Week of October 27, 2004

Pack Mentality
Between the lines: While Malcolm Gay's article about the child who was asked to leave the Cub Scout troop was calculated to generate outrage, one thing became very clear: The leaders of the troop were concerned about the physical safety of the other children [Malcolm Gay, "Get Lost, Kid!" October 20].

It's easy, of course, to present only one side of a story, particularly when the leaders of the Scouts are saying very little. But as someone who works with kids, I can tell you just by their very careful wording that there was a compelling reason to ask that kid to leave, or they wouldn't have done it. Your reporter didn't bother to dig very hard to present that side.

Nobody who works with kids ever likes having to make those tough decisions, but sometimes they have to be made. Your editorial staff ought to hold themselves to higher standards than what you showed with this article.
Wade Hampton Miller
Chugiak, Alaska

Cro-Magnon Scouts: Wow, as the mom of two little boys who have autism, this article just pissed me off. Don't the Boy Scouts use the school as a recruitng ground, and aren't many activities held at the school like they are in most neighborhoods? If so, how can they possibly not have to follow the standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act if they are using publicly funded property?

It's sad that these Cro-Magnons are trying to teach these kids that separation is best when as a society we have come so far in the past twenty years. Some decent lawyer needs to take this case on and smack some sense into the Boy Scouts.
Margaret Keller
University City

All Nude Review
Naked and proud: As a 31-year-old female, I am proud that the Riverfront Times did not put so-called perfect, model-type women on the cover. Why? Because not everyone looks like the half-naked women that are shown in the back of the paper. We all cannot afford plastic surgery.

And I am personally appalled by the woman who "had to explain" to her children that nakedness is "wrong." Do we not come into this world naked? Should we allow society to tell us that there is something wrong with our bodies? We should be proud of our bodies. Porn is wrong to some and I can appreciate that, but the fact that a stupid woman would tell her children that it is wrong to be naked is unacceptable. She also states it is "disgusting." Were these women doing "disgusting" things to one another? Were they being tied up? Posed in degrading poses? No, these women were smiling and lying among other women.

To Chris Orlet of Columbia: I pray to God that you are the most perfectly sculpted man in the form of a true Adonis, because with the ignorant comments you made one can only imagine that you are truly the one perfect human being created in God's image. If you want to look at so-called perfect women, turn to the back and retreat to your bathroom, where I am sure you normally end up (lube in hand) by the time you get to the end of the RFT.

People keep using terms and statements suggesting that these women allowed something to be done to them -- OMG the Riverfront Times has turned into white slavers for the purpose of trying to promote freedom. (Wait, I am still laughing at that one.) To Jasmine McNeely: How was that photo sexist? And before you say these women were allowed to be "treated" in any way, perhaps an interview with those women explaining their feelings would be a good thing.
Zarabeth Friedman
St. Charles

One of fifty-seven: As a co-producer of Peace Out! (which was attended by over 800 people) and one of the women who posed for the giant peace sign on the RFT cover and helped to organize the photo shoot, I stand behind it wholeheartedly. Everyone who participated no doubt has their own perception of the experience and their intention.

From my perspective, was it intended to offend? No. Was it intended to shock? Well, yes. As the causalities mount for both Americans and Iraqis, bold measures are required to promote real conversation about the senseless path on which we are embarked. How can we break through the cacophony of sound bites and increasing claims on people's time and attention? A photo is one way. And I salute the courageous women who bared their bodies and souls to join in this effort.

If I am disappointed by anything, it is that little of the local media, including the RFT, took the time and space to substantially discuss the purpose of the photo, a purpose that goes far beyond our one-night event. Who were these women from such diverse walks of life? Why did they put themselves on the line? What were they trying to say? How did this gesture link up with similar efforts around the world?

But I guess that people still prefer to look at and talk about women, rather than to listen to what they have to say. I hope we can all do better next time.
Joan Lipkin, artistic director
That Uppity Theatre Company
St. Louis

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