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HOWARD ROSENBERG / TELEVISION

Mostly Nays From This Critic's Critics

February 14, 1996|HOWARD ROSENBERG

So much mail, so little space.

Columns covered by these letters include those concerning televised executions, O.J. Simpson's interview on Black Entertainment Television, producer Aaron Spelling and negative comments about ABC's "Murder One" by my friend Grace.

I am horrified and yet not surprised at your suggestion that we have restrained, late-night, "quality controlled" live executions. In speaking to a friend no more than two days ago, I commented on how violence is the new aphrodisiac of the American people, and then I see your irresponsible article.

Ask yourself who would watch these televised executions. Would you want to know anyone who would? For any reason, even morbid curiosity? The motives you suggest don't cut it when it comes to finally offering the public the last word in violent entertainment, a "snuff" television show.

If people must witness, then they should get off the couch, get dressed and be allowed to go in person, like the gold ol' bad days in the Wild West. Then they at least have put effort into being a witness to a death.

STEPHEN E. LANE

Woodland Hills

*

For my internship in clinical pastoral counseling, I lived inside San Quentin Prison for three months in the summer of 1970. My work was with killers and cons, but some time was spent with the guards who polished up the gas chamber and kept a faithful--even loving--watch over it. As they explained the lavish liturgy of execution to me, they called it "public" execution, yet insisted it had to be done in private with only a few invited guests as witnesses. The ritualistic secrecy intrigued me. And baffled me. What are we doing here, I wondered, and why must it be done in darkness?

Executions are contract killings; we pay people to get rid of people. If we were doing the right thing, we should be willing to look at it. The Gospel of John puts it this way: "Anyone who does evil things hates the light . . . because he does not want his deeds revealed."

THE REV. ROBERT CURTIS

Los Angeles

*

Do you honestly want to advertise the demise of American society by televising the most morally reprehensible act that we, as a supposedly civilized nation, commit? Remember that television signals last forever. Eons from now, when ETs "discover" earthlings, they will only be able to read about the Romans throwing the Christians to the lions or the Puritans burning their "witches" at the stake. But they will actually be able to see our "enlightened" 20th century barbarians frying our criminals, and correctly deduce that mankind, at least in the U.S., has not progressed one iota in 2,000 years.

ROBERT CHAULS

Sherman Oaks

*

Your nasty column was biased against O.J. Simpson. As a white woman who has always believed O.J. did not do those murders, I feel that you and the other hate-O.J. mongers will all stand in one circle some day so that those of us who believe in him can throw stones at all of you.

RUTH DAVIS

Canoga Park

*

What evidence did you need to prove [Simpson's] guilt? You and your "twinge" made us absolutely ill. We were sickened and offended. You should have denounced his arrogance, lies and commercial opportunism very bitterly. Instead, how "touched" you were. Ugh. Rest assured we will not be reading you anymore.

CINDY and BOB O'BRIEN

Irvine

*

I was disappointed that your critique of the Simpson interview included the comment on "insulting advance talk (mostly by whites)" that BET would be "soft" on Simpson. I think that was a fair expectation given comments by Jefferi K. Lee, president of BET, that "we want to talk about issues . . . that affect him as a black man in America who . . . is still being persecuted." I think we hear more than enough spurious accusations of racism without you adding any.

CRAIG R. WRIGHT

Newport Beach

*

Thank you for giving Ed Gordon the respect he deserves as a journalist and as a man. I was insulted at the mainstream media inference--prior to the interview--that neither BET nor Mr. Gordon could measure up to their standards. It would be nice if you mainstream media people would stop being so white and judgmental with regard to anything black.

RON SINGLETON

Los Angeles

*

Your article comparing Aaron Spelling to Ed Wood is probably the most ridiculous thing that I have ever read. I have been a fan of his shows for many years, and he has always given us the best-looking glamour of any shows on television. I would compare you to Yogi Berra, but I wouldn't want to insult Yogi!

JOSEPH T. TORRENUEVA

Beverly Hills

*

What is it with you? You seem to dislike every show that I love. Comparing Aaron Spelling to Ed Wood is like comparing a diamond to a cubic zirconium.

MARY MARTIN

La Jolla

*

I am a senior who read your very disturbing article about Aaron Spelling. I don't care what you write, it won't keep me from watching "Savannah."

HILDE JACOBY

Los Angeles

*

I, like your friend Grace, watched "Murder One" on its Monday night debut. I also had seen only the very first episode of the series. I told my husband I'd give the show 10 minutes and if I was not enthralled (and caught up on the plot), I'd turn off the set and turn in. I did not make it to bed until after the final fade to black. Obviously, a PhD from UCLA does not guarantee Grace the ability to observe, listen and, without much strain, understand.

KATHY CROMAR

Woodland Hills

*

We never found you as wrong as you were when you ecstatically embraced "Murder One." But thank God for your friend Grace. Everything she said was right on.

RENA COHEN

Los Angeles

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