Readers point out boo-boos

July 31, 1996|By GREGORY KANE

Admit your boo-boos, folks tell me, and it'll make a bigger man of you. Right now, I should be about the size of Hoss Cartwright.

Boo-boo No. 2 was caught by a Mitch Tullai, who correctly read Saturday's column and noticed that I said that Preston Brooks of South Carolina, who viciously caned Massachusetts Sen. Charles Sumner on the floor of the Senate in 1856, was also a senator. Tullai reminded me that Brooks was a member of the House of Representatives. Brooks bludgeoned Sumner in retaliation for remarks the Massachusetts senator had made about South Carolina Sen. Andrew Butler, Brooks' uncle. Thank God there are history buffs around when you need them.

I made boo-boo No. 1 in my column about Headway magazine, failing to give an address or phone number where interested readers could call for information. Several readers did call for the address or phone number, which I promised to get for them. But I compounded the boo-boo by tossing my copy of Headway into the back of my car -- a veritable black hole from which little has been known to emerge again. (Had it been around in 1976, mobsters might well have tossed Jimmy Hoffa's body in there without a worry that it would ever be found.)

After much prayer, meditation and sacrificing an eggplant, I ventured forth to my car, wresting the copy of Headway from beneath mounds of debris. So for those interested in getting the magazine for themselves, the phone number is (713) 444-4265. The address is: Headway Magazine, Suite 227, 13555 Bammel N. Houston Road, Houston, Texas, 77066-9959.

A Baltimore man wrote to me earlier this week to complain about another kind of boo-boo: the parental sort. Gary Coleman of Baltimore laments:

"In going to the movies, I have noticed a trend that I find very disturbing. This weekend I went to see 'A Thin Line Between Love And Hate.' I could not believe the number of adolescents and teen-agers in this movie that was rated R. In front of me were four girls ranging in age from 11 to 15. Right from the start I was a little uncomfortable because of all the MF's and GD's that were being used in the movie, but I had to leave when a certain sexual act was described in detail. This experience followed another movie -- 'Girl Six' -- that was about phone sex where I noticed too many children with a parent in the audience.

"I find this trend disturbing because of my belief that adults must permit children to be children. That parenting is the most important activity that we undertake. In my eyes, a person can be successful professionally and be a failure if they have not done the proper job of parenting. Parents that do not protect their children from inappropriate subjects or do not introduce these subjects in the proper manner do a bad job of parenting. All those parents that were in these movies and those that permitted their children to go to these movies ... were not exercising good judgment. But it makes me wonder if their attitudes carry over to other important areas of child-raising. I also recognize that the theaters have a responsibility not to let children in without an adult.

"I'm concerned because all thinking individuals recognize that America is changing. America is becoming less tolerant of those individuals that cannot make their way in this world for whatever reason, including racism. A childhood that gives young adults the tools to compete, be successful and happy in a complex society is a must. And for African-Americans, we need all of our children to have this kind of experience, because of the obvious obstacles they must overcome. But daily I'm reminded that this is not happening, and that as society becomes more complex and less forgiving, too many African-American children have childhoods that will not prepare them for the harsher society."

Coleman's written an intelligent, thoughtful letter here about a problem that has vexed me for some time as well. Why are so many under-aged kids in movies rated R? The ones by themselves -- the adolescents and teens, a notoriously sneaky lot, if they're anything like we adults were at that age -- may simply have deceived their parents by lying about where they were. But what of the parents who actually bring youngsters 10 and under to movies filled with sex and violence?

They say there's no manual on how to be a good parent. Maybe somebody should start one.

Gregory P. Kane's column appears Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Pub Date: 7/31/96

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