IMAGES OF PARADISE
When I got home today I found two pieces of mail on the table. One was a letter from the college I most want to attend, concerning my admission. The other was the SI swim-suit issue (Here's to the Soft Life, Feb. 9). Guess which one I looked at first?
Your Christie Brinkley bathing-suit issue arrived at my house on Feb. 5, my birthday. What else could a guy possibly ask for! Well....
Luckily, Christie Brinkley's annual photographic arrival at our office occurred at the precise time we became despondent over this doleful financing period and another doleful winter. Christie, an old friend, is like the single-digit interest rate—both evoke images of paradise and are worth waiting for.
It's 5° below zero, my car has broken down (again) and my girl's 100 miles away. Sounds bad enough to write a country-and-western song about, right? It was, until the SI swim-suit issue arrived. You folks just ruined a perfectly good case of the midwinter blues.
February 23, 1981
"Flights of Fancy in Florida" freed me from my frigid February funk.
Chalk up another one for SI and Christie Brinkley. Both get more spectacular with age!
Santa Ynez, Calif.
Seldom in the course of human history have so few worn so little for so many!
DONALD W. SHINNERS
I'm not one to look forward to your yearly bathing-suit illustrations, yet I've always been pleased by them. However, I question your choice of words on the last page of your layout. You say, "Her suit...." What suit?
RICHARD JUDE REMIS
"Laved by wavelets"? Would that Shelley or Keats had seen Christie Brinkley; the English language would be richer still.
We are students at St. Anselm's College. Our patron, St. Anselm, was most notable for originating the ontological argument for the existence of God. After reading your annual bathing-suit issue, we believe.
Your swimsuit edition was disgusting, despicable, diabolical, demoniac pornography—to say the least. There's trouble in America!
THE REV. PHILODORE H. LEMAY, M.S.
I am livid! Seething! If we had wanted to subscribe to a girlie magazine, we would have. Those scantily clad dollies gracing your pages in provocative swimwear have no place in your magazine. When our children, ages 12 and 15, asked that they receive SI as a Christmas gift, I had no idea we would be in store for this stuff. Frankly, it stinks—and to think that your magazine is regularly read at our high school library. You owe a lot of people an apology for the inclusion of such irrelevant material in what is supposed to be a serious sports publication. Any more of it, and our subscription will be canceled!
ELLEN M. SHIPTENKO
I threw my son's copy in the trash can. Why not stick to covering sports with a healthy approach?
SALLY S. HORNER
I suppose I will be pegged as a prude, a puritan and a bit petty, but I must speak out on my anger and disappointment over the "girlie" issue. Your centerfold spreads of Christie Brinkley et al. have absolutely nothing to do with the fine art of competitive sports. Obscene magazines are plentiful, and I hadn't considered that in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED I'd be in for another barrage of nudity. I personally hope this will be the last "fashion" issue wherein models display postures, poses and physiques in such a way as to make it difficult for the reader to know exactly what is being advertised.
Garden City Church of Christ
I am not an old square, but I do enjoy putting your magazine in my waiting room. If I wanted pictures like that, I would subscribe to Penthouse, Hustler, etc. Please clean up your act.
M.R. HAIG, M.D.
Port Arthur, Texas
The Feb. 9 issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED illustrated more than sports! I, along with principals of other schools, found it very objectionable material to put in a school library. The pictures of the "bathing beauties" have no conceivable connection with the purpose of the magazine—sports reporting—and serve little other purpose than sexual stimulation. The use of these photographs was exploitative and put women in a demeaning role.
Last year's swimsuit issue raised eyebrows; this year's raises serious questions regarding your magazine's worth. Please cancel our subscription and refund any balance due.
SISTER MARION RAFFERTY, RSM
St. Teresa of Avila School
As the mother of six children, including three boys, I would like to express my opinion concerning your annual bathing-suit issue. I have subscribed to SI since 1965 and have yet to find anything lewd or distasteful. I have also read with amusement the annual rebuttals and outcries against pornography, godlessness and SI's contribution to the sexual depravity of our youth, etc. These pious protesters would probably be surprised to find out just how many of their children are hiding in a closet, flashlight in hand, scanning the pages of Hustler or Penthouse.
The young women in your swimsuit issue have consistently been healthy specimens of nature's astute handiwork, so who can complain? The jealous? As usual, we enjoyed it.
GAYLE TOY DEARIEN
Being concerned Florida citizens and aware of the "Trouble in Paradise" reported in your Feb. 9 issue by Robert H. Boyle and Rose Mary Mechem, we found it a devastating experience to see Carol Alt lying among the sea oats on Shell Island. And to see the seeds of this important vegetation in her mouth was equally appalling. This simple fruit is vital to the ecology of the sand dunes in our beautiful state. Picking sea oats or trampling them (by lying on them) is in fact a violation of state law. Had any of us been present during this action, a citizen's arrest would certainly have been our response.
The next time SI decides to bring this crew to Florida, we will gladly escort it to ensure that further devastation of our state's beauty is forestalled.
•Fear not. Si's crew was aware of the vital role played by sea oats in stabilizing sand dunes and took pains not to disturb their delicate root system. A second look at the picture will reveal that Carol is posed not on the grass, but on a clear patch of sand.—ED.
I am willing to wager any amount of money that Robert H. Boyle and Rose Mary Mechem are Northerners who are jealous of the people who live in the Sunshine State. The water might be bad, but I'll take 65° over 10° anytime. Despite any minor environmental problems, the state is growing at an incredible rate. We just moved here and would never leave. Your crybaby environmentalism shows why SI should stick to sports and leave this type of garbage journalism to the bleeding-heart nature magazines that, unfortunately, seem to proliferate these days.
I was transferred from the West to Florida a year ago and moved into a nice quiet trailer park located in a part of Dade County that was considered farmland. Since then I've seen our country lane turn into a four-lane road, and I've watched a development give birth to more than 200 houses across the street. Gone are the cornfields and the wildlife that used to be my neighbors.
I don't know if this paradise can be saved.
Twelve years ago the water behind our house on the north end of Old Tampa Bay was clean and clear. We swam in it and caught snook, redfish and speckled trout. I haven't dared swim there for the past nine or 10 years, and the only fish now are mullet and catfish.
Address editorial mail to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Time & Life Building, Rockefeller Center, New York, New York, 10020.