Our readers talk back.
Fri., Feb. 10, 2006
Boycott the "Chronicle'!Dear Editor,
The picture on the cover of your January issue is absolutely horrid ["The New Texas Family Planning," News, Jan. 27]. I am a parent of two young children and am only glad that when I saw this on the stand in open sight to all, they were not with me. However, while I stood looking at this cover in horror at least 15 younger children did come by and see it. Two adolescent boys thought is was funny but the impression is already there. I am a Christian but I am also pro-choice and can tell you the only thing you are accomplishing is alienating people like me from the pro-choice cause. I will never be associated with that type of shock value. I am disgusted and will no longer pick up the Chronicle, no longer vote in the polls, and not only that, but have sent an e-mail out to 15 people I know who feel the same as I, asking them to boycott the Chronicle as well. I can not even begin to tell you as a mother how much your choice to put that picture on the cover totally disgusts me and many like me.
Our Advertising Is CanceledDear Editor,
Effective immediately, Altex Electronics, Ltd. will no longer continue to advertise in your publication, and we are canceling the remainder of our 13-week advertising contract.
The cover of the Jan. 27 issue has resulted in our customers writing to us regarding our advertising support of your publication.
There are many ways to illustrate your story point; we believe you chose poorly.
Altex chooses not to be associated with The Austin Chronicle.
Altex Electronics, Ltd.
Cover Will Kill "Chronicle'Dear Editor,
Your Texas family planning graphic is obscene ["The New Texas Family Planning," News, Jan. 27]. It is disrespectful of at least 80% of your audience. Even free publications have to have advertisers, and my bet is that you lose both audience and advertisers for this.
Would you do that to any other holy book, including the Koran?
Grateful She Doesn't Live HereDear Editor,
I am writing to complain about the poor choice in a cover photo for the Jan. 27 issue of The Austin Chronicle ["The New Texas Family Planning," News]. I cannot believe a person would pose in stirrups for a photo at all, but placing a Holy Bible between one's legs and posing is even more appalling. It is our God who creates every baby knitted in utero, and to publicly disgrace our God fills me with nausea and disgust. How dare you place such a photo on the cover of your publication?! Do you think the next issue should have a photo of a woman in stirrups having an abortion performed? How about a woman in stirrups with a photo of Satan between her legs? I am absolutely appalled that any publication would ever choose to put such a photo anywhere for the public to view. It's fine for you to not agree or believe in God, because your future is none of my concern, but for you to publicly disrespect my God is absolutely unacceptable. I feel a photo of a mutilated baby would have made a much larger statement than the chosen pornography using a Bible as the filter. I couldn't be more offended, and I'm grateful that I don't live in Austin where my family would have to view that photo when walking into a shop that offers The Austin Chronicle in full view for all to be offended by.
Cover an Insult to All WomenDear Editor,
I am offended at your front cover depicting a woman in stirrups with a Bible between her legs ["The New Texas Family Planning," News, Jan. 27]. If it was "shock" you were going for, then you have succeeded ... I'm so shocked that I will never read your publication again.
Your photograph trivializes the very complex challenges facing women's health care and is an insult to women, Christian and non-Christian alike.
People Are Too Uppity About CoverDear Editor:
In response to the letters regarding the picture on the cover last week ["The New Texas Family Planning," News, Jan. 27], I would like to ask: How dare you get all uppity about a photograph of the Bible between a woman's legs after all the horrible things followers of that religion have perpetrated since its inception? ["Postmarks," Feb. 3] To the person who compared that particular photograph to desecrating the Koran: Taking a photo of the Bible between a woman's legs is hardly comparable to ripping it up and pissing on it. I'm getting really sick of you superstitious freaks speaking gibberish and pretending to talk to an invisible God and trying to act like supreme judges on all that is tasteful. I'm starting to understand why some of my illustrious predecessors used to feed you jerks to lions.
