Letters to the Editor

Wouldn't you worry if your daughter was a prostitute? Plus: Lower socioeconomic status suggests lesser intelligence; Buchanan will protect America from the "global democrats."

Published October 25, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

I cannot tell a lie



I can't help wondering whether Quan is really incapable of imagining reasons other
than petty personal or class hang-ups for a parent to be unhappy about
their adult child becoming a sex worker, or whether she's in denial
about them. Yes, it's sad and telling that most of her co-workers'
mothers are too "prudish [and] neurotic" to be told anything about their
kids' sex lives, let alone that the kids are prostitutes. But I could
hardly applaud Quan's own parents for blithely supporting her job choice
just because it's sanitary and lucrative.

I hope I will never be shortsighted enough to let any of my kids' choices, short of violent
crime, permanently interfere with our relationship or stop me from
being fully supportive of them, but I know I would worry if one of them
ended up in a job that was as likely as I suspect prostitution is to
interfere with their ability to sustain a long-term, intimate love
relationship or anything approaching a stable family life. Not
everyone wants those things, but many parents
probably associate them with happiness and fulfillment. I would also
worry about how my kids' self-esteem and mental health would survive
such work in the long term, given the fact that, right or wrong, sex
work is widely considered degrading and shameful -- probably by the
clients as much as by the general public.

Bringing sex work, and sex itself, out of the closet may well help to
make these problems less likely for sex workers, which I applaud. But
until that happens -- which won't be anytime soon, I'm afraid -- I suspect
that most sex workers will continue to face some tall hurdles, imposed
specifically by the realities of their jobs, in trying to make full,
meaningful lives for themselves. Any loving parent would be remiss to
not consider that.

-- Beth Gallagher

In the tiresome tradition of daytime talk-show guests, Tracy Quan
wears her unabashed pride in her profession and her materialist credo as
supposed proof of a self-awareness worth sharing with the public.

Any awareness worth sharing moves beyond boring narcissism and tries to
contextualize one's existence and activities, thoughts, emotions, etc.
within a larger picture: the range of one's life, the sweep of human
history or the variety of human culture. Quan has done none of this.

Let's hear from Quan in 10, 20 or 30 years -- when the johns quit calling, the
looks start fading, the biological alarm clock rings and peters out and the
husband or boyfriend starts cheating; or when some potential employer
remains unimpressed by her supposedly hip calling. Then she might have the
perspective from which to say something worthwhile.

In the meantime, don't give her the platform from which to capitalize on
her current "profession" or try to segue into a new one. Quan's banal
prose and mercenary, materialistic ethic offer nothing of value to the world.

-- Kathryn Minnick

Beijing, China

How Cindy McCain was outed for drug addiction

It seems that Amy Silverman wants what most current journalists want: to have
it both ways: Journalists want their subject to tell the truth -- but only after
said journalists have broken the story.

When a journalist's anger is primarily about being scooped, it's petty and, even
worse, whiny. Silverman all but admits that the three-page diatribe
simply boiled down to the fact that they knew the story was going to get
out, so they got out ahead of it. I'm sorry, but that's simply sound public relations -- tell
your story your way, don't let someone else do it.

But the weakest part of the article lies in Silverman's point that there
was manipulation of the judicial system because Cindy McCain didn't receive a
harsh sentence. I don't know what the judicial system is
like in Arizona, but the fact that a rich white woman didn't
go to jail for a crime for which a poor black woman would have served time
isn't news. It's status quo.

-- Rica Guarnieri

What is the big deal about Cindy McCain? Since
when do a wife's misfortunes or misdeeds impact on a candidate's platform?
I am no fan of John McCain's, but if he tried to cover up for his wife's
past, it rather humanizes him in my eyes. Wouldn't we all do the
same? Get back onto the real issues and leave Cindy the heck alone.

-- Eve Golden

Striving to stay alive


Claire Barliant implies that the SAT is unfairly measuring students from lower
socioeconomic backgrounds because such students have lower scores. She also
implies that the SAT doesn't predict college performance but cites no evidence.

Studies by ETS show that SAT scores alone are better predictors of college
performance than high school grades alone. And a weighted average of the
two predictors is better than either predictor alone. Without high school
grades or the SAT, colleges would have no way of knowing whether an
applicant was capable of doing college-level work.

Students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds score lower on the SAT because
the SAT primarily measures intelligence, and people from lower socioeconomic
backgrounds are, on average, less intelligent. Intelligence is primarily a
genetically inherited trait. (This has been proven by numerous kinship studies involving
adopted children, identical twins reared apart, etc.) Our nation is in part
an intellectual meritocracy, where people with higher intelligence obtain
better jobs, higher levels of education and higher socioeconomic status.
Because intelligence is hereditary, the children of low socioeconomic status
parents inherit their parents' lower intelligence.

