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Reader Feedback 1.8.03

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Cover shock

I have been a reader of City Newspaper since the days when it was two papers, City East and City West, and have always felt that City exemplified taste, decorum, and sensitivity to its diverse readership.

            However, I was forced to reevaluate this assessment when I was confronted with the cover of the December 18 issue. Plastered across the lower right-hand corner are 2 1/4 giant fingers (3 1/4 if you count the thumb) --- all naked as jaybirds!

            Now, I do not consider myself a prudish person, but I think the point of the cover could just as easily have been made without such a flagrant display of flesh. The article being advertised most likely has very little to do with fingers (I don't usually read the longer articles), meaning that their inclusion is gratuitous.

            I realize that many publications feel that they have to shock in order to entice jaded readers, but I used to believe that City held itself to a higher standard.

            Granted, your model has lovely, well-manicured fingers. This, however, only underscores the insensitivity of the cover. Did the editor ever stop to think that most Rochesterians at this time of year have dry, cracked fingers?

            If your goal was to cause a feeling of inadequacy in those of us with average, everyday, unglamorous digits, you have my congratulations on a job well done. We are, to paraphrase an advertisement that the Palmolive people had the good sense to pull from the airwaves some time ago, positively "soaking in it"!

            And what of our young people, bombarded as they are with images of impossible-to-attain standards of hand beauty? Many of our children are being raised by single parents who, despite working two jobs, can barely afford an emery board. For these families, a pair of nail clippers is merely a pipe dream. It is no wonder they all seem to have their hands in their pockets. Their fingers will never be as perfect or as large as the privileged, lily-white, outsized ones you chose to portray.

            According to the Lifetime movie of the week I watched the other day, many teenage girls who look like Tori Spelling suffer from anorexia and bulimia. This should come as no surprise, what with the media shoving their fingers down their throat!

            I will continue to read City for the time being, but I think I should inform you that if you insist on running more cheap, degrading, and insensitive images on your cover, I may stop picking up my free copy and instead read the The Learning Annex pamphlet or the Penny Saver on my lunch hour.

            Tom Clifford, South Avenue, Rochester




The Buddhist way

"Thou Shalt Not Kill" (December 24) gives the incorrect impression that Buddhism takes political positions. Presenting the political opinions of the person you quoted as Buddhist teachings is a disservice. In fact, the Buddhist view is other than what was quoted.

            If, as your source states, "The only way to bring peace to the world is to be peace" because of the "non-duality of means and ends," then how to explain the fact that he is "furious" at the Bush administration for its perceived "arrogance" swaggering, [and] bullying"?

            The Buddhist way is rather to look at our own fury and desist in projecting our delusions onto others. Many local Buddhists have taken teachings from Garchen Rinpoche, a Tibetan lama who was thrown into a Chinese labor camp from 1959 to 1979. Fortuitously, his cellmate was one of the great Tibetan saints of the 20th century.

            Garchen Rinpoche effectively converted his incarceration into a meditation retreat and, in the process, conquered his anger and developed love and compassion for all equally. He certainly has known suffering --- yet I have never met a happier (or more spiritually developed) person. Similar to the Dalai Lama, he absolutely refuses to generate hatred towards China or towards those who perpetrated great suffering on his people. And his words are not mere lip service but the genuine expression of his heart.

            To my way of thinking, it makes sense to investigate what accounts for this admirable accomplishment. What are the teachings and practices that produced such an example? And if those teachings disagree with our beliefs, in light of this record, must we not seriously re-examine our assumptions?

            Interestingly, Garchen Rinpoche regards George W. Bush as a Bodhisattva --- one who has taken on the task of liberating all beings. This would seem to contradict the view expressed in your article.

            Frank Howard, Knolltop Drive, Rochester




The mayor and the executive

We are quite happy, if not grateful, that the mayor does not look like the county executive. We believe his appearance enhances the landscape, too. Improvements need be made elsewhere.

            The all-male, all-white, right-wing, fundamentalist triumvirate that manages, governs, and presides over the county, state, and country has much more to do with the bleak landscape now upon us. Their policies starve cities and feed sprawl.

            Shame on them for using the most bountiful resources on earth to give tax cuts that further fatten the rich while closing parks, libraries, and day care. Shame on them for subsidies and legislation that enable corporate executives to take everything and leave workers with nothing.

            Shame on them for promoting war on the poor and on workers at home and abroad. Their miserable failures are a million tragedies.

            The Greek philosopher Plato said, "Leaders must guard that the enormous disparities of wealth and poverty not escape notice and steal into our midst." A "whole different landscape" ensues when wealth is used to reduce poverty. A "whole different landscape" includes jobs for all, health care for all, day care for all, and quality education for all.

            A "whole different landscape" requires elected leaders who act to accomplish these things.

            Bill and Sally McCoy, Magee Avenue, Rochester

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