Mirthala story kicks up a ruckus

The new L.A. Times news blog looks and acts freakishly like LA Observed, often posting on the same news nuggets after we do. (And sometimes it works the other way.) Our post last night on Mirthala Salinas returning to the airwaves fit the pattern. One big difference, though, is the Times follow this morning at L.A. Now welcomed public comments — but nobody wanted to talk about Salinas. The post brought out haters who started frothing because Veronique de Turenne quoted Hoy in Spanish. The tone of the comments quickly turned racist, proving once again that the opportunity to comment anonymously on a news blog too often appeals to those who probably can't even get talk radio to take their calls. It all irked Times columnist Steve Lopez, who responds with his own post, °Adios, amigos!, advising Times readers to move away if they don't like Spanish:

I have not exactly researched this, but I suspect I may be the whitest Lopez in the state of California.

My grandparents are from Spain on one side, Italy on the other.

So itís been interesting, as a native of this state, to have readers of the six California newspapers Iíve worked for assume that everything Iíve ever written is informed to some degree by my ďethnicity.Ē

My ethnicity is Californian. My parents spoke other languages before they spoke English. This morning in the L.A. Times cafeteria, when the clerk gave me the price of my coffee in Spanish, I felt pretty good, since I often try to speak to her in Spanish in my lifelong attempt to learn the language.

All of which is my way of saying -- after reading the reaction to one paragraph of Spanish in the Mirthala Salinas posting below, as well as daily diatribes sent to me by world-class bigots -- that if you donít want to hear or read Spanish or any other language but English, this would be as good a time as any to move to another state.

I don't know if the Times began to filter the comments tighter, or a different class of intellect decided to click in, but the comments to Lopez's post resemble more of a dialogue. Still heated, of course — given the topic — but fewer insults and more argument.

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