April 19, 2004

Civil Offense
“Howard’s Bush Bash,” by Mark Jacobson [“The Culture Business,” March 22–29], about the Federal Communications Commission “decency” war, proves the Thought Police are alive and well in Washington. What adults listen to, read, or watch in the privacy of their own homes is their own choice. Our civil liberties are safe only when Big Brother stays out of our living rooms. If someone doesn’t like what Stern has to say, he can change the station. Has FCC Chairman Michael Powell ever read the Constitution or the Bill of Rights? Send him a message: Listen to The Howard Stern Show and support its advertisers, and then, on Election Day, write in Howard Stern for president and Robin Quivers for vice-president!
—Larry Penner, Great Neck, N.Y.

Bravo to Betsy Carter’s column denouncing Myrna Blyth’s disingenuous new book about the culture of women’s magazines [“Media: Twisted Seven Sister,” March 22–29]. Ms. Blyth may think she has an ax to grind, but she seems to have missed her intended target. She’s damaged her reputation much more than those of her fellow editors’. If she really believes everything she wrote in Spin Sisters—that women’s magazines are in business to make their readers feel inadequate in every possible way—why did she stay at Ladies’ Home Journal so long and not do anything about making its pages reflect her more enlightened viewpoint? Could it be she liked the job, the title, the salary, the perks, the access to power, and, dare I say it, the message Ladies’ Home Journal published for decades with her approval? Perhaps someone should remind Ms. Blyth that she was an active, presumably enthusiastic, and doubtless amply compensated participant in the supposed problems she now so loudly bemoans.
—Mitchell Owens, Marrakech-Medina, Morocco

Rag Rage
Betsy Carter’s “Twisted Seven Sister” is a typical liberal refutation of the truth. I stopped buying many women’s magazines because of their obvious liberal views as well as their omnipresent digs at opposing positions. Any politician who is more concerned about forests and the spotted owl than about the life of a human baby, or who supports gun control and abortion rights, is given glowing coverage in ladies’ magazines. How many articles present the moral arguments against abortion? Myrna Blyth hasn’t bitten the hand that fed her. She’s finally exposing what many readers and former readers have known for some time.
—Rosemary E. Kennedy, Rockville Centre, N.Y.

Happy Hour
Why would Heather prefer that her boyfriend go to a bar and pick up a girl for a one-night stand rather than pay for a prostitute [“Naked City: Paying for It,” by Amy Sohn, March 22–29M]? A woman who can be bought for a few drinks is not that much different from a call girl. People often have different intentions, and the girl at a bar may want more than a quick fling. This is actually more dishonest than two consenting adults’ engaging in sex after agreed-upon terms. There’s an adage that says women use sex for love and guys use love for sex. A guy using money for sex and a girl using sex for money is no harm, no foul.
—Heather Paster, Manhattan

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April 19, 2004