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Our now-infamous photo of Patrick Swayze diving into his backyard pool (PEOPLE, Aug. 6) prompted the third largest reader response of the year, with many of the actor’s female fans expressing undying appreciation for what they think they saw. (It really is just the drawstring from Patrick’s swimsuit.) As for the issue’s other swimsuit photo, readers criticized our use of female models in a story about a man arrested for wearing a thong.

PATRICK SWAYZE

Wow! What a great article on Patrick Swayze. He’s sensitive, great-looking and very sexy. Most of all. he can act. My 15-year-old granddaughter thinks he’s wonderful, and this grandmother agrees.

Mary L. Miles

Midvale, Utah

It’s easy to see why Patrick Swayze is such a success. It’s not only because of his good looks but because of his outstanding acting talents. No matter what character he is portraying, he brings it to life with his own experiences. PEOPLE proved again that grade A actors like Swayze are not unfeeling or phony, but are a part of real life.

Kelly Wagner-Tankersley

Beecher, Ill.

Being a girl who prides herself on attention to detail, I must lavish great accolades on PEOPLE this week for a fine photo of Patrick Swayze diving into a swimming pool. Burt Reynolds’s famous centerfold now pales greatly by comparison.

Lori W. Finley

Easley, S.C.

Did I buy a Playgirl or a PEOPLE? Anyway, thank you for the extra exposure of Patrick Swayze in the picture on page 75 of the issue bearing his face. Hope it’s not red after he sees it.

Debra McPhee

Bay City, Mich.

Just to let you know that the article on Patrick Swayze was very well done. The cover picture was fabulous, and he deserves all the respect and attention that the article gave him. However, one of the pictures of him revealed something that we’re sure Patrick Swayze would not want the public to see. We thought a public apology to Patrick would be nice.

Christina M. Bork

Rochester Hills, Mich.

We stand by our man, and our photo. Both are quite proper.—ED.

THONG BATHING SUITS

Your article on thong bathing suits ostensibly was prompted by the arrest of a 27-year-old waiter in Sarasota. So why did the accompanying picture show two women, and no men, wearing thongs? No wonder the portrayal of women as sex objects is dying such a slow death. Shame on you!

Joanne Snover

Cropseyville, N.Y.

DENISE WELLS

Bravo for Denise Wells! On my first date with my husband, we went to a Beach Boys concert. I went to the rest room and was gone so long that he thought I didn’t like him and had taken a cab home. I wish I had been brave enough to use the men’s room.

Lynda F. Wukmir

Minneapolis

SAM LABUDDE

I so enjoyed the enlightening story on Sam LaBudde and what he has done, single-handedly, to save the dolphins from the fishing industry. I want to thank him for having the courage to take a situation that seemed totally hopeless and turn it completely around. This man is a true hero.

Sandra Cunningham

Torrance, Calif.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

Concerning the National Endowment for the Arts discontinuing grants to various artists: It seems the real issue is not censorship of their work but who should pay for it. They are free to produce whatever they like, and we are free to look or not look at it. We should also be free to not have to finance it.

Bonnie Nitz

Wauwatosa, Wis.

As an artist, I find it difficult to see how the government can be blamed for stifling creativity. The Constitution doesn’t obligate the people to finance pornographic or non-pornographic art. NEA applicants can indeed “tackle the blood and bone of society,” as thousands of fellow artists do, and get a job.

Thomas Daley

Benson, Ariz.

With so many homeless, hungry and deprived in our land, how can we justify monies to further such “art” as a toilet bowl as an altar, yam-spread buttocks and sex-symbol vegetables? I, for one, don’t consider it censorship but protection of my rights as a hardworking taxpayer tired of having my money given to such drivel.

Sherry Cook

Irvine, Calif.