I was ready to love Jay Bakker. I grew up a Christian and went through my questioning teens, maintaining my faith, and coming out a Christian on the other side. I was at one time in the hardcore scene and I hoped that I could help people realize that their ideas were not contrary to those of Christianity as they imagined. I hoped when I read the May 29 "You Say You Want a Revolution?" I would find that someone had done it.
I guess I'm glad to see that now there's a place for punks to do the same Christian thing as the rich rule followers but from what I read, it's still the same old thing.
My problem with Christianity was not that it wouldn't let me have tattoos any more than the reason I had tattoos was just to fit into the scene. My problem with Christianity was that there was no room for independent thought. Don't just allow a nose ring, Jay, listen to folks. Allow that when I say it's right for me to be Hindu or have an abortion or marry a woman, I'm not just forgiven, I may be right.
-- Sara Henry, Atlanta
Don't mess with midtown
As someone who just left Atlanta, almost weeping in my Delta pack of snack treats, let me say this. I don't think I stopped raving about Midtown for six days straight, and the reason is simple: It rings of something old, quaint, timeworn and historical (Think Tank, "Is Midtown Threatened With 'Buckheadization'?" May 23). A trip to the Margaret Mitchell House, perusing the cafes, the out-of-the-way but chic (and if in California, much much pricier) dining found me finally understanding what all the fuss was about Atlanta. A fellow traveler, a young doctor, raved about the slide he had to slide down at a bar in Buckhead. I somehow missed Buckhead on this trip, my heart naturally gravitating toward anything with a neighborhood that keeps at least a fair portion of its 19th and early 20th century buildings in tact.
You gotta be real. Come out to L.A. sometime. Look at the smog as you descend into LAX and compare that to the green of the Atlanta suburbs. You may all think "progress" means a step up, a step forward, and I am here to tell you fogeddaboutit. Keep the charm in Midtown. Keep the buildings. Fight for historic preservation.
Otherwise, you'll start to look a whole lot like ... Los Angeles.
-- Laurie Wiegler, Ventura, Calif.
Flesh or fantasy
There seems to be a perception among some intown men that because you hang out at the Clermont this makes you somehow morally superior to the "yuppies" that attend such venues as the Gold Club and the Cheetah (Bad Habits, "Fight the Silicone!" May 16). The thinking appears to be that you respect women more than they do because you prefer to ogle strippers that have "real" bodies, and are able to crush beer cans. You look down on the yuppies for preferring the traditional, toned bodies of the Gold Club. You feel that they come to the Clermont merely to ridicule your strippers of choice, while you appreciate these women for who they are. You even claim to "love" them, though you admit that they work for a pitifully small wage.
The truth is, you're worse than they are. You pretend that the sight of a young, toned woman doesn't move you. You claim that you prefer these women because you like "real" women instead of "fantasy" women. Who do you choose to pursue in your relationships? Are "real" bodies and an ability to crush beer cans on your wish list? Or do you attend the Clermont so you can see naked women dancing while consoling yourselves that you're not really a sophomoric lech because you're ogling overweight women in a trendy dive? If you're looking for honesty and reality, don't bother looking in the mirror, brother, because you won't find it there.
-- Patrice Eastham, Decatur
Objects of desire
I really agreed with many of the points Cliff Bostock made in his last column (Paradigms, "Desire and Identity," May 16). I too believe that sexuality more than anything is about object choice. I always saw kink as being really powerful in that way because you are openly acknowledging the eroticisation and fetishization of a particular object of desire. And in that, the pathway to pleasure opens far wider because you are integrating the erotic into every day by the way you attach meanings to things.
In addition to moving back and forth between being sexual subject and object, I suspect this leads to a deeper experience of sexuality. However, in our culture, the further you move from reproductive heterosexual missionary sexuality the harsher the punishment that follows, from social alienation to health and legal consequences. To further this agenda, acts such as rape, molestation, and even murder (regarding specifically the incident you mentioned in your article) are removed from the realm of the violent and into the realm of the sexual. I think this furthers the aims of puritan moralizers invested in promoting sexual discourse in a way that demonizes "queer sexuality." Thanks a lot for the column, I really felt what you were saying.