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Monday, September 22, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 6/12/2003

Reality TV a danger to our society

After watching the heart-wrenching story of a selfless 18 year-old girl who, in a display of sheer altruism, donated her bone marrow to a perfect stranger, saving his life, I wiped a tear from my eye. It wasn't until a few days later that I realized why.

What has become of the television industry in our country? What really is reality television? What does it say of our moral fiber to watch women exploiting themselves; money purchasing love and marriage; children crying because they lose; parents showing no sportsmanship in defeat?

What does it say of the television industry when, on any given night, you can flip the channel only to see a nearly carbon copy of the same surly, degrading judge on a reality show that is really no different from the one you were watching on the channel before?

I was raised watching shows like The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Little House on the Prairie, and, yes, we also had a show called Fame back then, too. These shows were art imitating life, a reality of such. Not life imitating sex, greed, and fierce competition.

Today's shows are not only degrading, repetitive, and an insult to most people's intelligence, but a danger to society as a whole.

The themes of old on television of wholesome family values, morals, love, and hard work have been replaced by the reoccurring themes that casual sex is acceptable, marry for money, win at all costs, and complain if you don't win. That is so sad.

RYAN J. GERACE

Danberry Street

Spartan couldn't keep up with the big boys

Now that Spartan Stores has announced more store closings, I have a question.

How do you ruin a company that has been a leader in its field for years, a leader in the community, and a profitable company quarter after quarter, year after year, for more than 50 years?

I worked there since 1979 but left due to the uncertainty and turmoil.

What went wrong?

First, Spartan seemed to be in the business of business, not groceries. It talked the talk but never walked the walk of running stores as stores and not just marketing entities.

It took a local “hometown” business and tried to force it into a modern cookie-cutter corporate-box plan, thinking it could play with the big boys. Well, guess what? We were playing with the big boys before Spartan showed up and now, well, it's pretty impressive what it has done in three years.

A company built on years of hard work and dedication was reduced to nothing. I know this is common in today's greed-laden corporate culture, with million-dollar CEOs getting paid for their title and not their performance, but it hurts a little deeper when it's in your backyard.

The person who is hurt the most is Wally Iott, who built Food Town from the ground up and then saw it torn down.

So I ask again of Spartan, how does it take over a profitable company and ruin it in three years?

ED BARTKO

Oregon

After reading Paul Krugman's thought-provoking May 29 column regarding the passage of the tax bill, my reaction was, “When will this madness end?”

Are we so mesmerized by pseudo-reality TV that the real reality going on in Washington evades us?

How could we stand by and allow a tax cut that will give the average person a paltry sum and will benefit only the very wealthy?

How can we continue to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq, wage wars, maintain a worldwide military presence, and not seriously harm Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid?

We can't.

Or, as Mr. Krugman says, is that the plan of the radical Republicans? Will we become a banana republic where only a few can afford the bananas?

DEE SCHULTZ

River Road

I tip my hat to Arnie Elzey, a man who has steadfastly opposed the city and the county while defending the rights of citizens to their “pursuit of happiness” in the form of lighting up in bars and restaurants. In these times of renewed patriotism, he looms large as a hero to those who value our personal freedoms, such as the right of each person to inhale cigarette smoke in public places.

This is part of the American Dream that I grew up with, watching the likes of John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart smoking freely and boldly as only true heroes could. Sad to say that they aren't here today to help the cause. Sadly they died before their time after unlucky bouts with cancer.

But if they were here they would demonstrate their heroism by lighting up, just as Arnie does, by standing up for our right to inhale carcinogenic tobacco products. The entire smoking public thanks him. While they are still here at least.

JOHN MOMENEE

Georgetown Avenue

Suggestion to Nike and other sports retailers: How about sharing the wealth?

We have young people who are hardworking, disciplined, students trying to get scholarships in order to advance to higher education. We have children going without shoes or food, parents losing their jobs, teachers being laid off, and school systems in dire trouble.

If these companies have so much money, they could certainly do better things for many more young people than give this obscene amount of money to one 18-year-old who has already been promised more money than the average worker could ever imagine, all for playing a game.

Our country is not only economically in deep trouble, our priorities have sunk to a new level. What a sad message we're sending the next generation.

ANN EVANS

South Detroit Avenue

As a concerned citizen, may I suggest a way to stop the escalating rash of bank robberies? The solution is simple. All the banks need to do is print large boldface signs that read: “Free doughnuts for on or off-duty policemen.”

Surely this would cause policemen to hover near banks like moths flutter near a flame, and would ward off bank robbers like garlic repels a werewolf.

DON GOZDOWSKI

Franklin Avenue

When the television show Still Standing first aired last winter, it awakened memories of World War II. I had the occasion to use the phrase, “Why am I still standing?”

We were under orders to retrieve an aircraft that had crashed in an apple orchard in Normandy. I found myself walking into a field. Catching the toe of my boot on a small wire that was strung across the grass, I foolishly kicked it aside. This action triggered an anti-personnel mine with a very loud, harsh “boom.” Oh, no! I thought, a mine. Am I “killed in action”? Why me?

Slowly I turned around, gasping at a hole in the ground as big as a dining table, and a foot deep. Why am I still standing, I thought.

The warm blood running down my neck needed some attention. I was able to walk away with a few scratches. Here I am at 81, “Still Standing.”

RAY HUTCHINSON

Holland

Change the rules of horse racing

Two obstacles for horse racing's Triple Crown: The lousy weather and two well-rested horses that were not considered good enough to enter the Preakness.

We have no control over the weather, but the sport of kings should change the rules. If a horse is to run in the Belmont Stakes, it must first participate in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.

Funny Cide is an all-American horse owned by a bunch of former schoolmates. It is time to change the rules.

D.M. KUSTER

Platt Street



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