Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 1, 2001

Paglia's ignorance was evident when he stated that Modotti was married to Antonio Mella and Vittori Vidall. If he had consulted one of the best scholars who has written about Modotti, Paglia would have learned that she was never married to these men. He also suggests that Modotti may have been involved in an assassination attempt on Leon Trotsky's life and may have murdered Mella. Where does Paglia get his information? As an art historian on Mexican art and culture, I would have been aware of these facts, if true.

Paglia's sexism was revealed as he expanded on Modotti's alleged marriage but never dealt with Weston's many sexual conquests -- including his last marriage, to a woman young enough to be his daughter. Finally, this Paglia statement -- "Knowing what we know about Modotti, it's hard to believe that the sensitive and evocative photos in Mexicanidad are the work of this Marxist Mata Hari" -- smacks of the hysteria of McCarthyism. The assumption is that a Marxist could not be creative. But possibly because Modotti was socially concerned, she was able to create works that were beautiful as well as being strong social statements about Mexico. Creativity and genius cannot be pigeonholed and can occur in the least expected places.

In the future, Paglia should stick to his reviewing and be more careful about his historical facts. Of course, he is entitled to his regressive political opinions.

Mary Motian Meadows

Editor's note: Michael Paglia stands by his column.

What a Character!

The tooth hurts: Thanks to Gregory Weinkauf for not propagating the ill-researched myth that the real Max Schreck made his debut in Nosferatu and then "disappeared" ("Vein Glory," January 25). He was, in fact, a character actor in more than thirty German films in the '20s and '30s.

So Weinkauf does him a disservice by describing him as little-known, since the concept of "stars" was, and is, still less a factor than the artistry of a well-suited character actor. Max Schreck was highly regarded as such in his time.

Jack Shaw

Stand by Your Man

Guitar man: After reading Marty Jones's "He's Still Standing," in the January 4 issue, we went to see Trace Christensen on January 6 at the Stardust Lounge in Arvada. He blew us away! Even our redneck buddy and his girl were impressed! The guy really wails on that guitar, and he's got the look.

Thanks for the tip!

Bill and Diane Towne

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