SEX AND THE CITY
Perversion, plus a buffet!: My wife and I have wintered in the Valley for many years, and we often read New Times for the informative articles. But this past week, I was shocked and appalled to discover that you sent one of your writers to one of those seedy sex clubs that thrive like roof rats, despite the efforts of decent persons to stamp them out ("Sex Club Shenanigans," Inferno, Stephen Lemons, March 10).
The people who go to these places go there for quick sex, I imagine, but why can't they just rent a hotel room and exchange diseases behind closed doors? It's this constant need they seem to have to flaunt their wares -- which disgusts me.
And then we learn that the place has a buffet. Holy moly!
Isn't there some sort of health department in Maricopa County? How can it allow food to be served in the same place people are rolling around in the buff? Yuck!
But what really irks me is that you waste ink on a place like this. Tell me, if I build a cesspool and invite all my friends to swim in it naked, will you cover this, too?
J. Jimmy Taylor, Phoenix
Guide to hanky-panky: Thank God! My husband and I are swingers, and we are brand-new to the Phoenix area. So . . . it was great to pick up Inferno and find out where to go to find like-minded people. We had always heard that Phoenix was the swinger capital of the country and that there are a boat-load of sex clubs, but we had no idea where to go. We don't like to be too conspicuous about personal things in our workaday lives, and we don't go to Internet sites where Big Brother can find out about our proclivities.
From the looks of the photos you published, there are some hot swingers in this town. We moved here from Pittsburgh, and the choices there for swinging partners were, well, the pits. I'm a hot 27-year-old, and my husband's a hot 37, and we almost gave up the lifestyle in Pittsburgh. Once you've done it with fat, hairy old guys dozens of times, you begin to think there's got to be more to life.
I think we're going to like it here in the Phoenix area. Thanks for the informative article. Please use only my maiden name with this letter because I don't want to be burned at the stake here in suburbia.
Monica Bell, Ahwatukee
Swingers are people, too: Here's what I'm curious about: Why is it that so-called journalists are so condescending any time they write about consenting adults having [public] sex with other consenting adults in a club established for that very purpose?
Your Inferno [character], Kreme, is so taken aback when -- at a sex club -- he and the bisexual Jett are asked politely if they want to partake in the goings-on. What does he expect? Duh! He's in a sex club! It would seem that, as journalists, he and his sidekick would join in to be able to tell readers fully about the experience.
What I object to is the tone of such articles. They assume that we people who enjoy flaunting sex with multiple partners in a nightclub are somehow perverted losers. Why isn't the alternative-lifestyles movement treated with the same respect as other movements for basic rights? We may be the last great minority group.
Jennifer Teal, via the Internet
Hell's for real, ya know!: The Inferno column is properly named. I've been a sometimes reader of New Times for years, and I've noticed a downward trend. First, you slander Catholics like myself with that story on Monsignor Dale Fushek ("Cross to Bare," Robert Nelson, February 24), which was accompanied by that horrible cover of the priest exposing himself, and now you run a long article on sex clubs in the city, acting as if they are just fine.
Stephen Lemons, Robert Nelson and the rest of you at New Times should be worried about where your souls will reside once you leave this sordid planet. Hell is not just a fictional place, you know! I am not the only one who's sick of the perversity.
Martha Riles, via the Internet
The devil made us do it: What you write about the sex clubs in this godless city is so disgusting that I may never pick up New Times again. Please stop with your perverted articles in Inferno. The week before the sex clubs story, you ran something about a place called Sadisco. With it you published a picture of a woman exposing her breasts ("Low-Rent Libertines," March 3). The very name of the place says it all!
The sexual perversion and sadism you wrote about only prove that Satan is hard at work in the world.
Name withheld by request
Boondocks boinking's okay: Kreme brings up an interesting point in Inferno. And that is, why does anybody care whether these sex clubs operate?! I'm not saying that I'm a denizen of these places, but if I wanted to be, I should have the right.
As you noted, these places aren't fouling pristine neighborhoods -- they're in the middle of nowhere. And that seems the perfect place for them. That way, anybody who wants to take the trouble to drive out to the fringes of town can do so and have all the sordid fun they want. The rest of the world doesn't have to bother its pretty little head about the "problem." No harm, no foul . . . know what I mean?
Bottom line: Don't cops and prosecutors have better things to do than hassle these places? Crime is soaring in Phoenix, and the authorities choose to focus on victimless crimes like this. (Should boinking in a public place where everybody's cool with it actually be a crime? I think not.)
This is probably part of Mayor Phil "Gomer" Gordon's homespun, front-porch effort to make us into the metropolitan Mayberry.
