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Coming to the Defense of 'NYPD Blue's' David Milch

November 19, 1994

Re Vernon D. Sanders' letter, "How to Define One's Fate in Hollywood" (Saturday Letters, Nov. 12): I attended the Humanitas lecture on "NYPD Blue." David Milch did state that the writing for a seminar he led was not good enough for submission as a television writing sample. But Milch also said he started that seminar to create more opportunities for minority writers. And, after the Humanitas lecture, Milch invited the African American writers present to submit writing samples to him.

As for Milch's comment, "I'm racist," I think it was an honest recognition that prejudice exists in all of us. I'm far more suspicious of any person who declares him or herself free of racism. At least Milch has both admitted it and taken positive steps to deal with it.

Sanders pronounces Milch "arrogant." As a writer, I hope Sanders knows that research is a key foundation for good writing. To base his opinion of a person and a television show on a few highly edited quotes is another, even more prejudiced form of arrogance.

SAMUEL ADAMS

Van Nuys

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As a writer in attendance at the October Humanitas workshop, I would describe Milch as honest in his remarks describing his own opinions and experience. Over the five donated hours of his address, he provided people who were really listening with a lot of insight into his show, his body of work and his own creative process. That was generous--a gift.

I appreciated his honesty about rejecting racial and gender quotas on his show. He doesn't believe in them. Fine. That is his privilege. He believes in a meritocracy on his writing staff. So do we all, frankly. We just want to be found meritorious by him. I wish we could all be.

When he addresses a professional writers' group, hungry for insight into his show and his mental process, that's what we should get--and did get. I want truth, not some sanitized version. The question "why?" is always the one that's hardest for writers to answer. Milch tried to tell us why he does what he does. We should all be so brazen, and so open-minded.

ELAINE LOESER

Pasadena

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