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Web Letter

I could not help but write. When something is offensive, I think everyone has the right to protest as Annabelle did. After all, protest is free speech too. If enough people protest, then these sick people will take down the posters on their own. Isn't that what democracy is all about?

John Howard

Bonner Springs, KS

May 13 2007 - 2:47pm

Web Letter

This week on my way to work I sat on the subway facing what I just learned is the new version of the Captivity poster.

It stood out. I felt abused--put in my place, right there on the train. I did not feel the urge to call for the removal of the poster, but was forcefully reminded of the need to open a public dialog about images of the abuse and the rape of woman (copiously) and men (sometimes) in entertainment media.

I wonder if anyone is actually looking at those images. And if one looks at them, how does one look at them? I'd particularly like to know that. Fully aware or with polite ignorance, faced head-on or glanced at sideways? The main treat or a bit of plot to endure until the real story starts? In any case, they are abundant. Just flipping channels on network television I have easily come across more than 10 in an evening. Is this a culture steeped in images of rape?

Not only do I think that images of rape and abuse set the mode in which to watch an entire film (and there are theories that support that notion), but I am also compelled to consider that there is in each case a real person who had to enact the scene, directed by a man or a woman who had to imagine it first.

How did Elisabeth Shue feel when filming Leaving Las Vegas? What about Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin in The Piano? What about Elisha Cuthbert in Captivity? Different categories of films, but similar acts required.

An IMDb search today returned 1,402 films that list "rape" among their key words. Could someone please commission a study on the subject? This is broader than a feminist issue. It seems that after the Abu Ghraib images came out, funding could easily be secured.

Adelheid Mers

Chicago, IL

May 11 2007 - 9:34am

Web Letter

I empathize with Ms. Gurwitch's dilemma, that being the conflict between supporting free speech and observing the vile advertising she describes.

Certainly the ethical struggle distills down to a supremely personal one since there can be no doubt as to the clarity of the First Amendment on this issue.

What I find more disturbing is the very existence of a wide-spread market for torture, abuse and degradation. Who are these consumers and how agonized must their souls be to take enjoyment in the pain of others? Continued hope for an ultimately positive fate of the human race becomes evermore challenging as this type of "entertainment" proliferates. Namaste.

Jefferey D. Tripe

Colorado Springs, CO

May 11 2007 - 6:59am

Web Letter

Sometimes, I have to be reminded that it isn't only right-wing nuts who can be total hypocrites. This knowledge keeps me from becoming as self-righteously narrow-minded as Bush and keeps me on guard against becoming as amoral as Karl Rove and Tom DeLay. A word of advice from a parent of now grown children who faced the same dilemma once while on vacation.

We passed a billboard for a strip club with a very provocative and obvious sort of name and the image of a woman who clearly had been enhanced either with an airbrush or extra-large enhancements. My 12-year-old son was at an age when the first stirrings of actual interest in such matters were appearing. He had to be reminded by his mother that she had nursed him through his first two years of life using that part of her anatomy that so fascinated him with the woman on the billboard. I think that really took the titillation factor down several notches.

Be succinct but truthful with your children, but don't hesitate to include your own reaction to the billboard in your response. It's called teaching your children well. Lying to them is like the government keeping secrets from us.

Robert Moore

Atlanta, GA

May 10 2007 - 10:12pm

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