Was ‘Les Miserables’ really that bad? One reader thinks not. People also chime in about racism and the role it plays in our society.

Don’t ‘Mis’ It

Last weekend, having exhausted the local holiday film fare, I was dragged, still protesting, to Tom Hooper's Les Miserables. I had read Richard von Busack's review of the film (“Just Miserable,” Dec. 26) in the most recent edition of the Weekly and was anticipating 2+ hours of tedious, overblown hooey. In the first minutes of the film, however, I was relieved by a spectacle that was obviously well-produced, and soon I found myself absorbed in the lives of Fantine, Jean Valjean, Cosette and Javert, pleased to be once again immersed in the dramatic and inspiring world of Victor Hugo's great novel. (I confess, Les Miserables, required 8th grade reading, was my first favorite long read.) I found the casting surprising excellent, the acting consistently convincing (despite singing parts, verse, and close-ups which von Busack derided), and the director, Tom Hooper, to be congratulated, hopefully awarded, for bringing Hugo's behemoth, via the stage production, successfully to the screen. The music, verse, and, yes, even the close ups heightened effects, telescoping complexity and condensing into codas Hugo's major themes–which remained, despite the complications of the tale, in the forefront. There were not many people in the theater that evening, but those few, as the credits rolled, applauded. Hopefully, they found the film, as I did, fresh and full of heart. Sorry you missed it, von Busack!

Susan Colley

Santa Cruz



Take This

I am deeply offended by “Take that, Mayans” (Dec. 26, page 5). Is this supposed to be funny? Who the hell do you people think you are? Mayan people never said the end of the world was coming. It’s actually Caucasians who are obsessed with the end of the word, with taking other peoples culture and doing this to it. For money. You don't respect other people’s culture because you don’t have one. How many Mayans made money from “The end of the world BS? None. Who put together all those books, movies, seminars etc? Caucasians. You should do a little more research, get the facts straight. Yes, we are still here. We are not dinosaurs, we are not extinct. We are tired of being talked about as if we don't exist. That page you published is ignorance at its best. Accepted racism.

Carlos Mendoza


Proving the Point

“White Man's Burden?” (Letters, Dec. 19) claimed that “This Modern World” (Nov. 14) stereotyped all white males as racist, sexist, and conservative. This claim is false since the cartoon's satire was clearly aimed at Republicans (opening with, “Once upon a time, Republicans . . .”), both male and female (mentioning both Michael Barone and Peggy
Noonan), making the author's claim yet another example of the central point of the cartoon–that many Republicans often ignore the facts and just make stuff up, from crying racism where there is none to claiming that man-made global warming is not happening.

Stephen Williams