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Ronstadt's rights

August 07, 2004

Letter writer Lee Dembart ("Free Speech," July 31) is correct in pointing out that the privately owned Aladdin is not necessarily a free-speech zone, but follows with two assertions that simply don't hold water.

First, he states that the people who came to hear Linda Ronstadt "paid money to hear her sing, not to hear her views." But anyone who has followed Ronstadt's long career knows that she has always taken strong political positions and has always been outspoken about those positions during her concerts.

But the capper is the analogy that compares Ronstadt's comments with a "what-if" scenario: What if Charlton Heston -- during the climactic scenes of a play in which he was performing -- departed from the script "to throw in a few sentences opposing gun control." The difference is obvious. In Heston's case, he would be desecrating the words of the playwright, as well as destroying the believability of the play and characters, for which his fellow actors (not to mention director and crew) worked so hard to achieve. In Ronstadt's real-life case, as the central figure and namesake of her own concert, Ronstadt is the evening's sole author.

Dave Schmerler

Westminster

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