Celibacy, crossbows and dumpsters

Readers write about the Catholic Church, Ted Nugent's environmentalism and the fine art of waste rescue.

By Salon Staff

Published June 13, 2002 7:00PM (EDT)

[Read "Refusing to Be Scandalized," by Joseph Shimek]

I agree with Joseph Shimek's article on many fronts. I have argued with people who suggest that the recent scandal is in some way related to the vow of celibacy, as if celibacy and sexual perversion were the same thing. I have challenged people who have suggested that people who wait to have sex until they are married (knowing, some of them, that marriage may not ever happen for them) are not social deviants or merely posturing for applause from those who have chosen to eschew this choice for pleasure and for love.

I have tremendous respect for the choice to remain/pursue celibacy as a choice. Particularly with regard to priests and nuns, I see it as a sacred and beautiful act of love not only for God but also for mankind. These people are choosing to serve both God and their community. They have decided that this service is more important than pursuing sexual pleasure, which would absolutely be a distraction for them, as anyone will admit who is honest on the subject. They wish to give their whole selves to God and their fellow men. Since when did this become corrupt or perverse?

The fact that the priesthood and nunnery are attracting fewer people into their fold says more about the materialistic, corrupt and cynical nature of the society that we live in than it says anything bad about the choice itself. Why should the church compromise its values on this subject? I think the choice is beautiful and honorable. Furthermore, with regard to all the people out there who are waiting to share their bodies with someone that they love and respect, and with whom they can share a permanent bond of love, I salute your honorable choice. I respect the sexual freedom of this choice as much as I respect the choice to bed every man/woman who makes your heart go a-flutter. As long as the choice is one that you want and believe in, I say go for it and don't let anyone make you feel bad, wrong or perverted for it.

Finally, I must take a moment to criticize the church in its response to pedophilia. The real problem with the church on this issue is that it created a kind of haven for these sexual deviants. Shame on them for that. Shame on them for not confronting this important problem in the way that would have been supportive to these young men and boys and their families. Shame on them that people had to die over this horror (one priest shot by a victim who wanted an apology and at least two suicides that I am aware of). It is time for them to clean house to protect not only the church and its reputation, but also the numerous young people who rely on them and their representatives for comfort and guidance.

-- Phaedra Malino

[Read "I Have the American Dream Licked," by Amy Benfer]

As a fellow outdoorsman weaned on the writings of Aldo Leopold, I have no argument with Mr. Nugent's environmental philosophy and practice. His wild-eyed love for killing is a troubling matter, though. Unless this is just Ted's idea of showbiz shtick, it may sadly indicate (God forbid) that a prion or two have completed their journey to the center of his mind, where that spongification garnered from the heavy consumption of venison is in its tertiary stages -- evidence that some mad-deer-disease-ridden Bambi is finally getting karmic revenge on the great white hunter that ate him. If Mr. Nugent put even half as much time and thought into his musical compositions as he does into his land ethic, maybe he wouldn't have to sell cookbooks and right-wing rants on TV talk shows that seem to be turning him into just another exotic celebrity spectacle like Mr. Osbourne.

-- Havrylak Kern

Outstanding interview with Ted Nugent by Amy Benfer. I'm one of the "babes" that was in his wife, Shemane's, Queen of the Forest camp last month. I wasn't raised in an outdoorsy family, have been pounding the concrete jungle, including San Jose, for 14 years, and hated the idea of hunting. I wasn't anti, but I didn't think it was necessary. I found TedNugent.com two years ago after seeing him in concert with KISS at the Oakland Coliseum in March 2000, hearing his conservative views, and became a believer! I am now considering hunting for the first time. I highly recommend his books, "God, Guns, and Rock and Roll" and "Kill It and Grill It." Besides the absolute truths in both books, they're hysterical reading. Nobody says it quite like Ted.

-- Val Smith

I like a lot of what the Nuge says. I also disagree with quite a few of his ideas. I have only one thing for him: Save yourself, Nuge. I'm doing just fine.

-- James Hepler

Thanks to Salon for bringing us the rant of the Nuge. Like Mitch Albom, I don't often agree with Mr. Nugent. But, like the charismatic mega-fauna he likes to "kill and grill," the world needs Ted. I grew up in southern Michigan near Ted Nugent's ranch. Ted is very much a local celebrity and icon. His daughter Sasha ran track for a neighboring high school and he frequently attended her track meets. Often, his full-size zebra-painted Chevy K Blazer could be seen in the parking lot of Meijer Thrifty Acres.

