Beyond a joke

Letters to the Boston editor, October 31, 2008
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  October 29, 2008

Your recent “Chick Schtick” article contained a very interesting and revealing line: “Some, like Boston comedian Bethany Van Delft, think it’s not the concept but the context that made Bernhard’s material so controversial. ‘Bernhardt’s words were irresponsible — not as a comedian, but as a woman. . . . If she’d wished gang rape on John McCain, I would laugh.’ ”

So, Ms. Van Delft thinks that raping a woman is never acceptable, but that raping a man — especially brutally, as in a gang rape — is funny. Right here and now, in the era of finally raised awareness about rape, and in the era of AIDS, Ms. Van Delft would yuk it up, because it happened to, like, you know, a man. Ha!

Let me advise you, Ms. Van Delft, that raping a man, even if he normally bottoms in anal sex, is not one iota more acceptable than raping a woman who normally engages in vaginal sex. Rape is rape, an act of violence — not something out there for your amusement. Your remark is offensive and indefensible.

William Fregosi
Raymond, New Hampshire

Ineffective avengers
I am no fan of the Church of Scientology’s use of nonprofit tax exemptions on behalf of a relentlessly profit-oriented business model, even less of their abusive litigiousness. Nevertheless, Anonymous’s tactics are ineffective, even harmful. First, masks have shameful associations in US political culture, from the Ku Klux Klan to modern left-wing extremists. Second, trespassing and disruption of events on private property are likely to generate sympathy for the target.

Better would be to campaign for legal reforms — that is, make those (including lawyers) who file frivolous lawsuits (or any kind of lawsuit against First Amendment speech) fully liable for the defense costs of their victims.

Hugo S. Cunningham
Boston

EDITOR’S NOTE Anonymous operative Gregg Housh, who we profiled in “Battling Scientology,” is out of trouble with Boston Municipal Court and the Church of Scientology — at least for now. On October 22, he agreed to a continuance without a finding, which includes one year of probation and a 100-yard restraining order from the Beacon Street Church of Scientology. Housh faces up to one year in prison if he violates those terms.

Touching tribute
I believe Margaret Doris caught the real Alan Lupo in her piece on the passing of that true journalism legend. His words were truly music, as he composed so many great stories about life in Boston.

He and I became fast friends over the years. My writing style, seen in various neighborhood newspapers over the years, sounded like I was a graduate of the Alan Lupo School of Journalism. I considered him one of my mentors.

It didn’t hurt that we both shared May 4 as our birthdays. We laughed often over either one of his columns or one of mine.

Having good senses of humor helped both of us survive writing about life that swirled around us.

I was an Italian guy with an Italian name and he was a Jewish guy with an Italian name. Something else we laughed about.

I will miss my friend. He represented the best in journalism, past, present, and future.

He loved writing and his columns were music to the ear.

Sal Giarratani
Roslindale

Texts of the week
Recently, we asked our readers to text in their thoughts on Anonymous’s crusade against the Church of Scientology. Here’s what two people had to say:
i think what their doing is awesome! they should definitly keep it up. i know many people that would protest that aweful religion.

To think that a now popular religion had been sprung up by a 'SCIENCE FICTION' author is funny enuf w o people saying its nt a farce

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