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La Cucaracha

Tinkering with the comics always inspires a big reaction. The Los Angeles Times' cancellation of Lalo Alcaraz's "La Cucaracha" is proving especially controversial...

 Perhaps the Chicago decision makers believe La Cucaracha is too nativist for the upscale Latino audience they are aspiring to snag. They're wrong, of course. It is hilarious! Always a surprise when Anglos decide they know best what Latinos want.

Velma Montoya
Montoya, an economist, served in the Reagan White House, the administration of President George Bush and on the UC Board of Regents.

 The only reason I get the LA Times in print form is because of the comics. I noticed on Sunday that we got an abbreviated comics with lots of ads and that kiddie reading page. I'm paid up for the full year, but I'm not sure I want to continue with the paper after that.

We just look at the headlines in the rest of the paper. And I'm a career journalist with lots of friends at the Times, still there's nothing there anymore!

Shalini Dore

 So now they're cutting back on the comics? If they don't want me to get the paper anymore, why don't they just cancel my subscription? Giving me indirect messages like this just wastes time. They're going to downsize themselves out of existence. Yeah, that makes sense.

D.S. Kemp

 Is it worth losing "La Cucaracha," "Mister Boffo" and "Candorville" to get rid of "Mallard Fillmore?" Those were three good strips that bit the dust.

But I am tempted to say yes to this Faustian bargain.

"Mallard Fillmore" was as funny as Bill O'Reilly, but without Bill's gracious sense of fair play.

But ... why did we have to lose the three hippest, bravest comic strips in order to get rid of Mallard?

"La Cucaracha" was funny. "Candorville" had the girl with smarts and a bosom. And Boffo had ... something... funny ... I think.

Meanwhile, "Crankshaft" repeats the same bus driver-leaves-mom-running in bathrobe gag for the 51st Monday in a row.

"For Better or For Worse" continues to demonstrate why Canada is so boring.

And "9 Chickweed Lane" continues to address sexual identity and desire ... the first comic strip to be named after a naughty bit of human anatomy since Peanuts. Keep that one.

I mean, what is this, some sort of Tribune conspiracy to dumb down the LA Times to Chicago levels? How else can you explain "La Cucaracha" being cancelled so we can see that "Sally Forth" is no less amusing or trendsetting now than it was 30 years ago. And "Rex Morgan" could only appeal to a Cubs fan's wife.

Bridge? A bridge column? How many people read that? Where's the chess column? The Texas Hold 'Em column?

Why does the Times continue to run TV listings? They are as relevant in this era of 500 channels as was the stock listings. Couldn't the astrology be moved to another page to make room for more comics?

And - the elephant in the room - will Garry Trudeau pull "Doonesbury" because the Times reduced its size?

Hans Laetz
Zuma Beach

 'La Cucaracha' was mediocre at best. It's not really a big loss. I was more interested (and thrilled) by the fact that the awful 'Mallard Fillmore' was finally axed.

Never did see the point of a 'Latino Strategy'. It always struck me as a bit patronizing. (Yes, I'm 'latino', for lack of a better term.) As someone who has read the LAT since the age of 14 (I'm 36 now) I would be more interested in the paper pursuing a strategy that does not involve running it into the ground.

The powers in charge seem intent on making it as awful as the LA Daily News. It's quite sad. I find myself reading it less and less and even contemplating giving up on it altogether.

Why they would want to drive this long time reader away is beyond me.

p.s. Arellano is from OC. Enough said.

Pedro Cardenas

Some emails were submitted as letters to the editor of the Times and forwarded here...

 I am sorry to learn that you are dropping the strip from your newspaper. My wife hired a whole Mariachi band for my 85th birthday, and our Latino friends have been happy that there's SOMETHING in the LA Times that reflects the Hispanic world around us in it.

You have won Pulitzer Prizes -- not for covering the likelihood of pending race riots in the city, but for covering the riots themselves TWICE! What would my old friend, Reuben Salazar, think -- that the newspaper that sent him out to cover the riot that cost his life has forgotten even this link to the community he gave his life for?

I don't speak without knowledge: The LA Times took me off coverage of civil rights in the 1960s with the limp excuse that I'd "been working too hard." The paper had changed managing editors from the one who gave me the job because he said, "We're covering Mississippi and Alabama well, but what are we doing in our own back yard?" The managing editor who replaced Frank McCulloch didn't view it that way. Six months later, rioting broke out in Watts.

Does ditching "La Cucaracha" reflect, in its own way, The Times' ignorance of its subscribers, of which I still am one of them?

Paul Weeks

 Why has La Cucaracha been cancelled? and why is the Sunday comic section filled with garbage like the Pink Panther? Who finds lame sight gags like that funny? I don't care for Mallard Fillmore but i read it every day to see what was going on with the conservative side. Honestly, if it's about room who needs the bridge column in 2007?

I can tell by the way you keep discounting my subscription that you're hurting for readers, but removing content isn't the way to turn this around.

Ed Bove

March 5, 2007 11:27 PM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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