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Greg Stacy, I was glad to finally see a piece on Howard Stern from a fan [“Howard Stern Kept Me Sane,” Jan. 13]. This man is the Groucho Marx of his time, and I know his show has kept many people sane. For you there was probably just that moment when you “got it” and never looked back. It happened to me sometime during the fall of '91 when I was driving to work. They were interviewing a guy over the phone about some big-brother-mentor-church-creep who had invited him to his basement for Ping-Pong and a little molesting. Howard wanted the play by play. This helped the kid laugh along as he recounted the story. It was a twisted form of therapy, but it worked, and I was a fan from then on. In fact, I once went to a Sit 'n Sleep on a rainy Friday night just to meet Gary Dell'Abate.
John Manning
Costa Mesa

Regarding Rebecca Schoenkopf's piece about the art/political controversy in Laguna Beach [“Art Finds a Fiend,” Jan. 13]: the problem with art is that art criticism has died. The Right wants Norman Rockwell and the Left wants Robert Crumb, while the art world today is filled with pieces made only to shock, devoid of real meaning. Art critics are too afraid to say that certain works are pure crap that need flushing. But I hand it to Rebecca for pointing out that the old game is on between the world of strict conformists and the anti-authority types. Andy Warhol and Larry Rivers live on, but at least their work was groundbreaking.
Bruce J. Edmonds III
Via e-mail

Goddamn, Jim Washburn! That was a great response you made to Hoot Gibson [Letters, Jan. 13]. It utterly boggles my mind that so many people in Orange County are that stupid. Here we are, the richest country in the world; we can give the cushiest of contracts to Halliburton for substandard performance while our fucking secretary of war (Defense? Give me a fucking break!) tells our soldiers they have to fight with the army they have, not the army they would like. He might as well have said to them: “Look, you stupid bastards, you're stuck with the shitty armor you've got. You should look upon this as an opportunity to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor more easily.” I gotta close now or I'll throw up all over my keyboard.
Harleigh Kyson Jr.
Long Beach

I just read, with some disgust, Gustavo Arellano's “The Year in Mexican-Bashing” [Dec. 29]. I find it interesting that Gustavo has to go back to 1938 and 1945 to justify his claims. So I ask you, Gustavo: What is wrong with the people who pay the bills having a say in how that money is spent? Why is it wrong for parents to object to overcrowded schoolrooms when it is determined that many of the children there are illegal? Why is it racist for the taxpayer to complain that the state gives in-state tuition for illegal aliens when a United States citizen from another state pays more? Why is it racist for a taxpaying citizen to complain when they discover that the county of Los Angeles is subsidizing the housing of illegal aliens when it is against a federal law? If you get the world it appears you want—open borders where the citizen pays for everything and the illegal immigrant pays for little to nothing—what's to keep California from becoming just like the country that the illegal aliens are fleeing from? If the illegal aliens do not learn the language and the culture, then they will not know why America is so successful. They will instead collect into like groups, and the city, state and possibly the country will ultimately “Balkanize” into little warring factions. On the other hand, knowledge of American culture and learning the language will strengthen their ties and help integrate them into the mainstream.
Mark Nelson
Via e-mail

Gustavo Arellano responds: Thank you for proving my story's thesis, Marcos, in which I state how all opponents of illegal immigration inevitably drop the social-policy arguments in favor of warning about the supposed Balkanization of our country because those damn Mexicans won't assimilate. For a minute, I thought your letter would be an exception; then you followed through with the bigotry. Way to go!

I like the Mexican! It's cool that we have someone other than that fat fuck Carlos Mencia to make fun of Mexicans.
Manny Davila
Via e-mail

The UC Irvine Chicano studies professor who told his class that “Ask a Mexican!” shows that its author, Gustavo Arellano, clearly has “identity issues.” Since when did you become a Freudian? Have you ever talked to Gustavo? Do you know his background? Have you seen his new striped shirt? The only proof you have for your claim is the “Ask a Mexican!” column, which gives a more well-rounded overview of the Mexican experience than the typical Chicano studies course, which begins with how gabachos stole the American Southwest and ends with an Ozomatli concert. Also, when a student said they knew Gustavo and offered to invite him to your class to speak, why did you refuse? He's waiting by the phone for your call—really, he has no life besides writing for the paper and picking potatoes.

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