Feedback: Gloria Steinem and Eleanor Smeal fact check ‘Mrs. America’


Thank you for the piece from Eleanor Smeal and Gloria Steinem [“What ‘Mrs. America’ Misrepresents,” July 30]. I think that it should have been on the front page.

To realize that the ERA was not passed due to corporate America’s need for profits at the expense of women workers makes me sick.

I wonder if Phyllis Schlafly knew how she was being used.

Barbara Merkle


In the first episode of the series “Mrs. America” Phyllis Schlafly says that “women are already protected from discrimination in the Constitution by the equal protection clause under the 14th Amendment.” The nine-part series never corrects that.


Erika Sukstorf


As a journalist and a writer, and living through the Women’s Movement during the ‘70s, I was immediately drawn to the story line of “Mrs. America.”

What a stunning performance by Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly, and the supporting cast. The producers did an outstanding job of showing the context of the fight and the feelings of the women within the two opposing groups.

I believe what “Mrs. America’s” creators had in mind was to reach back into their mothers’ generation to show current women’s activists, especially those in the #MeToo movement, that they weren’t the first to protest the inequity of women.

I suggest that Steinem and Smeal partner up to produce their own educational documentary showing how the insurance industry held back the ERA from passing.

Marilyn Feldman Gardner
Dana Point


It’s good that Smeal and Steinem are still working to bring about “the equality of girls and women, boys and men” within our Constitution. But it’s unfortunate that in doing so they chose to tear down a TV series that aimed to portray that movement.

“Mrs. America” is a wonderfully rich dramatization. It is a TV show, not a textbook, and may necessarily have left out some aspects of that struggle. Still, it is a fascinating show to watch and an engaging education for a new generation of women.


Len Gardner
Dana Point


Thank you for including the timely article by two tireless activist icons of the women’s movement — really a movement for all.

But I was upset and saddened to see article about J.J. Abrams’ daughter above the fold on Calendar’s front page.

What a bummer. A vanity article about influential filmmaker’s daughter seemed more relevant and important than article by Steinem and Smeal.

Barbara Feuer
Santa Monica

Changing a city’s icons

Regarding Christopher Knight’s column [“Take Ax to City’s Old Logo,” July 30]: Certainly a lynching tree seems an inappropriate way to celebrate a town’s “Wild West” past.

But what really sticks out to me is the large image on the foreground of the logo. The Gold Rush is part and parcel of the development of the 31st state in the Union. Every kid in California knows that.

It’s also what directly and intentionally led to the removal and murder of 80% of the Native American population of California. In just one decade, 150,000 indigenous inhabitants were reduced to 30,000.


I have nothing against the 49ers Football Team, but its celebration of a group of people whose ambition came at the expense of the homes, lives and humanity of the men, women and children already on the land seems not just incredibly insensitive, but also one of the great whitewashes of history.

Monica Towers

Emmy nominations: The usual suspects

Regarding “Real Progress” [July 29] by Ryan Faughnder: The same old Emmy nominations again and again.

With the exception of “Schitt’s Creek” and “What We Do in the Shadows,” it looks like another bore.

What about the fantastic Netflix series “Dark”? Yes, it’s in German, but so what? Let’s have international diversity as well.

Martin Towery

Finding meaning in music

Mark Swed’s series “How to Listen” has been moving and inspiring.

Swed’s exploration of some of the world’s important works opens up our perceptions and allows us to enter the soul of not only the music, but the times. I find it remarkable that he has been able, in words, to take us on that journey. His writing has been exceptional.


Thank you for making my listening more meaningful.

Nita Heimbaugh
Santa Monica


Thank you for Mark Swed

He is a treasure.

Marylin Kattan

The Donald Trump origin story

I just read Kurt Andersen’s magnificent review “Empathy for the Donald” [July 15] of Mary Trump’s book. Everything Mary describes of this dysfunctional family and Trump, educated by his mobster father, is exactly what we came to see in horror with him in the White House.

“Be a killer.” “Compassion is weakness.” “Destroy who is against you.” “No compromises.” “Only think what’s best for you.” “Don’t listen to other people’s opinion.” “You know best.”

