A take on 'Jesus Revolution' from one who was there, defending Rowling and more

·8 min read

'Revolution' soft-pedals

Katie Walsh is so right on in her criticism of “The Jesus Revolution!” [“They Know Not What They Do,” Feb. 23]. I was there on the Orange County coast 50 years ago and very involved in the movement.

I saw the movie on Feb. 24 and to its credit it is beautifully filmed with great scenery of the Newport Beach coastline, the actors are great, and it does depict both the positive and some of the internal conflicts of the movement.

The film does not go far enough. It fails to mention that Chuck Smith condemned gays and lesbians. I well recall a Sunday morning sermon in which he declared, “They’re called queers because that’s what they are — queers!” This was long before the acronym “LGBTQ” was formed.

The film does not mention that Smith embraced Hal Lindsey’s book, “The Late Great Planet Earth,” and preached that Henry Kissinger’s surname matched the mark of the Beast and “bore watching” as the possible Antichrist.

The film does not mention that Smith preached the imminent rapture of Christians and the return of Jesus of Nazareth to planet Earth. And so passionately that he ordered the message “Jesus is coming soon...” on the exterior wall of his new sanctuary. Several years later the message was removed because all of that never happened.

Sure, the Jesus Revolution helped thousands of hippies to get off of drugs. But only by getting hooked on a different drug — Jesus as preached by Smith and his trainees. And this drug has not worked for everyone.

Misdirected faith and beliefs can be illusive and sometimes dangerous.

David William Salvaggio


Deep dive into drag

Thank you to Christopher Knight for the brilliantly well-written commentary on drag [“Don't Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen,” Feb. 23]. It was great to read about the way drag intentionally confounds sexism’s definitions about what a desirable woman or real man looks like. And how drag, for even nonperforming young and old, can be a courageous act of defending their own sense of self.

Mom and Dad took me to a drag show in San Francisco back in the ’60s, when I was an impressionable preteen. The jokes mostly went over my head, but the sense of full-out exuberance in being who you are was a tonic in a time when being a girl was to be considered less-than and most options offered to young girls were to be a buttoned-down housewife, nurse, teacher or mother.

I love the way being a woman is both celebrated and critiqued by drag at the same time.

Suvan Geer

Santa Ana

Where have all the people gone?

Mary McNamara’s column describing the exodus of half a million Californians to other states [“Despite Exodus, State's Still in a Jam,” Feb. 20] was an eye-opener.

As a Maryland transplant many years ago I was especially impressed with her astute observation that “the absence of anything approaching a decent crab cake” is one of several reasons given. I’ve been searching for one in SoCal for 55 years without success, so I feel her pain.

I hope she will reward her readers if she ever finds one.

Paul Updegrove

Sherman Oaks

Not that easy to ignore

I was disappointed that Mary McNamara, whose columns I usually enjoy, decided to use her platform to weigh in against J.K. Rowling and Rowling’s defense of women-only spaces [“It's Time to Just Ignore J.K. Rowling,” Feb. 21].

Rather than have empathy for women who have been physically abused by men (as Rowling has been by her ex-husband) or women who have been raped, McNamara’s snarky column seemed only to have empathy for trans women who still have male genitals and wish to use women-only spaces.

McNamara writes: “Rowling’s own trauma is terrible and undeniable. It does not, however, grant her special insight into the transgender community.”

What does McNamara mean? Rowling does not claim to have insight into the transgender community. She claims to have insight from her own experience into the community of women who have experienced abuse at the hands of men (or, “people with penises”) or who fear that they could become a victim of male sexual violence.

Rowling stands up for those women, but McNamara does not.

It is not transphobic to state the fact that women continue to suffer sexual violence and abuse at the hands of men and deserve women-only safe spaces. It may be unfortunate that in protecting that rather large community of women, some trans women who would never hurt a woman may not be able to use certain bathrooms, spas or other women-only spaces.

Speaking out to protect women from triggering or potential abuse is not transphobic and is not saying that all trans women are abusers, just as it is not saying that all men are abusers.

Joanne Parrent

Los Angeles


Do I agree with Rowling? I don’t know. But the only arguments I’ve seen on the matter don’t actually address her point; they just accuse her of transphobia.

Accusing Rowling of transphobia doubtless feels good, but it in no way addresses her argument.

