Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in an ill-advised attempt to polish his “common man” persona, dropped the F-bomb. Dennis Prager, leaping from his springboard of indignation, makes an equally ill-advised attempt to connect a rise in the public use of expletives with the demise of prayer in public schools (“L.A. Mayor and America’s Decline,” June 27).
I am certain that Prager need not be reminded that public speech, even that which he finds abhorrent, is protected by our country’s Constitution, and that prayer in the public school is not.
It is ignorance, and not expletives, that is the monster which is devouring civilization. Mr. Prager is anything but ignorant, but his rather simplistic theory, offered in the Journal’s most recent edition, makes me wonder if he believes that his readers are.
Herbert Weinberg, Marina del Rey
Prager responds: I am grateful to Mr. Weinberg for his letter. It succinctly clarifies one of the many differences between the right and left in America today. From the left, Mr. Weinberg believes that students invoking God’s blessings on their teachers and country is bad for the country. From the right, I believe that a mayor holding up a beer bottle and announcing that “this is a big f---ing day” before tens of thousands of young people is bad for the country. Whichever your position, you have to admit that this is a pretty big difference.
I actually agree with Dennis Prager on this issue. The public discourse has gotten pretty vile. There is a time and a place for swearing, and when a public official swears while speaking in his or her official capacity is not the time or place to do so. To do so only belittles the office and the official and sows disrespect as well. That being said, to state as Prager says, “But the secular and left-wing tsunami of the last half-century has all but extinguished the concept of the holy, and thereby extinguished the concept of the profane. If nothing is holy, nothing is profane,” is disingenuous. While some who can be identified as secular and “left-wing” have indeed conducted themselves in a profane manner, certainly an equal number of religious and “right-wing” individuals have also conducted themselves in a profane manner. Mr. Prager is not one of those, but even he must agree that what has come out of the mouths and pens of many right-wing politicians, talk-radio personalities and writers over the last 10 years has been profane, and in many cases, in the name of religion.
Steve Barkin via jewishjournal.com
Prager responds: I addressed Mr. Barkin’s objection in my column: “Of course, both Republicans and Democrats and liberals and conservatives use expletives. The difference is how one regards using them deliberately, using them publicly even in front of children, and how one reacts in this particular instance.”
And I don’t know to whom he is referring when he writes about widespread use of profanity by conservatives, “in many cases in the name of religion.” He doesn’t provide a single example.
Home Is Where You Park It
I read in the Jewish Journal that you mentioned that the seniors from the JCC in Woodland Hills had found a new home on Ventura Boulevard (“Uprooted Valley JCC Finds New Home, New Growth,” June 27).
It is necessary to clarify your contention that the seniors finally found a new home. Approximately two years ago, when we were apprised of the change in the JCC, a group of us began a search for an alternative place to house our many senior programs. Fortunately, we found the Village at Northridge, who welcomed all of our programs at no cost. Today, we have approximately 10 programs there that meet on a weekly basis. So to say the seniors from the JCC finally found a home is a mischaracterization. We found a home at the Village, which included not only our seniors but the members of the Village as well.
Please correct this misrepresentation and make the seniors of the West Valley aware that we do exist and are successful.
Zita D. Kass, Woodland Hills
More Metro, More Money
Last time a transit measure was on the ballot, it failed (“Synagogues, Museums, Transit Supporters Unite to Step on the Gas!” June 27). Since I am originally from the East Coast, I have always been in favor of improving mass transit. However, to raise the sales tax yet another half cent means our sales tax in L.A. County will be 10 percent. Many people cannot afford that and feel we are already being taxed to death. If former Mayor Sam Yorty had not been so unfavorable to mass transit when he was mayor of L.A., we would be a lot further ahead than where we are today. I am in favor of what you are trying to do; but to be honest, I do not want to see the sales tax or gas tax go up again.
Rick Beaver via jewishjournal.com