Keeping watch on TV sensuality

I applaud "Erotica runs rampant" (Feb. 1, Arts&Leisure). As a mother of 12- and 13- year-old girls, I feel our society is under attack by the media when it comes to the use of sex and pornography on television.

Quite sadly, these images reduce women to objects while at the same time reducing men to insensitive boors. It seems that we have lost our focus as to what is truly important in life. It is a sad situation and quite dangerous as these perverse attitudes are being aimed directly at our youth. Child pornography is a billion dollar business, yet our lawmakers do very little about it.

Where are the cries from the masses? Most of us plod along, accepting what the media feeds us. If you ask me, we have just become morally and intellectually lazy. Thank you for bringing the most important issue of our time to the forefront.

Laura A. Lover
New York

At first, I was simply reading this article as any other, as an interested reader who wanted to see what arguments it offered. Yet as I read more and more about the ill effects of erotica's presence in our society, from many different groups all giving the same message, I became anxious to see a different perspective. Sadly, this never came.

Despite my rather liberal personal philosophy, I gave the other side a chance to be considered. I agreed with some ideas and was glad for the exposure to others. But the article disappointed me by never offering a counter argument or a quote from a liberal agency - perhaps one working to ensure civil liberties on TV (if one exists), or speaking to one of the offending, pornography-proliferating groups for their perspective. There was one reference to an NBC executive, but after that, the remainder of the article simply repeated "bad, bad, bad," leaving me saying the same about such a one-sided report.

Jake Lesnik
Stanford, Calif.

Zimbabwe dictatorship needs to end

Regarding "Mugabe's grip tightens on elections" (Jan. 17): The Zimbabwean government is engaged in tactics of antidemocracy, trying to silence the media as well as those opposing its governance. Zimbabwe's economy is in a bad state because the government ignores the demands of its citizens. When any government that calls itself democratic takes this kind of a stance, there can be no room for progress.

There is a need for a combined, progressive effort by the international community to tackle Zimbabwe's problems - specifically by organizations and nations that fund its government.

A stronger stance also has to be taken by other African countries - particularly in the southern African region - whose economies will destabilize as a result of what is going on in Zimbabwe. South Africa, Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner, is experiencing a devaluation of its currency because of investor fears that issues of land reform similar to Zimbabwe's will arise and cause turmoil.

Increased pressure on Zimbabwe is a means to an end. The international community must ensure that all of Zimbabwe's elections are free and fair.

Suwi Sinyangwe
Elsah, Ill.

Committed to teaching the blind

Thank you for your article "For blind students, a place where art and life skills meet" (Jan. 15, Learning). As a teacher of music, I appreciate how the arts are understood, communicated, and practiced. I can only imagine the discipline required of both student and teacher when one of the senses is absent. I am so impressed with the patience and commitment of these individuals.

Daniel Magazin
San Francisco

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