Letters to the Editor 

Feat of Clay?

Re: “Morrissey vs. Clay Aiken” (Metro Times, Oct. 13), how sad that Serene Dominic finds it necessary to make fun of Clay Aiken in this manner. Mr. Aiken has said many times that his private life is his own and he refuses to discuss it. In leading a decent life, becoming a role model for young and old alike, he becomes fodder for those who have nothing better to do than to tear him down. Does Serene go after “stars” like Usher, Eminem and others of his ilk? For some reason — Clay Aiken appears to be a threat to those who live less admirable lives. He is a young man who, through talent alone, received the support of millions, outsells many other long-term “stars,” has started a foundation to help autistic children, has given countless hours to charity work, and somehow that makes him a target for ridicule. Shame on Mr. Dominic! —Diana Bradham, Watertown, N.Y.

 

What everyone’s Aiken to know

May I assume from your article that you believe Clay Aiken is a homosexual? That really is OK with me, but why be snarky about it? I love, adore, worship Clay for his talent, his sweetness (publicly, of course; I don’t really know the man) and his wish to do some good in this world. He is, I admit, very religious (I have no religion to speak of) and should it turn out that Mr. Aiken is gay, he will have a very hard road on which to trod.

I can only wish that he finds his own true happiness, within himself, and has the courage to withstand articles such as yours. You have to make a living, I realize, and to commend this one artist might just blend in blandly with all the rest. Your stance is certainly eye-catching and being a freelance entertainment reporter, you seem to have achieved your goal.

I don’t know this Morrissey, so I can’t comment on him, but Clay Aiken is my icon of music today and I shall always wish him nothing but true and lasting personal happiness.

As a last note, I really do like your style of writing and hope to see more. — Shirley Romano, Westminster, Calif.

 

A fan’s discontent

I have always believed in and respected everyone’s right to have their own opinions and tastes, as well as their God-given right to express the same. Therefore, I ask that you please indulge me and allow me the same respect as I attempt to convey mine.

It is a well-known fact that not everyone has the same taste in music, movies, books or, simply, life in general; that is what makes each of us truly unique. While Clay Aiken may not be your “cup of tea” shall we say, he is truly admired, loved and appreciated by thousands, not only as an extremely talented and versatile artist, but as a genuine and kind young man. In my humble opinion and the opinion of Clay’s supporters, Clay has a beautiful, pure and powerful voice, a long-awaited “balm to worn-out ears” that have been forced to listen to “cookie-cutter” bad boys and “pouty-mouth” sex kittens singing about drugs, violence and pornography. Clay’s songs are easy on the ears, heart and soul and can be listened to without fear of embarrassment to anyone within listening range. When Clay sings, he does so with so much passion that he draws the listener not only into the words of the song, but deep into his soul. He is also witty, charming, personable, articulate and, dare I say it, extremely sexy in a quiet unassuming way. Sometimes revealing too much “in-your-face” sex is not sexy. In this case, more is simply more and boring after a while.

As a human being, Clay is definitely not perfect, as none of us is; however, he strives to do what he believes to be right. This does not mean that he will never make a mistake; that is way too much responsibility for anyone to carry on their shoulders. However, his motives are right and we respect him for that.

Whatever your likes or dislikes might be, I respect your right to have them and to speak out on and for them. As a middle-class American, I would like to make a simple request of you and other critics who are given the privilege of putting your thoughts into the written word, a gift, as well as a privilege, which I truly admire.

It is simply this: That you, as well as other “critics” in the world, give a little more thought about the “written” word before you put it to print. Are you stating facts or simply speculating to obtain the “shock factor”? Are you being unbiased or simply stressing your own opinion as truth? And last, but definitely not least, is it really necessary to cut someone down in order to make your words more interesting or believable?

I think the majority of the American public would like to be treated as if their opinion was just an important as that of the writer. For this reason, I thank you, for being gracious in allowing me to have my opinion and to express the same to you. —Dianne Melton, Rock Hill, S.C.

