Week of October 27, 2004

What the hell is wrong with people? What the hell is wrong with people? There was not one thing offensive about the cover. The group of women in the photograph are a host of different ages and body types and is in no way pornographic. It is a work of art, and not something one should feel the need to hide from their children. Besides you're the motherfuckin' Riverfront Times -- if anybody can show a little skin, it's you guys.
Chris Bruemmer
St. Louis

Who among us doesn't love a peace symbol? The peace symbol is the most universal sign of love and tolerance, so I was surprised to find anyone opposed to your cover. The only way it could have been improved was to have both men and women forming it. Seeing that cover got me to attend the event that it was used to promote -- the Peace Out! at COCA. It was an amazingly wonderful display of spirituality and love for all of God's creatures. Everybody should get a tape of it, as it was the greatest event since major protests in the Vietnam era.
Reese Forbes

Well done, ladies! It's hard to believe how many people are so upset about having to look at a few naked ladies. Harder still to comprehend why so many women in particular have taken such affront to such a beautifully chosen form of protest.

I suppose it would have been more agreeable to St. Louis parents (and their children, who have certainly seen much more scarring things on the evening news) if the RFT had run a cover featuring a montage of mutilated Iraqis and American soldiers. No nudity there. And certainly nothing there to indicate love for the rest of humankind or the desire for an end to a senseless war.

To the women in the picture, I'd like to say "Well done, ladies." Way to speak up. Drastic times call for drastic measures. You certainly got people's attention. Isn't that the whole point of protest?
Jon Lumley
Rock Hill

Where's the outrage over the Steamers' balls? For all of those who remain appalled by the Riverfront Times' controversial cover photo of 57 naked women forming the human peace sign, please calm down. One reader, Angela Adams of St. Peters, stated that she had to "explain to my children why naked women are on the front of a newspaper." Her children are five, three and two. I may not be a licensed child psychologist, but believe me, Ms. Adams, at that age I doubt your children are headed down the path of vile thoughts and deeds after having seen that cover. Hell, when in doubt tell them the truth. Tell your young ones that these women were protesting war and how wars kill innocent people and children.

I haven't heard the indignant outrage over the St. Louis Steamers' blatantly sexist ad that has appeared all over town for weeks! And you guys at the RFT, if you run or print something controversial that sparks public condemnation, don't waffle under pressure and state that it was all one big mistake. If it was a mistake, considering it was the front cover, that's an even worse indictment of your organization.
Greg Gibson

Emily got the message: When I saw the October 13 issue, I was thrilled that finally a journalist had the guts to report something real. Imagine the letdown I had a week later, when due to negative feedback the RFT tried to cover its ass and claimed that the photo was an accident. I don't believe that for a second.

Accident or not, the really sad part of the story is that no one got the message. This wasn't an example of public indecency, journalistic sensationalism or pornography. I couldn't believe all the letters comparing this photo to the pornography industry or condemning the women because they were flaunting their bodies for attention. The naked human body is a pure and innocent thing, and in this case a conduit for peace. It only becomes the sexual thing that some people seem to fear in unnatural circumstances.

I would not hesitate to let a child see this picture. It is time for our children to learn to love the human body, not fear it. We need to see the difference between posing nude for Playboy, or even posing nude so someone can sell more papers, and what these women did. They posed naked in the shape of a peace sign to civilly protest current government actions and to promote a message of world peace. To convey their message, they used their own human bodies -- a beautiful gift from God -- and they should be applauded, not shamed.
Emily O'Keefe
St. Louis

Help wanted: Your apology sounded like bullshit. If that really and truly was a "mistake," you need a new editor for the cover layout and proofs. I had no problem with the cover. I thought it was very bold, but don't try and pussyfoot out of your intentions.
Keith A. Dockins
St. Louis

Inept -- or thoughtless liars? I am severely underwhelmed by your statement that the cover picturing nude women was a mistake. Am I to believe that you genuinely made a mistake as to the cover of your newspaper? A mistake? If you cannot get your cover right, what does that say about the content and facts of your paper?

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