The Real Disrespect Is ...Dear Editor,
In response to Michelle Earle's letter in the last week's issue ["Postmarks," Feb. 3], I'd like to remind her that Culver's is not a church but rather a business patronized by people from all walks of life. Ms. Earle, the world does not revolve around you and your self-righteous ilk no matter how many times G.W. Bush tells you otherwise. The only real disrespect in this issue is the way "Christian values" have made it harder and harder for women in need to get proper medical attention. If it takes a glaring red flag like the Chronicle's cover to make you consider the issues on even the most basic level, so be it. Some women don't want to be stuck with pushing out kids and then larding them up at Culver's, so get over yourself and realize there's more to the world than whatever is five feet in front of you.
Disordered OrientationDear Editor,
I was disturbed by the letters from Scott Spinola and Michelle Earle printed in last week's "Postmarks" section [Feb. 3]. These readers wrote in opposition to the cover photo of Jan. 27, which pictured a Bible between the open legs of a woman on an exam table ["The New Texas Family Planning," News]. Earle called the image disgusting, offensive, and inappropriate for family viewing. Spinola went further, saying the image was vile and a desecration of the Bible. Why? Because of where the Bible had been placed: between a woman's legs. These readers must find the female reproductive organs disgusting, offensive, and vile. Such thinking is backward and hateful. As a woman I am deeply offended by your remarks. If you find the female body disgusting, that's your problem. I don't believe the Chronicle or anyone else should tiptoe around your disordered orientation to human sexuality.
It Is Important to Vote! Tuesday, Feb. 14Dear Editor,
The run-off for the special election is Tuesday, Feb. 14 early voting continues through this Friday.
No one knows the dangers of run-offs better than I. A double-digit lead means nothing if your voters are not as determined to follow through as your opponent's. We have a chance to undo Tom DeLay's brutal redistricting of Travis County and put a highly qualified Democrat, Donna Howard, in the Legislature. But that will only happen if we do everything that needs to be done!
If you live in District 48, and haven't yet voted, do it today! If you haven't voted early, move heaven and earth to get to the polls on Tuesday. (A woman came straight from the emergency room to Casis to vote for me at 6:45 on June 11 I am forever touched and impressed by her determination.)
If you don't live in the district but have friends that do, make sure that they vote. Call them all, accept no excuses, accompany them to an early-voting location.
Volunteer a couple of hours to call voters or block walk. Just do it! Don't let's snatch defeat from the jaws of victory - every vote counts (surely we have learned that lesson well enough in recent years).
Family Planning = AbortionDear Editor,
Why doesn't the writer just call it abortion ["The New Texas Family Planning," News, Jan. 27]? If it is so noble, why refuse to call it what it is?
Dallas[Editor responds: Maybe because family planning is to abortion as foreign policy is to war.]
Militant Babies Not MachineDear Editor,
The band that Jim Caligiuri credited as opening the Neil Young Hoot with "Sedan Delivery" so nicely was wrong [Live Shots, Music, Feb. 3]. It was Militant Babies, not Tammany Hall Machine.
Jerry Lynn WilliamsDear Editor,
Jerry Lynn Williams and I were friends and teenage musicians who played together a lot in 1964 and 1965 ["The Lone Ranger," Music, Jan. 27]. We were both lead guitarists, but unlike me, Jerry was an exceptional singer, and he became one of the music industry's most prolific and successful songwriters. His death on Nov. 5, 2005, and Bill Bentley's article brought to mind some interesting moments Jerry and I shared as young musicians in Fort Worth, Texas.
Jerry was an interesting character with a contrasting blend of qualities. He was blunt and forceful, yet warmhearted and sensitive; close and personal, yet distant; highly talented and demanding, yet smooth as glass; wild and crazy, yet graceful and in control. He was a free-spirited, independent, and extremely confident artist with a captivating personality, but he was also a loner with an insatiable desire to connect with people.
In June of 1966 Jerry wanted me to go with him to California, but due to Vietnam and my perfect health, I had to return to college to get a deferment. Jerry insisted I should shoot off a toe and become IV-F (physically disabled) or see a psychiatrist and be declared too crazy to kill people. Maybe I should have. Decades later I wondered if one less toe would have really mattered that much. Or a psychiatric record. Had I gone to California with Jerry I might have become a successful nine-toed sideman, loony or not. We saw each other a few times during the Seventies when he was battling with Warner Bros., and a few times when I lived in Europe in the Nineties. Jerry was a fascinating, creative, complicated, and lovable human being. The world has lost a great musician, songwriter and singer, and a very unique man. But his music will live on forever.
