Finally, someone who deserves to be on the cover of your magazine! It's great to read that even with the enormous success Lionel Ritchie has achieved (PEOPLE, April 14), it hasn't gone to his head.
Don't get me wrong, Lionel Ritchie deserves his only PEOPLE cover. But come on, after 60 years in the business and a lifetime of giving joy to moviegoers, Jimmy Cagney deserved more than just a mug shot on the cover. Whoever makes the selection goofed.
George J. Stroup
Shame on you! I love your magazine, but your tribute to that great film star James Cagney was far too brief. Surely you could find more to print about him than those three pages. Indeed he may have been a private person, but you could have included a few more pictures from his movies. Simply because he was married to only one wife and never had a reputation for womanizing is no reason to make the life story far too short.
Never again will the silver screen see the likes of such a dynamic talent as the great James Cagney. Thank you for the fond tribute to his life and career. That Yankee Doodle Dandy actor will always be remembered by this admiring fan.
Andrew H. Malcolm
On our way to work this morning, our dogsled had to make a pit stop at the local trading post because the April blizzard was too blinding for Rudolph to lead the pack. Our Eskimo guide, Muckluck, traded a grizzly skin for a copy of PEOPLE and some beef jerky for lunch along with some whale blubber to power this typewriter, and we just happened to see your article on Canada. After Muckluck's translation from English to French to Inuit, we discovered how Canadians are perceived. Most Canadians have grown accustomed to how little our "rich cousins" know of us. But as we see it, it's your loss. In no way do we have any reason to feel inferior. We are not on the outside looking in; our igloos have just as many windows as yours.
The headline of your "O Canada" article read, "They may look like Americans, talk like Americans and live just next door..." suggests that you still haven't grasped the fundamental issue of not comparing apples and oranges. We are a proud nation with our own heritage and culture. Not everyone on earth strives to be an American. However, since you have taken the liberty of comparing us, let me tell you, America, that Canadians are recognized the world over as being gracious guests anywhere. Can you say the same? Me thinks not.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your story on the Christian rock group Stryper. The article was refreshing, well written and very genuine concerning the band's beliefs and life-styles. They are dynamite guys who may dress a bit outrageous but have true hearts for God and a vital message to share with their audience. They were right on when they said, "God looks at our hearts rather than our exteriors." Blessings to them as they continue to do God's work.
Dr. Matthew Israel
We were one of a group of parents who defended Behavior Research Institute of California, Matthew Israel's West Coast program, until I discovered layers of bruises on the back of our son's legs. This was the beginning of a horror story that reads like something out of the Dark Ages. Our son was spanked 175 times in one day. He suffered indignities beyond belief. He was deprived of a bed and food. This was not an assaultive, aggressive adult, but a frail 15-year-old, 69-pound, deaf, developmentally disabled boy who displayed self-abusive behavior and autisticlike tendencies. We tried desperately to close the facility down, but unfortunately we failed.
Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled
Pacific Palisades, Calif.
As director of the Stallone Fund for Autism Research and a mother of a child with autism, I was saddened to read your article about the New England school that says its therapy is "taming autistic students." Taming refers to animals, and our children are not animals. While Dr. Israel has the support of some of the parents at BRI, over the years many have removed their children because they did not improve and/ or the parents could not continue to see them hurt. I hope other vulnerable parents will learn about the program through PEOPLE and not put their children in the hands of this man who uses words such as "disgusting" in describing handicapped children in his care. Children with autism need the help of the highest quality professionals. They are not animals to be "tamed" but people like the rest of us.
As the mother of two autistic sons, I am outraged at the cruelty of Dr. Matthew Israel's "aversion therapy." The fact that it might have contributed to the death of a student is bad enough. But I am also appalled that Dr. Israel is apparently ignorant as to why autistic children and young people become violent. They do it because they cannot communicate verbally; they are trying to communicate fear, anxiety, frustration. They are beautiful, complex people who deserve to be treated better than wild animals. I wonder if Dr. Israel has tried his "automatic vapor spray station" himself. I would certainly be the first to volunteer to put the ammonia capsule up his nose.