I have steered three generations of my family to the L.A. Times, believing it was the finest all-around paper. I have been uneasy about that since The Times' glorification of Hugh Hefner in three issues.
Today's Sunday paper (Jan. 20) really made up my mind, from the familiar obscenity "In Like Flynn" on the cover of the Television Times to the many references polluting my once-favorite Calendar's cover and early pages ("obligatory fellatio scenes," "a slender, horny high school junior," etc., etc. ("We're Talking Gross, Tacky and Dumb," by Peter H. Brown).
On Page 6 there was a promise of more similar articles!
All this is justified by the fact that this formula makes a lot of money. So does child pornography! So does white slavery! So does murder for hire and drug trafficking. Is that a new standard for respectability?
Please, Mr. Editor, say it isn't so.
DOLORES Z. CASCALES
Calendar's cover story on so-called "Dumb" movies is, you guessed it, dumb!
What a hack job! Why did you name this genre of youth comedies with such a derogatory word as "Dumb"? I doubt that you'd classify art films as "snob" films or Walt Disney pictures as "sugar" films.
Brown uses the words "stupid, mindless and slob" while picking out the most vile scenes in order to manipulate his readers. If these youth comedies are guilty of exploitation of teen-age sex, then Brown is just as guilty of exploiting these movies. Also, to set the record straight, "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" was about teen-age relationships, not "Animal House" antics.
The "Dumb" series ends, Page 4.
Pauline Kael isn't the only one who found "Beverly Hills Cop" guilty of "whitey-baiting" ("The Blacks, Whites and Grays of 'Cop,' " by Leonard Feather, Jan. 20).
Though the film is funny and well-made (and, yes, homophobic, excessively violent and foul-mouthed), it harks back to the blaxploitation films in its endorsement of Eddie Murphy as "Super Nigger" (a term spawned by those films): a fearless derring-doer who is always a step ahead of whitey and makes them look like buffoons whenever possible.
Whereas Feather seems to think it's politically significant that no racial epithets are hurled at Murphy, it's only one more level to the fantasy; Murphy is a cocky black kid who slinks around super-white Beverly Hills and not one person even seems to notice the color of his skin.
I can't help but think that, as talented as Murphy is, movies like "Beverly Hills Cop" are fertile ground for an anti-white backlash.
The main point of Feather's article seems to be to prove that the movie is not anti-white. He writes, "The truth is that 'Beverly Hills Cop' is one of the most sophisticated motion pictures ever made in terms of interaction between whites and blacks." This is utterly absurd.
The truth is that the movie is an excellent vehicle to showcase the talents of Eddie Murphy and nothing more. Bill Murray could have done equally as well and then we could have all been spared the trite social/ethnic commentary.
MARK A. REALMONTE
Is it just me, or is there anyone else out there who found "Beverly Hills cop" to be pedantic and pedestrian?
The question should not be whether Eddie Murphy is black, or abuses profanity, or laughs like a choking horse. The simple fact is that once he is asked to step from behind his shield of verbal gymnastics and gratuitous violence, he doesn't act particularly well.
The film did not strike me as racist, or extremely profane, but I would have appreciated a little more thought, and a little more talent.
Ours is an imperfect world, and certainly advertising practices fall short of expectations. Yet I found the tone of Calendar's "TV Charities: Let the Giver Beware" (by David Johnston and Jennifer Leonard, Jan. 20) insensitive to the tragic issues at hand.
Phrases such as their opener, "They all get sold on TV--new cars, light beer and starving children from the Third World," are glib and irresponsible journalism that have the potential to foster a lack of empathy and human visceral response to the most severe famine in African history.
It is hoped that readers will be discerning as to who will be the recipients of their charity. It is at least equally important that they not lose sight of the prospect of projections that, without the assistance of global citizenry, seven million souls, the great majority of which are children, will perish in the sub-Saharan regions before the famine ends.
Chairman, Stephen S. Wise
Temple Ethiopian Food Fund
The giver does not need to beware when giving to a relief organization sponsored by a mainline denomination. For example, 100% of all funds given to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) go only to the relief effort designated. This is possible because administrative costs are paid out of a separate church account.
SUSAN J. DELANEY
TOO BEAUTIFUL SONGS
The Definitive Calendar Song (to the tune of "America the Beautiful").
Oh, beautiful for specious snipes
For anger, raves and hypes
For Royal Charlie's majesty
Beyond the prosey types
Oh, Calendar! Oh, Calendar!
Within our hearts you roost
For all you folks, and Solomon
Who truly knows his Proust.
These are the Reagan years, you guys. When you print a song it must relate. Wise up.
Also to "America the Beautiful":
Oh, where can I find all the facts
'Bout records, dance or shows?
From "Purple Rain" to mud wrestlin'
Oh, what's the source that knows?
It's Calendar, Yes, Calendar,
I read your every page.
And when I'm done; yes, you're the one--
I use in my bird's cage!
SUSAN C. SWEET