Barry Carlton

El Cajon


We live in a horribly male-dominated society. Women are raped and abused by men every second, minute, hour, day, life. Yet we are demanding that women accept our dominators and abusers in our locker rooms, with their sexual organs fully exposed.

Perhaps one can argue that point if women were totally equal to men and were valued and loved, but that is not reality. So until women have equality and value, no male sexual organs allowed in women’s locker rooms.

Kathryn Kosmeya-Dodge

Santa Monica


Thank you to McNamara for saying what she said about J.K. Rowling. It simply needed to be said.

Marie Mulligan

Manhattan Beach

Differing on 'Dilbert'

I was pleased to see that the L.A. Times has joined many other newspapers around the country in rightly discontinuing the cartoon strip “Dilbert,” as much as I’ve enjoyed it over the years [“Comics Change,” Feb. 27].

I’m amazed that Scott Adams would damage his career in such a reckless way by mouthing clearly racist and cruel views. This has nothing to do with “political correctness” or “wokeism.” It's about decency and good manners, which he should have learned from his parents.

Doug Weiskopf



Why in the name of wokeness have you made the decision to cancel the “Dilbert” comic strip? It is by far the best of your comics.

I can only guess the pointy-head boss must have been behind this.

Wally would be proud of you.

Chris Bisgaard

Eagle, Idaho


Anyone who has followed "Dilbert" for many years must admit that the strip has devolved from a mordant commentary on the corporate workplace to a barely hidden right-wing attack on any corporate effort to increase diversity, inclusiveness or ecological awareness.

But even worse, it’s just not funny anymore.

It probably should have been dropped a long time ago, but now that Adams has revealed his true nature as a racist, it had to be dropped.

And to Elon Musk and other Adams defenders: This has nothing whatsoever to do with free speech. The right to free speech applies to governments, not to what newspapers choose to print (or what distributors choose to distribute).

Racism is not acceptable and should be banished from the public sphere whenever possible.

David Weber



Thank you for removing his strip. Although very funny and true many times, Scott Adams is clearly a racist.

The Times needs its own editorial cartoonist: Bring back Michael Ramirez! He is sharp and would get the readers engaged with a different point of view.

The late, great Paul Conrad did exactly that when The Times was conservative And he was not!

Mary Dickinson

Alta Loma

Alternative bookstores

Melissa Gomez's story [“'Queen of Pasadena' Inspires a Dream Move,” Feb. 19] says Nikki High’s bookstore was not the first one in Los Angeles to be owned by a woman of color, but you only go back to 2019 to cite possible candidates for who might be first.

I believe my wife, Julie Swayze, was the first. In 2006, she opened Metropolis Books on Main Street, in the heart of DTLA. Scott Timberg did a feature story on our opening and Nita Lelyveld covered our closing on the front page of the Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011, edition of the Los Angeles Times.

Steve Bowie



Kudos to Nikki High and Octavia’s Bookshelf, a much-needed addition to the Altadena/Pasadena Black and Latino communities.

It is also important to acknowledge Rita Dyson, the owner of the Altadena/Pasadena Black and Latino Multicultural Bookstore, which opened in 1989 ["Altadena Store Offers Books on Minorities," Dec. 27] and closed in 1993 [“A Common Cause: Rita Dyson Is Struggling to Save Her Most Uncommon Bookstore,” Sept. 13] after financial challenges; a flood that destroyed the bookstore, requiring her to move to a different location; and local squabbles about ethnic identity and labels that continue to this day ["My Black Ancestors Were Erased From My Family’s Memory," Feb. 13; "I Don’t Call Myself Latinx, but the Conservative War Against it Is Ludicrous," Feb. 15].

My family, my former students, and my Altadena and Pasadena colleagues and neighbors have fond memories of Rita’s warm greeting at the door, lively displays and amazing books from Children’s Book Press, Aunt Lute, Latin American publishers, Africana studies and other books that described the diversity of experiences of nonwhite people.

My young children and students relished seeing themselves portrayed in the children’s books that Rita carried in her store. To this day they are avid readers and I credit her efforts and her courage in opening her bookstore, a first in our Pasadena/Altadena communities.

And to Nikki High, this community is the right space for you.

Suzette Vidal


This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.