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Nepal And The Movies

June 20, 1993

As usual, Pico Iyer's travel writings are crafty and insightful ("Movie Days in Kathmandu," May 9). However, this article on Nepal contains a hefty dose of Western smugness. Iyer writes about "roads well-furnished with gods (in the form of cows)" and a welcome mat that says "Hallo." Imagine a young, impetuous Indian writer holding up a thin wafer, ("the body of Christ") to be scoffed at by his peers. Eventually, we've got to get beyond this trait of ours that laughs at what we don't understand or at beliefs we don't embrace. Iyer writes that, during the filmmaking, the city of Bhaktapur is "nothing so much as a toothless crone attending a wedding in her finest silks." He could only have come by this analogy by ignoring the region's most important focus, on spirituality, and applying the predominant Western standard of external show. Let's get beyond the mind-set that earned us the reputation of "ugly Americans" and learn to appreciate foreign locales on their terms, not ours. KATHY A. PRICE Santa Barbara

Editor's note: Iyer is a citizen of India.

'NEUTRON JACK'

Everyone in business, industry and government should study the concepts of "Neutron Jack" Welch ("The Management Model That Jack Built," by Linda Grant, May 9.) In these days of budget crises in government and education, foreign wage competition in business and the neglect of the very poor, we must learn to manage more efficiently. John Francis Welch has a lot to teach us. This article should be read by all managers at all levels. JOHN F. JANSSEN Stanton

Cheers for Welch's "adoring Irish mother, who instilled in him an unshakable belief in his superior abilities." I try to do the same for my sons. How unfortunate, though, that someone didn't teach him compassion for his fellow man. He lopped off 170,000 jobs in 10 years, yet accepted a 9% pay raise to $3.5 million annually. And I knew that if I read far enough into the article, I'd be told about a man who also lopped off a marriage with the mother of his four children. VERONICA BURKE Los Angeles

THE HIP-HOP LOOK I have a comment on the letters (May 9) that were so against the article "So Uncool, It's Cool" (by Michael Eisenhower, Style, April 11). I am a 17-year-old female high school student, and I know many teen-agers who wear the "hip-hop/grunge" look. They are not gang members but rather some of the most caring and intelligent people I've ever met. The baggy look is a style almost all teen-agers are wearing, from those who listen to Public Enemy to those who are fans of the rock group Nirvana. We have to stop judging people by their appearance. PAULINE J. DIONISIO Villa Park

Were the ducktailed kids of the '50s and the hippies of the '60s in danger of being killed for the clothes they were wearing? I don't think so. Don't you think it's about time that the print, movie, television, fashion, music and video industries stop making their money promoting a style of life that kills? SUZANNE HUDSON Pomona

INNER-CITY BLUES

I didn't realize what I had until I read "Inner City U." (by Wanda Coleman, Three on the Town, May 9). I have post-traumatic-stress syndrome. I can't read the paper or magazines, watch the TV news or even drive down the street without feeling fear and, mostly, anger. What's going on, and what can anybody do? We've blown our leaders into heroes they can never become, and are counting on our heroes-to-be, the politicians, to show us some new and improved place we've all been waiting for. I've read a lot of cynical articles, especially during nine months of unemployment, but Coleman's made me afraid and angry enough to wake up and think. WHITNEY WADE Los Angeles

Coleman implied that all members of the Inner City are ignorant and savage. Actually, members of this community are human beings who deserve not to be prejudged. She apparently learned nothing from the events of April, 1992. I'm a USC student and have been a resident of South-Central for all of my 19 years. I am hurt by Coleman's sarcastic article. Her insensitivity further oppresses a community for the benefit of a few laughs from those outside of it. J. PAXTON Los Angeles

THE CUTTING EDGE

In reference to Jonathan Gold's "Speaking the Language" (Three on the Town, April 11), Frank Giordano writes (May 9) that Paul Simon has survived as more than nostalgia by being an articulate and sensitive poet." Well, I'm 23, and to me Simon is an old fool, hopelessly out of touch with the current music scene. When one thinks of the cutting edge of today's music--be it hip-hop, grunge or what not, Simon is the furthest removed from one's mind. Giordano's response is another example of the baby-boom generation trying to inflict its agenda on everyone else. Because something was part of your generation's era doesn't automatically make it better. ANDY HSIUNG Hacienda Heights

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