Calendar letters to the editor: Not such sweet music at the Recording Academy
Regarding: “It’s Music to Her Eyes and Ears” Jan. 19]: Deborah Dugan, the [now-ousted] president of the Recording Academy, said: “Maybe I’m a token. But better that there are some tokens changing the game than none at all.”
Unfortunately, not all academy staffers share her outlook. A staff member complained and now Dugan is on leave while the corporate board fully investigates the complaint. Should Dugan prevail, I hope that the unhappy staffer finds another job, in addition to the Grammy executives who gave their boss the cold-shoulder treatment.
Randy Lewis’ article [“Grammy Leaders Out of Harmony,” Jan. 18] was vague and lacked any specific reasons for [Recording Academy president Deborah Dugan’s] departure except some reference to bullying. Come on now, how does a woman boss lose her job for bullying? Are you reporters involved in covering up something?
Palos Verdes Estates
Editors’ note: The Recording Academy didn’t disclose much detail in initial reports about the ousting of Deborah Dugan. Since then, both sides have made more specific accusations.
Mikael Wood was just kidding, right? When he wrote, in reference to the Grammys, “Viewed for years as being out of touch with modern music — remember when Steely Dan beat Eminem for album of the year in 2001”?
To imply that the brilliant jazz/rock fusion of Steely Dan is somehow less modern than Eminem’s rap is ludicrous.
De Niro’s speech
Regarding “De Niro Calls Out ‘Abuse of Power’” by Sonaiya Kelley [Jan. 20]: Robert De Niro’s lifetime achievement award acceptance speech [at the Screen Actors Guild Awards] went to the heart of the 2020 elections. He summed up labor unions’ core values and the value of politicians who support unions. If the Democratic Party has any brains left they would run that speech as a campaign ad.
An actor with less than a high school education who has achieved wealth and fame takes to an open microphone to an audience of his peers every chance he gets to spew hatred, vile language and threats to another human being. His reward: cheers and applause.
Can anyone imagine any other person of fame speaking with such extreme hatred toward our last president?
As Ricky Gervais so aptly said hosting the Golden Globes: “If you get an award tonight, just come up, accept it and don’t say a thing about the real world; you know nothing about the real world.”
I am so annoyed, offended, put off and disgusted by the media-enabled imposition of their left-wing propaganda via awards shows that feature the inane, uninformed, uneducated, narcissistic “opinions” of these historically illiterate, pampered, overpaid so-called celebrities.
Kevin S. Avery
The actors of ‘Parasite’
Regarding “Overlooked Great Acting” by Justin Chang [Jan. 19]: I agree that “Parasite” was a superb film. On the other hand, can you really judge an actor’s performance if you don’t speak the language?
Justin Chang argues that the lack of Oscar nominations for the cast of “Parasite” “[perpetuates] a hoary canard about Asian actors and Asian people in general, which is that they’re indistinguishable and interchangeable.” How ironic then that the article’s accompanying photo wrongly identified actress Chang Hyae Jin as her costar, Lee Jung Eun.
Proof that Mr. Chang is correct?
Editor’s note: A correction has been published.
Rock hall spit-take
Regarding “Class of 2020 Strikes a Note of Diversity” by Randy Lewis [Jan. 16]: I spit out my coffee when I read the headline “Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. lead diverse slate of 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees” and had to wipe it off to see that the article was written by a male writer. Diverse because it includes rap and pop and electronic music? It’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and last I checked, women were a big part of rock and roll.
Tina Turner is only in the Rock Hall with Ike. Carole King is only in as a co-songwriter with her ex, Gerry Goffin, despite her “Tapestry” album holding down No. 1 on Billboard for 15 weeks and staying on the charts for more than six years. She created the female singer-songwriter genre along with others who have been snubbed, like Sheryl Crow, Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Carly Simon.
And speaking of rockers, where are Cyndi Lauper, the GoGo’s, Pat Benatar, the Runaways, Suzi Quattro? All influential women. The Rock Hall boys club should be ashamed, and so should The Times for your lame coverage of the absent honorees.
