The “For the Love of Christ” letter to the Alibi last week evoked a strong reaction here at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Albuquerque. We are an open and affirming congregation where all are welcome, and we really mean it. All persons from every walk of life, sexual orientation, faith tradition and culture are genuinely welcome here. We take the Bible very seriously, but not literally. We believe God is still speaking and working to bring about a just and inclusive world where all are respected, and that is our vision and mission as a church.
Love Thy Neighbor
Avoiding Gluten At All Costs
Your article on food magazines was interesting [Tasteful Reads, “Fish Wrap,” April 12-18], but the section on Living Without magazine came across as condescending. For those (like me) who have to live with celiac disease, which means reading every food label as I shop to avoid gluten, any publication that makes my life easier or increases awareness by other people is greatly appreciated. Comments like “air of propaganda" and “driving those who are obsessed with their health and diet to further obsession" are not helpful. There are lots of us out there who have this condition, and it's not a lifestyle choice or an obsession—it's a difficult reality.
On The List
I enjoy checking out the Alibi every week and often find it thought-provoking and entertaining. This week's issue pushed more of my buttons than usual. A few responses:
1) How could Jim Scarantino write a column about voter fraud [The Real Side, “Voter Fraud Fraud,” April 12-18] while ignoring the widespread evidence of it which helped Bush remain in the White House in 2004? (See "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?" by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Rolling Stone, June 15, 2006)
2) I agree with Christie Chisholm [Editorial, “Sex and (Bad) Politics,” April 12-18] that many in our society "employ a parsimonious morality, where the fear of sanctioning premarital sex outweighs the risk of losing lives" when it comes to inoculating prepubescent girls with the HPV vaccine. But the vaccine is still available to anyone seeking to protect their female offspring from cervical cancer. People in a free society should have the freedom to not wear helmets, seatbelts or condoms and to not protect themselves or their children from danger if they so choose. I say let the tightwad religious freaks deny their daughters this protection if they wish; think of it as a form of population control. Besides, people are right not to trust the government when it comes to vaccines. Anyone remember the swine flu debacle of 1976?
3) In regards to Jessica Cassyle Carr's criticism of "titillating clothing removal" [Commentary, “Burlesque's Real Tease,” April 12-18], I take issue with her claim that such practices necessarily entail “getting men off." But to the extent that they do, I say, “So what?" Life for us humans is base and crude and men will always be willing to fork over ducats to see strippers of any kind. Two people wailing on each other in a boxing ring is base and barbaric, but millions of people find this activity entertaining and do not consider it to be morally unjustified as it involves two consenting adults. In the same way, strippers are “inclusively empowered by participating in such activities" when they choose to exploit their own bodies. If people, men or women, choose to strip (as opposed to being taken advantage of in some way), there's nothing wrong with it, even if you consider stripping and the like to be “crass." Many people actually enjoy this line of work—why judge them for it?
4) Finally, I sympathize with letter-writer Lenore Baeli-Wang concerning her disappointing encounter at the City on a Hill church [Letters, “For the Love of Christ,” April 12-18]. But I think she should think twice about trying to fit in with Christians considering the fact that the Christian Bible, widely considered to be the “inerrant Word of God," clearly condemns her homosexual lifestyle as an abomination worthy of death (check out skepticsannotatedbible.com for a list of dozens of ignorant and intolerant passages regarding homosexuality).
Stripping Down to Facts
Greetings!! Lucy St. James from Burlesque Noir here.
I'm a bit confused by your article ... I read some reviews on the book by Ariel Levy, and it looks like an excellent review on current societal issues. Granted, I haven't actually read the book, but I can deduce that this book has nothing to do with Burlesque. This book talks about the rise of the raunch culture, porn becoming cool and trendy to adolescents, and Girls Gone Wild-type exploitation. Because it seems that you rely so heavily on the opinions of Ariel Levy, I would like to know how you came to the conclusion that the main objective of Burlesque is to empower women by exposing our flesh. For me, it's about being clever and entertaining while, at the same time, feeling beautiful and energetic.
I've felt more empowered as a woman while I was breast-feeding, or even doing something as simple as putting my daughter to bed, than I've ever felt while I was on stage.
Plus, that book is all about how women are turning into "female chauvinist pigs" by forcing a standardized idea of beauty via the media. Every girl in our troupe breaks that mold and that is something I am very proud to be a part of. Have you personally attended any of our shows? If anything, we are completely contradictory to everything this book was describing ...
If we were "removing [our] clothes to get men off and simultaneously submitting to current attitudes of crass commercialism ..." then we wouldn't be doing Burlesque. We'd be strippers. It's confusing to me that your entire first paragraph is devoted to the distinction between the two and, yet, you still got it backwards.
CORRECTION: In our Best of Burque 2007 issue, we incorrectly stated that Gambei Wellness Spa (the second-place winner for Best Spa) is located at the Mar y Sol salon. While there are still spa treatments at Mar y Sol, the now-named Gambei Hand and Foot Spa and Beyond is located at 3209 Silver SE (255-2555). We regret the error.
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