The Seahawk

Letter to the Editor

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Dear Editor,

I read with interest your article on the Century Project. I agree that a university should provoke though, ideas and debate. The Seahawk Staff should be congratulated for its willingness to have open debate. Your argument for the project, an art form, in the proper controlled setting is admirable. Perhaps The Century Project “deserves to be experienced the way the artist intends.” The desire you put forth “that just one person will find hope” is honorable and quite possibly the artist intent. Printing the photos violated the artist intent, and loss of any artistic value. The Seahawk staff either exercised no thought or for prurient interest allowed its publication to be used for immoral and illegal purpose. Perhaps the desire to stir the pot of controversy clouded your reasoning ability. Qualified journalist must exercise critical reasoning skills overtly missing in your decision. The debate has shifted from art to your irresponsibility. I do not know your intent for printing the photographs; however having spent 27 years investigating child pornography, I am familiar as to how they will be used against innocent children victims. It is evident that you have no clue or do not care. As the self anointed, “gatekeepers of Media,” more is expected. A gatekeeper’s first responsibility is to protect the innocent; you failed. The question now becomes: How many children will be victimized by the use of the pictures you published. My hope, that just not one!

Stanley J. Wood

Dear Dr. Foubert, Today, midday, my daughter called from school University North Carolina Wilmington. She wanted me to know that she had just visited The Century Project, which she told me, had been censored by the school. My daughter was thrilled by the exhibition, telling me she had been profoundly moved by the pictures. “It changed my life” is a direct quote. She urged me to go to the project website and to see the full exhibition if I could.I have just visited the Century Project website and my eyes are still wet as a result of my response to the beauty it contained. The power these women spoke of taking from their bodies and their experiences as a result of lifes sometime cruel impact on the form, moved me to tears. After viewing a shortened version of the show, I am thrilled that not only did my daughter make the decision to spend over an hour at the exhibit, but that she too viewed it as a emotional experience. I am proud that she saw enough of herself in these women to be able to have personalized the experience. I am proud that she was able to understand what that experience was about, and what it wasn’t.I understand that your letter to UNCW impacted the show’s appearance. I will leave for others to determine whether UNCW acted appropriately in asking the photographer to excise certain photos. But I am terribly disappointed in the quotes attributed to you in The Seahawk, the UNCW paper. That a recognized educational figure is unable to distinguish exploitation from art is shocking. To suggest that presenting these compassionate, empowering photographs “feeds the culture in which rape exists and feeds the culture in which men objectify women and look at them as objects and not as people” suggests so much more about your own psychological makeup, than it does about men at large. Initially, I was confused about how an educated man could be so intellectually clumsy, at best, or dishonest, at worst.It brings to mind Rob Blogoyevich’s, whose demons are comedy fodder while the former governor demonstrates absolute unawareness of his role in creating and hosting them. Your Oklahoma State biography says you work on issues of violence against women. Your comments on The Century Project suggest why you were drawn to this subject, but just as all governors should not be judged by the behavior of a Blogoyevich, all men should not be assessed by what drives your actions, and good men like myself will refuse to be so judged.Your comments and actions suggest a man deeply uncomfortable with his own thoughts. I urge you to examine what leads you to confuse art with pornography. With so many pressing issues in the field, from Mattell sexualizing childrens dolls, to sex slavery, to actual pornography which preys on children, it is a waste of resources for you to manufacture a cause merely to satisfy personal needs, and I resent it, deeply.

Sincerely,Joel Bender

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Letter to the Editor