Also, his obvious inability to process information and keep important facts in his mind speaks to his inability to really govern, to lead his country, especially in a huge crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic.

And he has his thumb on the nuclear war button.

Every citizen should read it before he or she goes voting. As Mary Trump honestly admitted (and most of us know): “I wrote this book to stop him. Four more years with Trump in the White House will be the end of American democracy.”

Liselotte Millauer

Helter skelter redux

Regarding “Angelenos Can’t Get Enough Manson” by Lorraine Ali [July 28]: Charles Manson and his sycophants were trying to jump-start a helter-skelter race war. It is exactly the same idea being promoted by the ever divisive, racist Trump and his sycophants using his secret police to generate chaos. Manson went to jail for life; Trump should too.

Sheridan West
Sherman Oaks


I’m a native Los Angeles resident for 70 years. I have had enough of Charles and his gang of murderers. Aren’t there any positive films that The Times can promote, especially during these dreadful times? Isn’t it time to “Accentuate the Positive,” as Johnny Mercer put it?


Patrick Kelley
Los Angeles

A fitting memorial

Regarding: “A Master Class in the Spoken Word” by Mary McNamara [Aug. 1]: Jamila Thompson, deputy chief of staff to Rep. John Lewis, painted the most beautiful picture of Lewis with her heartfelt and remarkable use of the English language.

“Be kind, be mindful ... be informed, stay engaged. ... And if you are of age and eligible, for the love of God, please vote.”

Laurie Kelson


There’s still talking it versus walking it, and I’m not kidding myself. If somebody’s about to come upside my head with a club, I’m likely to do what he wants, no matter how he’s dressed.

Ronald Webster
Long Beach

Pulling together

What a wonderful review [“This Old Crew Still Has the Right Stuff” by Kevin Crust, Aug. 4] of “A Most Beautiful Thing,” a movie whose theme is the hard bond which develops among men through hard work and common goals. The sport of four-man crew demands an individual give his all to better the team. Everyone must work in perfect unison to move the shell forward in a straight line. It is the ultimate team sport.

David L. McDaniel
Capistrano Beach

Don’t blame Marie Curie for the bomb

Regarding Katie Walsh’s review of the movie “Radioactive” [“Marie Curie in the Lab,” July 24]: Amazon’s original movie “Radioactive” about the life of Marie Curie is entertaining and educational viewing. Unfortunately, it politicizes Curie’s scientific discoveries of radium and polonium by repeated flash-forwards to Hiroshima, nuclear weapon tests in Nevada and the Chernobyl accident.


Curie, together with her husband Pierre, extracted naturally occurring radium and polonium from pitch-blend, a constituent of coal. They did not invent or manufacture radium or polonium; they did not invent or manufacture “radioactivity.” These things already existed. As scientists, they simply identified them and explained the physics.

The implication that Marie Curie was responsible for nuclear weapons and Chernobyl, simply for dramatic effect, is foolish. The filmmaker, Marjane Satrapi, appeared to be searching for something to shock the audience, or perhaps she really does not understand the science.

Perhaps if she does a movie on the Wright brothers, she can flash-forward to commercial airplane crashes and the use of airplanes in warfare. Perhaps if she does a movie on Henry Ford, she can provide the statistics of the number of traffic fatalities each year in the U.S. and around the world. She can then compare these statistics with the number of people who have died from commercial nuclear power.

Phil Rutherford
West Hills

Big star, big heart

Regarding Justin Chang’s appreciation of Olivia de Havilland “Under That Grace, a Steely Will” [July 28]:

I have always been a fan of De Havilland because I grew up watching her movies on TV. My mom even fashioned a hoop skirt out of a hula hoop so I could be Melanie Wilkes for Halloween.

I finally wrote her a fan letter. I was so surprised when I received an envelope from France enclosing my unopened letter. She wrote to tell me she couldn’t answer my letter due to a family emergency. I couldn’t believe she didn’t just throw my letter out. What a classy woman to treat me with such respect. Years later I was privileged to able to see her in person at LACMA’s (now destroyed) Bing Theater and at the academy.


She was as beautiful and elegant and intelligent as I had imagined.

Katie Shiban