Not Wild About Wildmon
The righteous Reverend Donald E. Wildmon once again wants to ban what he finds offensive (The Playboy Forum, August). If he can't accept open and free communication, maybe he'd better move to Russia or China; but then, he couldn't practice his religion in those countries. Maybe Wildmon complains only because he can.
J. Barrett Wolf, Freeport, New York
It is not possible that Donald Wildmon can be more offended by hearing the words breasts and nipples on the radio than I am by listening to religious preachers. I think it's the FCC's duty to forbid moralistic programing during the day, when my children might hear it.
F. W. Donour, Jr., Norfolk, Virginia
I've heard so much about Wildmon lately, not only in Playboy but in other magazines and newspapers, that I felt compelled to write with a warning: If Wildmon wants to keep censoring things that offend him, eventually someone will come up with the idea of censoring him.
J. Robert Nichols, Miami, Florida
I'm forming an organization called the Separation of Church and State Group, which will address the issue of Government favoritism of religious, particularly Christian, broadcasts. There are some 1300 Christian radio stations and 221 Christian television stations in the United States. Some of those stations are obviously in business--the business of raising money--and should pay taxes. Join my group (no money required) and write to your Congressman, IRS Commissioner Lawrence B. Gibbs and the FCC to complain! If these religious charlatans can complain about "dirty words," we can complain about them.
Bob Horowitz, Grass Valley, California
In David Harrington's description of the flawed military strategies in Vietnam and El Salvador (The Playboy Forum, July), he's telling only part of the truth. In both cases, political considerations were and are of overriding importance in the selection of military options.
B. Jefferson Le Blanc, Ben Lomond, California
W. D. Cobourn (The Playboy Forum, August) cannot understand how a man, having known a woman for only three weeks, would not want to support their accidentally conceived child. Your headline on the letter, "Fatherly Love," is inappropriately sarcastic. The woman has all the control in situations such as this. Men have yet to experience the "liberation" women have by being able to extricate themselves from future obligations by means of abortion.
John A. Rossler, President, The National Congress for Men, Washington, D.C.
I've found a way to beat the decency advocates at their own game. I read an editorial in my local paper describing the activities of the DuPage Citizens for Decency, a group that published the "DuPage Business Decency Report." Out of curiosity, I ordered the report. The introduction states, "This booklet consists of two separate parts.... Part One lists businesses that are not selling pornographic material. [We] are grateful to the owners and managers of these businesses for conducting their operations responsibly. These businessmen and businesswomen should be commended for considering not only the question 'How can I maximize my profits?' but also 'How can I operate my business without causing possible moral, social or spiritual harm to the people in the community?'
"Part Two is a list of businesses that sell books, magazines, video tapes or other products that many might consider to be pornographic [my emphasis]."
This convenient listing is an excellent way for Playboy readers to strike back at these self-appointed guardians of American morality. Locate your local porn patrol and use its handy guide to find out which businesses still believe in the First Amendment.
Kathleen Hague, Carol Stream, Illinois
Singapore's Sexual Politics
Until recently, residents of Singapore were confronted daily with posters urging married couples to Stop at Two. These posters were part of a successful 20-year-old birth-control program, which the government has now decided was too successful. Government-sponsored surveys show that by the year 2030, two young people will be supporting one old person, compared with the current nine young people supporting one old person. The prospect of a graying society troubles the government, and now it is trying to backtrack a bit on its birth-control advocacy. In an effort to encourage more pregnancies, the government has instituted several measures: tax rebates, subsidies for day care, school-placement priority and generous maternity leave--all for parents who have a third child. Singapore is the first country in the world to offer such magnanimous measures to promote procreation.
Mark Jenkins, Boston, Massachusetts
I am a 35-year-old businessman from a small town in South Dakota. One year ago, I went out of town on a business trip. After a long afternoon of drinking, I ended up in a topless bar, where I drank even more. Eventually, I passed out. When I awakened, it was morning and one of the waitresses was in bed with me. I will leave out the details.
