Suspension of Disbelief
Cover story: On June 2, I entered my place of work, a local grocery store. I passed right by the New Times stand to see an attractive young lady with a pleasant grin on her face looking back at me. I had to look again to realize what else I saw. This lady was half nude! Quite astonished, I took a closer look, to realize there was in fact electrical tape over her nipples ("Hook, Line & Sinner," James Hibberd, May 31).
While I applaud the effort to inform the public about extreme body modification, I found that several pictures featured in the article were much more expressive of the topic, while less offensive than the one featured on the cover. The initial impression of the hanging woman is one of bondage sex, or sadomasochism. Matters are not helped by the fact that the VW logo on the opposite side of the page is in such a position to show through, seeming like the areola of her right nipple.
The cover is lewd and licentious, and when placed on a rack at younger children's eye level, and handed out freely, it is completely without moral reasoning. Cosmopolitan and Maxim both carry black plastic shields over them in most stores, and the cover women are at the very least clad in skimpy bathing suits. In the future, please use more discretion when subjecting such a wide audience to such perceivably flagrant material.
Gore administration: I am writing regarding the insanity I saw printed today. How could something so gruesome be put into a public newspaper, where young children and people who care not to see such publications could accidentally open up to such a scene? I don't mind that these people do these things, but it's not something I feel should be made so public. To me, it's just not socially acceptable. In a way, it is somewhat devastating to actually gaze at a photo of what society is coming to, because of people like you advertising for them. This "church" is mocking people's beliefs and is taking the meaning of "spiritual" and turning it into stupidity. I'm so sure that dangling like a puppet with hooks ripping at their flesh is something that gives them a natural high -- it's bull, a hoax for public attention. I believe they got more public ridicule than appreciation. All in all, I think that this "organization" was better left out of sight. The only thing these people get out of hanging themselves with shark hooks is the label of idiot -- and negative attention, which they were probably seeking. These people should seek professional help, as self-mutilation is a psychological disorder.
Name withheld by request
Hung ho!: I just finished reading your most excellent article on body modification. The piece was very well done even though I found the expert explanations for the phenomenon to be somewhat lacking. It might be beyond the scope of comprehension for your average reader, but I think your story would have been served better by experts in evolutionary biology rather than sociology. After reading a book like Jared Diamond's The Third Chimpanzee, body modification does not really seem all that abnormal. Humans engage in these extreme activities for the same reason they abuse drugs. It demonstrates to potential mates that the body is healthy and strong and can take a great deal of abuse. Historically, potential mates found bodies that can withstand such abuse to be better reproductive partners than those that couldn't. Individuals with physical constitutions that could endure such hardships were likely to have offspring with similar characteristics which would provide them with a reproductive advantage over those who didn't.
Name withheld by request
Menace to Society
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Cycle killer: In response to ("AIDS and Abetting" Paul Rubin, May 24), it is a fact that Danielle Adair has stated on many occasions that she needs help, and I quote her by stating, "I know I belong in a hospital where they can take care of me. I like to sleep on real pillows and eat real food. It eats you up being in a jail cell for a long time. I don't want to go back to what I was doin'. They let me out, you know what's gonna happen, and so do I."
It is also a fact that people like Adair "fall through the cracks" of the system, or they are simply just thrown out. This woman is again and again following the same cycle: get caught, get arrested, get released because of incompetence, get put in a hospital, get released, get caught up in drugs and prostitution. This woman has AIDS, she is not just HIV-positive, but she has full-blown AIDS. She continues her prostitution because this is the only life she knows. She has been declared "seriously mentally ill" and many have defined her as a threat to the safety of others. Dr. Stephen Borodkin wrote that Adair was a dangerous threat to the safety of the public, and should be monitored closely by authorities.
It is time for Arizona to take the initiative to get people like Danielle Adair off the street and in a hospital under the proper supervision. This would not only help Danielle receive the services that she deserves, but it would also help public safety.