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From the Editors' Desk
This is, arguably, the best letters section we've had since the magazine started. Not only are fans writing in to compliment the authors (and you can never compliment the authors enough, we promise!) there's interaction going on. As Olga points out, apocrypha wags the fingers at plagiarism while using graphics we have not designed without credit. G Barroso uses the letters forum as a place to vent regarding his feelings on "Sunday In the Park With Jorge." And very disparate readers continue to be touched by Angilbas's "War & Disorder" tale.Love,
So, let's call this an omnibus Editor's Note. A chance for us to briefly respond to some of the issues posed below in the letters -- and then a query we have for longtime and new fans of L&O, something that's been on our minds recently.
First, as Olga rightly points out, "In quite a few of the issues, I haven't seen any mention of where your page graphics have come from. And if you want to show an example of not tolerating plagiarism, then you might want to think about also giving credit for your graphics. Otherwise, might it not be the same thing?" And she has a point -- there is a definite connection. Our only defense is this: Where websites have asked that credit be given, we give credits. If they do not ask for credit, we generally have not. That practice will be worked on for future graphics, to avoid any potential hypocrisy. Or, as Adam might put it, the appearance of impropriety. That said, we believe there is a difference -- a fine line -- between taking something and claiming it as your own and just taking something and using it. Stories are not the same as graphics; we do not say the graphics are all home grown. The stories, clearly, are. But that is a fine line, and we thank Olga for pointing it out to us.
G Barroso also makes a point: "Just a note on the case of the episode depicting the Puerto-Rican Parade used as the scenario for crime. NBC have done this twice already; not counting the "indirect" comments and scenes where the latino people is presented as criminals and bad people. Why not use the 4th of July parade? Why not use the Thanksgiving Parade? Why not the Tournament of the Roses Parade? Then have a white american kill another human being, rape a woman, harm a child."
Neither of your humble editors are Latino, and so there are issues here we can never truly say we understand. However, in our opinion Law & Order is the wrong show to be picking on. As Dick Wolf pointed out, L&O has been equal-opportunity offensive. Criminals have come from all genders, races, backgrounds and religions over the past eleven years, and will continue to do so. The point is that L&O directly ripped from the headlines for this episode -- there was a Puerto Rican Day Parade, there was violence and sexual assaults afterwards. No one was killed, but this was hardly a case of randomly picking on one beleaguered minority group. This happened, of a sort. Fictionalizing the rest wasn't much of a leap. Could it have been the St. Patrick's Day parade? Sure. It wasn't, though, and L&O didn't flinch at keeping it as true to what occurred as they could, before the big divergence. This was the wrong case to jump and down over, in our opinions.
That said, the episode would have been far more compelling to turn the finger on the cops who stood around and did nothing, even when distressed victims and witnesses pointed out what was going on to them. How culpable were they? How much responsibility should they share if someone did get killed? Those would be the more interesting issues, in our opinions.
Which brings us to our next topic. As Law & Order ages -- eleven years is far from unprecedented, but worthy of major applause! -- we've felt divisions in fans that are more difficult to resolve than Logan vs. Bratt or Stone vs. McCoy. And there have always been fans who hated all Stone shows and would only watch ones with McCoy, and vice versa, as well as for the different detectives who have come out of the two-seven. What has our ears pricking up now are the comments by new or semi-new fans who not only say they can't watch the earlier seasons -- but who outrightly denigrate them. We'd love to hear from fans who support this issue, because we can't get our heads around it. How much of a fan are you if you can't see the foundation upon which the show became great? Are you truly a fan if a show like "Prescription For Death" or "Indifference" doesn't move you with sheer storytelling and superb acting? One doesn't have to like every "period" the show has gone through, just as one doesn't have to be in equal admiration for every actor in every role. But if someone came forward and said they liked the Beatles except for that "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" stuff -- wouldn't you doubt their commitment to seeing the whole artistry? Yes, L&O was rougher around the edges in the beginning; those first season eps feel overlit and dingy at the same time, but the documentary feel was so much stronger in those days. Today's episodes still ring strong and can be moving and infuriating all at the same time, but after eleven years, the men and women who put the show together are (as one L&O exec noted recently) "a well-oiled machine." The show is slick and tight in ways it wasn't before, and thereby more easily digestible. This is neither better nor worse than earlier eps, which in our opinion took greater risks, even if they looked a little choppier. But we question: How much of a fan are you if you can't appreciate all eleven years (going on twelve now) for what they are? Go ahead, tell us. The letters we're getting are better and better -- we're oiling our machine pretty good after nearly four years online, too. So hit us with the good stuff. Readers can only continue to make apocrypha a better machine.
Well, then! On to the new issue: Summer, 2001. This time around we've got lots of swell tales to tell, from Kor's favorite, "Commotion", of which she says, "a little wacky, yes, but I thought it was funny." Kitt in particular found "Season's End" "amusing and clever -- not at all what you're expecting." Plus, there's Heather Gray's first column and lots of other fine doodads here and there. But warning: The fiction challenge has been kidnapped! Please, write in and save it!
