I read, I will admit, with horror-struck fascination your profile of Dr. Brian Finkel ("The Terminator," Amy Silverman, June 17). The remarkable reporting of Ms. Silverman left me with two looming questions, relating (respectively) to Dr. Finkel and to the article itself.
First, I was left at an utter loss rationally to explain Dr. Finkel's shamelessness, except in terms of his manifold personal flaws. He never explains what makes it okay to do what he does to "the product of conception." He equally refers to "Ernie the Embryo" and his (surviving) children as "embryos." Of course, he himself is a surviving embryo, as are we all. So how does he justify killing "embryos" at their most helpless? Is "choice" the alchemy that transforms a human being into tissue, or vice versa? If so, Finkel is awfully cozy with blatant magic, for a self-professed rationalist. How does he rationalize butchering what he knows, factually, to be a small human being?
Second, were you really unable to find any OB colleagues who would criticize Dr. Finkel's entire practice? Are there no pro-life physicians in the area? Are all of his peers really admirers and supporters, aside from their misgivings about his style? If so, how sad.
Thank you for a fascinating, horrifying tour of this dark and frightening soul. Somehow Stephen King seems far tamer now. I'm not sure that's good.
Name withheld by request
In reference to your article on Dr. Brian Finkel: It's unfortunate you attempted to shove your pro-choice beliefs upon readers and onlookers within a publication appearing to be a news weekly. The attention-grabbing cover and headliners indisputably show the sensational nature of your journalism.
The pro-choice side has numerous, compelling arguments. Those are precisely why I am pro-choice. Unfortunately, your poor coverage of an unprofessional, disgruntled and outspoken physician only gives the pro-lifers a stronger and more valid argument. It also left me to wonder whether I should feel disgusted, or perhaps embarrassed, to side myself with pro-choicers.
However, I have no doubts as to the quality of your publication. Your amateurish antics reek of a high school mentality unqualified in the discipline of journalistic integrity.
What an excellent piece of work Amy Silverman did in writing the story of Brian Finkel! Absolutely great journalism. This is why I read New Times.
Any journalistic endeavor ought to be judged in two ways: style and content. No special knowledge is needed to judge style, but to assess content a reader needs to know something about the subject. In the case of Brian Finkel, I do. We both belong to a local chapter of Kiwanis, where Finkel is received about as you'd expect after reading Silverman's article. At Kiwanis luncheons, Finkel has celebrated a tragic accident that left one of his regular picketers a paraplegic and has commented vociferously on his contempt and distrust of his patients. Whether he truly cares for their health needs, I do not know, but Silverman captures a fundamental aspect of Finkel's character in her concluding quote concerning patients' complaints: "Well, if they do [complain], I don't listen to 'em." That's Finkel, all right.
George E. Ertel
Your piece on Brian Finkel was very interesting. I got a very solid sense of who he is and how he approaches his business. Unfortunately, the article also made me feel incredibly sad and very ill. It's tragic that women slaughter their offspring. It's tragic that an obnoxious man gets rich helping them do it. Your article was informative and well-written, but it took me to a very dark place. Sigh.
Abortionist Brian Finkel is a loose cannon. If there was ever doubt about this man being unstable, he has proved it with his quotes in Amy Silverman's article. He should not be allowed to own a gun, nor perform abortions.
Reverend Donald Spitz
My hat's off to Amy Silverman and her article.
In these times of scorched earth extremism, under the auspices of moral good, not to mention declining health-care quality, the thousands of unwanted fatherless children and epidemics of infections, I am thrilled that women have the choice of intelligent, thoughtful, high-quality care.
I applaud Dr. Brian Finkel.
Name withheld by request
Perhaps Dr. Finkel should replace the gun in his holster with the suction machine that kills 2,000-plus fetuses a year. There's no shoot-out, no fair-and-square draw, no chance for the innocent life that hasn't any defense.
