Cover, June 12:
"Summer Guide 2013"

Stay Strong

Good afternoon.

I am amazed at the time people are spending criticizing your chosen artwork for the Summer Guide. It may not have mattered what cartoon depiction you did.  Someone, somewhere, would have probably been overly critical.

I have drawn a possible replacement (pictured), but I'm sure there's an anorexic support group or the like out there that would take offense.

Stay strong, and long live freedom of expression and freedom of speech.

A Fan

Both Wrong

As soon as I had finished reading Father Adam Ortega y Ortiz' letter to the editor run in the Santa Fe New Mexican on Saturday, saying the Santa Fe Reporter had slapped Catholics and he was outraged, disgusted (and perhaps deserved an apology) because of your Summer [Guide] cover depicting la Virgen de Guadalupe…I ran out and got a copy.

Okay, you may have screwed up. But I'm not outraged, disgusted, and you don't have to apologize. What got me was the self-righteous attitude. While the Very Reverend Ortega y Ortiz outlines Don Diego de Vargas' promise to the deity, he glosses over why the colonists were ousted during the Pueblo Revolt: the Native American aversion to slavery. And, they're still pissed about it. He then drops several pious buzzwords: virtue, humility, piety, chastity and purity. However, in the next paragraph, in referring to the burning of the Quran by American troops overseas, he appears to imply we should all gather at the Plaza in the near future, bring our torches and pitchforks, and march down to your newsroom.

The fact is, this religious icon has been co-opted by commerce with the full cooperation of the Catholic Church. Beginning in Mexico City, where I saw the shroud  enshrined, the image of the Virgin Mary is on shopping bags, coffee mugs, key chains and t-shirts. Closer to home, the likeness is on cowboy boots, tattoos and lowriders. The religious observance Father Ortega y Ortiz refers to dramatically increases our tax revenue when thousands of people descend on our small town. That in turn allows us to contribute to nonprofits, charities and the good work all churches do.

He goes on to wonder if the Reporter would depict Muhammad as an alcohol-guzzling, womanizing hedonist. My question to you is: how would you depict a pedophile priest being protected for decades by a religious authoritarian hierarchy? The same freedom of speech he uses to attack you revealed the wholesale sexual assault of boys and young men. Freedom of religion and freedom of the press hold hands in the First Amendment. And yet I have not been able to find any public record of Father Ortega y Ortiz venting his disgust on men who took a vow of chastity, poverty and obedience and used the aura that creates to abuse children.

There is a chasm of difference between sin, a criminal act and bad taste, and in general, both parties involved in this tempest have been guilty of all three.

Graciously, the Rector has invited you to the Cathedral Basilica. But what would happen if the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe and La Conquistadora were to take human, female form tomorrow? When she walked in, she could not be ordained or hold any position of power within the church. And for the sake of brevity, I will leave out the issues of abortion, contraception and gay marriage.

As I see it, you are both wrong: the Reporter for an ill-advised attempt at humor, and Father Ortega y Ortiz for giving into base emotions.

Nonetheless, I would like to ask Father Ortega y Ortiz to please stop sending me monthly tithe envelopes. The Virgin Mary I pray to isn't short of cash.

Thank you.

Ray Lopez
Santa Fe

Makes You Think

Great job on the cover!

Art is supposed to make people think! The cover was totally respectful, with regard to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Diego Ortiz

Real Scandals

This is amazing! Now leaders of the Catholic church feign outrage at the cover of the Reporter's Summer Guide. These men, who make a good living as purveyors of irrational belief, have time for this, while turning their backs to the sexual abuse of children by priests, the suppression of women within their own organization, and the continued teaching of superstitious ideas. These are real scandals. The covers of magazines are just pictures.

Kerth Lundell
Santa Fe

Meh or Barf

Dear SFR,
I love Beavis and Butthead, but do I want them editing the SF Reporter? My 13-year-old son is saying: Hey, I want to write movie reviews for them. You just have to write one word, Barf or Meh. How hard is that?

I used to look forward to picking up my weekly copy. Now it's like: Meh, or even Barf...(Hey, can I write for you?) But the Reporter still has a serious and needed role to play in our little city, and it can't do that with an adolescent playing hookey at the helm.

Seriously, your response—yes, I'm talking to you, editor—to the furor over the desecration of the beloved image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on your Summer Guide, really deserves as much censure as the cover itself. It was disingenuous and smug (check your dictionary), passing itself off for a defense, and lame beyond anything I could have imagined. "Uniting other diverse cultures"? Which ones would they be? Bikini culture? Margarita culture? It's so easy to spew out sanctimonious verbiage about inclusiveness and diversity, but it won't make the fact that you messed up go away. Admit it and apologize.

I'm not a Christian myself, so it's not a religious matter for me; it's a journalistic one.

Can we please have our Reporter back?

