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Spare the junk food

October 19, 2008

I was delighted to see a feature on Josh Brolin's career advances and upcoming films ["Taking a Run at President," by Robert Abele, Oct. 12]. I am eagerly anticipating both "W." and "Milk." However, I was dismayed to see that the writer fell into the long-established trap of misrepresenting Dan White's attorneys' strategy as "the Twinkie defense," as it is nothing more than an urban legend.

The fact is that the Twinkie defense was coined by the media and used by the public to express their anger and disbelief that White could be acquitted of the crime he so obviously and purposely committed. The truth of the matter remains that White's lawyers were arguing that White was suffering severe depression and exhibited symptoms of bipolar disorder -- illustrated by his increasingly decaying lifestyle, which included his changes of sleeping, dressing and, yes, eating habits. His consumption of junk food was used as a symptom of his declining mental state, not as a cause behind it.

I recommend The Times demand of its writers more thorough research of historical events in the future.

Cori Johnson

Los Angeles

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