That should have been the end of the story, except that five months later, I became very ill and began to lose weight. I immediately feared that I had AIDS. I went to a doctor in a nearby town, who thought I was nuts to worry about AIDS but, at my insistence, gave me the ELISA test. Ten days later, I received a call--the test was positive! The doctor set up a confirmation test for me, the Western blot, but told me that the chance of the ELISA result's being wrong was one in 500. I confessed everything to my wife and parents. The wait for the results of the second test was an unbearably stressful time for me and for them. I felt doomed.
Incredibly, the Western-blot test was negative. I was given the ELISA test again; it was negative.
Unfortunately, some damage had already been done. Because of the guilt and stress, I suffered a nervous breakdown, was hospitalized for two weeks and was put on antidepressant medication.
I'd like to say that now all is well. But it's not. Even though a specialist assures me that I don't have AIDS, I still don't understand why I tested positive in the first place. Why was the ELISA test positive and the Western-blot test negative? Do you think that I should be retested? I'm still afraid that I really do have AIDS. I've been relatively healthy for the past year--just depressed. Please help.
(Name and address, withheld by request)
Get a new doctor, one who isn't blinded by science. The ELISA test has a false-positive rate of up to 97 percent when used on a general population. For every 100 people who test positive, only three are actually infected with the AIDS virus. The more expensive Western blot is considered more accurate.
Your letter is eloquent testimony against routine testing or testing without professional counseling. You don't have the virus. Take heart and get on with your life.
Playmate and Friend
I stumbled across this fascinating passage from Nun, Witch, Playmate: The Americanization of Sex, by Herbert W. Richardson: In Playboy, "the sexually attractive woman is here conceived as a friend and equal. The very name Playmate carries with it reminiscences of preadolescent childhood, when sexual differences were not decisive for friendship groups. The Playmate is the girl from whom all the aggressive aspects of human sexuality have been removed.... The Playmate is not of interest simply for her sexual functions alone. The photo montage that surrounds the Playmate portrays her in a variety of everyday activities: going to work, visiting her family, climbing mountains and sailing, dancing and dining out, figuring out her income tax. She is, first and foremost, the playboy's all-day, all-night pal.... In fact, in the playboy-Playmate symbol, there is no longer a 'man's world' and a 'woman's world.' ... The Playmate likes mountain climbing, working for a living and being independent. The playboy likes to cook (he's a gourmet chef!), enjoys shopping for cosmetics and fashionable clothes (for himself!), and even is interested in playing 'mother' to the kids. The playboy likes children. Imagine that! The equalitarian, nonaggressive relation between the playboy and the Playmate stresses the similarity between the two. He enjoys sex, she enjoys sex.... The implication of this fact is that all social life can be heterosexual, that men and women can be constant companions and the best of friends. It means that their sexual relation will no longer be segmented from, but integrated within, their total personal life together."
Isn't that refreshing reading after years of seeing nothing but negative feminist diatribes against the Playmates?
S. Gilbert Miami, Florida
Yes, and we've been saying that for years!
Bank Your Blood
The AIDS scare has led to an increased awareness that donated blood can transmit serious illness. AIDS, of course, is not the only virus transmitted. A serious hepatitis virus can also be contracted. Approximately five percent of people who receive two or more units of blood acquire a type of hepatitis that can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure. Although contracting a serious virus is fairly uncommon, the risk can cause a lot of anxiety. There is a way to considerably decrease that risk, though--by donating your own blood before entering the hospital for surgery. Since blood can be stored for as long as six weeks, a unit of blood can be deposited every week or so in a blood-bank account and then used during surgery. Of those who donate their own blood, two thirds were able to meet their transfusion needs, thus seriously reducing their risk of getting a virus from someone else's blood--and this practice helps keep other blood available for emergencies.
Apparently, not many people know that this option exists, because only about five percent of patients who undergo elective surgery choose to donate their blood. It's an option you should ask about.
