Week of October 20, 2004

Oct 20, 2004 at 4:00 am
Editor's note: A confession about last week's cover, which drew feedback from readers, business owners, advertisers and, we're told, police in Swansea, Illinois:

It was all a big, huge, colossal mistake! We actually intended to publish the Jennifer Silverberg photo at right, which depicts 57 clothed women forming a human peace sign on a tarp atop the City Museum.

A heartfelt apology to everyone who was involved or who may have been offended by this unfortunate mix-up.

Bare It
Poor taste, no decency: I am appalled at the picture you placed on the front of your October 13 issue. Have you no decency at all? Your papers are put in public places and children should not be exposed to such. I will no longer read your papers because of this. I think it was in poor taste, and a very unwise decision.
Angela Shy

We don't look at those: I went into a gas station yesterday with my three children, who are five, three and two, and the Riverfront Times was sitting there with naked women on the front. Now, I understand that they are protesting the war and that's fine -- I don't care. What I do not like and what I do not understand is why you had to use naked women.

If Playboy has to put wrappers on their cover and put it behind the counter so children can't get it, I don't believe that naked women need to be on the front of the newspaper. You may call it art, and Playboy calls it art, but they still have to be governed and they still have to be covered. I had to explain to my children why naked women are on the front of a newspaper -- that it's wrong, and that we don't look at those. The gas station was in the process of putting the papers behind the counter because they had so many complaints.

I have called everybody at my work, at my church and in my neighborhood and told them to call you and complain. I don't know if I will get an apology or a retraction, but I want to make sure that everybody in the world knows that this is disgusting.
Angela Adams
St. Peters

A sand dollar for your thoughts: I was watching the morning news on TV yesterday. They were talking about the cover with the peace sign. They mentioned that some places were contemplating taking it off the shelf because kids might see it.

Well, I showed it to my four-and-a-half-year-old niece, and this is what she had to say: "It looks like a bunch of humans in the shape of a sand dollar."

So maybe it's just the adults that have a problem with it.
Debbie Koch

Whoa, McNeely! As a nineteen-year-old female who is interested in the current state of political events (and plans to vote), I was extremely disappointed in the article that supposedly matched last week's cover. Generally, don't cover stories lead the readers to an in-depth article?

In this case readers are attracted to pick up this issue because there are 57 naked, smiling women who seem very happy to be a part of a giant peace sign. The caption below the picture led me to believe the article would be informative as to who these women are and why they chose to be nude as a way to speak out. Unfortunately there is a skeet-ass mini-explanation on page 38 that has nothing to do with the picture!

As a dedicated reader, and as a woman, I have to say that it's an outrage to see such a respected paper stoop this low. Granted, these women chose to be nude to make a point. Their bodies are seen, yet their voices are not heard. I'm not saying that I won't support this paper anymore, I'm just saying that it's even more apparent that nothing has changed for women in this day and age. And if flaunting your body is the only way to be heard, then I don't want to support these women anyway.

Shame, shame, shame on these sexist, uninformative bastards, and on the women who allow themselves to be treated this way.
Jasmine McNeely
University City

Would you accept a skeet-ass mini-explanation? Perhaps you can explain how photographs of nude, obese and homely women arranged in the symbol of peace will end the Iraqi insurgency or cause the U.S. military to abandon Iraq.

If anything, such sights will steel the Muslim resolve to keep their women covered up to prevent such horrors from visiting their neighborhoods. If such displays are exemplary of Western civilization, is it any wonder so many Muslims want no part of it?
Chris Orlet
Columbia, Illinois

What kind of drugs y'all got over there? As the owner of a pharmaceutical company in St. Louis, I request that we no longer receive copies of your newspaper. We have had quite a few complaints lodged because of the cover of your October 13 issue. Many of our employees are offended by the nudity and lack of respect for common decency shown by printing this cover.

It is perhaps time that your company should put its efforts toward building a moral fiber in the area instead of such sensationalism.
Deborah Wurdack

Buckley Up
Leave Jeff out of it: I typically find myself flipping to the music section first in the RFT. Your columns in particular bring me more than a few smirks. Today, however, I'm absolutely leveled at the thought that Rob Harvilla made me sit down and write a letter like the people I normally make fun of.

The headline "Die, Jeff Buckley, Die" [October 13] is absolutely inflammatory. You seem to credit Buckley with the kudos he is due and attack more rightfully his "estate" for the onslaught of Buckley releases since his untimely death. But couldn't you have left him out of it? They did.

Grace was an absolutely brilliant album. For me it serves as a shining example of all that's right with music and delivers without argument some of the most well-written and convincingly performed music I have ever heard. Sketches was completed and released postmortem, and I took it as such. I was grateful to have more, no matter the motive. You act as though Buckley himself has been giving orders from the afterlife to see to it that you are personally annoyed.

The likeness to Tupac you offered was apples and oranges at best. The mention of Kurt Cobain, though, was maligning and hateful. The sensationalism surrounding Cobain is akin to a car wreck with bodies strewn in every direction. He was without talent, without ambition and without the sense to ever rent Sid and Nancy, apparently.

Jeff Buckley did more than mend the image of the white guy in music, Mr. Harvilla. Unlike either Tupac or Cobain -- or for that matter substitute any deceased rock icon -- Jeff Buckley created a legacy based on one album, and did so without the benefit of major-market radio support. His last date in St. Louis was at the Hi-Pointe, for chrissake. I doubt if Jeff Buckley is benefiting by, any more than he is supervising, the reissues and rereleases of anything since Grace.

Aerosmith has made a career of recycling outdated crap, inundating the world with best-ofs and greatest hits and soundtracks -- and they still tour! Call them next time you want to bitch about "the evil machine." For now, though, I'll be happy to take any of the freebie Buckley promo stuff you're so angry about off your hands.
Bruce Eads
St. Louis

Troubling Symptoms
Fired when ready: I am a former employee of the St. Louis College of Health Careers whose employment was terminated one week before Lori Nichols was fired. I loved Shelley Smithson's article and believe she painted an exact portrait of the facts that represent the character of the institution ["Bad Medicine," October 6].

Although I was never asked to forge, cut and paste or participate in any illegal activity, the college's administrators certainly were well aware that I had knowledge of what was going on. Hence, I was fired two weeks before the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education's visit. I was ready to tell all, and they knew it.

Thank you for such a wonderful job!
Jason Henry
Malvern, Arkansas

Money for nothing: I graduated from the St. Louis College of Health Careers in May, after which I was supposed to go on an externship. When I got there, they didn't even know I was coming. I called the school and no one returned my call for a week. I never got to go on an externship and I have a certificate saying that I completed my courses.

A lot of the students in my class that I contacted after graduation do not work in the medical field and have to pay back all that money for nothing. That school is a rip-off. I think they should be closed down.
Qiana McNair
St. Louis

In Mike Seely's news story "No-Look Pass" last week, we erroneously stated that Saint Louis University political-science professor Ken Warren is black. Professor Warren is white. Additionally, in Jedidiah Ayres' "Riches for Bitches" blurb in Night & Day, we misidentified the Web address for the Metro East Humane Society. The correct address is www.mehs.org.