Anon and On
The Church of Scientology alleges without any proof that the group Anonymous has committed criminal acts against the church ("Scientology Responds," The Mail, April 16). The Scientology organization has been known from past court records to fabricate allegations against anyone critical of its policies that are questionable. Past critics have been framed for bomb threats (sound familiar?). Paulette Cooper wrote a book critical of Scientology, and, under a program called Operation Freakout, the FBI found that Scientologists illegally obtained computer paper with her fingerprints and created a bomb threat against themselves. This was uncovered when the FBI raided Scientology offices to seize evidence of Scientology's infiltration at the IRS. (L. Ron Hubbard's wife and others went to jail.) At that time they also discovered all the documents and notes describing the operation against Ms. Cooper. So therefore any accusations trying to label Anonymous as cyberterrorists, bigots, or anything other than legally concerned citizens trying to peacefully protest an organization they consider deceptive and criminal should be looked at critically.
But Anonymous doesn't want anyone just to believe what they hear from either Anonymous or Scientology. Anonymous encourages everyone to research the actions of Scientology for themselves. A good place to start is http://theunfunnytruth.ytmnd.com or www.whyweprotest.net. Also, look at what Scientology says, see both sides. Make up your own mind. Anonymous has nothing to fear from the truth!
Anonymous has repeatedly explained that it is a peaceful group protesting the abuses of Scientology. This has been acknowledged by the full cooperation that the Anonymous group has shown toward law enforcement and civil authorities. The statement by Scientology is just another example of spin by its media department to try to divert public opinion from the legitimate protests of the criminal actions by the corporation. Also, Anonymous has no leaders. It is a group of individuals gathered by a common cause to help those who have been wronged by Scientology, both inside and outside the corporation. It supports the rights of anyone to believe whatever they choose. It does not believe that the public should be cheated, lied to, and criminally abused by Scientology. Anonymous wants to bring these abuses to the proper law enforcement agencies and the public's scrutiny so that the guilty parties can be prosecuted and the Scientology corporation can be reformed.
New Castle, Del.
"During this introductory breakup scene, a fresh-out-of-the-shower Peter is so gob-smacked he drops his towel and continues the entire pleading, pathetic conversation in a state of uncomfortable nudity. As his man-junk dangles in front of the audience, it's certainly shocking. Not because he's nude, but because he doesn't have a vagina." ( Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Film, April 16.)
Ouch, Jason Ferguson. You can get away with a word like "emasculating," because it can be applied to both women and men. Equating self-emasculating behavior with having a vagina is busted, though. And here, I'm equating "busted" with "pretty completely sexist."
It astonishes me that last week, with our community facing violence in the city schools, strife in Maryland's penal system, and thousands of city home foreclosures, City Paper would find itself compelled to publish Mr. or Ms. Nose's petty whine about The Society Visiting List ("Blue Book Values," The Nose, April 9). As a happy survivor of what Mr. or Ms. Nose describes as an "elitist breeding ritual," I can assure the writer that the Bachelors' Cotillon is nothing more than an elegant ball and a charming celebration of family.
I certainly agree with William MacSherry's statement that the Blue Book is far from "extinct." Like any well-managed directory, the Blue Book is quite useful to its subscribers. For those of us who wish to practice traditional etiquette, and actually enjoy sending and receiving formal invitations and notes, the information in this directory is invaluable. I say "kudos" to Mr. MacSherry and his staff for their efforts to increase the number of subscribers to this contemporary and helpful resource.
Susan Somerville Hawes
Folk and to the Point
Thanks for covering a folk musician (No Cover, April 9). Seriously.
Stop Showing Me Those Dirty Pictures
I wonder why each week you have that same soft-core porn ad on the back of your paper. While these ads allegedly are there to sell clothes, the positioning of the models belies that intent. Like Calvin Klein ads, there is something not-so-subliminal about the stances these models take that suggests these models are not human, but sex objects. And like all porn, hard-core or soft-core, the object is to titillate the viewer (usually male) and to make the act of sex a commodity. Yes, American Apparel sells bathing suits and women's clothes, but must each ad be one that uses sexism to make money? Plenty of other clothing outlets sell beachwear and clothing, and their ads don't force the models to contort themselves into sex objects.
Unlike some other aspects of your paper, which I find objectionable and choose not to read (i.e., the sex-advice column), this ad is always on the back cover. Like it or not, I have to look at it. It's like going into a room with a cigar smoker: Ain't no way you can avoid the stink. Sooner or later someone's gonna turn the paper over on its front side. Bam--there's that sexist ad! I don't know how much these folks pay you, but your souls shouldn't come that cheap.
Editor's note: The winner of the distinguished 2008 A.D. Emmart Award for "writing in the humanities" in Maryland was announced recently, and we're enormously proud to announce that City Paper staff writer Chris Landers took the top honor, for "The Boogeyman of Roland Park" (Feature, Aug. 8, 2007), his story on accused sex offender Kenneth Barnes. It's worth noting that despite the fact that Chris' reporting helped lead to the woman who said Barnes molested her recanting her accusation ("Sex, Lies, and Legal Red Tape," Mobtown Beat, Dec. 5, 2007), Barnes remains in jail. One of two Emmart honorable mentions went to City Paper contributing writer Laura Laing for "Raising a Glass" (Queer Issue, June 13, 2007), her story on venerable local gay bar Leon's. Hearty congratulations to Chris and Laura.
Getting excited about the upcoming Maryland Film Festival? So are we. So excited, in fact, that next week's issue includes our annual Film Fest Frenzy guide to all the movies and events of May 1-4. Coming soon to a street box (or interweb) near you.
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