Editor's Note - Letters to the editor
Your cover story on "Atlanta's king of porn" (Jan. 12) was a great disservice to your youthful audience, your advertisers and the community.
The article could not have been more favorable if it had been written by Mike South's own publicist. His film series and multiple online businesses are given a big, free plug. He's described as a "prolific filmmaker" and an "award-winning pornographer" with a "widely documented respect for women, as well as a conscience." The heroic Mr. South says, "I feel the need to be chivalrous." Mr. South is nothing more than a pimp-legit, but more culpable than the average pimp because he was able to go to college and make a good living as a computer consultant. Too bad that someone who once worked for NASA is not using his abilities to help young people reach for the stars — just other porn "stars" who may be stricken with sexually transmitted diseases. Perhaps Mr. South does have a buried conscience, since he always wears his trademark ball cap that brands his forehead with "Asshole."
Furthermore, the article is cast as more "Atlanta vs. the world" drivel. So now we have a homegrown pornographer who's running with the big dogs in Porn Valley, Calif. Yeehaw! The cover photograph shows a jubilant Mr. South in a racy pose with a faceless (dehumanized?) young girl in a tight, school-uniform-fantasy skirt. I know we can promote more worthy individuals in your cover stories, such as the unsung heroes who fight daily for civil justice, clean rivers, accountable government and medical miracles.
Mr. South is who he is and he's entitled to the right of free speech, liberty, the "pursuit of happiness" and the rewards of our free enterprise system. I'm more troubled by the mostly positive exposure given to Mr. South by Creative Loafing and the writer, Ms. Alyssa Abkowitz. She echoes Mr. South's claim that "porn is the ultimate validation of a woman's sex appeal." Moreover, being a porn actress is described as a "power trip" for the starlets and one affirms "it's quick and easy money and the guys don't disrespect you." What a tragic come-on for some girl already struggling with low self-esteem, career doubts, financial hardship or an exploitative boyfriend. Mr. South says he won't work with girls like that, but the story's powerful pitch is indiscriminate. Sorry, Ms. Abkowitz, I don't see how having a group of men ejaculate in unison on a girl's face (as in Mr. South's specialty films) is a power trip for her that validates her sex appeal. Please don't be another Patsy Reporter who's exploited by her bosses for irresponsible journalism.
Ms. Abkowitz, I'm sorry that you and CL feel the need to do cover stories like this to grab eyeballs for your advertisers. I bet most of them don't want to promote "Atlanta's king of porn" alongside their own products and services.
-- Ralph Chandler, Atlanta
In need of humility
Cliff Bostock seems to use his column because he has an ax to grind, but is unwilling to use enough intellectual rigor in his arguments to make a convincing point.
His earlier column on Brokeback Mountain, for example, chided the movie for taking an essentialist view of homosexuality (Headcase, "Brokeback Mountain syndrome," Dec. 29). The problem is that the movie isn't about homosexuality. It's about two unique individuals and is a story of heartbreak.
His most recent column was extremely shoddy, though, and made me gag at his lack of research and understanding (Headcase, "The wacky mental health biz," Jan. 12). First, if Bostock wants to know how one "scientifically measures the outcome of a therapy that demands optimism," perhaps he should look at some of the recent studies that Martin Seligman has done. If you use Google Scholar or visit Seligman's home page, you can, in a couple of minutes, find the abstracts of his recent research papers. If Bostock is a professional journalist, why doesn't he have the time to do this kind of research?
Then he spent half the column on Charles Socarides, even though he notes that the American Psychiatric Association rescinded the definition of homosexuality as a disease more than three decades ago. Apparently, Socarides, rather than the APA, is supposed to be representative of psychiatry in general. The mind boggles. Finally, Thomas Szasz is not "infamous." He's respected and taken quite seriously in the field; in fact, his critique of psychiatry is in every mainstream intro-to-psych textbook.
The overall point that Bostock could make is that there are some problems in the fields of psychology, just as there are problems in every other industry and academic field. The whole field itself is not in crisis, though. Bostock's depth psychology, however, is in crisis, considering there is just one small institute that considers it worthwhile to offer a Ph.D. in it. It may have the potential to grow and contribute, but it may also fade out of existence, so Bostock should consider a position of humility rather than hubris when approaching the work of other social scientists.
-- Chris Martin, Decatur
Comments from our website
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your insightful article about WCLK-FM's (91.9) Ken Batie (Vibes, "He got the jazz," Jan. 5). For more than 20 years, he has not only driven top ratings and membership contributions for the station, but has also helped to grow smooth jazz, neo-soul and acid-jazz genres as we know them internationally.
I, for one, am looking forward to the launch of http://www.hoticeonline.com/www.hoticeonline.com so that I can continue to hear great music that Ken has fought to play — without the bureaucracy and politics of WCLK management.
-- JR Rush
A very well-done article on Mike South, but it seems to stop without finishing ("Atlanta's king of porn," Jan. 12). He is a totally out-of-the-box type of guy for the industry. Mike is the man who inspired me to start shooting porn. Thanks, Mike.
-- Bobby July
Thanks for recognizing the fact that Atlantans have diverse musical tastes (Vibes, "Basement tapes," Jan. 12). Those of us who like roots music get short shrift from the media.
-- Wayne Daniel
It is not surprising Creative Loathing would try to equate Iraq with the slaughter and revenge in Munich (Flicks, "Losing my religion," Dec. 22). Bottom line: Spielberg cannot make a bad film and artsy-fartsy libs are starting to hate him for it.
-- L. Byron