Navel Warfare

The comments in Hot Type for May 25 sound like a little child complaining to his parents after having a request refused, “Why can’t I, everyone else is doing it?”

“‘Which is to say that a photograph that might appear of Britney Spears in the New York Daily News or the New York Times would raise not a flutter of an eye and not an arch of an eyebrow in a New York newsroom. But put it in a Chicago newsroom and there’s a lot of jibber jabber and “Oh, my God! It’s Britney Spears’s navel!” What I think of Britney Spears’s navel is [it’s] an American icon. [Laughter.] And in some way it needs to be celebrated.’

“Now Cruickshank took over. ‘If we ran as editorial a picture of the sort that are now running as New York Times ads, we would have a riot in our newsroom. It’s interesting. There were Britney Spears commercials–one in very poor taste involving Dole–that I think were at the Academy Awards or maybe the Super Bowl. I don’t know–I get it all mixed up. At any rate…Lewis Lazare did a takeout on his page on those commercials, and we ran a picture of Britney Spears from a still that we got from the commercials.

“‘We had a delegation come to us. “You know, it’s terrible, this depiction of women in the Sun-Times–for example, this Britney Spears shot.” “Well, it’s just from a television commercial. We felt that given the fact the piece was about the television commercial it would be legitimate to do that.” “No, very bad! Very bad!” “Well, what should we have done under the circumstances?”‘”

Maintain that attitude and there will be no prudes left in America. Another blow to diversity; and to “maturity.” What will there be to be mature about? The word will disappear from the dictionaries because “prude” will have no meaning; there will be nothing to be prudish about. Another step in the road to “dumbing down” this country’s ethical standard.

Tony Johnson

Fairfax, Virginia