Getting down--and dirty--at Nita's Hideaway

Letters from the week of June 13, 2002

So where did that come from? There's more than sexual abuse charges here; there are millions being spent and not accounted for. We deserve some answers. The "10-year-old policy of not talking to the New Times" shouldn't make you fellows feel too bad. The Bishop and his staff haven't been talking to parishioners either.

Virginia Chaffin
Phoenix

Altar boys: I am a faithful reader of the New Times. After reading your most recent article about the cover-ups in the Catholic Church, I hope you will allow me to provide some information that is not so much a "different" view, but a broader one.

For personal and professional reasons, I have become quite an authority on pedophiles. My fear right now is that, similar to the Boy Scout scare of several years ago, there will be a belief that by "cleansing" the Catholic Church of its scandals and crimes, we will address the enormous problem of child molestation in America. This is not true, and although it is human nature to focus on an identified source of evil to the exclusion of a larger problem, this particular issue is deeply ingrained in our society, and we need to take a serious look at how we inadvertently enable pedophiles to perpetrate their crimes.

Some facts: Pedophiles are not interested in adults for sexual activity. While many pedophiles will have relationships and marriages that serve as a cover for their real interests, their "orientation" is to children. I have heard stupid comments about how "if we let priests get married," or "if we send pedophiles to porno clubs" they would not molest children, and this is not true: Pedophiles are interested in children, some in very young children or babies, and some in adolescents.

Pedophiles can be very clever about masking their intent. They prey on children who are either not well-supervised or who are very much in need of attention and love. Many pedophiles gravitate to those children who have disabilities that affect communication: kids who are deaf, with developmental disabilities and other disabilities that make it difficult for them to express what is being done to them. Why? Because not only do these kids have difficulty in communicating, but even those adults who can understand them too often do not believe what they say or indicate.

The problem is not the Catholic Church or priests — the problem is that somehow our society has allowed pedophiles to flourish and develop networks that are surprisingly open. We need to root out, punish and separate pedophiles from our society in a consistent manner that complies with either laws that exist or new ones that we need to draft and pass.

Mary Wambach
Via e-mail

Art Show

Painting a different picture: Art in the Valley isn't about art. It's about being an "artist" ("Ghosts of Mars," Susy Buchanan, May 23). You would think the art world would be the land of free thinkers, nurturing creativity. Nothing could be further from the truth.

My observation is they all did well in art school coloring within the lines. Choosing art as a profession, or a lifestyle, being creative and taking art a bit further isn't in 'em.

The galleries are no better. They want a known commodity. They can't accept you until you're accepted elsewhere. Being followers, playing it safe. The clique being more important that the work.

I have yet to meet a gallery owner that wasn't a liar or thief out to make a quick buck. Lookin' for a whore to pimp — after all, it's business.

And the local rags seldom write about local artists, preferring to write about others passing through. It's easy to write about a successful artist. How about writing about an artist simply because he/she is an artist?

Dressing like the Virgin Mary and handing out tortillas isn't art — it's getting attention by using religion to shock people under the guise of art. That's weak.

Also, being the best artist in Arizona is like being the best ditch digger; it matters not. I've seen your work, it's mediocre at best. Just because it sells doesn't make it good. Southwest "art" being a perfect example.

People here don't buy art to enrich their lives, they buy pictures to match the couch or because it's fashionable. It pisses me off. I was born here. I expect more from my city. It doesn't get better, it only gets bigger. It will always have that cowtown mentality (just look at all the pickup trucks).

Jealousy, spite and inflated egos without the work to back it up, it's a sad state and no one cares. There is no art in Arizona. It's not allowed.

If this angers you, good. At least that's an emotion. Now go and paint it.

Painter Don
Phoenix

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