Henry Shukman
Mountain Cloud Zen center

Fix It Right

It appears the editor has not taken this community seriously by acknowledging the wrongdoing and disrespect toward our Blessed Mother. Could I be wrong about this perception?

Therefore, I request that you reconsider the inappropriate statement made, "our intent was not to insult or denigrate any religion or ethnicity, but rather to incorporate an important part of Santa Fe's culture into an image that also unites other diverse cultures that flourish in our city." In this specific statement by the Santa Fe Reporter, it has no merit to be taken seriously by the people they have insulted and denigrated, because the damage has already been done. Now, the Santa Fe Reporter needs to repair it immediately, and they have no choice but to fix it right.

Frankly, what I am asking for you to consider is to apologize for the wrongdoing to the Santa Fe community in a public forum and don't do it again, period! It is the right thing to do and I, as well as hundreds of citizens in northern New Mexico, would appreciate it very much. Let's move forward and not backward on what happened with the Alma Lopez mess that occurred with the Museum of New Mexico many years ago. Don't you remember this incident that adversely impacted our community throughout the state and nation?

This Alma Lopez mess is still fresh in the hearts, minds and souls of many northern New Mexicans, and the Santa Fe Reporter cannot continue to contribute to this type of separation and division in this City of the Holy Faith. And honestly, I am not ready to engage in another Alma Lopez mess, because it was very painful to deal with.

On a positive note, as a strong community leader and an advocate for Our Blessed Mother, I am willing to open my heart to the Santa Fe Reporter to reconsider my offer and a second chance to change your editorial position with a gracious apology to the offended in a public statement and forum. The Santa Fe Reporter needs to step to the plate and do the right thing.

Jose Villegas, Sr.
Law Enforcement Chaplain

Important Matters

I completely support your freedom to depict an image that the "professionally offended" might, well, become offended over.

I think that those within the Catholic community should focus such cowardly attention [on] matters and issues within the Catholic church that take more effort than simply whining about hurt feelings over. I don't know, like: sexual abuse by those icons of the church called "Catholic priests" maybe?

It is so repugnant to me that the mindless and lazy should be so offended when there are more important matters at hand.

Veronica H Garcia

Jesus Loves You

Jesus loves you as much as he does his mother. I'm offering up as many Hail Marys as I can bring myself to say for you and your staff. Hope it helps.

Jesus Ramon

A Bit of Chuckle

Is it time to lighten up?

I'm not a Spanish Catholic, but Irish Catholics are pretty good partiers, too!  Would it seem blasphemous to paint a cartoon of St. Patrick having a beer?  

Traditionally, tequila is used to celebrate the feast day for the Virgin of Guadalupe. That's in December, but now it's summer and it's hot. Maybe the Virgin of Guadalupe would enjoy a margarita and to cool off in a bathing suit.  

I wonder if she's getting a bit of a chuckle over all the fuss we're making over the SF Reporter cover of June 12.

Patty Sheehan
Santa Fe

Sassy & Confident

What is so offensive here? The fact that the Our Lady is depicted as a sassy, confident woman who is unashamed of her body? Wearing a bathing suit and enjoying a drink makes a woman a slut? The perception that a female figure cannot be respected and has somehow been "degraded" if she dares to display any hint of sexuality is offensive to ME.

Emily Montoya

Not Afraid

I think the amount of backlash that the recent cover of the Reporter was ridiculous. Growing up in Santa Fe, I was always led to believe that people should be free to say and do as they please within the parameters of the law. On top of that, I always thought that artists were the most free people to express whatever they want through their canvas, their pen, or their stage. This is why I was so upset that the depiction of the Virgin was so blown out of proportion. When I saw it on the 6 o'clock news, I thought, "HELLOOO!!! THIS IS ART!"

Since when are people in Santa Fe so personally offended by a piece that is so fun and silly and not meant to hurt anyone's feelings? Have these people never visited Canyon Road or even stopped in Doodlets? Yes, I realize that as a 20-year-old gay college student my views tend to lean toward the left, but why should something that was meant to bring about the fun and humor of Santa Fe and summer be censored? Santa Fe has always been a mecca for art and progression; however, this lack of tolerance for art seems to stymie the idea of freedom of speech. This email is really just being sent in order to say that I totally support and admire the Reporter's commitment to moving forward and not being afraid to publish something that may be slightly controversial.

Aric A Wheeler

Get Over It

I am so sorry that the so-called religious community can't take as good as they give. I, for one, thought the cover incorporating many of Santa Fe's symbols was clever and eye-catching.  If people of a certain ilk don't like it, they don't have to read it. No one is delivering it to their doorsteps.  Get over it!

Stephanie Porter

Correction: In last week's article "Farming Out," SFR incorrectly reported that 2 million New Mexicans are on food stamps. In fact, it's 10 percent of the state's population.