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Shame of America

After reading your article on Edwin Meese and his Commission on Pornography (PEOPLE, June 30), I felt I must utilize my freedom of speech while I still have the opportunity to do so. I certainly do not condone pornography. However, this country was founded on the premise of individual freedom and I for one am outraged by the thought of someone as narrow-minded as Mr. Meese interfering with that freedom. We must send a clear message to Washington that we will not tolerate any further attempts to tamper with our freedom to make our own decisions on such issues. Mr. Meese and his commissioners do not have the right to dictate to the American people what they feel to be pornographic. There lies a danger far greater than pornography.

Nicki L. May


Hooray for Attorney General Edwin Meese and his 11-member Commission on Pornography. It’s about time America stood up and took notice of this shameful and degrading issue. This country is populated with individuals who promote pornographic material. I wish they all would go out of business so that Americans can focus on healthier forms of entertainment.

Ernie Ward

Brockport, N.Y.

I learned the facts of life when I was five years old. There was always pornographic material around our house. Not much needed to be left to the imagination. The main role model for my “development” was my father. There were routine physical and mental assaults. A lot of people knew he was obviously sick in the brain, yet no one tried to stop him. Some people said they prayed, others turned their heads. I endured this person as little as I had to. I think the hate I have for him will always burn inside me. Where were the people who cry out against your constitutional rights being taken away? The public better face the fact that smut kills. My childhood was killed.


Santa Ana, Calif.

If I take my 11-year-old to watch Sylvester Stallone blow people’s brains out with a machine gun, I’m a great American. If I take that same child to a film that shows two adults making love, I’m a pervert. While some forms of sexually explicit material are aberrant and obviously harmful, the majority available to the general public is much healthier entertainment than the current crop of murder-and-mayhem films.

Deborah Brown Smith

Marietta, Ga.

I can understand that we must protect our freedom of speech and press, but what about our children? I’m a believer in God and I can’t believe that He approves of such things described in your article. This country is definitely on the right track now.

Patricia Gridley

Massapequa, N.Y.

Of course the Meese Commission is going to find a correlation between pornography and sex crimes. They also could have helped Ponce de Leon find the fountain of youth. A ban on pornography in America will accomplish about as much today as did Prohibition. Compared to Europe and the rest of the world, America has many more conservative views, particularly on sex. Maybe it’s no wonder we have more teenage pregnancies as well.

Paul T. Grim


I don’t recall our founding fathers listing pornography among our inalienable rights. I don’t think anyone would construe the advocacy of murder or treason as part of our freedom of speech rights, so why is the advocacy of physical and emotional abuse of women and children considered different? I think the real issue here is freedom of choice and freedom from harm. Those I would consider to be inalienable rights, and the pornographers are the ones who are violating them.

Rebecca A. Jessee, M.D.

San Jose, Calif.

It’s a shame that Hugh Hefner has lost money; it’s a bigger shame that our society handed so many millions to a 60-year-old man who sees fit to exploit young women barely out of high school. We have all paid the price for 30 years of Playboy philosophy in horrendous rates of divorce, suffering and super diseases. Maybe it’s time we started loving people and using things, instead of the other way around.

Steve Hull

College Park, Md.

Benny Goodman

First the Duke (Ellington), then the Earl (Fatha Hines), then the Count (Basie) and now the King (Goodman). The royalty of jazz is gone but not forgotten. They have left a legacy of joy. It is forever inscribed in our hearts and souls.

Julius S. Piver, M.D.

Bethesda, Md.

Picks & Pans

I read Peter Travers’ review of Legal Eagles and disagree with his remarks regarding Robert Redford. Aging visibly? Redford still looks gorgeous and never more so than in Eagles. Of all the players in all the summer movies, he is the only genuine, legitimate star! “A diminishing hold on the box office?” C’mon, he was a ticket seller for such abnormal movies as The Natural and Brubaker—when there wasn’t even another name in either cast—and who does Travers think sold most of the tickets to Out of Africa? Even the critics who disliked his performance admitted his presence in the cast made a difference at the box office. Without him, Ms. Streep, talented as she is, wouldn’t have drawn flies.

Doris Seely



I have just read your mail on the Rock Hudson excerpts. People can be so cruel. It is wrong to deceive, but it is also better to forgive. Everyone is entitled to a private life and even if we do not agree on the morality of it, that is their concern and not ours. It is very hard to defend your life from the grave, so can’t we please let the dead rest in peace? Rock Hudson gave a lot to us in his life. Good or bad, he made his contribution. That is all that matters.

Donna Morris

Hampton, Ga.