03/18/1985 at 01:00 AM EST
Rockers and Ethiopia
Thanks for your moving coverage of the all-night session that produced an American LP to aid the hungry in Ethiopia (PEOPLE, Feb. 25). It was a joy to read about the dedication and concern of the artists who gave their time to make this record.
Victoria L. Street
Why get all those stars together to make an album? Why don't they reach into their own mega-pockets and make a contribution? This album is just a vehicle to make them look charitable with our money.
Let me get this straight: 45 musicians and their friends are served $15,000 worth of fancy foods like roast beef, tortellini and imported cheese while they make a record meant to help feed the starving in Africa. This paradox strikes me as amusing and obscene.
Entertainment—that's the main reason that we, the public, attend movie theaters. And laughter—what could be more vital to us in this day and age? Why doesn't the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just add a new category to their list of awards: Most Entertaining Film of the Year. Give the comedies and the comedians what they deserve, Oscar!
Again PEOPLE has chosen to slam the greatest entertainment award in the world, complaining this year that comedy was sadly neglected in the Oscar nominations. You seem to have forgotten that the primary reason for the Academy Awards is to foster the arts and sciences of the motion picture medium. For instance, do you seriously believe that Ghostbusters, entertaining as it is, can possibly be considered for Best Picture alongside such artistic successes as Amadeus and A Passage to India? Comedy-dramas such as The Apartment, Terms of Endearment and Annie Hall, past winners all, appeal to the funny bone as well as the intellect. Ghostbusters is simply not in the same league.
Byron E. Gray
Vero Beach, Fla.
Gloria Steinem's recollection of Playboy bunnies is totally different from mine. We had no "company doctors who routinely performed internal examinations on unwilling bunnies." Dating keyholders, VIP or not, was a no-no. We had great floor managers who made those "manhandlers" keep their hands to themselves or asked the men to leave. Our bunny mother in the Chicago Club was one of the sweetest ladies I've ever known, and Hugh Hefner was and, I'm sure, still is the epitome of a gentleman. My two years in the mid-'60s were full of travel, modeling and promotions. Maybe bunny Gloria should have gone into Playboy for the fun and adventure rather than for the purpose of exploiting and degrading Playboy, Hefner and the girls she worked with.
Renate Benz Carter
Gloria Steinem replies: "I'm glad to hear of a better experience in Chicago. Bunnies from other cities have told me my description was actually better than their experience.
"Carter didn't experience the internal exam because, by Hugh Hefner's own admission, my 1963 article caused him to eliminate it. Most of the bunnies I have worked and talked with feel more honored by such efforts to improve their lives than by calling them 'girls' and describing Hefner as the 'epitome of a gentleman.' "—ED.
Like David Hong, I was diagnosed as having leukemia in the early months of 1984, and so I appreciated his comments about "what it's like to be on the other side of the needle." I can understand a doctor's need to remain professionally detached, but a lesson in compassion would certainly have benefited some of the interns I encountered during my remission induction. I am now recuperating from a bone-marrow transplant that was done in August at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Many of the nurses who perform bone-marrow aspirations there have voluntarily subjected themselves to this particular test. Because they know what it feels like, they are sensitive to the fear and pain experienced by the patient. I wish David Hong the same good fortune I have had.
Alfred F. Baffa
I just finished reading the article on Huckleberry Finn by Richard Lemon in this issue. At all costs, don't let this writer get away. Yours is a good magazine, but this man's writing makes it a good literary magazine.
Richard Lemon is a senior editor at PEOPLE, and we have no intention of letting him get away. His first novel, The Probity Chorus, will be published early next year.—ED.