-- Michael Kantor


Application blues


What a pitiful testament to the state of the youth poised to
embark on an important stage of their life's development. I'm not saying college is the most important time of their life, but it is an experience that can define them, give them
innumerable opportunities, prepare them, mold them, liberate them,
disappoint them, sour them, change them or just bore them. It's up to them
for the most part. But it's a fairly sure bet that it will bore Hanft.

I dare say Hanft and his generation declare amusement and disdain for the
'50s-type questions for their essays because, in reality, they
find the questions too damned difficult to attempt. They shy from any
introspection and fear their shallow responses to the questions would
belie the shortcomings of their education up to this point. For this, Hanft and the Gen X-ers can place
some blame on their elders, for they are the caretakers of the education of
each new generation.

-- Mike McAnally

Eleven years ago, Oberlin College asked me who the most
significant person of the century was. I told them Ray Kroc,
founder of McDonald's.

I got in.

-- Matt McIver

Brooklyn, N.Y.

For all the girls



Lee Uttmark's essay captures the fulfillment of a wish shared by many
lesbians and gay men: to share their life with
the people who gave them life in the first place. My father passed away
when I was 25, before I was able to come out to him, and my mother died
when I was 27. I was out to her and we were slowly coming to terms with
it -- I like to think she would have gotten to the place Uttmark is, and it
gives me comfort that other lesbian and gay folk have a chance at it.

I know it's not easy -- my sister and I have been on again/off again
in our closeness and comfort level with each other. But we keep trying,
because we love each other.

-- Charles Flowers

Pot on the brain


The truth is, there is no need for a marijuana "pill," as we already have the ability to inhale.
Damien Cave repeats the claim that the NIH opposes smoking marijuana
because of its detrimental effect on the lungs. If the effects on the lungs are supposedly
so bad, why not ingest it in a food form? If Cave is ignorant of
admittedly obscure and relatively unknown concepts such as a hash brownie,
then I suggest he has no business writing about this subject.

J. Michael Walker claims that a new marijuana pill would be healthier and better than marijuana. He compares it positively to Advil, which he claims works without any side effects.
Since the pill doesn't exist, however, there is no way to measure its pros and
cons. The case of Marinol may give a clue: The synthetic THC pill is quite
unpopular with patients, who, among other problems, have difficulty
swallowing the pill, dislike the hour's wait for the effects and often become
totally knocked out from the refined THC dosage when it finally kicks in.
Among the side effects are irritability, insomnia, anorexia, hiccups and
diarrhea, as well as disorientation, amnesia, depression, paranoia,
hallucinations and manic psychosis. An overdose
of Marinol can kill you, something which is not possible with

Despite all this, as well as the near unanimous preference of pot
over Marinol by those who have taken both, the feds still insist Marinol is
superior to nature-made marijuana. Such dishonest insistences are the norm in the battle against
marijuana, and to think that the deceit will disappear when the new "wonder
pill" hits the market would be naive at best.

This is really about money. Marinol can cost up to $30,000 a
year (according to a 1996 Los Angeles Times article) for treatment, much more
expensive than even buying marijuana on the black market. Marijuana is also
not something that can be monopolized and patented.

Just as politics is perverted by dollars, so is science. Walker can gush
about the supposed neutrality of science, but I'm fairly certain he's not
doing any research for free. He is investigating derivatives that can lead to more
cash for the chemical industry rather than the benefits of a natural product.

-- Robert Sterling

An empire after all


Globalists and one-world government advocates lambaste those like Buchanan
who courageously stand up to them and expose their vile
objectives -- making our nation a province of their one-world government
scheme. This has been done by destroying America's industrial might and
converting it into a service-sector economy, miseducating America's youth and waging undeclared wars against sovereign nations like Iraq, killing and maiming their residents. These one-world
government advocates do not advocate a "global democracy," as they claim.
These monsters are the true advocates of totalitarianism; they want to plunge our nation and the world into a new Dark Age.

-- Sean P. Porter

Metairie, La.

Christopher Hitchens takes to task those liberals
who look the other way on some of the more unpalatable aspects
of Pat Buchanan simply because he opposes trade agreements like NAFTA.

Wasn't the same criticism leveled against Hitchens during
his dalliance with Ken Starr and Bob Barr? Didn't Hitchens look the
other way when it came to some of the more unsavory aspects of these
gentlemen, simply because they shared his hatred of President Clinton?

-- Ted Paliobeis

By Letters to the Editor

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Christopher Hitchens John Mccain R-ariz.