Feedback: Appreciations of Justice Ginsburg and Mozart, takedown of Bob Woodward
It is no wonder that Mary McNamara won the Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for Criticism. Her appreciation on the front page [“RBG’s Final Call for Justice,” Sept. 19], coming from an Irish Catholic about Jewish Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was one of the most heartfelt eulogies ever given to anyone, especially from a journalist about a person she may never have met.
It shows the eminence of RBG and what she meant to the fair and impartial representation of the Court.
RBG was a woman of the ages. She will go down as one of the all-time heroic figures of American history and of the Supreme Court. She brought immense changes to the prominence of and equality of women in all aspects of work in this great country of ours.
Can it be both brilliant and inconsequential?
Regarding Mark Swed’s “How to Listen: Mozart’s Shock to the System” [Sept. 16]: With live performances of classical music sadly diminished during this wretched pandemic, Mark Swed’s Wednesday essays have been most welcome and have been a source of gravitas in the necessarily thinned down Calendar section.
I enjoyed his recent observations regarding the lovely Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, K.364 but I must take issue with his dismissal of the Concerto for Two Pianos, K. 365, one of my great favorites. He describes it as “playful” but then adds paradoxically, “…for all its exuberant brilliance, a flashy work of little consequence.”
How can a brilliant work can be of little consequence?
Richard R. McCurdy
Sexual content of ‘Cuties’
I agree with Mary McNamara in her online column “‘Cuties’ Isn’t What I Expected. It’s a Powerful Portrait of Female Rage” that the Netflix movie “Cuties” provides a mirror of how toxic our culture has become and how it advocates our kids to behave in a certain way.
But I found particularly interesting her conclusion, “Far more troubling, however, is the attempt to demonize as pedophilia a film about female anger and the struggles with identity and power that so many girls and young women face. At no point in the film are any of the girls exuding sex; they are all, to varying degrees, simply trying to exert some control with the tools society encourages young women to use.”
I largely disagree with that the girls within the film are not “exuding sex.” There are too many examples to illustrate that they simply are. One case in which the girls try to take a picture of little boy’s genitals, another where the main character leaks her pictures of her own private parts to social media, the sequence of events where the main character offers herself to her relative in order to have access to his phone again.
These events are not illustrated as a way to “exert control.” They don’t provide more depth to the narrative, they are there merely to provide shock value to the audience, just like the initial movie poster and the trailer for the film.
A long awaited unveiling
I am happy to finally see the gallery design for the new building [“A Peek Inside New LACMA,” Sept. 18] designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor.
But why will poured concrete be used for all interior walls? I think this is a mistake.
This design seems to work equally well if drywall is used instead for many of the interior walls on the second floor, the core gallery walls. That would allow for far more flexibility to change the number and size of the spaces, and it would ease installation — no new technology required to hang art.
My layperson guess is that drywall would probably cost no more, or even less. And that once the concrete walls are poured, it would be difficult, dust producing, and expensive to remove or change any of them.
If there is a good (i.e. non-hubristic) reason for this choice of all concrete walls, I would appreciate being informed. If not, I hope some pressure can be brought to change this decision.
No wonder LACMA Director Michael Govan waited to let us see what to expect with architect Peter Zumthor’s addition to LACMA.
Now that we are hunkered down without an ounce of culture in our lives we have this very sad, very sterile, very gray, very hard receptacle for beautiful art to look forward to. What a shame.
Carolina Miranda’s article about LACMA which she calls a “blob-shaped building” misses a major issue. The entire building was conceived as a giant sculpture and a unique addition to Los Angeles architecture.
Original renderings showed a darker exterior surface leading to complaints it looked like an ink spot. The color of the model on display for months at LACMA was so light it resembled a giant Motel 6.
No doubt this issue is being handled carefully, but the color and texture of the largest sculpture in the western United States present both the opportunity to do something amazing but also the risk of boring mediocrity.
What if a great movie doesn’t make the cut?
Regarding “Oscars Shakes Up Best Movie Rules” [Sept. 9]: I predict that a new blockbuster popular film will “shake up” the Academy Award Oscars when it does not meet their new inclusion requirements for nomination.
Just go through the list of top 100 movies of all time and you’ll find that most of these classics would be shunned by their new rules. The film academy has been going down the drain for years and is now in the toilet.
An unbalanced book review
Regarding “All the Access but No Insight” [Sept. 16]: Alex Nazarayan’s “review” of Bob Woodward’s new book “Rage” seems a lot more like an attempted takedown of Woodward’s entire career and character.
“I should proceed gently here, as someone who has deposed zero presidents and won zero Pulizters,” Nazaryan writes, “My book in the Trump administration, for which I spoke to the President only once, has 43 ratings on Amazon, “Fear” has well over 5,000.”
The review could have stopped there and saved us four more columns of him telling us that Woodward is a reporter and writes like a reporter and criticizes him for the access to power he has attained.
Nazarayan’s quote of Trump’s judgement of Woodward as a “social pretender” and then giving it weight, is telling.
He should indeed have proceeded gently. His apparent jealousy and envy are evident, and eclipse any validity that may be buried in his hit job.
The review reeks of jealousy. The writer is a Trump supporter and fails to address a basic truth: he knows Trump is unfit but chooses to attack the messenger.
'... and stop calling me Shirley’
This summer marked the 40th anniversary of the release of “Airplane!” the funniest film of all time. I mention that because there is too little worth laughing about this year.
Stephen A. Silver
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