Calendar letters: Name that woman, watch your bias and don’t blame the critics
I’ll give Tre’vell Anderson credit for addressing the problematic depiction of women and gender relations in blaxpoitation films [“What Was Fly Then,” June 10], although the first mention of the issue comes well past the halfway mark in a 2,000-word piece.
But I cannot get over the fact that someone at The Times thought it would be acceptable to illustrate the piece in the print edition with a still from the original “Super Fly” showing star Ron O’Neal standing, fully clothed in a power pose, gun in hand, with a woman in a bikini lying at his feet — and not have the caption identify the woman as O’Neal’s costar, Sheila Frazier.
Misogyny may be rampant in this nearly 50-year-old film, but that’s nothing compared with the stunning sexism of The Times in not even bothering to name the woman in the photo. The message is clear: Whether it’s 1972 or 2018, women are background scenery to be enjoyed but need not be granted any agency or even extended the simple courtesy of being acknowledged by name.
Following Laura Dern from the start
Regarding “A Dark and Timely ‘Tale’,” in The Envelope by Michael Ordoña [June 14]: I remember when I first saw Laura Dern. The movie was “Mask,” starring Cher. Dern had a small but significant role. I have always liked that movie and have followed Dern ever since.
Keep politics out of reviews
Regarding “A ‘Deep State’ With Something Deeper in Mind” [June 16]: The Times is still bought by people who don’t share its political views. The gratuitous superciliousness in the first two paragraphs of the review of “Deep State” was enough to keep me from reading the rest. Is it possible to review a program, even one that may have a political theme, without injecting your own politics? Or is the moral imperative to attempt to thwart the current president or at least announce one’s moral superiority by mocking him the overriding principle, even in the field of movie criticism?
Don’t blame the critics
Regarding “Wanted: More Diverse Movie Criticism” [June 17]: I hate to burst the self-righteous bubble of Brie Larson and those who believe critics make or break a film or production, but it’s still a free country and no one can force filmgoers to see a female-driven movie if it’s not entertaining.
No one I know uses a film review as anything but a reference point as to what a movie is about. And I for one don’t like movies that are rip-offs of TV/movie classics (1960s’ “Ocean’s 11,” the original “Ghostbusters,” etc.) made to prove women can be just as foul-mouthed and raunchy as guys. I want a story that uplifts, makes me laugh, brings music to my soul and just plain entertains. No more, no less.
So don’t blame the movie critics if your film tanks or doesn’t break records at the box office. It might be that it stinks.
Julie T. Byers
I read [Jen Yamato’s] article with much enthusiasm. I might just be the perfect candidate for the job. First, I love movies and have for years. I also represent one of the most underserved sub-groups in the state of California. If your goal is more diversity, I’m your candidate. I’m female, elderly, Christian and conservative. I’m also white and heterosexual. I am free to work any time between naps and bingo. Give me a call (I rarely text) and we can set up that interview.
A nice memory of a nice neighbor
Very nice piece on Fred Rogers [“Mister Rogers’ Family Invites Us In,” June 12]. [Amy Kaufman’s] article brought tears to my eyes. I never knew his wife was a concert pianist. Growing up, my three kids loved the gentle words of Fred Rogers and how he seemed to speak directly to them. My husband, a Pittsburgh native, loved how much Rogers and the city embraced each other.
Pine Knoll Shores, N.C.
A fresh look for Pirates attraction
Regarding “The ‘Wench’ has Taken Charge” [June 17]: It’s a shame TV critic Lorraine Ali didn’t take three minutes to do a Google search on female pirates. They are historically accurate, with one notorious one even nicknamed “Red.” Instead, you wrote about how the new ride is “more politically correct than it was.” You didn’t get it quite right.
Don’t forget the seniors
In Sonaiya Kelley’s piece on female showrunners [“Plotting Their Own Course in TV,” June 15], she quotes Gloria Calderon Kellett: “Really, representation is about an invisible group of people — women included, certainly minorities included, disabled included — that don’t see themselves represented.”
Don’t forget seniors, a barely visible group of experienced talent who are eager to present heartening stories of the multitude of people who desire to keep on keeping on.
Diana Ross concert disappointment
Regarding “Old Favorites, Surprises as Diana Ross Opens Bowl” [June 18]: The crowd-pleasing performance Ross gave at the Bowl two years ago certainly warranted such high praise but her limited efforts on Saturday did not. I don’t criticize a performer of her stature when they occasionally deviate from singing the songs that made them famous, but I do expect to not have an entire concert with such lackluster material. The audience was stunned when the house lights came up after slightly more than a hour. We had incorrectly assumed that she was saving her most famous material for the second half.
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