Calendar Feedback: ‘Oppenheimer’ and the atom bomb inspire reader thoughts

A man writes on a chalkboard
J. Robert Oppenheimer, a key figure in the creation of the atom bomb and the subject of the movie “Oppenheimer,” is shown at his study in Princeton University’s Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., on Dec. 15, 1957.
(John Rooney / Associated Press)

The man behind the bomb

I’m looking forward to seeing the picture about J. Robert Oppenheimer [“‘Oppenheimer’s’ essential element,” July 16], as I had a singular experience with him in Tokyo. In the early 1960s, I was teaching junior and senior literature at the American School in Japan to students from 22 countries.

Oppenheimer was to give a lecture at a hall in Tokyo, and several of the faculty were able to attend. It was a wide stage with a red curtain covering the back wall quite far from the podium where he was to speak. He came out, was introduced and began. After about 10 minutes, a man, dressed all in black, parted the curtain and started toward Oppenheimer from behind him, and lifted his arm, which held a large knife. What followed was extraordinary. There had been a collective gasp from the audience but, as Japanese culture demands you never cause embarrassment for a person, three other men dashed out from the sides and rear, covered the man’s mouth and pulled a cover over his head and pulled him back through the curtain.

Oppenheimer was not ever aware that an attempt had been made on his life. We in the audience sat in shock until we recovered and listened until he finished and was escorted away.


Meg Quinn Coulter
Los Angeles


I have visited Hiroshima and have seen the effects of the atomic bomb. It is horrific. I would hope it would never have to be used again. But Oppenheimer was right to have participated in the building of that destructive nightmare. First, it had become obvious that the Japanese were going to go down fighting “to the last man” on their home soil just as they had on Iwo Jima. Second, the Germans and the Japanese had committed atrocities against the Jews and Chinese that dwarfed the Hiroshima bomb. Third, the Russians were going to invade Japan from the north, which certainly would have seen a postwar country divided similar to what happened to Germany and Korea. Fourth, Harry Truman refused Gen. MacArthur’s request to use the atomic bomb during the Korean War because he feared its consequences on the world more than the conflict itself. As horrible as it sounds, the effects of the bomb may have had a grotesquely “positive” effect on the world. It ended a war and has so far convinced the nations of the world that mutual assured destruction has no winners.

Mark Walker
Yorba Linda


Mourning lost TV highlights

L.A. Times entertainment and arts editor Matt Brennan’s note explains why we’ll no longer see the weekly roundup of TV highlights in the Sunday Calendar section [“Making a switch to TV tips, insights,” July 16]. We are told that it will be replaced by recommendations from a digital newsletter, for which we are encouraged to sign up. And there is the key word: digital. If I wanted a digital newspaper, I would have subscribed years ago and discontinued the dinosaur paper-printed object that I have delivered daily. I am disappointed, once again, to experience the continual and consistent slicing and dicing of what was once a great daily publication. And whenever a feature is eliminated, it is always accompanied by how much better the replacement will be, so that we can see it as a benefit rather than a loss.

I believe my subscription to the L.A. Times will end when my current one expires.

Elizabeth Gajsiewicz
Los Angeles


Your decision to eliminate the weekly TV listings is mind-boggling. If a “Calendar” section no longer has a calendar, how can it be called a calendar?

When you eliminated the TV listings, I grudgingly signed up for Screen Gab. But now that has also deleted the weekly listings, so I have unsubscribed.

If you are making these changes, as are your colleagues in other sections, due to changes in printing deadlines or space limitations, may I suggest you reinstate the listings and move the bestsellers column online instead? I love the bestsellers list, but since they don’t change much from week to week, it would seem a more logical move.

Norm Schneider
Los Angeles


I guess seniors who are not online do not matter. Another poor decision as the L.A. Times gets thinner by the day.


Laurie Kelson


What is the definition of a daily newspaper? For whatever the reason, the L.A. Times has given it all up. The print edition has been your pride and joy for as long as I remember. So sad, so sad the loss.

The simplest of print goals is to direct us to the most current news. Can’t get that in your new Sports section. Can’t get that in your new Calendar section.

Your dedication to anything currently important is gone. Gone forever, I fear.

