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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Sex: The Bad Old Days Are Still Here

August 18, 2004

Re "Today's Lesson," Opinion, Aug 15: Sex is saying yes, rape is saying no. Sandy Banks got that right. But much of the rest of her thoughtful piece about the Kobe Bryant case's effect on her family was covered years ago. The judge's shameful decision to publicize the accuser's sex life, as if she's the one who has to defend herself, takes us right back to the bad old days in so many ways that it's growing frightening. The lingerie stores are full of falsies. (I don't care what Madison Avenue calls them. They're falsies.) We have a modern form of foot-binding, complete with anesthetic. The term "chick lit" is thrown around without any sense of a serious problem. We're back to the bad old days (if we ever left them) in truly horrible ways too. We're back to atrocities committed against women that merit barely a footnote. Legs have been broken in Sudan to make women easier targets for sexual torture while the world worries about the definition of genocide.

Banks is right that she seems to be giving her daughter the same advice as her own mother gave her. Much as we'd like to believe otherwise, it all looks like evidence of how far we haven't come in 40 years.

Mia Molvray

Port Hueneme

*

We all wish for association with celebrity, with money, with almost any form of notoriety. We all conclude that just a moment's association with a Kobe Bryant or a Bill Clinton will confer that elusive celebrity on us.

Mostly, we conclude wrongly.

It is not about basketball prowess or political ascendancy, or even about money. It's about power: They have it, and we want it. With this encounter we will infuse all those positive things we think we now are missing. One tryst with Kobe and the Cinderella hotel clerk will enter the magic garden.

Mothers, tell your daughters they simply need to sharpen and refocus their perception of value and to elevate their concept of "self."

The Colorado hotel clerk should have known that Kobe's power was not transferable.

The next morning, Monica was still not able to make Cabinet appointments.

Lew W. Goodwin

Los Angeles

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