Spare Rib was less than honorable with advertisers, but conservatives were equally inappropriate

by John D. Schumacher | 11/24/93 6:00am

To the Editor:

There is more than meets the eye in the recent hullabaloo about The Spare Rib Sex Issue.

As an advertiser in that issue, albeit unwittingly, I wish to respond.

It has been the policy of Gnomon Copy to hear every request that comes before us from the Dartmouth community -- for advertising and for support in many other ways. I am a Dartmouth Alum (Class of 1967) -- but more than that, I believe in being part of my larger community.

I happen to be a staunch conservative, but I am committed to the principal that in a free and healthy society, all voices must be heard. They may have limited audiences and I may not be among those who see thing their way, but I make a point to hear every voice.

It was in that spirit that I heard Spare Rib when they came to me asking support. I do believe in women's issues, and the copies of the paper they showed me were not offensive to my viewpoint. I chose to give them a chance.

Had I know of the graphic content of the issue in which my ad was to appear, I would not have chosen to place it. Further, I will not choose to support Spare Rib in the future because I cannot trust editorial ethics which are not sensitive to their sponsors and to the contexts in which their sponsors may wish their businesses to be seen.

I feel Spare Rib was less than honorable with those of us who extended ourselves in support of their cause by not being up front about the nature of the current issue and the graphic way it would be presented.

The view of the Spare Rib thus became a scream, and I have no desire to be a part of that scream since it impeded communication rather than fostered it.

I will not, however, dishonor the offer I made in the ad because I was dishonored in its placement. I hope the offer I extended in that ad to the Dartmouth family for two cent self-service copies (as many as you want!) is heard and welcomed.

This said, I also wish to say that I find the conduct of the conservative male group to be less than I would hope. I was informed that they would boycott my businesses if I did not pull future ads.

They are certainly free to do that, but I view it as a "Shoot first, ask questions later," blackmail approach which our world today does not have the luxury to entertain. I would hope for more from students from one of the most privileged societies and greatest colleges in the world.

It is an easy thing to be judge, jury and hangman without ever asking a question.

It is a hard thing -- but the right thing -- to talk first and discover the many legitimate motivations and viewpoints of those who do things differently than ourselves. John D. Schumacher '67 Owner/Operator Gnomon Copy