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Readers weigh in on the first presidential debate and the history of ‘The Birth of a Nation’

Presidential debate
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton are introduced during the presidential debate at Hofstra University on Sept. 26, 2016.
(David Goldman / Associated Press)

Presidential debate played out as predicted

Regarding “Showdown Time” [Sept. 26]. My thanks to Mary McNamara and Charles McNulty, whose incisive pre-debate takes proved eerily prescient. McNamara illuminated the singularly challenging role of debate moderators, which she submits is to “return television coverage of the campaign to something approaching sanity.” McNulty aptly related how presidential debates once afforded intellectual drama but now amount to “theatrical free-for-alls” indulged to generate TV ratings bonanzas. With nothing of substance likely to change in the two remaining debates, I’ll forgo further Op-Ed pages fare and simply re-read what McNamara and McNulty wrote.

Ed Alston

Santa Maria

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That 400-pound man is the perfect subject for a political cartoon. I breathlessly await.

Dottie Rodman

Torrance

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I appreciated the fact that the audience was admonished to remain quiet by keeping them in the dark. In past debates the candidates seemed to play to the audiences to get applause as a way of getting approval for their positions. I did not miss or need to see the audience’s reaction. I liked making up my own mind about what was being said without being influenced by the candidates’ supporters.

Sheilah Palacios

San Gabriel

L.A.'s role in original ‘Birth’

I’m surprised that the article on “The Troubling Legacy of ‘The Birth of a Nation’ ” [Oct. 2] didn’t mention that Los Angeles was at the epicenter of our conflicted attitudes toward the film. More than a century ago, the all-too-familiar battles about free speech versus censorship, jobs versus social justice unfolded here. “Birth of a Nation” was shot entirely in Los Angeles. It was to have its world premiere on Feb. 8, 1915, at Clune’s Auditorium (since demolished) on Pershing Square. Citing racial prejudice, the City Council directed Police Chief Charles Sebastian to prevent the film from being shown.

D.W. Griffith went to court and secured a temporary injunction in favor of the film. Over 3,000 people attended the formal opening that night. The film went on to break all attendance records in Los Angeles and nationwide. And its feared impact on racial relations came to fruition as well. Sometimes, things don’t really change as much as one would expect in 100 years.

Bob Wolfe

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Hermosa Beach

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Once more, one of your journalists couldn’t help putting in a “zinger” about Donald J. Trump when comparing D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” with Nate Parker’s film of the same name. No opportunity seems to be passed up by your writers to make derogatory comments about Trump while giving Hillary Clinton wide berth on her many, many past transgressions. This is only the latest of this solidly left bent, and I’ve had enough.

Rose Middleton

Northridge 

Conflict at a crossroads

The Calendar section [Oct. 2] captures the essence of the conflict roiling America. You hit on the broad themes we face as a country and which are too often segmented and treated as separate. The subjugation of women with sexual violence poignantly addressed by Tori Amos [“A Voice Fighting Sexual Violence”]. The subjugation of black people and minorities given full license in the original “The Birth of a Nation” film [“The Troubling Legacy of ‘The Birth of a Nation’ ”]; and the white boys, whose drug/alcohol-induced actions perpetuate the subjugation of women and minorities as discussed in the “Youth Culture on a High in Films.” The intersection of women’s pain, black and minority pain, and, yes, the pain of white boys doing stupid things is all too real. Is it too much to ask the news media to begin to see that racism, misogyny and addiction are branches of the same tree.

Aviyah Farkas

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Los Angeles

Sorry to have missed her show

Regarding your pop music review “Dolly, Pure and Simple” [Oct. 3]: Thanks for the really well-crafted review. Wish I could have been there.

Michael P. Scott

Indianapolis

Diversity in film not historical

One of your readers recently wrote praising the “milestone of diversity” in the recent remake of “The Magnificent Seven” [“Feedback: Seven Sword Samurai Salute,” Oct. 2] and seemed to criticize the “monochromatic cast” of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” saying, “I don’t think there is a single non-Japanese actor in ‘Seven Samurai.’ ” If I remember correctly, “Seven Samurai” took place in 16th century Japan. At that time, who else lived in Japan? We should choose historical correctness over political correctness every time.

Garey Fong

Eagle Rock

Classic film is still fresh

Regarding “Once Banned, ‘Battle of Algiers’ ’ Smart, Compassionate Take on Terror and Rebellion Resonates Today” [Sept. 29, latimes.com]. It’s great to see Justin Chang keeping the classic film alive!