Now, on to your new issue. Keep submitting, keep reading, and keep watching. Give us feedback, ask questions, send money and philosophies about life. We love hearing from you -- we're at: apocrypha.
To The Editor
We get letters, we get letters, lots and lots of letters...
Date: 3/9/2001 6:41:40 PM Eastern Standard Time
I liked it! A lot! I've always wondered about
a Ben/Shamabla thing. This was great! Do you have anymore fics about
them? I'd love to read
whatever you've got.
Date: 3/14/2001 10:16:39 PM Eastern Standard Time
I loved this one! Shambala Green's such a match for Ben Stone :) And the writing's good, too, of course!
Velvet Durano, LMT
Subj: six things I hate about SVU
Date: 3/14/2001 12:49:52 AM Eastern Standard Time
I must say that getting rid of Mariska Hargitay is the silliest thing I have ever heard. Mariska rocks, in fact, I'd say she makes the show what it is. As far as her part being poorly written, that is hardly her fault! As for her being out of her element is concerned, that just utter nonsense. " She's probably not a bad actress. " I think the author of this article should perhaps take the time to watch her performance before belittling her performance that she herself said was poorly written.
You asked for my opinion and whether I agreed or disagreed with her opinion. I personally think as I said that Mariska Hargitay rocks and does an excellent job playing her part. Heck, she's one of the main reasons that I watch the show for goodness sake. I mean on top of her acting ability, look at her, she's a knock out besides. In my opinion, replacing her would be a big mistake.
Subj: After reading your...
Date: 3/10/2001 10:33:25 AM Eastern Standard Time
...editor's note (in the latest
apocrypha digest), I went through the rest of the site. I kept looking
the graphics and not seeing any reference as to where they came from.
I know it's very important that
we are mindful of plagiarism when it comes to writing. But if you
a website, graphics may be a part of it. If so, then you need to think about giving credit to where those
graphics came from.
In quite a few of the issues, I
haven't seen any mention of where your page graphics have come from.
And if you want to show an example of not tolerating plagiarism, then you might want to think about also
giving credit for your graphics. Otherwise, might it not be the same thing?
Also, even if you made those graphics, you still might think of making a note about it.
I only bring this up because I know
there are a lot of mean and nasty people online who can't be trusted.
And their websites are a testament to that, especially with things they have stolen from others.
Your site isn't like that and I'd like to think it won't ever be like that. That is why I brought this point to your attention.
Subj: McCoy in for Stone
Date: 3/15/2001 10:22:42 PM Eastern Standard Time
I was rummaging about trying to find a reference to the Waterston/Moriarty pairing in Glass Menagerie, which I saw when it was released in 1973, and came across your page. As a fan of Law & Order, I must say you've hit the nail on the head as far as these two actors are concerned.
One niggling detail, however: The Waterston/Moriarty production of The Glass Menagerie was not made for television; it was one of a series of movies made of stage productions by producer Ely Landau. They were made for theatrical release and called the American Film Theatre. The AFT worked on the novel idea of filming stage productions from either Broadway or the West End with original casts and superb production values (and absolutely minimal adjustments were made to accommodate cameras), and then selling the films as a subscription series shown in local movie theatres. People could buy a ticket for a whole season's worth (expensive -- it might have been $100 for six movies, a lot for 1973).
Some of the productions were stunning. Zero Mostel in Zero, by Samuel Beckett; Alan Bates in Butley, and the cast of The Iceman Cometh was awesome: Lee Marvin, Frederic March, Robert Ryan, Jeff Bridges and Bradford Dillman, directed by John Frankenheimer.
Glass Menagerie was one of that series. It starred Katharine Hepburn as the mother, and Joanna Miles as the damaged daughter.
I know this because I was a newspaper movie critic in Montreal at the time. I salivated for each new AFT presentation when it came out, and interviewed Landau for the paper.
The American Film Theatre lasted about two or three years, and then packed it in. Now those exceptional movies are seen only on TV.
Subj: The Offspring
Date: 3/28/2001 3:26:58 PM Eastern Standard Time
I've really gotten into law & order in the past year, & my favorite is by far Claire & my favorite team is Claire & Jack. I knew that she isn't in the new episodes but I didn't know why. I jut began looking up stuff o the net a few days ago, & to my horror, find out that they killed Claire off! I'm so bummed about it, because her & Jack were the best together (I've also read that there's rumors about a relationship between them, which I think is pretty funny :)! This story made me cry but I thought it was excellent. Just because Claire's gone from the set doesn't mean that we can't go back & question things, & wonder, "What if?"
Subj: Jury Nullification
Date: 4/4/2001 2:58:05 AM Eastern Daylight Time
I came across your Law and Order site. It's really great.
I'm happy to see that others really enjoy this show. I read your interview
I.C. RAPOPORT, and was thinking, wondering really, if you know of any way of making topical suggestions to the writers.
I had recently been served for jury duty and started doing
some research on what the rights and responsibilities of jury duty is.
came across this page:
and thought, Wow! This would be a cool twist for a Law and Order show.
