Letters for August 16-22, 2007
It's a Freakin' Show
I like it like that: Michael Mills' "Texting Nature" regarding the exhibit "Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford" (August 9) is a well-written explication of Ford's pictorial intent and symbolism.
My reaction to Ford's work: an artistic freak show with grandiose verbal accompaniments.
Famed psychiatrist Adolf Meyer aptly described psychoses as "experiments of nature." By analogy, one might describe the many new vagaries of the graphic arts as cultural experiments, i.e., pushing the arts envelope in any and all directions. Some art forms will take hold and succeed. Others will fall by the wayside. Ford's work, though interesting — as are all strange, new visual experiences — is an art experiment that will faze some and repel others with its wordy and historical symbolizations. But I intend to visit Walton Ford's exhibits.
Let's not do the time-warp thing again: Brandon K. Thorp's article "Sex on the Beach" (August 2) was a thoughtful, sweet, fair, and honest account of Mayor Naugle's attitude about gays.
I lived in Fort Lauderdale in 1990 when [infamous prostitute] Kathy Willets was all the rage and there were notable incidents of gay sex in parks and other places. I had two dear friends who were gay and had caught AIDS from frequenting gay bathhouses. We had many spirited discussions about why gay bathhouses were all right and prostitution was persecuted. I often thought about disguising myself as a man and, with the help of my friends, visiting a gay bathhouse just to see what it was like.
At the same time, Jim Naugle was making his first run for office and we all voted for him. I believe Naugle was deeply affected by the gay bathhouse/Kathy Willets era of Fort Lauderdale. I like the mayor and feel bad that he cannot get his foot out of his mouth and seems to be living in the past.
Under Naugle's tenure, the gay community has aged, matured, and flourished, despite Naugle's opinion.
Thorp gave the impression that he was hooking. That might have been why he had no takers. But if he had crossed paths with a vice cop, he might have really got screwed.
We're soaking in it: Hardly a day goes by when I am having a quiet conversation with a gay or lesbian friend and the subject of the sexual behavior of our city's heterosexuals does not come up. I understand it is the same during coffee hour after the services at the Metropolitan Community Church at the Sunshine Cathedral as well as many other houses of worship used by this area's gays and lesbians. And it is always the same thing: Why, oh why, can't heterosexuals have sex at home or, at the very least, if they are cheating on their husbands or wives, in a hotel or motel?
As a God-fearing gay man, I am fed up and disgusted when I walk along the beach on A1A in the evening and I hear and am forced to watch heterosexual couples fornicating on the beach. Alternatively, one comes across cars parked at night whose movement suggests fornication happening within. Why should we decent, moral, taxpaying, gay and lesbian citizens have to put up with having to observe this disgraceful behavior?
One suspects, though one cannot prove, that these heterosexual people are engaging in unprotected sex. As a result, apart from the possible transmission of diseases, there is the very real possibility of unwanted and unplanned pregnancies. Far be it for me to criticize other people's morals — I would hate to be thought to be a moralizing puritan commenting upon the sexual behavior of others — but at least in the gay and lesbian community, when a couple decides to have a child, it is very much planned and wanted. When was the last time you heard of a child from a gay relationship winding up in a foster home or orphanage? When was the last time you heard of a shotgun wedding between two gay men or two lesbians?
Fort Lauderdale and the whole of Broward County is very dependent upon the tourism industry. Statistics from the Convention and Visitors Bureau show that 950,000 gay and lesbian tourists visit every year, spending $1.2 billion. The behavior of heterosexuals having illicit sex in the backs of cars or on the beach after dark could have a very negative effect upon gay tourism. What middle-class gay tourist couple, having had an expensive dinner at a pleasant Las Olas restaurant, wants to be walking their golden retriever along the beach on A1A for an evening stroll only to encounter heterosexuals having sex all over the place?
Plainly, the police and Mayor Naugle are unconcerned about this significant and major problem, which should concern us all. Is it too much to ask heterosexuals to get a room?
It's Getting Hot in Here
Keep digging: I wish to express my deepest appreciation to Bob Norman for all the work and research that went into his two articles on Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter and her husband, Russ Klenet ("Marital Law," July 26, and "The Stacy 'n' Russ Show," August 2) . I am sure you realize that you have just exposed the tip of the iceberg. The people of Broward County need an investigative reporter like Norman and a paper like New Times to unmask the impropriety and corruption that runs rampant within local government. Great job; keep up the good work!
Robert V. Del Chiocca
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