Ted Nugent's politics play to a more receptive audience in rural Michigan, and I commend Salon for challenging its readers with views that differ from its own. Now, living an urban West Coast life, my views of the world probably lean more toward those that Mr. Nugent rails against. But, I know that the world needs Ted Nugent to remind and recalibrate our thought and practice: not to his but to those that are more real and honest reflections of intent. Thanks, Salon.

-- Collin Whitehead

This is one sick fuck.

I'm 54, vegetarian Republican NRA member, and Ted Nugent is one sick fuck. Trust me. Guns for defense (and I own a few of the "black" ones) and conservative beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with the simple fact that every animal on the earth wants to live, free from the horror and agony inflicted upon them by processing plants and "Look at me, I'm a noble hunter" idiot jerks like Nugent.

-- Dan Pope

It must be a very slow day at Salon. Ted Nugent is so over. Most people couldn't even tell you the name of his last album. And I'll take Ozzy's druggy persona any day over our resident's "environmentalism."

-- Wendy Lochner

Ted Nugent's great white hunter routine works very well when you have your own game preserve, but the math doesn't work out all that well otherwise. If 5 million new hunters decided to go after those 10 million turkeys running around North America and bag two each, so long, turkeys. There's an abundance of game available, in part, because many of us hunt at McDonald's, not in the woods. If most Americans followed Ted's advocacy, he'd spend more of his time fending off his ranch from interlopers with Winchesters instead of chasing down his dinner.

-- Terry Meany

[Read "Fine Diving," by Laurie Essig]

I live in a part of Austin, Texas, called West Campus, where all the students camp each semester. At the end of each term, it is a trash-picker's heaven in the dumpsters that line the alley behind my house. The intrepid scavenger can find linens, clothes, shoes, household appliances that are no longer in vogue, battered but serviceable furnishings and housewares of all description. I never dumpster dived until I came to live here -- even an entrenched suburbanite like me could not stand to see all that great stuff being ditched because some 19-year-old didn't want to pack it.

Best score? I found a stack of '60s-era albums from Broadway musicals in mint condition. I wrapped the dozen records and bestowed them upon my mother for Christmas. Now she can listen to three different versions of "My Favorite Things" and has a fabulous story to tell her friends as to how her intrepid daughter found these collector's items.

One sobering note, though: All the older grocery stores in my area are being "modernized" and their open dumpsters are now these huge, locked monstrosities, fed from a compactor within the store. No more free food. One in particular used to feed a number of people with its bruised produce, old doughnuts, crushed cereal boxes and other treats deemed too "unclean" for the more squeamish shoppers. Now it looks like all the "garbage" is compacted into a neat cubes, stored in the locked dumpster, then hauled to the dump/pig farm. Before too long, even the most ethical diver will have no place left to dive, as those producing the trash are starting to covet even their own waste, unable to bear seeing someone finding a legitimate use for something they considered valueless.

-- Ava O'Dea

I find it ironic that we're subjected to animated advertisements for Absolut vodka while we're reading an article pointing out some of the wasteful excesses of capitalism. The misery caused by alcoholism is yet another facet of those wasteful excesses. (And somehow, I don't believe that those of us interested in such an article would be included in Absolut's target market.)

-- Johnny Phlegm

Thanks to Laurie Essig for her article on dumpster diving -- both the philosophical subtext and the belly-filling reality. She mentioned locked dumpsters and law enforcement, but I wish she'd brought up one way I'd like to see businesses defeat divers: by beating them to the punch.

Here in Austin, Whole Foods ends every week with a truckload of fresh bread and organic veggies that are no longer "perfect." On Saturday night they hand everything they can't sell over to a volunteer, who uses them to stock the food pantry at the local Methodist church (it's strange and heartening to see drab cans of generic green beans side-by-side with yuppie delicacies). Other businesses have similar giveaways, or just follow the ancient tradition of offering employees a nice windfall.

Consumers should become aware of these alternatives to waste and help reward businesses that practice them.

-- Michael Cohn

Salon Staff

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