Letters for June 12, 2003

Off the Mark

Thankfully, there are several choices in the community for hospice care. In the future, problems with one hospice should either be resolved quickly or the patient can request transfer to another hospice provider. Again, a professional social worker can assist with this change. Good end-of-life care is about helping the dying find comfort and helping their families find peace. Anything less demands action by all concerned.

Thomas S. Pietrogallo

Coral Gables

And fires:As a gay man concerned about the controversial practice of barebacking, I was happy to see that Trevor Aaronson was doing a story on the topic ("Unsafe Sex," May 22). His previous work in New Times shows great promise. Unfortunately, instead of a thoughtful, provocative article, we got a mish-mash of predictable sensationalism, earnest moralizing, and pop sociology, topped of by a good dose of heterosexual voyeurism. This article was written by a young reporter clueless about the gay community, and his lack of knowledge and sensitivity to its concerns and issues was embarrassingly obvious. Also obvious is that he has yet to develop a sense of responsible journalism, a deficiency magnified by the decision of the New Times editor to run this piece.

As a professor of media studies at Florida Atlantic University, I teach a recently developed course on "Sexuality and the Media." One topic we study is media coverage of the lesbian and gay community. New Times is becoming a good source of material to use in my class. Bob Norman's recent work on Mark Foley is a good example of provocative yet responsible presentation of a controversial issue.

On the other hand, Aaronson's piece and the recent piece by Kathy Glasgow and Lisette Corsa ("Murdered in Havana," April 17) will be excellent examples of how implicit homophobic and/or heterosexist viewpoints can shape a story. Both articles would could easily have been written in the 1960s. The only difference is that in the 1960s, they published the addresses of the men they arrested in gay bars. New Times published the address where the barebacking party, a private party not open to the public, was taking place. Now, every homophobic voyeur and gay basher knows where to hang out.

Hopefully, the students we train at FAU will have a little more sense of responsibility. I welcome Aaronson, Glasgow and Corsa to take my course anytime.

Fred Fejes, Ph.D

Professor, Media and Sexuality Studies

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton

Editor's note: We'll be there, prof. You name the time.

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