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PANTS ON FIRE
Re: Paul Brennan's "The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy Against Mike Davis," Nov. 15: Imagine working at your computer and finding an article about Mike Davis that claims . . . you don't exist. And that the first name of your supposedly fake identity has been changed from Brady to Bradley.
Not a good way to start the day, but certainly a good way to gauge the factual accuracy of the writer of the article.
Re: Brennan's totally false claim that my charges against Mike Davis are in error. The fact is that of the more than 1,000 lies and errors I have specifically charged Mike Davis with, no one has ever even attempted to prove me to be in error on a single demonstrable fact, much less succeeded.
Mike Davis has also been exposed as a liar by the LA Weekly in an article in which it was admitted he "fabricated" (their word, not mine) an entire interview, and in the same article, the writer admits that Davis often says, "I was stunned to find out that something I said turned out to be true."
And yet Davis has managed to get himself quietly (and quickly) tenured at the University of California, Irvine, after supposedly being approved by both the chancellor and the entire history department. If this is the case, then the entire history department and the Chancellor of UCI owe their students and the taxpayers of this state, first, an apology and then their immediate resignations.
Davis is a known and self-admitted liar. He has an unparalleled record of deceit in American letters with thousands of errors and hundreds of lies in his short list of books. And I challenge him and his defender, UCI professor Jon Weiner, to a debate on my specific factual (not philosophical) accusations against Davis, but only if they will allow the public to see the physical proof of our claims and then let the public decide which of us is telling the truth.
The editor replies: I apologize for the two things Brennan got wrong: Brady (not "Bradley," as we had it) Westwater is not a pseudonym for Ross Ernest Shockley; Westwater says he legally changed his name in the 1960s, and we're willing to accept that without investigation. Same for his claim (in a phone conversation) that the websites on which his Davis critiques appeared are not his.
But Westwater's claim that LA Weekly attacked Davis? I've looked at the article; it defends Davis. Westwater's claim that no one has ever successfully refuted his criticisms of Davis? I'll quote from LA Weekly columnist Marc Cooper's 1998 column in New Times LA, just after publication of Davis'Ecology of Fear:
"In a recent critical piece on Davis in Salon magazine, Douglas Sherman, a USC professor with expertise in natural disaster, supports Mike Davis on one of Shockley/Westwater's major attacks—that Davis is wrong about LA rainfall. 'Davis is right,' Sherman said. 'The San Gabriels have measured the highest intensity rainfall in the world.'
"When I mentioned this to Shockley/Westwater, he began to fulminate. 'Well, I know that this guy thatSalon talked to at USC said he didn't know who Mike Davis is. But Davis had been lecturing at USC that week. You see?' 'No,' I answered. 'I don't get your point.' 'My point is that guy [Sherman] claimed he didn't know Davis, but he was defending him,' Shockley/Westwater frothed back. 'I mean, if they start lying to cover for each other, I mean we could be talking about Academicgate here!'"
Cooper went on to write, "I suppose we could also be talking about, say, anal sex. But we're not. What we are talking about here is what any good reporter knows is a gadfly—or an outright crank—who deals in innuendo, suggestion, rumor and wild extrapolation." Cooper goes on—cites the chairman of UC Berkeley's geography department, a Cal Tech history professor and a UCLA urban planning prof, all of whom call Davis and his work "brilliant," "path-breaking" and "important." FLIPPING THE SCRIPT
In her letter about Weekly critic Daniel Tsang's review of my film, The Flip Side(Letters, Nov. 15), Christine Sevilla emphasized her worries that non-Filipinos will think "Filipino girls can only get dorky, fat white guys and all need nose jobs." Curious, I read a few entries in her online journal. Interestingly enough, in an entry dated Nov. 1, 2002—beforeshe saw The Flip Side—Sevilla wrote: "If I actually hada nose job, it would look like my mom's. Her nose is all cute and pert. Slightly upturned, perfect bridge. Not all flat and spread like mine. Duh!"
The Flip Side satirizes Filipino Americans who are ashamed of their culture, heritage and physical make-up. I made the film in hopes self-hating Filipinos would see the error of their ways. In short, I made the film for people like Sevilla.
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writer/producer/director SO DOES THE PLAY SUCK OR NOT?
It is hard to tell if Rich Kane's review of the new OUT Theatre's production of Truth, Tony & Zenith is positive or negative ("Refreshingly Dickless," Nov. 15). Caitlin Crest began the OUT Theatre this past summer with a vision that the Long Beach community craves and deserves a resident gay theater. The approach was to put up a theatrical performance quickly and let all the other stuff work itself out, like finding the money, space, designers, scripts, actors, crew, legalities, marketing strategies, audiences, etc. The call to form the OUT Theatre went out to the gay and lesbian community. Men did show up in the beginning, but most dropped out.
Okay, the current production may have a touch of amateurism. If Caitlin had waited to find the money to build sets and hire professionals and had also waited to get a license to use microphones, everything could have been better. But there would still be no OUT Theatre. Everyone is a volunteer. And our audiences seem to really enjoy what we are doing. Kane may call us "flaccid," but the audience's laughter and tears every night are authentic.
Dr. Thea Iberall
board member, OUT Theatre