What rock songs did Whitney Houston ever do? I am assuming “ol’ Blue Eyes” will be inducted soon. George Gershwin? Irving Berlin?
Howard P. Cohen
The right to write
Regarding “Who Has the Right to Write?” by Dorany Pineda [Jan. 18]: Why does Jeanine Cummins have to be a Latina to write a novel like “American Dirt”?
A novelist is a writer who enters someone’s head to find out what is going on there and then to write of it in a compelling way. It’s called the imaginative gift. The novel “A Cool World” takes for its subject a 13-year-old black kid growing up in Harlem in the ’50s. It’s a brilliant, extraordinary book, The writer is Warren Miller, as white and middle-class as you can get, who decided not only to write the book but to write it in the first person with the kid narrating the action.
Thomas Berger — another white guy — wrote “Little Big Man,” an account of the Indian wars of the 19th century. He takes a chunk of American history and re-creates it with such precision and eye for detail that the line between fiction and nonfiction entirely dissolves. It’s also hilarious. And that is my point, that the writer writing need attend to one thing only: Make the book worth reading.
The decline of moviegoing
I hold Kenneth Turan in the highest esteem as a film critic and observer. However, his commentary [“Academy Looks Both Ahead and to the Past,” Jan. 14] seems to lay moviegoers’ increasing abandonment of cinemas at the feet of Netflix. Missing from this analysis is the major contribution of theater owners to the degradation of the viewing experience.
It is a cliché, but accurate nevertheless, to point out how others’ use of electronic devices interferes with the enjoyment of a film. The only effort by most theaters to minimize this consists of sandwiching a brief, humorous reminder among the many commercials they present.
Speaking of commercials: During my most recent visit to a cinema, beginning at the posted showtime, I clocked 25 minutes of commercials and trailers; this was after the pre-showtime commercials. Theater owners can find the real culprit in their grimy bathroom mirrors.
The past was grand, and different. Likely the next future will have fewer theaters and more home screening. Sad in some respects, since the experiences are not comparable.
And yet the demise of multiplexes may just take us back to the past.
I recall when Downey, where I grew up, had only two movie theaters: the Meralta (complete with stage and curtains), where I went, and the Avenue, with movies for adults (not “adult movies,” to be clear).
I suppose the economics will continue to change and take the movie experience along.
Regarding “PGA Awards: Another win for ‘1917'” by Michael Ordoña [Jan. 20]: In my opinion, “1917” does not deserve Best Picture awards. The movie steals scenes from three movies: “Full Metal Jacket,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Saving Private Ryan.”
In fact, “1917” is just a remake of “Saving Private Ryan,” same place (Europe/France), same enemy (Germans), similar purpose (save a bunch of brothers, and one particular brother) different year (1917 vs. 1944), trip wires, snipers, Germans on the run. And the movie is just one cliché after another.
Entertaining movie? Yes. Best Picture? No.
Last frontier for white men?
The Oscar nominations are so white and male [“Oscar Nominations: The Dance is Over for These Surprising Snubs,” by Amy Kaufman, Jan. 14], despite so many wonderful movies with female directors and actors of color this year, that it’s amazing a Caucasian man wasn’t nominated for best actress.
I think that I’ve seen and usually enjoyed every Jennifer Lopez movie ever made, including the one with Ben Affleck. But if she’d gotten an Academy Award nomination for “Hustlers” I think I would have thrown up.
Regarding “Feedback: White Guilt: Good or Bad?” [Jan. 19]: How appropriate that the authors of the letters complaining about Mary McNamara’s awesome article [White Guilt Is Not the Point, Jan. 7], were guys upset to find that not everyone thinks the world revolves around them?
A fine performance
I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated Robert Lloyd’s article regarding Mary McCormack’s performance as Peggy Cleary in “The Kids are Alright.” [“So Much More Than Just ‘Alright’,” Jan. 19]: My husband and I were saddened when the show was canceled. Thank you for taking the time to point out what a fabulous job McCormack did.
You showed the strength of the entire cast also.
From the Oscars to the Emmys.
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