Regarding Gene Weingarten’s column.
Patricia Marti, Columbia: For all the years his column has appeared in your magazine, I’ve read and enjoyed Gene Weingarten. In his March 4 piece [about definitions of the term “google”], however, I was shocked and disgusted by a word I’d never have thought he would use: “hicks.” The surrounding bit — “the Adam’s apple of a hog, something of a delicacy, when cooked and eaten with turnip greens by American ______” — was stereotypical, tasteless and downright offensive. Where was that editor of Mr. Weingarten’s, whom he calls so tough?
Rural disparagements, like racial and ethnic ones, are ignorant, thoughtless and just plain cruel.
Regarding the March 11 Travel issue story about Los Angeles.
Roberta Rood of Ellicott City: I very much enjoyed “City of Angles” by Bill Thomas. I do wish, though, that Thomas had mentioned Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer series. MacDonald’s depiction of mid-20th-century Southern California as a land of material riches and moral and spiritual bankruptcy has rarely been equaled.
Here’s a quote from “The Zebra-Striped Hearse”: “I parked behind [the hearse] and went down to the beach to search for its owner. Bonfires were scattered along the shore, like the bivouacs of nomad tribes or nuclear war survivors. ... [T]he breakers loomed up marbled black and fell white out of oceanic darkness.”
Your readers might also be interested to know that in 2009, three film and mystery buffs made a startling discovery: Some 16 minutes into “Double Indemnity,” Raymond Chandler makes a brief uncredited appearance.