Calendar Letters: Getting political
Randy Lewis’ article started off fine [“A Civic Duty: Willie Nelson Offers Election-Day Musical Advice: ‘Vote ’Em Out’,” Oct. 28], trying to be even-handed and simply reporting a fun story about Nelson (we are fans) and his song to encourage young people to vote. This is a good thing. However, Nelson’s being disingenuous when he states that his message is not biased.
Despite his declarations to the contrary, he obviously has very strong opinions about the election, and by the end of the article, both he and Lewis have made that perfectly clear.
Every day, I read the various articles in The Times hoping for some changes, but I’ve given up.
Is it a requirement of the job to be sure and include some reference to how much The Times hates the president?
I’m hoping someone tells entertainers that the general public could care less about their geopolitical views.
‘Words matter, intent matters’
Thank you for theater critic Charles McNulty’s comments on the theater and clichéd political discourse [“A Theatrical Collision of Ideas,” Oct. 28]. Theater gives us heightened language; playwrights engage the audience in examining the complexity of human relationships in the context of our times or earlier times. What we have been subjected to in the political arena is the degradation of language — Twitter punchlines and repeated spewing of angry, hateful rhetoric demonizing “the enemy.” Words matter. Intent matters.
Sadly, this is lost on those who bluster and berate.
Lenore N. Dowling
A pivotal role for actors union
Thanks so much for Amy Kaufman’s thorough and detailed article “No Easy Path to Report Abuse,” and good for The Times for putting it on the front page, and good for Sarah Scott. She’s trying her best to document, go through channels.
Endless, frustrating paths for women — clearly even union women. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television Radio Artists should consider itself on notice to protect its members and get its act together to fix its process. The organizations that are now well funded to help women here in our industry should pay attention to your article and make sure their structures are working.
What’s the diff in their actions?
I read TV critic Lorraine Ali’s piece on Megyn Kelly’s departure from NBC [“Careful What You Wish For,” Oct. 30]. I watched that show and heard her comments and thought nothing more of it other than adults having an adult conversation. Political correctness is ruining the world. I want to know what the difference is between Kelly’s comments and Lester Holt showing up a few years back on “Today” dressed as Susan Boyle, complete with lightened skin, for Halloween?
To me, there is no difference.
Kernels of truth from a film buff
Regarding Kenneth Turan’s “Surprising Results in Documentaries” [Oct. 28]: I go to very few movies these days, but two I did see — “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” and “RBG” — definitely deserved my attention, and I am happy to see that I am not alone in my praise. I laughed and cried in each of these films and did not even need one kernel of popcorn to fortify myself.
Ruth Kramer Ziony
Major strikeout with Dodger fans
Chris Erskine’s “Perspective” puts it all in a nutshell [“L.A. Is Crying Foul in Series,” Oct. 26.] I live in a nonserviceable block in Joshua Tree, and the post-season is the only time all year to enjoy my beloved Dodgers.
It’s true, of the Fox announcers, that Tom Verducci is the poet and deserves more time. His “30 Years...” Dodger homage before Game 1 was sublime. If only Joe Buck and John Smoltz would cut the chatter by 50%, it might help.
Armida Star Thomson
I can’t remember a time when I so utterly agreed with a rant as I did with Erskine’s column. I thought I was the only one who didn’t give two damns about launch angles or whether Pitcher X likes to go middle-in with the power-breaking ball against lefties with a full count after the fourth inning. Dear God, tell a story, already. Or, maybe just shut up, like Vin Scully used to try to teach every young announcer; let the crowd and the sounds of the game tell the story.
City Council member
As usual, Erskine is right on regarding horrible sports broadcasting. I’ve long assumed that blabber-mouthed sportscasters are paid by the word.
The inventor of the mute button should get a Pulitzer.
I was beginning to think that I was the only one suffering when I should have been enjoying one of my true annual pleasures, watching the World Series. Reading that I have some company in my distress helps.
It’s one among thousands of reasons why Scully was — and remains — the best, most perfect vocal accompaniment to any team playing any kind of baseball game imaginable. He knew when to sit back and let the action say it all.
Buck and Smoltz, along with all the other former players who decide they are qualified to have a career at a microphone calling the game they know, should learn a lesson from the king of them all. Stop torturing the listeners with your incessant stats and babble.
A forumla for ratings
Regarding Sunday Calendar’s “Underrated/Overrated”: It seems to me that this feature can be summed up thusly. Underrated: Things no one has ever heard of except writer Chris Barton. Overrated: Things just about everyone has heard of, maybe even including Barton.
A challenging role for a gifted actor
In reading Leonard Maltin’s loving tribute to his good friend James Karen [“Collecting Friends as Well as Roles,” Oct. 26], I was carried back to the late 1970s, when I was a writer-executive producer of “The Jeffersons,” and the face of the new Klan began emerging.
Thus the premise for an episode: George Jefferson applies for membership in what is pitched as an important “business organization,” only to discover what’s really up.
When it came time to cast an urbane version of a David Duke-like Klan leader, a part that would require an actor who could deliver charm one moment and racist vitriol the next, our casting director, Pat Kirkland, said: “You must get Jimmy Karen for this.”
Despite (or perhaps because of) the subject matter, all the cast members upped their games a notch, and James delivered a memorable, spot-on performance showing that racial hatred can come in all sorts of packages.
But there’s a postscript. About two weeks after the episode aired, word filtered back to us that the East Coast supermarket chain for which James was a spokesman was about to terminate his services because of his depiction of a Klan leader on “The Jeffersons.”
CBS and Norman Lear got word of this and quickly convinced the chain that this would be a very unwise move.
I know of no other actor whose brave and committed performance was so realistic that it nearly cost him an acting gig.
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