I tried to read your column about sexual harassment (“Stand Up, Speak Up,” December 14), but my eyes kept gravitating to the sex ads. Whoever is responsible for the placement of your column should stick their head in a toilet and flush. Hopefully their body will follow. An 8-year-old cannot go into a store and purchase a Playboy magazine but can pick SN&R up for free and see butts and boobs, sex ads and pot store ads? Kids don’t need to see this crap. I don’t want SN&R in the house where my young grandkids might see it. SN&R has sold out—like the worst people in Washington and Hollywood.
When the Ask Joey column premiered 21 years ago, I was surprised to see it surrounded by ads for strip shows. Worried about what people would think, I asked a Baptist minister for advice. She said, “Joey, Jesus hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors. Who do you think needs your help?”
She was right. The Ask Joey column has inspired hundreds of people, including some who had turned to the back of the paper to find a hookup and ended up learning how to create and sustain a healthy relationship. I’m grateful to have shared in their journey, and I’m proud to be a contributor to this newspaper. Within it’s pages, you will find life—its beauty, debauchery, creativity and messiness.
Let’s talk about your interest in protecting children from seeing “butts and boobs.” Have you seen many comic books, video games or Carl’s Jr. commercials? How about Victoria’s Secret commercials? Perfume or cologne ads? Plenty of butts and breasts! Any 8-year-old with a cell phone, TV or computer can see the same images that are featured in the back pages of SN&R, and more. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m saying that it’s reality. If you home-school your grandchildren, you might delay their exposure to “butts and boobs, sex ads and pot ads.” But if your grandchildren attend school, be assured their schoolmates will introduce them to similar images.
I understand your desire to control what your grandchildren see. I get it. But it’s more important to be an adult who children trust and know they can speak to if they are exposed to sexual images or pot ads, or worse. If you want to grow into an adult your grandchildren can confide in, you need to wake up. It was your eyes that gravitated to the sex ads surrounding my column. You made the choice to be distracted. Not an 8-year-old. You. It was you who spewed hate. (Flush a human being down the toilet? That “crap” came out of you.) The way you have responded to something you dislike is actually far more harmful to a child or a community than the impact on a child of seeing breasts or a pot ad.
One last thing. If you can’t fight the temptation to peek at the ads around my column, read it online instead. Alternately, you can continue to read the column in print and train yourself to focus on the wheat, not the chaff. Make it your 2018 spiritual practice. You deserve the peace it will bring.