Letters to the Editor 

Let 'em eat Cole

Re: "Juan's world" (Metro Times, Feb. 22), Juan Cole is both wise and brave. I knew that already. I never expected to see such an excellent (and wise and brave) interview with him in a U.S. newspaper. I do wish you could sell it to, give it to or force it upon every paper in the English-speaking world! —Beth Macdonald, Bergen, Norway

 

Juan more time

That was a great interview with Juan Cole regarding the Middle East. More of these stories are needed to inform us what's really happening in the Middle East. Great cover story! —David "Hump The Grinder" Humphries, Detroit

 

Biased thoughts

What are you smoking? This man is an affront to all that makes this country great. His statements are treacherous. He is clearly the one who has allowed his bias to form his thoughts. I will not read your magazine again because you printed the words of such a vile and disgusting man. I will be showing the article to anyone who will listen and advise them to boycott your publication. Everyone I've spoken to thus far has been as revolted by this man as I have. Shame on you. —Jay Prater, Ann Arbor

 

Powerful ideas

The Juan Cole interview was excellent. Your questions led to very good answers.

I, for one, am not scared about the situation in the Middle East. As Cole said, the worst-case scenario is that many of us would be in bread lines, and, by implication and extension, many would be without heat in cold Michigan winters or without air conditioning in hot Michigan summers. My faith in the ability of humans to survive under harsh conditions bears me up.

Actually, I think that the worst-case scenario is that we will continue to enlarge our culture of fear until we are completely paralyzed. Then bin Laden will have won. As Cole notes, the loss of life every day in Iraq is very great, but we seem to think that a few thousand dying when the World Trade Center came down is more important. I think that it's more important that no congressional leader is willing to do everything possible to shoot down President Bush, to stand up and say that our rotten policies are killing us, to say everything that Cole has.

Every once in a while I think that Congress and the administration are in cahoots to drive the populace so deeply into fear that they can completely control us: It's like 1984 all over again, as Yogi Berra might say.

I much admire the work that you all put into this, and it's something that all Americans should understand. But will it really affect the guys and gals who are looking to the Altered State event tonight? Will it affect the folks who can't wait to see Train in April? I rather doubt it. It's this generally blasé American attiude that should be feared. —Bernard W. Joseph, Royal Oak

 

On Gumbel's bumble

I had to laugh when I read about Mr. Gumbel's comments about the Winter Olympics, and the resulting "Black/White" responses that followed. I laughed because of the event being viewed in the typical myopic lens of America politics, and not a world centric view. My wife is from China, and she was impressed by the representation from not only China, but Japan, India, Mongolia, Pakistan, and the rest of the "Asian" continent. But I guess — since people from those countries do not yet make up the "majority minority" here in America — they do not count when describing Olympic participation. —Matt Sawtell, Sterling Heights

 

Missing history

You learn something new every day. Your review of the documentary about the atrocious, inexcusable lynching of Emmett Till ("A lynching unpunished," Metro Times, Feb. 8), gave that cliché truth. Throughout my years of schooling, history class after history class, I declare it astonishing and downright ridiculous that not once was Till's name uttered. How could one of the worst cases of racial violence in history be left behind or simply excluded from the teaching curriculum? Why wasn't this revolting and disturbing act of violence ever mentioned when we were discussing the civil rights movement? I want to thank the Metro Times for enlightening me. Your review allowed me to have a better understanding of the struggles and the truly grueling way of life that African-Americans faced in the South on a day-to-day basis. Thank you for my history lesson! —Heather N. Miller, Taylor

 

Cut the crap

Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Living in the zoo" (Metro Times, March 1), perhaps it's better when metro Detroit's social and racial geysers blow up above the surface now and then rather than festering and bubbling below the surface. It's unsettling, this regional compulsion to collectively air our dirty laundry in black and white. Mr. Lessenberry doesn't help things with overreacting statements drawing hard, fast lines of fear, distrust and loathing across the complex, wide, gray swath of black-white, city-suburb politics. Aren't the problems more about sad compromises and practical needs?

It's embarrassing when knee-jerk, reactionary, tit-for-tat bullshit comes flying from all corners of the social, political and racial spectrum in metro Detroit. It's sad when the economy and the state of the state are in such a shambles that we can't support a zoo and a crumbling school system. But we need to get on with rebuilding. Let's be grateful that we're not cleaning up the sludge like New Orleans. —Kate O'Leary, Oak Park

 

Economics 101

There are still many people trained to think that our economy will get better if we buy more foreign-made goods, get a college degree and buy houses at inflated prices, but here are some basic truths about the economy:

A dollar is just a dollar, and does not multiply by itself. It gets passed from person to person unless somebody keeps it or destroys it. Money is lost from a region or a country if someone buys a product made in a different part of the world.

If everyone had a college degree, then people would still have to drive trucks, mop floors, stock shelves or ring sales. They are not going to pay people more money just because they have a degree.

High selling prices for homes are inflationary. The more property costs, the more money we need to make, the more we pay in property taxes and insurance.

It is a no-win situation, especially when economies collapse and people have enormous mortgage debts in the six figures. —Eric Melotik, Dearborn

 

Erratum: In last week's column by Keith A. Owens ("Whites on ice & Gumbel's gaffe," Metro Times, March 1), we misidentified the type of speed skating for which Shani Davis won his gold medal. The medal was for long-track speed skating.

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