Wisdom From the Runway

Letters published July 3, 2002

Mr. Deeds
What constitutes strip-club "research"?

Having spent 12 years in the mental health field and 5 years as a dancer, I feel more than qualified to speak about human behavior and the culture of strip clubs ["Attack of the Puritans," May 29]. I struggle to see the danger in these establishments and can't begin to see how they directly affect communities in a negative manner. I concur: The owners of these clubs run a tight ship. I feel much safer in a strip club than I do in a regular bar.

I am curious about how much actual research people like Roman and Amstutz have done. How many strip clubs have they gone to? How many dancers do they know? I imagine many of their negative ideas are based on ignorance and stereotypes. People who judge such establishments are often very repressed and uncomfortable with their own sexuality and deal with these feelings by lashing out at those who enjoy such expression.


Mason nabbed the wrong guy:

Scott Dotson has no idea what he is talking about [Letters, June 5]. In his letter about "Let God Sort 'Em Out" [May 9], he says Prosecutor Bill Mason "should be praised for getting scumbags off the streets." I am the wife of one of those "scumbags." My husband, Gino Periandri, is the most innocent of all ["A Family Framed," December 13, 2001]. But since you are a big shot, you answer this: 17 people testified that Gino was at an AA meeting the night of the alleged assault. They did not have anything to gain. All they knew was "Hey, you got the wrong man."

You can't do things to people and get away with it just because you have a badge. Justice will prevail. My family has suffered a lot. Gino had an upstanding job, which he now can't get back because of Mason and his crew.

Angela Periandri

Biblical challenges and gay rights:

I love letters from people like Peter L. Schofield. [Schofield's May 29 letter discussed Cleveland Heights' decision to grant health care benefits to partners of gay and lesbian employees.] I love when idiots spit out a few scriptures that they twist to shore up their cause. All of the scriptures quoted in Mr. Schofield's letter were from the Old Testament. All the references to the sacrifice of the bull and selling your daughter into slavery and sex during menstruation are explained in the New Testament. But I would bet a testicle that Mr. Schofield hasn't gotten that far in the book.

As far as the gay and lesbian health care issue: I feel they should be given rights to medical benefits. If they are a dedicated couple with a history, why shouldn't they receive the same benefits that my wife and I are afforded? But don't let some asswipe motivational speaker at some rally be your Billy Graham. If you're going to use it, read it.

Randall Mercer

Middlefield's full of sissies:

About this toxic waste buried in Middlefield ["Disease Land," June 5]: How do you get sick from it? Does it get into your feet through your shoes? Does it help to tiptoe? Is it in the water? If they're all drinking the water down there, I bet they're stacking up in the hospitals.

It would really be neat if you could get the EPA to estimate how many Middlefield people will die from this pollution. You will get super numbers, because the EPA pollution model software automatically doubles the number of deaths you can expect from a pollution vector by a factor of two. I read it in The Plain Dealer, and I know it's true or their resident environmental apologists wouldn't have tried to bury it. I bet you could get the Middlefield death toll clear up to two that way. Don't drop this story. I think it's a big one.

Tom Johnson
Bay Village

Jim Simone deserves the admiration:

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to serve as foreman of a grand jury. To get a better sense of what police go through, I asked the chief of police for permission to ride with one of the officers on a regular eight-hour shift. I rode with Jim Simone ["Supercop," June 5]. He is everything Kevin Hoffman wrote about. Jim is a supercop, a tough cop, and a dedicated officer. He deserves all the respect and admiration that has come his way during his many years of service.

Vic Gelb
Moreland Hills

We need more love among weeklies:

Readers of Scene and the Free Times pick them up for the same reasons I do: disillusionment with the mainstream press. I regard both Cleveland weeklies to be quality publications and would like to see them coexist peacefully. Alas, you're having none of that ["Meltdown at the Free Times," June 12].

I've never appreciated your occasional swipes at the Free Times, but I have appreciated the way the Free Times has not responded. I believe they have too much integrity for that. The Free Times does spend plenty of time attacking The Plain Dealer, so it seems that they understand who their enemies are, unlike Scene.

I was impressed with the first third of the article. The bits about the Free Times busting the union and Lisa Chamberlain's dubious dismissal were absolutely newsworthy. Then the piece deteriorated into what I expected from the inflammatory graphic on the cover. The final two-thirds of the article amounted to chants of "Free Times Sucks!" You quoted a lot of former FT staffers, doing so because the staffers Scene has fired over the years, Lord knows, would only have good things to say about their former employer. An employer that is fully unionized. Right?

The article also accused the Free Times of "organic tomato liberalism." Right. When I pick up Scene and read articles like "Welcome to Cheaptown" and "Let God Sort 'Em Out," it makes me think I just picked up a copy of Reader's Digest.

I don't agree with your negative assessments of the Free Times' new editorial style and content, but even if those assessments were true, do you think readers can't figure that out for themselves? You're just picking a fight, plain and simple, and shame on you for it. You know how we liberal peaceniks are. We want peace, we want both of our alternative newsweeklies to live together in harmony, and we damn sure noticed who threw the first punch.

Kevin Beane

Scene -- embarrassment to readers everywhere:

As a former contributor to the Free Times, I can attest that dysfunctional behavior there is not news. However, if you're going to spend any effort covering it, it deserves to be treated as news, with journalistic integrity. Your sniggering, sophomoric attempt at a hard-hitting report was an embarrassment -- not to the Free Times or Scene, but to everyone who read it.

In your apparent mission to drive a stake through the Free Times' internal pathologies, you only laid bare your own issues and shortcomings. That piece displayed many of the various sins you accuse the Free Times of committing: pandering, lazy reporting, and more attention paid to personal vendettas than to providing a quality product. The gleeful venom that dripped from the article is surpassed only by the damage it did to your own credibility.

Mark Reynolds
South Euclid

The atom bomb gave us away:

Your article unearthed many interesting and pertinent facts. If the Free Times is heading for extinction, I can only assume Scene would be delighted, based on your eye-catching atom-bomb cover. This kind of extensive coverage may drive advertisers away from the Free Times and hasten its demise. I look forward to picking up both Scene and the Free Times every Wednesday, and I think Scene's news reporting is growing to match the Free Times' with each passing week.

It would be a shame, however, to lose the local arts coverage found in the Free Times. As far as I can tell, Scene has relegated its live theater coverage most weeks to a small paragraph hidden between ads in the calendar listings, ignoring dance programs, book reviews, and almost all art shows, while cutting and pasting movie reviews from reviewers in Los Angeles. Can you not afford Cleveland reviewers? I truly hope both papers can survive, because while each has its strengths and weaknesses, our community is richer for the presence of both.

Eric Coble
Cleveland Heights

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