“Think of all of the children,” says one letter-writer. “CHILDREN DEAL WITH A LOT NOW OR DO YOU TEACH YOUR CHILDERN THATS WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT,” says another. “You put that phrase — “Suck your dick”, remember? (tee hee) — right out there on the front page where not only adults, but kids could see it too!” writes another.
One fellow who called me said he was so concerned about children seeing the headline on this week’s issue that he dumped all the copies we’d delivered to his business. His business? A bar.
Yesterday we got about 30 phone complaints. By e-mail, 21. We’ll print every one of the latter next week, provided their authors give us permission. By far, the most common complaint was that children might see the cover. The fact that no one has provided an instance of kids seeing the cover—-and, you know, caring—-doesn’t render their complaints illegitimate. I’ve got two kids. I worry about what they see, too.
It’s just that I’d have more trouble explaining to them some of our previous covers, not one of which has generated a single angry phone call or a Fox 5 story about our editorial judgment.
Here’s one about an off-duty police officer shooting a 14-year-old kid in the back of the head because he thought the kid stole his dirt bike.
Here’s one about the police shooting and killing a mentally ill man in his own bathroom.
And here’s one about police killing another mentally ill man in the foyer of his group house.
Debate the specifics of these stories all you want, but I teach my kids that the police are the good guys. And I’m a lot less equipped to teach them the exceptions to that rule than I am about explaining a politician’s clumsy attempt to engineer himself a blowjob.
Finally here’s one I’m terrified of having to explain. It’s about sex at Catholic University.
I’m not so much concerned about the subject matter—-I’m riding “That’s something adults do” as far into the sunset as I can—-I’m more worried about an illustration in which one of the participants in athletic congress appears to be on a different side of the bed as his partner, and that something inexplicable seems to have happened to the bottom half of her left breast. When we have the sex talk, this cover will be nowhere in sight. Way too confusing.