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July 28, 2003

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Just Looking
How could law professor Randolph Jonakait consider child pornography “close to a victimless crime” and New York Law School’s decision to alert the authorities a violation of academic freedom [“The Professor and the Porn,” by Elisabeth Franck, June 23]? As a legal scholar, he must know that courts have consistently held that obscene acts involving children are not granted First Amendment protection and that there is a compelling governmental interest to protect children from such exploitation. That means that even those who “only look at it” are subject to criminal charges—and Professor Samuels evidently looked at a lot of it.
-Mark Conrad, Manhattan

Scared Straight
Martin Levin, a former student of Edward Samuels’s and current adjunct faculty member at New York Law School, asserts that Mr. Samuels’s fascination with violent child pornography is a “psychiatric problem” that should be treated with “counseling.” The most effective therapy for Mr. Samuels would be a stint in prison, where he will likely undergo an experience that might help him develop some empathy for the children whose suffering he so enjoys.
-Leslie O’Shea, Manhattan

Thanks For The Memories
Regarding Jerry Lewis and his long-standing Labor Day Telethon [“End It Already,” by Mark Leyner, June 30–July 7], I too have marked time for oh-so-many years in this most artificial of ways. Since summer sun always proved downright dangerous for this fair-haired, -skinned, and -eyed former Brooklyn girl, July and August were never my favorite months of the year. Instead, I awaited the signal for the end of summer with a mixture of exhilaration, dread, and wonder. The weekend’s events were only complete with my brother’s and my rendition of “Look at Us We’re Walking,” sung at the top of our lungs, while at the same time jumping in a circular fashion on our parents’ bed. Even now that I’m 42, Labor Day weekend evokes wonderful childhood memories, along with the realization that the Judeo-Christian work ethic (after a much-needed summer slowdown) continues, and rightly so, full steam ahead. Thanks for everything, Jerry.
-Andrea V. Slobodow Nagrotsky, Jericho, N.Y.

Glib Libs
As a libertarian, free-market Republican, I found Michael Tomasky’s “Lib Liberation” [“The City Politic,” June 23], in which he stresses the greater tolerance and good-naturedness of liberals, humorous. After all, whereas liberals tend to believe conservatives are evil and selfish, the worst thing conservatives ever say about liberals is that they are dumb.
-Len Winner, Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.


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