Letters to the Editor 

Racist cartoon

I would like to thank Metro Times for pointing out the racist cartoon (“Not so funny,” Metro Times, Aug. 24), as it was racist, contrary to one of your readers, Fred Nielsen, who responded. I would not expect most residents in Michigan (being that we are the most racially segregated state in the U.S.) to agree or even acknowledge when forms of racism occur. —Matilda Erkkila, Harrison Township


Write stuff

There’s a lot of truth to Wayne Melton’s piece on Detroit artists living and working in L.A. (“To live and work in L.A.,” Metro Times, Aug. 31). When I travel, especially to the coasts, I’m always amazed at how bad so much of the art is compared to Detroit. I would disagree with the thought attributed to Lucy Bates, however, that what Detroit needs is more writers. There are plenty hanging around— check the Metro Times’ masthead! There aren’t enough places to publish. And with the changes afoot at the two dailies, the situation doesn’t look to improve anytime soon. —Vince Carducci, Royal Oak

Editor’s note: Vince Carducci is an MT freelancer.


Color of meat

One positive thing that this “writer” did was put some compelling quotes showing that “violence is violence,” that what humans do to other animals, they do to themselves (“Of barbecues & lynchings,” Metro Times, Sept. 7). Otherwise, he should have just described the campaign and kept his racist opinions to himself. This is a good example of not seeing the forest through the trees, but that’s what happens when someone is blinded by racism and fear.

So Mr. Owens doesn’t want his burgers, steaks, etc. taken away? Would you kill a cow for your burgers? Or do you just let “whitey” do it for you? Did you know that most of the animal foods are owned by a bunch of fat, wealthy corporate “fat cats.” Are any of those people black? When you start to show the symptoms of disease from your carnivorous diet, what color will the doctor be? Will the drugs that you take come from black people?

And yes, this writer was concerned that PETA only picks on black-owned circuses. Why don’t you look on their Web site and research, yes research, their circus campaigns.

This writer, and the paper for letting this article be published, just illustrated that racism is racism, regardless of the color of one’s skin or background. —Mark Crimaudo, Candler, N.C.


Love and meat

Love is such a loosely defined word but gets a lot of mileage among the delusional. “Owning” a pet hardly constitutes “loving animals.” Wealthy Southern plantation owners in my home state of Mississippi routinely reported that they “loved” their slaves and that their slaves “loved” them. All nonsense, of course.

People who care for a dog or cat they’ve rescued from the pound but who also eat meat and dairy products can only reasonably claim to “love” their dog or cat, but not to “love animals.” To love animals one must acknowledge the savage suffering of animals factory-farmed and brutally de-beaked, docked, castrated, caged, beaten, starved, electrocuted and raped in order to perpetuate the billion-dollar meat/dairy, entertainment and clothing industries. One must further decline to participate in activities that provide financial support directly or indirectly to such industries, such as eating meat/dairy products, attending circuses and rodeos and purchasing fur or leather.

And finally, a person who loves animals must support and engage in activities that educate the public as to the cruelty and horrors of the above-mentioned atrocities. “Love” requires respect and sacrifice. PETA demonstrates that fact perfectly. Critics with their mouths full of barbecue just have no credibility on this issue. —Mary Jo Brooks, Ridgeland, Miss.


PETA pride

Keith Owens’ article, “Of barbecue and lynchings” is about PETA’s latest exhibit comparing past atrocities to humans to similar current atrocities to animals. The ads are meant to get people to realize their oppressive mind-sets. In our history, as we fought for the rights and welfare for each group of people (women, blacks, etc.), the general population was upset at those claiming these groups had any rights just as Mr. Owens is upset now at the thought of comparing all animal species. In suffering, all species are the same. The point of the ads is to get people to open their eyes to the way we treat humans and other species. For poor circus elephants, for instance, the slave trade still exists. Elephants are ripped away from their families and way of life in Africa and Asia. They are forced into constant confinement as they travel from town to town in severe weather extremes. They are trained by beatings and sharp bull hooks. 

