Thursday, July 9, 2015

#TBT: We STILL agree with Pearl P. Baker!

Editor’s note: It’s “Throwback Thursday” so we’re once again reaching into Land Line’s digital vault for one of our all-time favorite letters from Pearl P. Baker, which inspired a catchphrase we still toss around the newsroom (“Hold on, Pearl!”). We’ll take any and every opportunity we can to share it with you. Today’s remembrance comes from a January 2008 post by contributing writer Charlie Morasch.

From time to time, a topic or news story will send some of us in the office here looking through old editions of Land Line Magazine.
Besides enjoying old pictures of the Land Line editors and OOIDA leaders, you find stories about many of the same topics, albeit with a few slight changes.

Recently a hospital in New York made headlines after a lawsuit revealed that the hospital allegedly forced a man with a head injury to endure a digital rectal exam.

That’s right.

According to The New York Times, construction worker Brian Persaud, 38, from Brooklyn, N.Y., hurt his head at work in May 2003.

Hospital employees held Persaud down so a doctor could perform the rectal exam as Persaud said, “Please don’t do that,” the Times reported. Persaud hit the doctor and was sedated so the exam could be performed.

New York hasn’t begun photographing rear ends that we know of, but obviously Mr. Persaud felt his treatment was invasive.

Persaud’s story has a serious edge, as it may indicate a trend in how the general public is treated. Several states and cities have recently begun allowing law enforcement officers to forcibly remove blood samples from motorists.

The rectal exam story reminded Land Line Managing Editor Sandi Soendker of a letter to the editor that came in nearly 20 years ago.

In 1989, Land Line had reported on the planned use of retinal exams by state troopers for drug and DUI testing.

Senior Editor Jami Jones dug up the issue of Land Line that had a letter by Pearl P. Baker of Freeview, Wis., who wrote about her objections to such invasive techniques in the December 1989 issue under the heading, “The Last Straw.”

I think the letter speaks for itself.

“In the past, the state and federal governments have come up with some wild ideas to keep a firm grip on the truck driver,” Pearl wrote. “Senator Danforth is now doing his best to see that we all ‘drop our drawers’ for any official who has the slightest reason for wanting us to take a drug test. But the most outrageous idea I have heard of so far is the rectinal scan!! Imagine having a picture of your rear-end on an identification card and having an officer compare it to the real thing to prove you are who you say you are???

Just think of the possible uses: check cashing, passports, IDs. … One further observation – you won’t have to worry about your smile anymore, just proudly display your vertical one! The End”

Pearl P. Baker, Freeview, Wis.

Land Line Publisher Todd Spencer responded in the 1989 magazine:

“Editor’s Note: Hold on, Pearl. That’s retinal imaging, not rectal. They’re both invasive to a part of your body, but different parts.”

We now know what Pearl knew 20 years ago: Sadly, we’ve truly entered the digital age.