 

Critics shouldn’t be judgmental

Re: Your review of Todd Snider’s album (“Heartache and humor,” Metro Times, Oct. 6) in which you call Jason Mraz a “major label frat-happy sham,” you have obviously never been to a Jason Mraz concert. He is about as close to being a sham as Yao Ming is to being short. He doesn’t pretend to be the greatest musician in the world, he just is what he is. And he’s talented. Very talented, in fact. I feel qualified in saying this because I am a musician as well. So he’s not someone you enjoy, OK, but that doesn’t make him or his talent any less real, and I think you should be less judgmental. Music after all, is an art form. Freedom of expression is one of the key elements. —Brynn Johnson, San Jose, Calif.

 

Can’t get with that program

Re: “Murder Rap” (Metro Times, Oct. 13), good stuff as usual. It was one of the minor things mentioned, but I can’t believe that he was so wrapped up in the game that the funeral programs looked like they did. Almost shocking to me that a death isn’t enough to turn you off from that type of promotion. —Wayne McEachron, Southfield

 

Another view on the bridge

Re: “Best piece of the city’s past to tear down: The Eight Mile and Woodward Underpass/Bridge” (Metro Times, Sept. 29), It’s too bad that you find the walk from Ferndale to the State Fairgrounds dangerous. Many of us in Greenacres, the Detroit neighborhood at the southwest corner of Eight Mile and Woodward, regularly walk, bicycle or rollerblade into Ferndale to shop, eat or pick up our cars after being serviced. With faster traffic on the overpass and underpass, we feel safe at street level with only the slower turning traffic.

According to local police department and Oakland County traffic figures, the Eight Mile-Woodward intersection is one of the safest in Oakland County. The Michigan Department of Transportation anticipates a 45-57 percent increase in the number and severity of accidents if the Woodward bridge comes down. Opponents of rehabilitating the Woodward overpass have yet to explain how bringing the 40,000 vehicles that cross the bridge daily down to street level will keep the intersection as safe as it is now. With nine bus stops in the intersection, pedestrian safety is critical.

What traffic safety and roadway design information does the Metro Times have to support its claim that it’s just “common sense” to bring the Woodward bridge down to street level? —Marie Handley, Detroit

 

A gentleman’s agreement

Re: “Gambling on our future” (Metro Times, Oct. 13), since I routinely write when I have more than the usual level of virulent disagreement with your misguided politics, I thought that I would drop you a line this week to say that I think that I agree with just about every word of your column on Proposal 1. Like you, I am disgusted by the entire gaming industry, and only slightly interested in the fact that it allegedly produces a local tax benefit. I suspect the worst of all of the partisans involved on both sides of the proposal. I care little for the net results, and wish only that the Michigan Constitution not be cluttered up with “gaming” amendments.

You did a good job of explaining the issue, about which I am as ambivalent as you are, and for the same reasons. —Charles Brown, Franklin

 

Rather like Lessenberry

Re: “No sex means no scandal,” (Metro Times, Sept. 15), just like Dan Rather, Jack Lessenberry wanted the allegations leveled at President Bush to be true. Only they were completely made up with forged documents faxed from a Kinko’s in Texas. I’m sure Lessenberry thinks Rather is the bright beacon that shines in broadcast journalism. But now it is clear that CBS, its producers and Rather wear their political colors as proudly as Lessenberry does in his column. Is this the sort of sloppy reporting Lessenberry teaches to his journalism students?

I find it curious that Lessenberry refers to the swift boat veterans as “slimy” but Kerry’s record as heroic. Those vets spent much more time in Vietnam than Kerry’s four months, didn’t apply for their Purple Hearts nor come home and accuse their brethren of war crimes. At least give them as much or more credit for serving in a war that still splits Americans apart. —Justin M. Jaworski, Chicago, Ill.

 

ERRATA: A review of the film Tarnation (Metro Times, Oct. 13, “Film revolution”) should have made clear that director Jonathan Caouette directed a high school musical version of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet with his boyfriend of the time.

The Wyandotte kayak shop in a recent article about Detroit River paddlers (Metro Times, Oct. 6, “Take me to the river”) should have been identified as Riverside Kayak Connection.

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