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Where Is This Native Son?

January 09, 1994

Imagine my dismay when I picked up the Los Angeles Times Book Review on Sunday, Dec. 5, 1993, and turned to Page 4 where I read "Buildings With Beautiful Bodies, Books With Lovely Limbs" by William Gass. At last, I thought, there will be recognition of Los Angeles' own native son who contributed a great deal to the architectural landscape of this area, Paul Revere Williams. NOT! There wasn't even a mention of "Paul R. Williams, Architect; Legacy of Style" by Karen E. Hudson, his granddaughter.

It was only in an ad by Southern California's Booksellers that the book was mentioned at all on Page 39.

To quote the ad, "From the 1920s through the 1970s, Paul R. Williams designed over 3,000 projects, including the Beverly Hills and the Ambassador hotels and mansions for the stars. Here is the first documentation of one of Los Angeles' most important architects. Rizzoli (0-8478-1763-6), $50." The emphasis is my own.

I just want you to know that I know how you continue to degrade our images. Even the good, bright and brilliant are not to be recognized.

A disappointed Los Angeles Times subscriber.

JOYCE SUMBI, LOS ANGELES

A SHORT-LIVED ENTERPRISE?

I was surprised and pleased to see the publication of African-American bestsellers (Nov. 28). However, given the vitriolic response it generated (Letters, Dec. 19), I fear it will be a short-lived enterprise. Ironically, the very intensity of the reactions the list provoked is indicative of the unique position African-American culture occupies in this country. I doubt very seriously that you would have gotten such passionate letters had you printed any other classification of bestsellers.

However, dear editor, I did want to let you know that your efforts were very much appreciated and that they were not lost on all of your readers--especially this one.

ELEANOR BROWN, LOS ANGELES

SARTRE'S SAINTLY SINNER

In a very peculiar review of Edmund White's "Genet" (Nov. 21, 1993), Daniel Harris seems to conclude from a catalogue of the various ways in which Genet was a very, very bad boy, indeed, an "out and out scoundrel," that Genet was not a very good writer. The fact that he was an extraordinary and quite original stylist shows instead that there is something very wrong with the comfortable- sour-liberal-homophobic-Harper's magazine-moral order that the reviewer clearly feels he must defend. For in that order Genet is simply not possible. Sartre long ago defended a similar thesis in his "Saint Genet." The reviewer might have avoided trivializing his own moral and aesthetic position by paying some attention to Sartre's discussion.

ROBERT A. SCHULTZ, SANTA MONICA

INFORMATION SOUGHT

For a biographical history of American commercial TV and that of Screen Gems' John H. Mitchell, focusing on creativeness and the executives and others who "made it all happen," we will appreciate contacts from those who have a personal view of this special part of our heritage.

GENE ACCAS and MORRIE GELMAN, 32017 West Lindero Cyn., No. 133, Westlake Village, CA 91361

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