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Nice Journalism

February 09, 1986

Almost half of Elizabeth Venant's article on Luis Valdez ("Valdez Is Back," Feb. 2) was devoted to evaluations of the playwright by other people who are unknown to most readers or whose credentials are questionable. That's not journalism, that's an opinion poll.

As expected, no comments were given by Latina women. In fact, the writer (a woman) seems to be too thrilled by Valdez's macho cigar and mustache to actually ask him any hard-line questions.

As a Latina, I have always found Valdez to be a sexist writer, or more specifically, sexist when it comes to Latinas in his plays. But don't expect Venant to confront him with such questions--not while she devotes herself to describing his teeth or capturing his wink. Yes, Irv Letofsky, you named the beast correctly: "nice journalism" ("Can Nice News Finish First," Feb. 2).

Every time I read an article on Latinos written by non-Latinos in Calendar, like this one and the silly Miami Sound Machine junk (Faces, by Dennis Hunt, Jan. 26), I realize how little you understand us or serve our community.

There are successful Latinas and Latinos in the arts, who speak marvelous English like Valdez, but aren't on such a transparent ego-trip to "sell out" like him. They're out there, but you won't find them sticking to reruns and retreads and nice journalism.

LUZ SANTANA

Los Angeles

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