Dick Gregory, longtime social activist, supports PETA’s campaign. I am reminded that Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” See the display for yourself at www.peta.org/AnimalLiberation.— William McMullin, Mt. Morris


Baxter fan

Regarding Cole Haddon’s “The Great Creative Writing Swindle” (Metro Times, Aug. 31, 2005): Having taken a writing class with Charles Baxter when he taught at Wayne State University in the late 1970s, I now realize that he was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. You may give James Joyce a run for the money in the future, but first you need to know how to write. Baxter ably taught basic writing skills applicable to the larger world of communication. Be direct, get to the point and cut the crap. —James Dantzer, Grosse Pointe Park


No-class act

I am stunned by the anger and sour grapes directed at Charles Baxter by Cole Haddon. The brilliant yet unassuming Midwestern author and professor seems an unlikely target for such a vile tirade. As a grad student at Wayne State in the early ’80s, I was fortunate to take a fiction class with Prof. Baxter. It was an unforgettable experience — Baxter cared about each of his students and shared his love of literature with genuine enthusiasm. It was in this class that I was introduced to the joys of Flaubert and Cather. As an educator myself, I can only hope that I impart some of the same love of subject matter to my students. Haddon, it appears, never actually took a class with Baxter and has based his diatribe on some kind of misplaced personal vendetta. Perhaps the reason he has found few who agree with his opinions of Baxter is that the majority of Baxter's readers recognize that the beauty of his understated writing lies in a respect for their intelligence. I could go on but I find myself becoming as angry at Haddon as he is at Baxter. More importantly, I am greatly disappointed in the Metro Times for printing such a self-serving, hateful character assassination of a well respected writer and inspiring teacher. —Jarie Saad Ruddy, Royal Oak, jarie.ruddy@roeper.org


Comic relief

That was a wonderfully silly piece on Charles Baxter. Is Cole Haddon a talented standup comic? It was a flawless creation of a baby in search of his manhood, of someone with absolutely no idea of how a university works, how texts are selected or grades are given, a lonely minor god in search of followers. I enjoyed it immensely. It certainly makes me want to reread my Baxter copies, but then again I’ve only won one first prize for fiction from Metro Times. —Randall Garrison, Royal Oak


Diva fan

Thanks to Mike Murphy for the wonderful article on the Detroit divas (“Ladies sing the blues,” Metro Times, Aug. 17). He opened the eyes of Michigan blues lovers to some true history and the remarkable Alberta Adams. I have enjoyed her wisdom as well as her music for some time. All of the women featured in this in-depth article bring such emotion to the music. I hope that we will see more articles of this nature, there are many more notable blues musicians in this city that deserve the attention. —Cathy “Diva” Davis (and the Soul Searchers Band)


Media blackout

Kudos to Jack Lessenberry for a “shout-out” to Bob Costas for finally throwing down the gauntlet (“Cynicism and sacrificial lambs,” Metro Times, Aug. 24). He was asked to host the Larry King show and speak about Natalee Holloway, the “hard-partying” girl who disappeared in Aruba in May and has been covered nightly every since. Also Jack mentioned LaToyia Figueroa, a pregnant woman of color, missing in Philadelphia. I did see one story on America’s Most Wanted (not the most flattering presentation). I have a blog called An Absence of Color on MSN that was inspired by Rebkah Howard, spouse of Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard. She tried to get media coverage for the disappearance of her niece, Tamika Huston, a woman of color. Mrs. Howard is a public relations executive and yet she couldn’t get a response from any major news source, even considering who her husband is and having an uncle who works for U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy. She was interviewed finally on Aug. 5th on Dateline and I think what she said that moved me most was, “Tamika’s young, she’s attractive, middle class. The only thing that she’s isn’t is white. You know, I don’t know what else it could be.” Duh!!!!!! Dateline attempted to get a statement from the heads of all of the major news channels ... no comment. NBC gave some soft soap about this not having anything to do with race, but they did interview a woman of color who was a multimedia journalist and professor who said they may not exclude us, they just don’t include us. If anyone else is feeling me on this, let your voice be heard. News programs do not generate income, they cost. Therefore advertisement is paramount. Put your money where your mouth is, or tomorrow your mother, sister or daughter may come up missing and we won’t hear one word about it. If you want to stay in touch on this issue, e-mail me at anabsenceofcolor@hotmail.com. —Cheryl Kearney, Southfield


Full disclosure

This in regards to a letter sent to the editor that appeared in the Aug 31 issue. The letter entitled “Civil rights for all” is signed by one Ward Connerly. I can only assume that is the one and only Ward Connerly — the same man who is backing the petition drive for the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative (which is most definitely a misleading name for an initiative that would help to keep institutional bias fully entrenched). Shame on Mr. Connerly for not fully disclosing who he was in his letter to the Metro Times. Also, shame on the Metro Times’ editors for the failure to note who Mr. Connerly was and to let his extremely partial opinion be printed without all the necessary information. —Matt Weiser, Detroit

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