Does the picture on the front page of the Free Press Sept. 19 of two men kissing offend me? Absolutely not.
Does the picture below it, of two men beating on each other in front of our children for huge salaries offend me?
More than a little.
With regard to your question on the front page showing two men kissing and the question "Does this offend you?" I believe this is the wrong question to ask.
Such a question would seem to be as misguided as psychologist Karen Blair's attempt at a research project, presumably directed at answering this question. I, like most people I have encountered, are usually not "offended" by the sight of two men kissing or by homosexuality in general. Most people seem to readily admit in private, however, that such images tend to inexplicably cause a visceral revulsion at a deep level. This seems especially so with regard to men's perceptions and reactions to male homosexuality.
It is this misguided way of thinking that seems to be at the root of the so-called "homophobia" phenomenon. The term homophobia would seem to apply to people who hate or are "offended" by homosexuals, and in so doing want to cause them harm in some way. On the other hand, simply being "repulsed" by the sight of two men kissing cannot be compared to the notion of having negative opinions toward homosexuals, or of wanting to persecute them. I believe that the homophobia is, in reality, mistaken for the much more common repulsion factor.
I found the cover of the Free Press Sept. 19 to be out of this world. Two men kissing is not news. I have the paper for my customers to read and they found it offensive, too. More of this and I will cancel my subscription.
When my 10-year-old son saw the front page of today's paper (asking if a picture of two men kissing stressed you out) he said to me, "Why would that stress anyone out? It's just two guys kissing." Homophobia isn't innate -- it's taught.
East St. Paul
Re: Firefighters bash plan (Sept. 18). Firefighters' union boss Alex Forrest foolishly thinks he knows more about saving lives than our acting fire chief. What he's really up to in his typical incendiary bombast is attempting to keep a stranglehold on city coffers, not, as he claims, foremost to save lives but to maintain the sometimes-coddled position of his members.
More nuance required
The University of Winnipeg's Eco-Kids program is an easy and visible target (U of W resolution unanimous, Letters, Sept. 16). But why stop here? A more nuanced intellectual position would have students reflect on the oil-driven products and conveyances they currently use, unless they are certain that these products do not emanate from the dirty oil.
The students, perhaps unwittingly themselves, have caused us all to pause and reflect on what meaningful sacrifices we all could and should make toward ensuring a healthy environment. In its absence, however, we are forced to accept a second-best option.
This is one that works to minimize the social costs and fallouts. However, this position would force us to accept that companies such as Enbridge Pipelines do contribute to the community. In a less-than-perfect world, the Eco-Kids program was a fair effort towards this end.
The students with objections will likely continue on with their current practices. But their action has caused the closure of a program that was highly beneficial for inner-city youth.
Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council
Portage la Prairie
U.S. attitudes confused
Re: U.S., Russia square off over Syria (Sept. 13). Perhaps one of the most disturbing events of the Syrian civil war is the confused attitude of the American government.
The CIA just admitted it has been supplying the Syrian rebels with arms "for several weeks" now. The rebels are al-Qaida backed and, yes, the same group responsible for attacking the Twin Towers in New York 12 years ago.
A group that murdered almost 3,000 Americans has suddenly become "friends" of the United States? Where is this going?
The U.S. is grandstanding to the world over the apparent use of some chemicals in Syria. The nobility of it all.
Surely this cannot be the same country that squandered $4.75 trillion killing up to a million people in two weak little countries who were no threat to anyone.
Surely this can't be the same country that, not content with slaughtering a million Vietnamese with its trillion-dollar war machine, then proceeded to drown the countryside with 18 million gallons of Agent Orange and several other chemicals, causing an estimated 400,000 deaths, 500,000 birth defects, and countless cases of cancer.
Nor could it be the same country that supplied and supported its friend at the time Saddam Hussein in gassing thousands of Kurds, nor the one that left a devastated Iraq cooking in a cauldron of depleted uranium. Nor could it be the one that turned a blind eye to the use of white phosphorus in Iraq and Gaza.
Alas, it is.
Re: Alberta a throwback to Medicis' Florence (Sept. 16). Sadly, Trevor Harrison's analogy holds much truth.
I lived with my young family in Edmonton in the early 1980s. The public school system was abominable then. We didn't stay.
Fast forward to 2013, and successive governments have perpetuated the "social landscape" he describes. Premier Redford seems to believe her mandate is to lobby in Washington for the powerful oil companies.
It is shocking to think they are running a deficit, while at the same time mailing out royalty cheques to residents.
I read recently that Alberta will continue to influence Canada for the next generation. What does that say about the rest of us?
"Poverty amongst plenty" is an understatement.