The death of the designer Halston from AIDS (PEOPLE, April 9) moved some of our correspondents to expressions of sympathy but led others to question both the victim’s way of life and homosexual relationships in general.
The deaths of Halston and others within the fashion industry and the arts point up the fact that AIDS is not killing off just a bunch of outcasts, it’s threatening the creative life of our entire culture and stunting development of a whole new productive generation. Let the fundamentalists rejoice that their God has seen fit to crucify homosexuals for their sins. The rest of us need to work on repairing the damage this disease is bringing to our social and cultural fabric.
Though you stated that Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo died of cancer, you nevertheless included him in an article on famous fashion designers who have died of AIDS. I was his personal physician for many years up to his untimely death and must set the record unequivocally straight. Giorgio’s brilliance and exemplary zest for beauty and life were snuffed out solely by another scourge of 20th-century life—lung cancer from cigarette smoking. He never had any AIDS-related condition.
Woodson C. Merrell, M.D.
New York City
At the heart of your piece about Halston lies a disturbing question. Why do gifted, intelligent men knowingly engage in a sexual practice that so frequently ends in death? Who is insensitive and uninformed? The issues are not government funding, morality or prejudice. The issue is self-destructive, irresponsible behavior that is proving to be costly in many, many ways. There are questions about personal accountability and responsibility that should be asked. To put it bluntly, why isn’t the gay community practicing safer sex?
I was the assistant to the late designer Perry Ellis, and I hope your article on AIDS in the fashion industry will not only help those in the same situation understand that they are not alone but also help the public see that this tragedy is hurting people—not just designers, homosexuals or drug addicts.
New York City
BUSH’S BROCCOLI WAR
It’s funny that the food mavens think President Bush has never had broccoli properly cooked. After all those years of being forced to eat it, I’m sure he has had it prepared in many different ways. But the preparation is not the problem. It’s obvious that he simply does not like it. Let’s give him a break, he has had his fill.
Mary Ann K. Brown
President Bush makes the comment that he hates broccoli, and in response broccoli growers send him 10 tons of the stuff? Incredible. By the way, have I ever mentioned that I absolutely despise creamy milk chocolate candy?
DR. ETIENNE-EMILE BAULIEU
So, Dr. Baulieu would like to suppress the word abortion in favor of a word like “contragestion.” That sounds like another time in history, when the Nazis chose to call the extermination of millions of people the Final Solution. Any way you look at it, it’s still the murder of millions of innocent people.
I thought doctors were supposed to be for preserving life, not destroying it. The only thing Dr. Baulieu is concerned about is lining his own pockets.
St. Paul, Ind.
If Dr. Baulieu’s pill goes on the market, don’t tell me bed-hoppin’ wouldn’t be the pastime of the American female—married and single.
In 1988 I wanted to take up woodworking. Naturally, I was eagerly awaiting the new PBS instructional The New Yankee Workshop. Too bad. Within minutes of the very first episode, it became quite clear that in order for Norm Abram to “teach” me, I would need about $15,000 worth of power tools, not to mention the fully equipped 1,000-square-foot workshop. When I wrote to the producers asking who they were kidding, their only response to me was—you guessed it—being placed on a mailing list so I could buy products.
Wendy A. Cadman
Janet Benshoof is truly a protector of individual rights. The Catholic bishops’ threat of excommunication of politicians in Guam and California makes a mockery of separation of church and state. I wonder how the Supreme Court Justices are influenced by their respective religious organizations before they vote?