support right-wing dictatorships and movements that undermine communities abroad and at home. As a particular hypocritical gambler would plaintively ask, "Where is the outrage?"
Mitchell J. Freedman
Re: Gustavo Arellano's "The Year In Diplomatic Buffoonery, Argyros-Style" [Dec. 31, 2004]: I had the honor of spending the better part of a week in Madrid with U.S. Ambassador to Spain George Argyros, shortly after the March 11 bombing. The ambassador I saw was a credit to the United States: savvy, knowledgeable and interested in doing all he could to improve relations between the U.S. and Spain. Arellano's insecurity about George's entrepreneurial American success story is scant justification for taking unfounded shots at him. The comments about the airport and his real-estate business were not just yellow journalism, but beyond credible. Argyros built thousands of living units for the community, and did so the old-fashioned way—from scratch. His stand on the airport would have improved business for the entire county; the writer apparently prefers a Great Park that few would ever use. When the president of Spain was here last year he certainly seemed to very much appreciate the job George had done for three years in representing the United States. George is admired and respected by the great majority of the people of Orange County. Oh, well, it is the age of "Rathergate;" believe what you will, without investigation, and then substantiate it out of thin air, and then when caught, just ignore the whole issue!
Mark C. Johnson
President & CEO
Chapin Medical Company
Gustavo Arellano responds: Johnson accuses me of "taking unfounded shots" at Argyros and then speculates that I am driven to criticize Argyros because of my "insecurity about George's entrepreneurial success story." Nowhere in his complaint does Johnson take on the facts of my analysis: that Argyros bears some responsibility for the fact that Spanish mistrust of the American government is almost unprecedented. He never learned Spanish, arrogantly summoned Spanish officials to the U.S. embassy as if they were vassals, and refused petulantly to attend a parade in honor of Spain's equivalent of the Fourth of July. Quite a guy. I could go on, but let me dilate on just one point: shortly after the March 11 Madrid bombings, with all of Spain mourning nearly 200 dead, Argyros released a statement calling on Spaniards to keep up the good fight in Iraq. It was evidence of Argyros' peculiar insensitivity. Within days, the government Argyros had helped arm-twist into Bush's war was tossed out of office in a landslide. If Johnson's statement we live "in the age of Rathergate" has any meaning, it means that Johnson should consider facts, not just personal friendship and political ideology, before he manufactures claims—how did he put it?—out of thin air.
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