You still have a chance to change. I, for one, have lost hope. And, apparently, so have many other readers. Please fold now to cut your further losses. Or change. Choice is still possible, I believe. If not, tell me now. If important, you will find the way. Or, please, tell us now that you’re done with us. That is honesty and respect for our years of following you, pure and simple.

Stephen P. Williams
La Mirada


I just finished reading all the letters complaining about the changes to the Sports section and the feeble explanation by Sports editor [Iliana Limón] Romero. Now the LAT seems to find itself unable to continue a single column on Sundays.

You should have just repeated Romero — “staff reductions” and “lack of staff resources.”

Sad to see the L.A. Times committing suicide by 1,000 cuts.

Donald McKinney
San Fernando


As a subscriber for many decades, I’m shocked at your decision to delete the already skimpy information on TV programming recommendations in the Sunday paper. How could you do this to seniors who are likely the core subscribers to daily delivery of the paper? Who wants to search the internet for every small detail of a life? I sure don’t. The morning paper with our coffee has been a regular ritual in our home for 50 years, but this change makes me feel that you’ve let us down once again. It feels like you’ve likely decided to monetize revenue by putting the TV recommendations online. How about remembering and appreciating those subscribers who’ve been with you for decades? Is that too much to expect from this newspaper?

Roz Levine
Los Angeles

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First it’s the daily removal of the TV log to decide if I should spend a portion of my night watching something of interest. Now it’s the weekly notice of programs of note. A large portion of your readership has been with your paper for 30 or 40 years. We don’t need the constant change to what’s hip. PBS shows used to get great coverage as to whether they were worth watching. TV is still an engaging medium that deserves better coverage.


Gerald Donahue
Huntington Beach


No subscriber will support your decision to end the Sunday TV listing. It was a wonderful source for planning your viewing schedule for the upcoming week. It was easy to read. It was well done.

As a 50-plus year subscriber, I do not understand The Times’ philosophy of giving less to the subscriber. Instead of maintaining successful elements of the paper, you are eliminating those successes, reducing the journalists retained by The Times and lowering the quality of our newspaper. You don’t even maintain these successful elements of the paper in the digital edition. You have adopted the same philosophy for the Sports page.

David Horowitz
Studio City


Big Brother has arrived at the L.A. Times. The Calendar editors think they know what I should watch during the week and are going to tell me every Sunday. What chutzpah! I started watching television in 1949 and have managed to make my own viewing decisions since then. I intend to continue to do so. Thank you, but no thank you, arrogant editors.

Elaine Lubkin
Los Angeles


Last week you upset your print subscribers by destroying the Sports section. Thank goodness you did decide to reinstate the Sports TV guide. Now the single column in Sunday’s paper that listed the TV specials and new shows to look for is gone! Again, you seem to think that readers of the paper will flock to searching online when the info used to be instantly available. This is one column to produce and put in the Sunday paper. Surely this doesn’t require a big staff to compile and type up.

Has the paper ownership ever thought to ask its subscribers what they find most important to them? Do I have to write a letter each week as you take away what makes me a subscriber?

Please doesn’t delete the weather map and the local temperature chart. You will lose your print subscribers who loyally support the paper if you make it look like USA Today.


Carol Karas


What do the Jenners and other influencers think will happen in the future, when most, if not all of them, have faces and bodies that have been enhanced by plastic surgery [“Muscle Beach for Insta crowd,” July 18]?

We’ll know in several years when, just like mortals, they will start to age.

I can picture it now. It’s not “pretty.”

Lynn Leatart
Sherman Oaks


‘Tempest’ brews storm

We were disappointed by your critic’s negative review of the Antaeus Theatre Company’s entertaining production of “The Tempest” [“Thunder drowns out wonder,” July 12]. As staged by an imaginative director and talented cast, the added music and sound effects enlivened and clarified the text to a degree we have not seen in previous productions.

John and Carol Amberg


I disagree with McNulty’s evaluation of the Antaeus production of “The Tempest.” The text was beautifully spoken, the storytelling extremely clear and the ensemble work, especially the foley and musical contributions, was impressive. Although I have seen many “Tempests” in my lifetime, I found this rendition to be one of the most creative and lively and well suited to the intimacy of the venue. Peter Van Norden’s poignant “Our revels” speech by itself was worth the price of admission.

Ron Scarlata