Reader Advocate

Published September 20, 2008 1:35 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Wow, did I get phone calls and e-mails this week about the image on the Sunday Arts cover, a painting depicting a woman in black bra and panties with black hose covering a landscape painting with white paint.

Several women said they had to hide the section from their youngsters because, as one put it, "I don't want my preteen children seeing a woman in that kind of sexual pose."

Other women said they did not like the image because it "sexualized" women, and women are more than that in today's society.

Lisa Carricaburu, assistant managing editor for Features, explained the decision to run the image:

"Editors and writers discussed at length the art used on the Sept. 14 Mix cover, which introduced an extensive fall arts preview in the section.

"In thinking and talking about upcoming arts-related events, we realized a number of Utah arts groups are planning less traditional offerings, so we chose to title the preview 'Beyond Familiar Landscapes.' We chose artist Trent Call's painting because it illustrated that theme. His depiction of an iconic pinup girl and her subversive use of a paint roller on a landscape depicted the idea of arts groups trying something new. The image is part of a series of paintings of pinup girls Call compiled as a calendar, and Call is among artists whose work is being exhibited this fall."

I can understand the readers' concerns and Carricaburu's explanation, but the reality is this: When newspaper staffs try to push the envelope, some readers push back.

Out of Body: On Friday, we published some photographs taken of the polymerized human bodies in the new "Body Worlds 3" exhibit at The Leonardo in Salt Lake City's Library Square.

My skin almost came off from the fiery blasts of phone calls and e-mails like this one:

"What is wrong with you folks? One of those images shows a penis and testicles. I don't want my little children to see that."

The photograph on page E6 of the German anatomist, Gunther von Hagens, who invented the preservation process, has a plasticized human form in the background. If you look closely, you can see the sex organs, stripped of flesh like the rest of the body. You have to look pretty hard, however, to make out that part of the anatomy. The photo is small and in black and white, so I do not think it will traumatize any children.

The Reader Advocate's phone number is 801-257-8782. Write to the Reader Advocate, The Salt Lake Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101. E-mail: reader.advocate @sltrib.com.

This week's stats

* 56: Number unhappy with image on arts cover

* 17: Number unhappy with 'Body World' photos

* 13: Number who cannot read the bridge hand

* 15: Number who want more international coverage

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