Gary L. Wimmer
May Baumgarten Move OnDear Editor,
Just read Marjorie Baumgarten's review of Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic after seeing it this weekend [Film Listings, Dec. 9, 2005]. I'm so glad I saw the movie first. I'm still laughing.
Over the years I am learning this about Marjorie any movie she doesn't like is probably a good movie for me to see. Anything she likes is a waste of my money. Maybe to you she is technically advanced, highly knowledgeable, etc., but to me, she's just plain tiresome. May she move on.
Black Lacks MasculinityDear Editor,
You have ably demonstrated that you lack the maturity and the masculinity to accept criticism when it is due. It is easy to see why your rag is distributed free of charge. God I am glad that I am not like you!
Gary L. Zimmer
What's the Big Deal About Government Spying?Dear Editor,
Abe Lincoln was the first to tap the telegraph wires to learn the comings and goings of Rebs and Northern sympathizers ["The Hightower Report," Jan. 20].
Woodrow Wilson's government listened to all transatlantic cable talk. FDR did that, listened to radio and telephones and censored overseas mail.
We still have our freedom. We are not enslaved. So what is the big deal?
John Thomas Jr.
Independence, Ore.[Jim Hightower responds: Oh, so anything short of being "enslaved " is OK? Privacy rights are not about being a slave, but about not having government, corporations, or anyone snooping into your private life. The Bushites are running a broad, sweeping snoop program that does not merely focus on foreign calls from al Qaeda (they've shown that they don't even know who al Qaeda is), but routinely spies on Quakers, ACLU groups, and others who oppose any number of Bush's autocratic actions. The fact that Lincoln, Wilson, and FDR (and don't forget Nixon) also ran sweeping spy operations doesn't make it right, or constitutional and it damned sure doesn't mean that we citizens should turn to jello, meekly accepting the executive's unilateral abrogation of our hard-won freedoms. Holy Thomas Paine at least protest the thievery!]
"Chronicle' Should Have Given CreditDear Editor,
On page 32 in the Jan. 27 Chronicle, you posted a picture of some dancers from the FronteraFest's Dance Carousel ["Of Cactuses, Crickets, and Cars," Arts]. I don't know if maybe you forgot this, but you didn't mention any of the ladies' names that were photographed in your article. You chose to display this choreographer's artistic creation, and didn't even give her or her dancers credit for it. I saw the performance pictured and it was amazing. I think you owe the choreographer and her dancers some credit. Her name was Mandie Pitre, and her dancers were Cybil G. and Amanda Moulder.
Christiana Baker[Arts Editor Robert Faires replies: No disrespect to Ms. Pitre, Ms. G, or Ms. Moulder was intended by the absence of their names on the photograph you reference, just as none was intended to the actors in Cricket Radio, Among the Sand and Smog, The Most Beautiful Lullaby Your Ever Saw, and You're No One's Nothing Special, all of whom were pictured in the same feature without credit, or for that matter, any of the artists in photographs that appeared beside reviews anywhere in the paper. The Chronicle was simply following a general policy that we employ with photos that run alongside reviews or recommendeds in the Arts, Film, and Music listings, identifying the show by title or the act by name rather than by individuals pictured.]
How Can We Not Think (Like Me)?Dear Editor,
Some political cartoons from Norway have enraged Muslims around the world because of the perception by those Muslims that their religion is above reproach, and ironically that their mighty Allah can have his feelings hurt quite easily.
We American non-Muslims keep hearing about how Islam is really a peaceful and beneficial religion. Then we hear about the occasional flood of hate and anger from Muslims, because someone had the guts to criticize their prophet not even their god, but the human they revere, who happened to be fallible too.
So they burn effigies, surround government agencies, and threaten violence if the critics of Islam aren't silenced. Seeing this behavior in the news again and again, how can we not think that Islam is a hate-filled and dangerous religion that should be investigated, and systematically shut down for the benefit of humanity? Or should the sensitive nature of religion trump the basic right to free speech? I sure am glad we don't have to cope with Allah in our faces like this. Just lots of passionate people.
Now don't get me started on Christianity.
Joe Zamecki, editor
Atheist Community News
Atheist Community of Austin