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What Becomes a Legend Most?

October 25, 1998

I delved into the Joni Mitchell interview seeking anecdotes, bits of color--insights that might give my icon a heart of flesh ("Court and Spark," by Ani DiFranco, Sept. 20). I learned absolutely nothing about Mitchell but much about DiFranco (who?) and her post-adolescent musings on feminism.

Does "Inside Story" have a meaning I'm not aware of?

Anna Waterhouse

Pasadena

*

What I expected was a delightful meeting of minds: talented singer-songwriters from different eras comparing the now and then. What I got was a self-obsessed diatribe from a yet-to-mature performer primarily interested in airing her own opinions--and only 10 short quotes from Mitchell.

The young woman's biggest concern seemed to be that Mitchell was not a DiFranco fan ("Because she has never heard my music . . . I was thrust, by default, into the role . . . of journalistic interviewer").

DiFranco herself put it best: "One more goddamn interviewer with a goddamn agenda."

Steve Latshaw

Burbank

*

DiFranco wrote a courageous piece about Mitchell's distaste for feminism, but what we need to hear is even more about feminism. What DiFranco had to say was more important than anything I've read about the personal lives of celebrities.

Gwen Roberts

gwenroberts@earthlink.net

*

I'm a 51-year-old who relates far more to DiFranco than to Mitchell, my contemporary. DiFranco is one of the finest poet-songwriters of the day, and Mitchell should take a page from the younger woman's book, both as an artist and as a woman.

Marcia Goodman

Santa Ana

*

An inspired concept--matching up a promising young recording artist with a bona fide legend--was a serious miscalculation. Mitchell and her loving fans deserved better.

Nice photo, though.

Curt Shepard, Steve Chivers

Los Angeles

*

According to her own views on feminism and her alleged "appreciation" of Mitchell, DiFranco should be as offended as any Joni fan by her own egotistical, small-minded comparisons to one of the most important artists of our time.

Leo Badger

Riverside

*

Not to take anything away from Mitchell's musical accomplishments, but I find DiFranco's version of the media's treatment of Mitchell to be a tad revisionist. As someone involved with pop-music criticism since before DiFranco was born, I have no recollection of Mitchell being "so condescended to over the years."

And concerning DiFranco's puzzlement over the canonization of Dylan: When someone--anyone--comes up with a work as commandingly cool as "Like a Rolling Stone," let me know, and I'll be the first to sign the papers for sainthood.

Gene Sculatti

Los Angeles

*

How presumptuous of DiFranco to think that the world would be more interested in her political views than an interview with one of the most significant singer-songwriters of our time. Not surprising, though, when you consider that she named her record label Righteous Babes. Perhaps that should be "self-righteous."

Kenny Grant

Forest Hills, N.Y.

*

DiFranco implied that Mitchell gave her daughter up for adoption because she didn't want to be a stay-at-home mother. Not so. Mitchell made a painful but reasonable decision based on her life situation at the time.

Susan Mitchell (no relation)

Encino

*

In 10 years of reading The Times, this was the first time I've seen the word "feminism" used with neither hostility nor condescension.

Susanna Donovan

Northridge

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