Mr. Jakubczyk doesn't need a gun in a holster to defend those lives which Dr. Finkel takes on a daily basis. Whatever time he can gain in keeping Dr. Finkel away from his killing chamber by answering legal questions in court is time well spent. As for "the Terminator," you can only hope he realizes how sick he is, and makes amends to his higher power, whom I choose to call God.
Just a note to let you know that I found your article on Brian Finkel very interesting. Although I would suspect your bias is pro-choice, you seem to be one of the few writers who really tried to be objective in your presentation of the information. As a person with a pro-life bias, I really appreciate your objectivity and excellence in journalism. It's refreshing to experience and, unfortunately, somewhat rare in our world which seems to be dominated by phenomena George Orwell named "Newspeak" and "Doublespeak."
Name withheld by request
I am not an activist on whether a person should be pro-life or not. I believe it has to do with what the situation may be at the time. However, that is not the point here that I wanted to express.
I was a patient of Dr. Brian Finkel in 1994 and I thought he was a great doctor. He did a great job and I did have another abortion to compare it to. He was very sensitive, I thought, to my questions and concerns and answered them to the best of his knowledge. I have also referred a couple of friends to him, and they agreed that he was a good doctor.
As long as there are women out there who choose the option, then Dr. Finkel should be the one to provide it--safely.
Name withheld by request
Exit, Stage Right
Theater critic Robrt L. Pela's complaint that he is "plagued by amateur playwrights" raises the question of whether Pela is not living out his own version of a very old-fashioned drama, engendered back east, about the "professional" critic who devours those who presume to think they can write. Pela even has a "doorman," probably a poor illiterate fellow, who waylays the great man on his way to review the mightier works of Phoenix theater stages.
Pela is like the reader who goes to the library and complains because there are too many books. Imagine the boredom we would suffer if we ever ran out. Terror of such an event causes me to endorse any and every incentive that causes people to write. I don't give a damn if they stumble or fall along the way because becoming a good writer may take years, and they have to have a lot of perseverance.
There are a lot more people in Phoenix who grab Uzis and go out and kill a bunch of people, as well as themselves, than there are people who write plays. Maybe if those poor souls hadn't encountered too many critics like Pela along the way, they would be writing plays, too, instead of acting out a tragedy.
I would like to see Pela leave the constricted past he seems to inhabit too much, like an old movie, and join the modern world where doormen can be as brilliant and surprising as the next fellow. I know lots of playwrights who take very lowly jobs so they can write. I have done it many times myself. I waitressed, I worked in a factory. I am 67, and haven't made it yet, but I believe I will.
Mr. Pela, we know you can only see so many plays. I suggest you see what you want to see, but don't try to denigrate what we amateur playwrights are doing. You don't have to come to see our plays. We will survive. In fact, if you can't control your snobby side, we are better off without you!
Robrt L. Pela responds: If your plays are anything at all like the 20-plus-page letters you've sent me through the years, Geraldine, I'd recommend keeping that factory job. Although, comparing psycho killers to playwrights was a nice touch.
My name is Julian Sodari, leader of the Grant Park Neighborhood Association and a member of the Phoenix Elementary School Board #1, and this concerns your column ("Whither Warehouse?" David Holthouse, June 17).
You describe the Grant Park neighborhood as a slum area, and we do not appreciate you classifying our neighborhood as a slum area. It might be the oldest neighborhood in Phoenix, but it is not a slum. Many residents in the Grant Park neighborhood are hardworking people, and they take pride in their neighborhood. We do not appreciate you suggesting that a jail should be built in the middle of our neighborhood.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Wages of Sin
Quite a commentary, guys ("Beach Blanket Bacchanal," Dewey Webb, June 17)! Only one major mistake: 6,000 tapes sold per month is correct, but not at $29.95 each. Wow, I would be a millionaire. Not so! Try the wholesale price.
Editor's note: The videos currently are selling on the Web for $29.95 each.