Flushing It Down the Toilet

I am so damn glad Kathy Y. Wilson took the time to tell Dante "Pretty Boy" Person what should be said to many, many more young punks in this city ("This Is for You, Pretty Boy," issue of Jan. 18-24)

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I am so damn glad Kathy Y. Wilson took the time to tell Dante "Pretty Boy" Person what should be said to many, many more young punks in this city ("This Is for You, Pretty Boy," issue of Jan. 18-24).

I'm sitting at the library waiting on my bus to go to work, and what do I see? A bunch of ignorant young adults who will one day make decisions for me in my senior years — and I'm only 28! I have never seen in all my natural days such trifling language and disrespect for one's personal space and body. Dinah Washington sang about the difference a day makes. What a difference a decade makes as well! When I was 18, I would have never thought about going to the library to cat-call girls or see my female friends bump-n-grind in front of my elders at the bus stop. Sickening!

I totally understand that some of these kids are acting out because they have no direction at home. Some might be raising themselves.

Others are just rotten little bastards. How long do people like myself, who pound the pavement on a daily basis making a honest living and bothering no one, have to put up with their antics?

The citizens of Hamilton County are tired of not being able to enjoy themselves for fear of the "unruly element" that has destroyed downtown Cincinnati. It wasn't so much the civil unrest of 2001 — it's the teenagers.

I live downtown, and I see their destructive behavior every day. Hanging at the library, smoking blunts, travelling in packs, disrupting the peace — it all makes me wonder how much blood was shed and how many tears ran down the faces of those nameless men and women who fought so I could obtain my education.

A decade ago, it was spectacular being a senior in high school. My friends and I looked forward to finishing that part of our lives and beginning a new chapter. Now, far too often, I hear young people ditching their education to make some fast money to purchase the latest Enyce coat to belong with the rest of the crowd.

I'm extremely pissed off at this forthcoming generation. I look at my father, who will be 81 in April — he can still accumulate an impressive score when he and I play Jeopardy, and he could have been a superlative social studies professor. During his time, he didn't have the same opportunities I had in high school, and the youth now have more than I did. And what do they do? Flush it straight down the toilet.

I know Wilson put a "spell" on her Negro Tour Guide readers when she ended her column last year. I hope with her message to these out-of-control teens in this city she'd mix another batch of her literary potions and put the spell on CityBeat readers once more. It's needed now more than ever.

Thank you for giving me the chance to exhale once more.

— William Johnson, Over-the-Rhine

Let Common Sense Rule
In regards to censorship ("A Safe Place for Artists," issue of Jan. 25-31), I could have written on something more topical such as what will or won't be the appropriate content of this year's Super Bowl commercials and entertainment. But considering that goats will eat anything — as evidenced by Howard Stern's latest multimillion dollar contract — I chose rather to offer a possible solution to the long debated issue of censorship.

Recognizing that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem, even in your silence, I offer "Exercising 'Sense'rship: A Common Sense Approach."

We've been blessed in America to enjoy many rights and privileges, the freedom of speech being among them. Sadly, in an attempt to protect this freedom, we have sacrificed restraint.

Devoid of a solid set of guidelines and sufficient guide, America has become a breeding ground for confusion. Hollywood, in depicting and often encouraging activities and behavior that would otherwise be prohibited, has rendered itself to be a poor model for standard setting. Likewise, many churches, rather than fostering family values through passivity, have proven to be ineffective as well.

While it might not be the responsibility of society to rear its children, it would still be in its best interest to adhere to some set standard. I wouldn't advocate censorship, but I would nonetheless recommend that common sense be factored into the equation; "sense"rship instead of censorship, if you will. Consider for example the absurdity of someone arguing that their right to freedom of expression was being infringed upon if they desired to flash someone. The same principle would equally apply in regards to the placement of any indecent material within a general public area. Freedom of speech, when appropriately exercised, should never be at the expense of other people's rights — i.e. forced upon or taken by surprise as in "pop-ups."

Understanding, of course, that the purpose of censorship is not to resolve social problems but to serve as a deterrent, there nonetheless remains a correlation between behavior and preferences that makes the issue of censorship essentially an issue of the heart. It's out of the abundance of the heart that one speaks, and whether good or bad people will inevitably speak and behave according to how they think and believe.

Though limits of what is acceptable in society always change, what ultimately is or is not edifying for society does not.

— Sunny Cornett, Dayton, Ohio

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