Phoenix desperately wants to be considered a big city, and yet we get all hot and bothered about sex clubs out in a boondocks industrial district. Shit like this happens in big towns, and usually right on main streets. Anybody been to New York, New Orleans or San Francisco, for Christ's sake?! There are pervs in the big, bad world, and they need someplace to practice their perviness. And these are the good pervs, who are at least banging willing adults and not children of the same sex, like your typical Catholic priest.
Phoenix, get a life and stop wasting taxpayer money trying to stop this kind of activity! The people who run City Hall annoy me.
Don Harvey, Phoenix
Mind your own biz. We do: I want to applaud Stephen Lemons for writing a very even article about swing clubs, especially Club Chameleon. This is one of the best clubs of its type in the country. It's nationally recognized as such and has survived in spite of the costly foolishness inflicted on it by the best politicians money can buy.
My wife and I have been in the lifestyle for 30 years and have grown tired of people labeling swingers as poorly educated degenerates, perverts and/or deviants. And we're more tired of clubs being depicted as disease-riddled dens of iniquity. None of these terms has ever applied.
Swingers are well-educated, largely professional people with families, political affiliations, religious beliefs and morals just like anyone else. How they choose to apply those beliefs may be different from most people, but it is certainly no cause for alarm or enacting the modern-day equivalent of burning someone at the stake.
What swingers choose to do is their own business; they don't impose their lifestyle on others and don't wish to have other people's morals imposed on them. They're rational adults with the ability to decide what's right for themselves and want to keep it that way. That's why they do it privately in out-of-the-way establishments such as Club Chameleon or in the privacy of their own homes.
Swinging will never go away. It's been around since before recorded history in one form or another, and, with the help of the Internet, it's growing in numbers by the second. If swing clubs didn't exist, then swingers would simply revert to the old reliable house party. If that happened, John Q. Public would have swinging right where he would least be happy with it -- on his own doorstep.
Alan Jones, Phoenix
REICH AND WRONG
Hitler was no veg-head: This is the second article you've written about a vegetarian-friendly establishment in which you've marginalized this aspect. Tina's Ethiopian Cafe serves amazing vegan food, yet you clamored for the flesh on the menu ("Watt's Good for You," Stephen Lemons, January 27). There was no mention of Hitler, perhaps because Tina is a refugee who wouldn't appreciate her food and Hitler in the same sentence.
In truth, Hitler was not a vegetarian. According to Richard Schwartz, author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Hitler would occasionally go on vegetarian binges to cure himself of excessive sweatiness and flatulence. His main diet was meat-centered. Hitler had a predilection for Bavarian sausages, ham, liver, and game.
If Hitler had been a vegetarian, he would not have banned vegetarian organizations in Germany and the occupied countries, much like he did every other social justice group. It is quite unlikely he would have failed to urge a meatless diet on the German people as a way of coping with Germany's World War II food shortage.
I feel the integrity of your restaurant reviews is severely criticized when you neglect the vegetarian options at the establishments you review. You are doing a disservice to the many vegetarians who read your publication.
Jonathan Grindell, Tempe
Stephen Lemons responds: Thanks for the missive, Herr Grindell, but you're wrong. According to Leonard Mosley's The Reich Marshal: A Biography of Hermann Goering, gourmand Goering despised visiting Hitler's abode in Berchtesgaden because der Führer's diet was vegetarian and any other food served was slop. This is confirmed by Albert Speer, who, in his memoir Inside the Third Reich, writes, "Hitler was served his vegetarian food, drank Fachinger mineral water, and those of his guests who wished could imitate him. But few did." According to several sources, Ol' Adolf was abstemious not for moral reasons, but because he had gastric problems.
DR. LAURA RESPONDS
Jew should know better: In Robrt Pela's article "Jew Talk Too Much," about the radio program hosted by Rabbi Sam Cohon (March 17), the rabbi is quoted as saying about me, "She's nothing I recognize as Jewish -- [she has] a quality of overwhelming judgment with no comprehension. But I hear she's unconverted, and I couldn't be happier."
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I would like your audience to know that Rabbi Cohon broke several Jewish (Halachic) laws in making those statements.
First, he gossips, not knowing firsthand about my personal religious life. Second, he speaks critically about a Jew in public -- which is considered, in Jewish law, a sin against God. This is the man who is giving advice on radio as a rabbi? I suggest the audience consider the source.
Laura Schlessinger, syndicated radio talk-show host
The rabbi's a hoot: I love it that Rabbi Sam Cohon likes circumcision jokes. I'm one of those geeks who's up early on Sunday mornings, and I'm going to start listening regularly. I've been told that I'm "too Jewish," which I don't think I am. Though a lot of the people I grew up with in Los Angeles definitely were. My dad called them "bagel heads."
Laura Feinstein, Phoenix