What is most striking about the debate over 2 Live Crew {"Crew: Courage or Crime?" Style, Aug. 1} is the failure of the apologists to speak to the specific lyrics and contents of the songs being challenged. That distasteful task is left to Jack Thompson, the Florida attorney who first alerted Boward County officials about possible obscenity violations in the group's "As Nasty as They Wanna Be" album. Robert Perry and Carlton Long are content to gloss over the words with slogans and cliche's ("as American as apple pie," they assure us), leaving the reader to wonder what is so offensive. Perhaps if the authors would actually write out the words they so staunchly defend instead of hiding behind euphemisms, they might realize why people do not want "to do the work to understand (the band members), their art, their lives" but would rather turn them off permanently.

Professors Perry and Long refuse to confront the fact that for all the sexual language, boasting and jiving, the songs do something far more sinister than talk about sex or money or power. This "music" openly espouses and encourages a violence against women, making it truly terrifying, not to mention morally reprehensible. At a time when the incidence of rape and abuse of women is already extremely high, the Crew's work is the equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. That form of free speech is not tolerated. I don't know why an open call to violate and abuse women should be lauded (by anyone of any cultural persuasion) or why it should be permitted. ELLEN R. MURPHY North Potomac In response to Jack Thompson's concern that 2 Live Crew's lyrics promote rape: his concern, and that of other officials and lawmakers behind the censorship effort, would seem more genuine if the existing laws against rape were better enforced. For instance, a jury in Florida this past year released a man who abducted a woman and raped her at knife-point; they found him "not guilty" because she "asked for it" by wearing a skimpy mini-skirt. And Mr. Thompson's reaction to the evidently widespread fallacy that women want or deserve to be violated is to ban some tapes? I do applaud the Latin community's boycott of this offensive work: that is what consumer choice is for. However, I do not respect officials who "protect" me by restricting teenagers who are younger than voting age and letting rapists go free every day.

2 Live Crew is only describing the world from its experience. When laws protect every woman from rape regardless of whether the jury approves of her hemline or her lifestyle and when fewer men act like any female body is community property, then you can accuse 2 Live Crew of introducing foul ideas into the minds of youth. Until then, legal action against these regurgitaters is merely an attempt to cover up reality while pretending to reach a solution.

ANNE T. GILMAN Alexandria