L. Watson, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Legalize Heroin for Pain
Senator Daniel K. Inouye has gotten a lot of television exposure as Senate chairman of the Iran/Contra hearings, but he's also known to my organization for his work for patients with intractable pain. In 1984, the Compassionate Pain Relief Act was considered in Congress. This bill would have permitted prescription of heroin for terminally ill cancer patients. It was not passed--apparently because legislators thought that it would appear as if they were seeking to legalize heroin. Inouye reintroduced the bill in the Senate. He pointed out that without heroin, as many as 8000 Americans may die each year in unnecessary agony. He also cited an article in The New England Journal of Medicine that reviewed medical findings about the unique and superior qualities of heroin as a painkiller and noted that British physicians consider it indispensable in the treatment of advanced cancer.
The American Psychiatric Association has endorsed the bill, stating that "the effectiveness of relief of pain in terminal-cancer patients should take priority over a concern about 'addiction' of the terminal-cancer patient and should take priority over a concern about medication diversion to addicts."
The senseless prohibition against medical use of heroin for terminal-cancer patients is appalling and horrible. Many thousands suffer because of it.
Judith H. Quattlebaum, National Committee on the Treatment of Intractable Pain, Washington, D.C.
If you have a cordless telephone, I'd advise you to use it only for ordering pizza. Why? Because all your cordless-telephone conversations can easily be intercepted by anyone nearby who owns a decent antenna. Intercepting telephone conversations without one party's authorization is a violation of Federal regulations and carries a penalty of up to $10,000 in fines and up to five years in jail, but I've known some people who don't care about such little matters. Make a call on your cordless at your own risk.
(Name and address, withheld by request)
Dr. Joyce Brothers, the original blonde with a brain, is doing for Ph.D.s what Donna Rice has done for Phi Beta Kappas. The famous media shrink, a pop psychologist with her own chair on Hollywood Squares, writes an advice column that is syndicated throughout the U.S. For the past year, she has been regurgitating the findings of the Meese-commission zealots as though they were accepted by the scientific community. It seems that for Dr. Joyce, the only kind of erotica that exists is hard-core porn with violence. A mother, we are told, finds her 18-year-old son's collection of hard-core, featuring nude women tied to chairs. A father shows his nine-year-old son an adult movie with violence. Brothers then claims that "while it's true pornography has been around for a long time, it's become much more violent and sadistic in the past decade. Almost all pornography humiliates and devalues women." (Actually, studies show a decline in violence: Most hard-core films have less violence than most R-rated films or PG films.) Our chief Hollywood square even formulates a new version of the old adage that nice girls don't. When a man writes to her saying that he has met a woman who likes hard-core, Joyce has a handy diagnosis: "Women who like hard-core porn have very low self-esteem. As women feel better about themselves ... the more turned off they are by films and literature that degrade and humiliate them." And as for men who like hard-core, well, you wouldn't want your daughter to date one: "As a parent and mother of a daughter, I have to tell you I would be concerned if her young man were a collector of hard-core porn. Of course, the definitions of pornography differ, but one of the differences between hard-core and soft-core porno is the amount and degree of violence and aggression involved. In almost all pornography, the victim is apt to be female, or sometimes a child." There you have it: Any depiction of the sex act victimizes the woman. It is sex itself that is the villain. And as for men who like sex, "Any young man who consistently views women as sex objects is going to be unable to have constructive, loving, healthy relationships with them." Welcome to the 17th Century, Joyce. It's time to block that square.
It started at the 1984 United Nations International Conference on Population in Mexico City, when the Reagan Administration decided to deny funding to any international family-planning agency that favorably mentioned abortion. No matter that illegal, self-induced abortions are among the leading causes of maternal death in the Third World; no matter that as many as 200,000 women die each year in that part of the world from such abortions; no matter that elimination of those funds would close down many clinics and deny women access to badly needed birth-control counseling.
It continued this past July, when Reagan carried out more of the right-wing agenda by denying Federal funds to domestic family-planning clinics that counseled clients about abortion.
Reagan's right-to-life agenda is on a roll. Although it's at odds with Congress, which has repeatedly disapproved of his measures to ban abortions, that clearly doesn't matter to Reagan. Facing a rapid loss of power, prestige and influence because of his lame-duck Presidency and because of Irangate, Reagan has apparently decided that he will exercise his power where he can--against family-planning clinics' mostly low-income and teenaged clients. Now, there's power!
Copyright 1987, USA Today. Reprinted with permission.