Tony Macklin

Las Vegas

An education from the best

Regarding “Master Class: James Taylor and Joe Walsh Are Among the Stars Swapping Songs at Country Hall of Fame Benefit” [Sept. 29]: Thank you for your fine piece. A delight to read. Some very nice touches.

Luís Torres

Pasadena

Actors costumed in the full regalia of the Ku Klux Klan chase down a white actor in blackface in a still from “The Birth of a Nation.”
Actors costumed in the full regalia of the Ku Klux Klan chase down a white actor in blackface in a still from "The Birth of a Nation."
(Hulton Archive / Getty Images )

I’m surprised that the article on “The Troubling Legacy of ‘The Birth of a Nation’” [Oct. 2] didn’t mention that Los Angeles was at the epicenter of our conflicted attitudes toward the film. More than a century ago, the all-too-familiar battles about free speech versus censorship, jobs versus social justice unfolded here. “Birth of a Nation” was entirely shot in Los Angeles. It was to have its world premiere on Feb. 8, 1915, at Clune’s Auditorium (since demolished) on Pershing Square. Citing racial prejudice, the City Council directed Police Chief Charles Sebastian to prevent the film from being shown. D.W. Griffith went to court and secured a temporary injunction in favor of the film. Over 3,000 people attended the formal opening that night. The film went on to break all attendance records in Los Angeles and nationwide. And its feared impact on racial relations came to fruition as well. Sometimes, things don’t really change as much as one would expect in 100 years.

Bob Wolfe

Hermosa Beach

::

Once more, one of your journalists couldn’t help putting in a “zinger” about Donald J. Trump when comparing D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” to Nate Parker’s film of the same name. No opportunity seems to be passed up by your writers to make derogatory comments about Trump while giving Hillary Clinton wide berth on her many, many past transgressions. This is only the latest of this solidly left bent and I’ve had enough.

Rose Middleton

Northridge 

Sorry to have missed the show

Dolly Parton performs live at the Hollywood Bowl during her Pure & Simple Tour on Saturday, October 1.
Dolly Parton performs live at the Hollywood Bowl during her Pure & Simple Tour on Saturday, October 1.
(Patrick T. Fallon/ For The Los Angeles Times )

Regarding “Pop Music Review: Dolly, Pure and Simple” [Oct. 3]. Thanks for the really well crafted review. Wish I could have been there.

Michael P. Scott

Indianapolis

Diversity not historical

One of your readers recently wrote praising the “milestone of diversity” in the recent remake of “The Magnificent Seven” [“Feedback: Seven Sword Samurai Salute,” Oct. 2] and seemed to criticize the “monochromatic cast” of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai” saying, “I don’t think there is a single non-Japanese actor in ‘Seven Samurai.’” If I remember correctly, “Seven Samurai” took place in 16th century Japan. At that time, who else lived in Japan? We should choose historical correctness over political correctness every time.

Garey Fong

Eagle Rock

Classic film still fresh

Regarding “Once Banned, ‘Battle of Algiers’’ Smart, Compassionate Take on Terror and Rebellion Resonates Today” [Sept. 29, latimes.com]. It’s great to see Justin Chang keeping the classic film alive!

Tony Macklin

Las Vegas 

An education for the best

James Taylor, left, and Vince Gill perform at the All for the Hall Los Angeles at the Novo Theatre on Sept. 27, 2016.
James Taylor, left, and Vince Gill perform at the All for the Hall Los Angeles at the Novo Theatre on Sept. 27, 2016.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times )

Regarding “Master Class: James Taylor and Joe Walsh are Among the Stars Swapping Songs at Country Hall of Fame Benefit” [Sept. 29]. Thank you for your fine piece. A delight to read. Some very nice touches.

Luís Torres

Pasadena

Intersecting conflicts

The Calendar section [Oct. 2] captures the essence of the conflict roiling America.  You hit on the broad themes we face as a country and which are too often segmented and treated as separate. The subjugation of women with sexual violence poignantly addressed by Tori Amos [“A Voice Fighting Sexual Violence”]. The subjugation of black people and minorities given full license in the original “The Birth of a Nation” film [“The Troubling Legacy of ‘The Birth of a Nation’”]; and the white boys, whose drug/alcohol-induced actions perpetuate the subjugation of women and minorities as discussed in the “Youth Culture on a High in Films.” The intersection of women’s pain, black and minority pain, and yes the pain of white boys doing stupid things is all too real. Is it too much to ask of reporters, news media, to begin to see that racism, misogyny and addiction are branches of the same tree.  

Aviyah Farkas

Los Angeles


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