Media must examine their use of violenceThis...


Media must examine their use of violence

This letter is written with concern for the increasing scrutiny of First Amendment rights alluded to in David Zurawik's Oct. 24 Perspective article, "Beavis and Fire, Mass Media and Behavior."

It is a sad statement that we as an American society have to call into question constitutional rights like freedom of speech. Have we grown too large, too heterogenous, too individualized, disenfranchised and computerized to embrace our sense of community?

Hollywood producers are making choices too often based on their economics, and not on their concern over the people they live among.

When the media develops and promotes programs like "Beavis and Butt-head" they discard all societal concerns and instead embrace their dedication to revenues, profits, ratings and response of advertisers. Maybe our freedom of speech will ultimately have to be reined in. It is sad and probably unnecessary.

As a country, as a civilized community, we have a responsibility to reach others. The creators of satires that insult and degrade our culture can just as easily create gems like "I'll Fly Away" and "Brooklyn Bridge."

Profits may transiently decrease but would soon re-equilibrate because one constant is that people will always hunger for entertainment. Certainly, entertainment can be enriching and educational and even inspiring to improve America rather than tearing it apart.

It is my hope that senseless acts of imitation of violence and self-destruction encourage those in media to re-examine their individual and civil responsibilities.

Jill E. Nyman


Great tours

We were among the 20,000 people who toured the port of Baltimore on a recent weekend. We wish to compliment the personnel of the Maryland Port Authority and Baltimore Operation Sail on the excellent handling of the crowds of interested people who came hoping to see something worthwhile and interesting and were treated to well-organized bus and boat tours of the port.

The guides on the buses knew their subjects and were able to answer questions with cogent explanation. The routes of the vehicles were well thought out.

And to top it all, the weather cooperated beautifully. An additional bonus was the Liberty ship John Brown.

Our appreciation and thanks to all of those who worked so well and so hard.

Louise Boykin

Bill Boykin


Rattling cups

I traveled by train to Baltimore to take in a show at the Mechanic Theater. It was a pleasant autumn evening, so I decided to stroll down Charles Street to the theater.

Bad idea.

From the moment I stepped out of the side door of Penn Station to the moment I entered the Mechanic's lobby, I was aggressively panhandled by 10 men and one women. I felt like I was running a gantlet of outstretched hands and rattling cups.

During the 30 seconds that I paused to admire the Washington Monument and my favorite urban square, I had to fend off drunken pleadings from three people who stumbled out of the shadows.

This kind of repellent, intrusive behavior seriously compromises the quality of life on Charles Street.

As a former resident of Bolton Hill, I am a great fan of Baltimore who is also acutely aware that urban living in the 1990s is woven of very tender fabric.

In every case, the folks who dogged my passage down Charles Street were substance abusers who will not benefit from the stream of pocket change that flows into their hands.

It may sound harsh to Baltimoreans whose generous hearts I do admire, but I think the time has come to pass an "aggressive panhandling" ordinance, coupled with some kind of dedicated intervention to remove these sad people from Charles Street and into treatment programs.

Hunter V. Moss


Inquiring minds

Well, now. We no longer need to buy the National Inquirer at our local supermarket checkout counter. We can just read The Baltimore Sun.

Your Sunday, Oct. 31, front page article on Neil Solomon gave every lurid, tawdry tidbit that inquiring minds might want to know.

Certainly Dr. Solomon should not be allowed to practice medicine ever again. And The Baltimore Sun should not lower its standards by giving such prominence to messy tabloid journalism. And I should be ashamed of myself for ever reading it.

Joan Weiskittel Denny


Bleeding hearts

I wonder if all the "bleeding heart" ministers who are protesting the John Thanos execution and who want the death (( penalty abolished would be standing outside the prison if the people Thanos murdered had been their own children.

Thanos killed three teen-agers who will never grow up to enjoy life. He devastated three families. Would the "bleeding hearts" be there if there were no TV cameras?

Bob Crooks


Catholics unloyal

I find it discomforting that the Catholic hierarchy pleaded with Gov. William Donald Schaefer recently for the sparing of John Thanos' life. The naivete of that gesture is truly scary.

I am aware that mercy is to be meted out in our dealings with our enemies, but justice hasn't yet been pre-empted from the list of Christian virtues -- has it? If church leaders, government leaders, judges and parents enforced justice a bit more there would be less need for pleas for mercy, I submit.

Inconsistent with their pursuit of mercy for a murderer is the church's present lack of sensitivity to the psyches of their priests. Namely, the present treatment of accused priests for child abuse or sexual involvements.

Swift and public seems to be the hierarchy's present reaction to the dubious accusations from "out-of-the-woodwork" parishioners. (One wonders if money-grubbing could not be added to the adjectives describing these long-lost acquaintances.) Newspaper releases intimate the guilt of the accused priests. Names of accusers are protected -- the good name of the priest becomes the stuff that sells newspapers.

Even in the work world a good boss backs his man. A loyal worker is not left to "hang out and dry." I ask sincerely -- where is the fatherly protection that superiors are supposed to minister to their own?

Perhaps there is something that the John Thanoses of this world have mastered that we, the "faithful" need to learn. Guile?

Mary L. Angelo


No ifs and no butts

Three cheers for Secretary of Licensing and Regulation William A. Fogle's proposal to ban smoking in workplaces. He has the courage to step up to the plate, point the bat at the spot he intends to hit the ball and swing for the fence.

No ifs, ands or buts. He doesn't tiptoe around the question of whether smoking is bad. We know it's a given. So with history, present medical statistics and doctors all over the country saying the same thing, that "smoking is killing people," Mr. Fogle has concluded, (and I think rightly so) that he and other people in leadership positions have to at least try to improve the situation.

Thanks for at least one public official who's swinging for the fence instead of waiting for a walk (free pass).

Michael C. Loucas


Vincent Price

Baltimore will always owe a deep debt to Vincent Price for his many films of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories.

Price's 1953 film "House of Wax," shot in 3-D, placed him on an equal level with Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre in the gothic horror genre.

Price was the host of the TV series "Mystery" for eight years. On the all-time best-selling record album in history, Michael Jackson's 1983 "Thriller," Price gave an outstanding rap monologue.

Joseph Saffron


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