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Hang Your Head 


NCJ has crossed the line ("Hooked," Sept. 9). Freedom of speech is our public right, but common-sense censorship is also. My children are 5 and 7 years old and the NCJ is at eye level to them as we walk past the newspaper rack on the way to Kids Corner at Healthsport in Arcata, and at several other public locations throughout the county.

I do not believe that it is anyone's right to introduce my children to S&M no matter how passionate you are about freedom of speech. This public demonstration of masochism is so wrong, morally and ethically. How dare you, you thoughtless, shallow-minded, sick and twisted (in my opinion) animals -- how dare you expose my children's and everyone's children to such a shocking, sick picture of a woman's back with large metal hooks dripping with blood piercing through her skin on the front cover of a public journal, one that I have read openly with my family on a regular basis for many years?

I have completely lost respect for all of your staff at this point. Very poor judgment guys, very poor. I am saddened that you think you must resort to the shock factor to move your publication. I really don't know what kind of person makes these decisions to put a picture like this on the cover of the NCJ, but I do not wish to know you, nor do I think it is okay to expose our community to this kind of publication. I especially and passionately feel the right to protect children from this exposure. I am angry and deeply disappointed in the lack of morals demonstrated so blatently, NCJ.

The story is gross enough, you could have left it to the inside pages though. Have you no morals, no shame? Shame on you, NCJ. Take it to Vegas, where you belong.

Rebecca Lamb, RN, McKinleyville



Yikes. You've surely challenged those of us who strive to enrich the lives of youth. Your "Hooked" story prompted many questions from wide-eyed innocents on the meaning of life.

I gave it my best shot, and said that maybe a person pulls such shenanigans when they are not able to let their life be enough. I told them that we live in a society of many lost souls who are seeking bigger, louder, sexier, scarier, kinkier thrills. I told them that there is relentless, impossible beauty and pain, side by side, every day.

And that maybe it's our task as human beings not to feed the beast, but to let who we are and what we have be enough.

Your article was not interesting, edgy or shocking. I put it alongside dogfight and cockfight bloodlust news. It was only one more sad anthem to the state of our society, and a call to our capacity to strive for more real meaning.

Susan Cooper, Fortuna



I picked up the latest Journal about a half hour ago. Oooooo ... edgy! Humans with hooks in their backs, bleeding.

Uh, not what I really feel like seeing from the newsstand. You could've run other pictures, like the ones that illustrate the article inside, but they wouldn't have the shock and retch factor that the cover shot has.

You know, you don't have to try and compete with the "big city" weeklies. You really don't. I think most of us here appreciate taste and decorum.

Russ Cole, Arcata



A few words come to mind -- ghoulish, macabre, freakish, but most of all "sad." Sad for the state of journalism that you would place this aberration on your cover.

Was it such a slow news week? Was it a moment (a day) of insanity? Were the adults out of the room? Don't expect to be taken seriously after this.

Esther Smith Holmes, Trinidad



I am a faithful reader of the North Coast Journal. When I saw the cover of the recent edition, I thought it was a doctored picture and the title was "Hooked on Drugs." I was horrified to discover that it is a real picture. How can you celebrate something that is so sick?

My favorite articles were personal profiles of amazing people who live in our community. There are many people who have interesting stories to tell. But I understand that the author of those articles has died.

Helen Hui, Eureka



I have been looking for an instant weight loss solution for over 20 years. After reading your cover story "Hooked," I actually lost my appetite.

Mary C. Smith, Fortuna



I'm sitting in the smallest room in my house with the Journal in front of me. Soon it will be behind me. This is not your finest hour.

Walt Frazer, Kneeland



So what's next? A two-headed dog? Dancing Siamese twins joined at the buttocks? How about a 600-pound lady who sings "Ave Maria" in a baritone voice and captures, dismembers and devours live rats before our very eyes?

Wrong turn, guys.

Doug Ingold, Arcata



We learn from the Journal. Hank Sims advances the reasons why we vote.

But what do we learn from the cover story, "Hooked"?

Sick is sick. Must we wallow in it?

Jean Doran, Arcata



Ugh! I could not even look at the pictures in this week's lead story, let alone read any of it. FYI, it made for a very quick "reading" of this week's edition. I could not put this aside fast enough.

Rick Storre, Eureka



I was going to write a letter commenting on how upset I was by your rather bloody cover, "Hooked," but then I realized I probably wouldn't be able to eat the ice cream even if I won it.

Sherman Schapiro, Blue Lake



Ahh, Freedom of Press. The First Amendment. The Fourth Estate. Essential to a free society. In our society, 9.2 million people read the National Enquirer© every week and 5.1 million people read National Geographic® every month. News and information are trumped by ratings and advertisers.

"Beer Me, Jesus" (Aug. 19) and this week's cover, "Hooked," are much closer to the Enquirer than National Geo. But 9.2 million people can't be wrong, can they? Please remember to vote for Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert CamachoTM this November and enjoy your EXTRA BIG ASS FRIES©!

Rodney Brunlinger, Eureka



I'm curious. Did you get any positive responses to the Sept. 9 cover?

Carol Moné, Trinidad


Sweet Spot: So much award-worthy wit in this week's bag! Rodney Brunlinger's Idiocracy-inspired blast was an early contender, as were the entries from Sherman Schapiro and Walt Frazer. In the end, though, Susan Cooper's beautiful and heartfelt response soared ahead of the pack. She gets a Bon Boniere sundae for sending our favorite letter of the week.



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