News » News Stories

The Terrorists Are Winning

Truth, justice and the American soap opera are under attack at the West County Y

Our American Way of Life is under attack -- and it's not just the dark forces of al-Qaida and Wal-Mart after us.

Just listen to Barbara Radloff's story:

For two years, the 51-year-old Chesterfield homemaker and mother has been locked in combat with the forces of political correctness in the most unlikely of places: her local Y.

At issue is a policy at the West County Family YMCA that's designed to prevent malleable minds from being unduly influenced by, of all things, daytime television.

The policy bans the showing of soap operas or any other "morally offensive" programming, including Montel Williams and Maury Povich, on any of the TV sets in the Y's fitness room.

Radloff learned of the policy that bars soaps and some daytime gabbers when she asked to switch the channel to watch one of her shows. She's a fan of Young and the Restless, All My Children, and One Life to Live, but it really doesn't matter which one's on, she says: "When you're on a machine, you want to watch something you want to watch!"

Incredulous, she asked executive director Sean Allison to explain the policy. "He said to me, 'There's too much nudity on soaps.' I got very upset. There's no nudity on soaps -- I mean, they're under covers, you might know what they're doing, but there's no one nude!"

Radloff says Allison suggested that she bring in her own TV and headphones, but her family's already paying $64 a month for a membership -- why should she bear the cost of a silly policy? And what about inconsistency? Other talk shows, on which there's often frank discussion of sex, aren't banned. And what about reruns, Radloff wonders: "Do you know what's on Will and Grace? That's not banned -- and it deals with homosexuality!"

Allison wouldn't be interviewed, but he e-mailed a statement saying the policy was upheld by the Y's volunteer board, which "represents our members and community." He writes: "The YMCA relies on the board to help us make these kind of decisions, creating an environment where all people feel comfortable."

This isn't the first time the West County Y has made an RFT appearance. Last year, a community-theater company based there packed its bags and relocated after Allison scrubbed plans to stage La Cage aux Folles. Allison's explanation? Most of the popular gay farce "took place in a bar."

Radloff's says she's taken her complaint "through many, many channels" and that talking to the RFT was a last resort for a person who describes herself as being "as straight as you can get."

Except, of course, for that nasty soap-opera addiction.