Thursday, March 15, 2001
It's a Free Country, Right?Oh my goodness, I seemed to have ruffled a few feathers by stating my opinion. By not agreeing with the elite of Carmel I am labeled "spiteful," while to the lady with 25 years in the fine (see "overpriced") dining business I am mean-spirited.
Whatever qualifications one may or may not have, you seem to miss the point that we may all express our own opinions. Whatever you may think, your opinion is no better or worse than my own.
You like Mr. Napolitano's column? Fine. I don't--and wish the paper would offer information on prices and quality instead of a travel and decorating column. Of course, that is just an "amateur's" opinion.
I stand behind my previous letter.
--DON GONZALEZ, SEASIDE
Former Weekly Critic Strikes BackAs a former theatre critic, I have to take exception to Stephen Moorer's latest swipe at me and my colleagues when he questioned our educations and qualifications ("Director's Notes: On a Role," March 1-7). While I'm not about to defend or debate my or anyone else's qualifications as a critic, Moorer's remarks do beg the question of his qualifications as a director.
Is studying acting as a teenager with Marcia Hovick his only qualification? Where did he receive his theatre education? CET? Carmel High? These are qualifications to be a director?
Not "pulling any punches" either, let's face it, Moorer's main qualification to be a director is that he owns a theatre, and his main gripe about theatre critics is he doesn't like what they have to say about the mediocrity he often produces.
Moorer sneeringly refers to "table time" and "the whole 'acting class' mode" of doing theatre to denigrate what is an important element of acting: coming to understand the complex emotional inner life of your character.
Moorer prefers his "bag of tricks," and so his characterizations--his, and those he directs--tend to lack emotional verisimilitude.
Characters with a "physical life," but lacking a believable inner life, are flat, cardboard cut-outs; stick-figures waving broadswords and doing shtick. Or, conversely, they're so broadly drawn--mugging and gesticulating in a way quite unlike genuine human behavior--as to be laughable.
As Voltaire's Candide famously advised, "il faut cultiver notre jardin." Maybe next time Mr. Moorer has the urge to publicize his reservations about someone else's education or qualifications, he should look to see how deeply rooted his own are first, and perhaps think the better of it.
--JAMES BRADY, PACIFIC GROVE
Wake Up and Smell the SardinesIs Monterey really the place for a Mardi Gras Celebration?
When our rituals and celebrations have little purpose other than to provide an avenue for the uptight to "let loose," when we are valued as simply dollar signs (it's a big night for the bars, restaurants and tourist trinket outlets, undoubtedly), when we realize we are on the other end of yet just another corporate promotion and when the police kick us off the streets after a less-than-mediocre 15-minute parade, many of us will consciously and unconsciously react with the same disrespect.
Maybe if we were celebrating something a little more down-home and something based around respect for the history of the community we live within, we would, over time, garner a respect for each other as fellow members of this community.
Dr. David Orr of Oberlin College sums up our need for such a relationship to history and place in his book Ecoliteracy: Education and the Transition to a Post Modern World.
"A genuine education (or celebration) will equip a person to live well in a place. To a great extent, formal education (or formal celebration) now prepares its graduates (or citizens) to reside, not to dwell (as community members). The difference is important. The resident (or citizen) is a temporary and rootless occupant who mostly needs to know where the banks and stores are in order to plug in. The inhabitant (or community member) and a particular habitat cannot be separated without doing violence to both. The sum total of violence wrought by people who do not know who they are because they do not know where they are is a global crisis."
It's hard to believe, but the Mardi Gras night was also the evening of John Steinbeck's 99th birthday, the man who put our Cannery Row in the minds and hearts of millions, and sadly amongst the beer bottles, bosoms, and batons there was not a word mentioned.
Hm...that makes next year Mr. Steinbeck's 100th birthday. Let's get it together, Monterey, shall we?
--DREW READY, MONTEREY
CorrectionDue to the editor's continuing struggle with geography, the Weekly misspelled "Colombia" last week. We meant the country, not the college town in Missouri, the river or the gorge, and we apologize for any confusion our gaffe may have caused.
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