LOVE, AWARENESS, AND 110 DEAD MACAQUES
It's a shame and so uncaring that anyone would take wild animals out of their natural home for any reason ("Dead on Arrival," October 14). I think if someone is interested in experimentation or research for the good of mankind, that person should do it on him/herself.
The only answer to any cruelty, exploitation, or enslavement of other creatures is for each individual to get in touch with his or her feelings, to work through whatever pain and fear is there, and to discover the wondrous being within. That being within, if you can believe it, is a being of love, awareness, and sensitivity, one who feels connected to all life. Such a one can never be so unkind to animals.
If you believe in love and awareness, if you believe in feelings, and if you can get back into that sensitive inner place in yourself, your life will be a demonstration that will change the world.
Regarding your story "The Ugly American" (October 7), I find Gunter Frentz to be "The Honest American." He was totally truthful. I would note that our own government, which has "used" Thai women in the same way, but on a much bigger scale than Gunter did, refused comment except to say that the oldest profession and their incompetence in Gunter's arrest are a "sensitive topic." No shit. This was all "off the record," of course. Now which Americans were the ugly ones?
Women, Thai women included, are as much the owners of their bodies as men are. As owners they should be free to willingly contract to sell themselves sexually if they so choose. The relative wisdom of this choice may be a moral issue, but it certainly shouldn't be a legal issue. The only place that people are allowed this freedom without the usual big government interference is in the state of Nevada.
The spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, in Nevada is controlled by the most powerful force in the world: the free market. Brothels offering sex without condoms have long ago gone out of business. Women are checked for disease on a frequent basis. It's not surprising that no children are used in Nevada's brothels.
The great thing about both Gunter's business and Nevada's is that they annoy such a weird variety of uptight people. The far right Pats (Robertson and Buchanan) would hate the idea because someone is experiencing sex only for pleasure. (Why, somebody might have fun!) The far left feminists hate the economic aspect of someone actually making money by exploiting willing participants in a transaction. (Why, somebody might get rich!) It is an odd alliance of people who want to control all personal and economic aspects of our lives.
I have never been to Nevada or Thailand. I have never used a prostitute, but I would never vote for a law making prostitution a crime. Where's the victim? For some people, sex will always be a commodity, and for some sex will always be romance. People will always be responsible for the choices they make, even if they don't always act responsibly in making those choices. Let's let people be free to choose their expression of sexuality.
James M. Ray
Libertarian for Florida State House, District 113
ANOTHER SATISFIED SEX TOURIST
I read "The Ugly American" with interest because I visited Thailand with Gunter Frentz and agree that the social climate is better for American men than Miami is. The crime rate is low, less violent, and people are friendly and engaging. The ladies are very pretty and less materialistic than the American women. I know Gunter Frentz to be a good tour guide, and his stewardship was professional and considerate. I hope to visit again and stay for several months and reflect on the hypocrisy of our society.
I went on two tours with Gunter and feel the cost was reasonable and shopping in Thailand is good because the exchange rate is good. Hotels were inexpensive and the beaches were pristine and spacious. Truly an Oriental paradise.
NAVARRO -- A REEL PLOT SPOILER!
Congratulations on the Florida Press Club awards. I've always enjoyed your paper and often use it in my classes.
I quit reading Rafael Navarro, however, when I realized that vitriolic and sour grapes were his substitute for movie enjoyment and critical perception. I notice he didn't win any awards -- that must be one unhappy man. The "Movie Capsules" blurb on Of Mice and Men cannot be ignored, though. It's inexcusable! Whether reviewing a film or presenting a movie capsule, it is not the reviewer's place to reveal the entire plot -- climax and denoument -- even if it's a well-known story such as this. That kind of arrogance serves no one and it certainly spoils it for a lot of people.
No one should be in a position to evaluate anything he doesn't respect, and no one reads reviews or capsules to have the story told ahead of time.
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NAVARRO -- A REEL COLUMBUS BASHER!
On page 50 of your October 7 issue, there is a box wherein the movie 1492: Conquest of Paradise is reviewed. The reviewer refers to "historical revisionism" and states, "Forget the fact that Chris never actually landed on the continent." It seems the critic never actually checked his facts. In the course of his third and fourth voyages, Columbus visited points of what is now Venezuela and the Caribbean coastline of Central America. If neither of these areas is part of "the continent," does only North America count as mainland New World?
Inaccurate but trendy Columbus-bashing and geocentrism in one easy -- facile -- paragraph.