So here I am, wondering if there's some way to suggest
such an idea to the writers of the show. If you have any thoughts or comments
about this, drop me a line.
[Ed Note: Ross, thanks for your nice note! I.C. himself
wrote us and said he'd liked the interview, which was a real pleasure.
We don't have any way of getting to the writers, specifically, but you
seem to be on the right track for story ideas! They used "Nullification"
in an episode in 1997 called, oddly enough, "Nullification." It was written
by the great David Black.]
Date: 4/8/2001 6:58:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Your story second chance was just
unbelievable. WOW!!!! I honestly don't think I have ever read
something that amazing and captivating right to the very end. My mouth dropped when i read the words Ben
Stone. Not what I was expecting. Awesome job!
Subj: MASH/ Law and Order
Date: 5/1/2001 10:38:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time
I am a Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff, I was looking for "War Bags"( which is a bag that law enforcement officers put all of their patrol gear inside of to put in the trunk of the police car) here on AOL. I put in War Bags and it gave me a couple of sites to view, n one of which had War bags. However looking at the choices, my eye was caught when I saw MASH and Law and Order in the same sentence. Both of those shows are my favorite TV shows for the past five years at least. I read your story and i really liked it. To bad you did not come up with the story about 30 years ago. But anyhow good job I enjoyed reading it.
Deputy Eric Metten
Subj: Law & Order episode
on Puerto Rican Parade
Date: 4/30/2001 12:57:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Just a note on the case of the episode depicting the Puerto-Rican Parade used as the scenario for crime. NBC have done this twice already; not counting the "indirect" comments and scenes where the latino people is presented as criminals and bad people.
Why not use the 4th of July parade? Why not use the Thanksgiving Parade? Why not the Tournament of the Roses Parade? Then have a white american kill another human being, rape a woman, harm a child.
This racial thing is going too far, people. Looks like all US is into a conversion from "americans" to "hitlers" expressing any kind of racial prejudice against the latino community. This needs to be changed NOW in order to have a peaceful land where anyone can live in. As its true there are bad people among us, there are also bad persons among yourselves. There are good and bad people everywhere in the world. But we all have the faith that the majority on both sides is good people.
I am latin and VERY proud to be PUERTORRICAN. But also I am proud to be an american citizen and because of that I must stand for latinos and every human being which is subject to any kind of racial or discrimination due to its origin, including north-americans. Latinos are also americans, for if you have books (you are supposed to have gone to school so far), the continents where the latinos come from are called AMERICA also. By the way, not all latinos and puertorricans are black with curly hair. There is a majority of white people here, many with blonde hair and blue eyes. Also remember there is a large community of black american people there in the US.
Puertorricans are not foreigns. Your Congress gave us in 1952 the status of a commonwealth of the US, we use your same currency, have schools, and everything that you have there. We do not live or are kept in reservations, as you people have the original and true americans, the indians tribes which lived centuries BEFORE you appeared in the scene. We also, in vast majority speak two languages, a thing that most of you dont do. With these words I do not want to offend anyone, but help people think about the other human beings that share our land, no matter if they are americans or from other country, black or white.
If the United States of America is supposed to be the land of freedom and justice for ALL, then make your word be true in all its sense. Don't throw rocks to your "enemy" house, for they can bounce back and you may have a crystal roof. This planet has already too many problems so let's not contribute to that, let's contribute all united to have a better world.
Thank you for letting me express my thoughts.
Subj: Dr Dietz Interview
Date: 5/25/2001 10:35:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time
I am a die-hard Law and Order fan and I also happen to hold Dr. Park Dietz in high esteem. I have 20 years of policing behind me, 8 of those years as a Hostage Negotiator and 3 as a Child Abuse Detective. I have recently ventured out on my own, launching my own business, specializing in Workplace Violence training and Threat Assessment [In fact, I'll be training with a colleague of Dr. Dietz's this fall, Gavin deBecker, in California].
I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I have had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Dietz's insights, on a professional level, but it is always fascinating to see the 'real person' behind the persona. He sounds like a delightful man and it's great that he does interviews on a lighter note than would normally be the case.
His link with Law and Order certainly gives that show much credibility. From an urban law enforcement background I have to say that it is, bar none, the most authentic, courageous and unique (yet still very entertaining) police/court show I've ever seen. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I envy the technical advisors to the show. In my estimation that would be a pretty sweet assignment!!
Those are my thoughts....have a great day!
[Ed. Note: Ms. Gray is now contributing to apocrypha!
Check out her first (of many, we hope) columns over in the Non-Fiction
Subj: steven hill
Date: 7/2/2001 5:37:46 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Just a short note regarding your bio of actor Steven Hill - excellent job! I have searched for quite some time to find a decent biography of him, and yours was by far, the best. Thank you for an outstanding job.
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apocrypha welcomes letters from readers. Letters should include the writer's name. Those selected for inclusion may be shortened for clarity and content, and unless otherwise requested, will not
include email addresses. Send letters to us here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only letters clearly marked "not for editor's page" will be excluded from consideration.
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