You want the naked truth? You can't handle the naked truth! Our daringly bare Dixie Chicks cover (#708, May 2) generated lots of coverage, blanketing TV, newspapers, the Internet, and our e-mail box. When we emerged from the heap, we counted 526 letters -- 199 of them in support of the gals and 327 of them against. The only story in the last year to come close was November's list of the 100 greatest performances overlooked by Oscar, which garnered 253 missives. The sentiments this time ranged from ''a big yee-haw and hat tip to EW'' (from Seattle's Marcus White) to ''this issue's in the trash'' (from Norwalk, Calif.'s Carol Pagan), but Ray Pennetti of Belleville, N.J., pointed out a consequence we didn't anticipate: ''The Dixie Chicks pose in the buff to tell their side of the story. Let's hope TIME doesn't resort to the same tactics should George W. want space for a rebuttal.''
God bless the Dixie Chicks and God bless you for putting them on the cover! My respect for them has only grown through this ridiculous controversy. The uproar, boycotts, and name-calling they've endured only show how many ignorant, fearful, un-American people there are in this country. The Dixie Chicks' incredible music and thoughtful views will always be welcome in my home. LISA M. RICHARDS Oakland
I actually cheered when I saw the Dixie Chicks on your cover. That image is so gutsy and appropriate, I'm tempted to get it framed. I've been puzzled by the flag-wavers who call the Dixie Chicks un-American. When Bush's war ended a couple of weeks ago, we were all thrilled to see liberated Iraqis throwing their shoes at Saddam's portrait. Of course Americans can't see the irony. The very essence of freedom is the ability to criticize one's leaders. SARA BENNETT firstname.lastname@example.org Cincinnati
Death threats, CD destruction, bad press! I thought I spent 22 years in the Navy to ensure that every American had the right to speak out on what he believes! Patriotism is one thing, but to ostracize anyone because she states that she is ashamed of our President is wrong. Read your Constitution. This veteran says that these girls have every right to express their feelings. And I'm ashamed that more veterans have not stood up in support for the Chicks' right to say what they feel. It is the American way, and many have died just to preserve this right. ROBERT ''IRISH'' GOSSARD RGoss27443@aol.com Fayetteville, N.C.
Thank you for giving the Dixie Chicks a chance to speak out. Silencing musicians and actors, even boycotting entire countries, just because of their dissenting views is a slap in the face to the freedoms for which the U.S. was founded. SAMUEL G. POTTER JakRbitSlm@aol.com Charlotte, N.C.
I say right on, Chicks! I hate their music but support them all the way. I'm running out and buying their CD (if even just to give away) to thank them for sticking to their guns, exposing the hypocrisy of those narrow-minded fascist critics who seek to undermine the very liberties our men and women were supposedly fighting to preserve. DONALD KILLINGER email@example.com Brooklyn