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Letters to the Editor - July 29

July 29, 2013

When did the meaning of ‘obscene’ change?

To the editor:

By the time one approaches the age of 90, one is prone to view the world as a stage where the incongruities of public behavior are played out as a farce.

More and more, it becomes comical. Acts that, at one time, aroused anger, shock, indignation and a host of other responses now become laughable.

Take terminology, for example. Time was when “obscenity” was meant to be offensive and insulting. Now, the same obscene words are promoted as normal adult language. And we accept it. We do not tell our children that the words labeled “adult” are actually obscene and normal adult people have no need to utter them.

We fail to tell our youngest to read how author Edmond Rostand gave his character Cyrano a long list of adjectives in a situation where most people could muster just a few; a superb classical lesson in how adult language should be spoken.

We do not encourage the older ones to read “The Decameron,” where the author tells tale after tale of sexual escapades without using one obscene word. This is especially strange because the book is actually less available to teenagers than media where references to sex in a meaningless way are repeated ad nauseam in situations not remotely tied to sex.

If walking away from “The Sopranos” after being pummeled with the same obscene word for 15 minutes in its first episode and never watching another one sounds prudish to you, I’ve made my point. You see no need to demand the use of the word “obscene” in lieu of “adult” when the subject matter is meant to be obscene.

I am not against obscenity. Some of my finest moments involve obscenity. But I am like a farmer who might accept manure on his boots every day but will not tolerate a speck of it on his Sunday shoes.

Frank Burkett
Williamsport


Would Trayvon Martin have wanted to be called ‘child?’

To the editor:

I am not questioning the verdict or trial of George Zimmerman. I am bringing into question those callers that continue to call Trayvon Martin a “boy” or “child.” Did you not watch the trial when the defense used cardboard silhouettes of Trayvon and George? This was in a court of law, so it had to be factual. 

I assume you are still basing your opinion on the picture of a 12-year-old Trayvon in his hoodie that the media insists on airing instead of what he actually looked like. Trayvon was a muscular 6 foot 2 inch, 170-pound 17-year-old young man.

I emphasize “man” as I’m sure if he were alive today, Trayvon would deeply resent being called a boy or child. Yes, everyone is someone’s child regardless of age.

Zack T. Fleming
Kearneysville, W.Va.


MOLST document important for end-of-life issues

To the editor:

A year ago, reporter Marie Gilbert wrote an excellent article in your newspaper about my family’s experience with the Maryland Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) document. My dear, late 88-year-old mother, Belva L. Brennan, passed away on June 18, 2012, in my family’s Hagerstown home with a living will that clearly stated she did not want cardiac resuscitation or mechanical ventilation efforts performed on her, but she did not have the MOLST document. Without the document, the responding EMS unit performed 20 minutes of resuscitation efforts on her in my family’s home before transporting her to the emergency room of the hospital, where she later passed away again.

After attending meetings with state officials and representatives of local nonprofit organizations, writing many letters and sending numerous e-mails to all parties involved over the last year, I feel that while the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has made a considerable effort to educate health care professionals and health care facilities about the MOLST document many Maryland residents remain unaware of the document and advanced directives.

Advances in medical technology keep people alive today in conditions that they could not have been kept alive years ago. For this reason, every Maryland resident should talk to his/her family members or designated health care agent about his/her end-of-life wishes. Then he/she should speak with his or her physician/nurse practitioner and attorney to make sure all the necessary documents are in place. Ask lots of questions of your professional advisers to gain complete understanding of these documents. With all the necessary documents in place, provide copies of them to your family members or health care agent and physician/nurse practitioner. Place one set of copies on your refrigerator so a responding EMS unit can easily find your advanced directives in an emergency.

My dear late mother’s lack of knowledge about the MOLST document caused her end-of-life wishes not to be honored, and she lost her dignity in the process, which was very sad. I encourage all Maryland residents to educate themselves today about the difference between living wills and advanced directives such as the MOLST document. A clear and complete understanding about living wills and advanced directives such as the MOLST document enables a person to effectively communicate his/her end-of-life wishes through the appropriate documents before a life-threatening emergency occurs.

Erin J. Brennan
Hagerstown



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