Letters to the Editor 

Kudos for cub

Kent Alexander: I found your story (“No more puppetry,” Metro Times, July 6) very interesting. It’s encouraging that a young person such as yourself has ventured beyond the corporate cesspool of today’s punk-metal in favor of an album with substance, such as Metallica’s Master of Puppets. I salute you for working past any racial barriers you may have experienced during this process. The old-school metal bands were very vocal in their message of being open-minded as well as favoring racial equality. Anthrax spoke the loudest on this issue. —Erik Kluiber, Redford, detkluiber@yahoo.com

 

The metal muse

God bless Kent Alexander for not being ashamed of being an African-American metalhead!

But I find it upsetting that, in 2005, people still find the concept of being one unusual, and, to be honest, I was surprised to read that Kent’s experiences are very similar to mine, even though I am 20 years older than him.

I know this from firsthand experience, because at the age of 35, I’m an African-American female metalhead, and have been since the age of 8.

Unlike Kent, however, I grew up in the suburbs of Ohio and wasn’t really exposed to R&B and soul music, with the exception of the O’Jays, Teddy Pendergrass and other Philly soul artists that my mother and her friends enjoyed so much.

And, like Kent, I had a “moment” when I discovered the joys of hard rock and heavy metal. For me it was in second grade, hearing the opening strains of “Deuce” from Kiss Alive. As long as I can remember, the black kids who I came into contact with heaped nothing but scorn and disgust on me for my preferences for “white” music. I never thought in terms of color — I just thought Gene Simmons could do no wrong.

Kiss’ superhero imagery and their message of “you can be whoever you want to be” appealed to an only child who spent most of her time doing homework, reading Sixteen magazine or watching television while waiting for her single mother to come home from a long day cleaning at a hospital.

I am writing this to let Kent know that there are many more of us out there — and always remember to wave your metal flag proudly. —Lisa Jackson, Dearborn, lljackso1@aol.com

 

A different drummer

Kent: I applaud you, young man. I’ve just read your very profound article, and for someone who is new to the art of published writing, in my humble opinion it was magnificent. Your insight to culture, music and society is beyond your years. I implore you to never lose your individuality and stay true to your inner self. Just when I think our society is falling by the wayside, I stumble across your article.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve thought to myself, “What has happened to our youth?” and then cringe because I sound an awful lot like my mother. But you have helped restore my hope and made me smile with pride to know you have the courage to cast aside today’s trends and be your own person. —Tisha Starghill, Detroit

 

Pourer to the people

Re: your article about bars getting shut down, (“Closing time for the corner bar?Metro Times, June 29), I just wanted to add that in Europe bars seem to be completely different from their American counterparts. They’re not seen as “bad” places, they’re community centers!

A friend of mine spent some time growing up in Belgium and Holland, and he and his friends in junior high (!) would go to the pub after school every day, just to hang out. (Yes, their parents knew.)

I kind of like that relaxed attitude, treating pubs or bars as simply places to spend time with neighborhood people, and it just happens to also be a place where they serve beer. —Jennifer Wells, Memphis

 

Slow boat to China

After reading Jack Lessenberry’s column “Times that try men’s souls” (Metro Times, June 22), I feel relief on the one hand, and despair on the other.

I am relieved because I was beginning to feel very alone. For quite some time now I have been telling anyone who would listen that we are witnessing the death of the American Empire. I see Americans going along as if all were wonderful, but I also feel a great deal of despair, because I have a feeling that this country is going bankrupt, both economically and morally. I don’t mean that in a Moral Majority sense. I’m talking about the “live like there’s no tomorrow, burn all the oil you can, mortgage yourself up the ass and screw the rest of the world” kind of moral bankruptcy.

The worst part for me is the feeling of hopelessness. I write my congresspeople. I try to vote for responsible candidates but they keep losing. I don’t overextend my credit. I drive an old car that is relatively fuel-efficient. Then I look around at the ignorance, intolerance and violence that seem so pervasive in our culture and I get depressed again. What else can an aging, out of touch liberal do? I guess I’ll open another bottle of French wine, try to muddle through and encourage my grandson to learn to speak Chinese. —Joe Crachiola, Grosse Pointe

 

Border skirmish

RE: Jack Lessenberry’s “Meet a mayor you can admire” (Metro Times, June 15), while I agree that our mayor Eddie Francis has accomplished much for someone his age and has avoided some of the trappings of power which Detroit’s mayor has embraced, there is growing opposition to his cross-border solution.

The proposed truck bypass would go through Ojibway Park, the largest wilderness area in Windsor. This in a county that’s already severely deforested. The solution the mayor favors, Schwartz No. 3, builds a road that makes the trip through Windsor significantly longer in hopes that a new bridge will be built nearby (across from Detroit’s downriver area). The problem is that the bridge might not be built there. Furthermore, there is a less invasive route proposed that already exists and therefore does not require new construction in an environmentally sensitive area. It’s also by Sam Schwartz and is No. 4 on the list of proposals he presented to Windsor. It seems however, that our mayor has made up his mind and wants No. 3.

Though Eddie Francis has shown many positive qualities as mayor, it will be worth watching to see how he deals with dedicated opposition to his vision for a truck bypass through our Ojibway Park. —Martin Utrosa, Windsor, Ontario, marto7u@netscape.net

 

Proud of Francis

I must tell you how gratifying it was to read your article about our mayor, Eddie Francis, and I couldn’t agree with you more. Since coming into office Mayor Francis has demonstrated an amazing energy and focus on getting the job done in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation that had just not been evident in the previous administration. Under his guidance I am confident that ultimately Windsor can overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable just a few short years ago. He truly is a mayor you can admire, one that does our city proud, and I thank you for your generosity in spreading the word. Now, if only we can persuade him to stay beyond two terms! —Valerie Walter, Windsor, Ontario

 

I like Ike

Re: “Ticker shock” (Metro Times, July 6) I think Eisenhower’s quotes should be headlines on all papers. It is mind-boggling how insensitive the powerful are to those who hunger and are not fed or cared for.

Keep it up. —Gerry Sellman, Detroit

 

When house is not a home

Re: “House bloat,” (Metro Times, June 29), well done, Mr. Herron. You have succinctly and successfully described what I believe to be the single most contributing factor to the erosion of the healthy (physically and emotionally) American family and, at the same time, drawn attention to why the rest of the world finds Americans grotesquely gluttonous. I hope your article gets into the hands of those who really need it so they ask themselves, “Do I love my family enough to drive a smaller car and live in a smaller house so that I can fire the Playstation babysitter and be home in time for dinner out of the oven instead of out of the bucket?” —Rebekah L. Tiefenbach, Harper Woods

 

Storyteller’s tale resonates

Re: “Romancing the hood” (Metro Times, June 22), being a professional black woman from the East Side of Detroit, I felt the piece was an excellent depiction of the personal growth and triumph of Ms. Stringer. I had heard her story before but I was never intrigued to learn more until now. Cunningham’s take on Stringer’s trials really helped me to appreciate her journey even though I fail to relate to her experiences directly. —Recia L. Mickens, Ferndale

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