Saturday, July 26, 2008

Strip club ads in the Concord Monitor

During the month of July, there have been at least three advertisements in the Sports section of the Concord Monitor promoting Mark's Showplace, a strip club in Bedford [I'm sorry, "gentleman's club," and I think the only one in the state].
The first one was published in the Sunday, July 6, edition, featuring an appearance by former Penthouse Pet Taya Parker [for those of you who don't know, a Penthouse Pet is a woman who has appeared nude in Penthouse magazine]. The ad was about 1/16th of a page, so not very big, and was also relatively tasteful in the scheme of things especially when compared to other ads which appear in alternative weeklies. Instead of a Taya's flesh being glorified, her picture looks like an edited 8 x 10 promotional picture.
The ad also appeared again in the Sports section on July 10.
Before writing this post, I waited to see if anyone else would say anything. I thought for sure that some local pastor would have a hissy about the ad, similar to the response of the two men tonguing each other on the front page, above the fold, of the edition after civil unions became law in New Hampshire. But, there were no responses in the letters sections about the ads. This could mean two things: 1) Folks really didn't have a problem with strip club ads in the Monitor, or 2) the Monitor refused to print complaints about the ads. Either one could be true.

Sidebar: The latter could be very true, even more so now. The Monitor recently edited out factual comments from a My Turn column submitted by Rick Watrous. The censored comments were about former City Councilor and now Merrimack County Attorney candidate Kathy Rogers targeting Watrous with an unwarranted police investigation over him having a public document which he received from the city. I have written about this in previous posts on this site. Rogers has admitted to doing this and is currently being investigated by the city manager over whether the action was appropriate. But for whatever reason, the Monitor chose to censor the information out of Watrous' piece, protecting Rogers from much deserved criticism. Why would the Monitor protect a former elected official from criticism? In fact, one could go a step further and say that the Monitor completely dropped the ball on covering this issue in the first place. They had a reporter present at a City Council forum where Watrous and I chastised the Council for this complete misuse of police detective time and taxpayer resources. Instead, the reporter wrote about a couple of people complaining about the senior center. Yawn.

Back to the lack of letters issue. At the newspaper I work for, I refuse to publish any letters which might harm or damage the finances of the company [the way I get paid]. I also delete these comments from our Web site. My thinking is and always has been, if people want to cancel their subscriptions because they aren't happy about some silly little story, that's fine. But I'm not going to help them hurt the company I work for. That would just be plain stupid.
So, if the Monitor chose to not publish letters complaining about strip club ads [or any other ad or revenue stream the company needed], I wouldn't have a problem with that at all. The Monitor does let people complain about coverage [or usually, lack of coverage]. But, there is no real way of knowing about the letters and I wonder if anyone else has thought about this at all.
When there was no response to the ads and no further ads appeared, I didn't think anything of it. In fact, I totally spaced that I wanted to write about it.
But then, another Mark's Showplace ad appeared, this time, on Page C3 of the Wednesday, July 23, edition, promoting their "10 week competition contest" and a $3,000 grand prize. This ad was quite a bit racier: "THURSDAY NIGHTS AT MARKS BEST ASSESTS [sic]" with what appears to be a woman's backside in white spandex shorts. The ad was also right below the Wukesong Baseball feature explaining how baseball is played, how pitchers throw and when hitters know when to hit.
No other ads have appeared in the Monitor and no letters were published about this ad either.
Strip club ads in daily newspaper sports sections is not a new phenomenon. I've seen them in a lot of big daily newspapers over the years. The Boston Herald has had them, made most famous when it was rumored that then-Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn frequented the Foxy Lady in Providence. But that is a gritty, big city tabloid not a quaint small city daily with a heavy tradition of being family-oriented and in touch with the community. Maybe our community doesn't care about this. But I have to wonder.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about all of this. Before I get to the reasons, a tad more historical background: I first began reading the Monitor in the 1970s at a very early age. I came to read the newspaper because I loved the game of baseball and, like most young boys, wanted to know and learn every single thing I could learn about the sport and the Boston Red Sox. There was no Internet then and I couldn't afford sports magazines. My mom bought the Monitor. That's where I got my baseball information.
Later, I became a peddler of the Monitor, delivering it to one and later two routes in the White Park area of the city. As I grew older and moved to the West End, I stopped delivering the newspaper. But my little brother picked up a route in our area and delivered it through his middle school years [now adults are delivering the newspaper for extra cash. What does that say about the economy?].
So, I can imagine that many young boys today are drawn to the Sports section of the Monitor for the same reasons I was drawn to it 30-plus years ago. While they have the Internet, I'm sure it is a popular part of the newspaper for younger readers. So, it would be a bit worrisome, at least in my mind, to see strip club ads in a section of the newspaper frequented by young people, especially such a racy ad right below an educational feature about baseball. And what does it say to the young woman on the front page celebrating a great golf shot to see in the same section a woman's backside prominently displayed?
I'm no prude. And, I'm not going to be a hypocrite and say that I've never seen a woman strip. I have. And I totally understand that some women feel the need to get into that line of business because it is their only economic option. With the state of the newspaper business, I can totally understand why the Monitor would not want to refuse the money from the ads. Hey, their cash is as green as anyone else's. I also understand that some men feel the need to frequent such establishments.
But those aren't really the points here. The larger question is that if these ads are proper for a small, community-oriented city daily [and that is arguable], should they appear in a Sports section where young readers will see them instead of maybe the section where the straight/gay dating classifieds and phone ads are located? That would seem a more appropriate section of the newspaper.
As we move into uncharted territory about how news is gathered and delivered, some things will change. This may be one we all have to accept. But it would be my hope that a bit more thought would be put into how these messages are delivered, especially when they could adversely affect young people who are already bombarded by violent and sexual images everywhere.


Anonymous said...

Please consider Googling feminism and strip-clubs. The anti-sex feminists don't need allies on the Republican side, which is where I assume you feel you are.

Texas Republicans joined the radical feminists to pass a law, since overturned as unconstitutional, that actually taxed stripclub goers $5 each in order to pay for "Rape Prevention Programs". The law stated that men who visited the clubs were probably more likely to rape a woman than "normal men".

"Some men feel the need"? Please. All heterosexual males of whatever age would gladly watch an upper middle class college coed strip so she can buy a classier car for herself (it is Marxist feminism and simply not true to say that the women are dregs who have no choice). Maybe you are using your real name here and want to look good to your wife who might Google what you wrote? :-)

And don't get me started on the nonsense, pushed by feminists, that a man over 35 has supposedly no right to want to be involved with someone in the 18-25 age range while Madonna, Christie Brinkley and Demi Moore were all smart to marry men much, much younger and expect them to be faithful.

Seriously, please check out some men's rights blogs and side with them against the radical feminists.

If you are 45 and married to a 45 year old woman who cranks your engine all the time...more power to you. But most "families" are not that perfectly tuned.

Tony said...

Anon9:33: Thanks for your comments.
First, I don't worry about my wife reading what I write.
Second, I don't think my post is about Marxism, feminism, or Republicans. It IS about whether or not young people who read the sports pages could be adversely affected by the advertisements for a strip club and what is appropriate for a family-oriented daily newspaper. It doesn't have anything to do with the strip club itself [as it turns out, there is more than one in the state].
I also don't think I said anything about whether 35yo men or 45yo men for that matter should or shouldn't be attracted to young coeds.
Lastly, I find it interesting that someone currently located in the Russian Federation of Saint Petersburg would post on my Concord blog.
Interesting points though, thanks for reading.