At the recent kaBOOM! opening at MONA, I wonder if reviewer Glen Mannisto was paying attention ("Eve of destruction," Metro Times, March 13-19). Apparently, I was a "guy pounding ... a cello or bass with a big hammer" instead of a woman who destroyed a cello with first a saw, then an ax. It seems as though he came late, made a quick lap, then bolted out the door. How can he claim to know the show's intentions and attack MONA's billing as a contemporary art museum?
The ignorance of the crowd was appalling. The show was about deconstructing art and participants crossed the line, attempting to demolish the museum. The director was forced to put out fires and prevent the big-screen TV from being smashed. I understand why warning labels are printed on Styrofoam cups to prevent scalding.
Why are critics of MONA so eager to seek and destroy? Just like those ignorant few who smashed as much as they could, why can't they look at what we have instead of bitching about what MONA isn't? kaBOOM! was a bold attempt to do something different. It is a fledgling institution, opening up the dialogue and space so other contemporary museums can flourish as well. Don't try to stomp it out. —Lucie Bourgeau, [email protected], Ferndale
Kudos to Keith A. Owens for his column ("A racial fantasia," Metro Times, April 3-9). It really spoke to the difficulties of addressing American racism: we really can’t agree on what it is. And what’s the deal with archconservatives such as George F. Will and Wade Connerly quoting the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall? It’s bad enough that they’re perfectly comfortable quoting out of context. But it’s even worse to think that the very programs conservatives are railing against were created or inspired by the same activists they’re quoting.
You could just chalk this up to ignorance of our country’s history. But the deeper issue is that any national consensus on racism’s definition and its effects has been hard-won and often required bloodshed. Dealing with racism is frightening for some, so it’s easier for the simple-minded to work with a very limited understanding of it. This makes it easy for the wrong-headed — like Will and Connerly — to turn even the most noble philosophies upside down to maintain or re-establish any racist status quo. —Chris Turner, Oak Park
Smoke and mirrors
The biggest problem with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s surveillance and compliance monitoring ("Shadow of Dow," Metro Times, March 27-April 2) is that any data or no data is acceptable from the surveyed community. When we were writing the Detroit River remedial action second report, we had to use censored date and estimates to arrive at probable loadings. The same is true today for the renewable operating permits for the Detroit wastewater treatment plant, the Detroit trash incinerator and the proposed Minergy incinerator. We have to insist on the best pollution-control technologies and not be misled by self-monitoring reports. —Saulius Simoliunas, Detroit
Uncovering a cover-up
Thanks to Curt Guyette for his article about the dioxin problem in Midland. This is a major problem in our state and is only the tip of the iceberg. Dow's windbags, the mayor and the chamber guy seemed to get too much coverage, however, glossing over the crisis and worried about their phony image. The DEQ rep didn't say anything worthwhile either because he'd get fired. The fact that they excluded the environmentalists from the meetings after they made presentations is a sign of an obvious cover-up. —Mary C. LaFrance, Southgate
Honor thy partner
Jack Lessenberry, your column about Jennifer Granholm and Daniel Mulhern was a cheap shot ("The art of dropping names," Metro Times, March 27-April 2). It criticizes Mulhern for using his wife's last name as his middle name, accusing him of "name dropping" because of his "more famous wife." In fact, Mulhern legally took Granholm as his middle name when they were wed — long before she ran for elected office — and Granholm uses Mulhern as her middle name. What's wrong with each spouse honoring the other in this way? Sounds more like a strong, "equal partnership" marriage rather than a negative. —Eric Cholack, Northville
Run, Lana, run
Your Jack Lessenberry has done politically active Democrats in the State of Michigan a good turn by exposing their minds and hearts to the possibility of Lana Pollock running against Carl Levin for the Senate this year ("The myth of Carl Levin," Metro Times, April 3-9). Democrats in the State of Michigan have been hungering for more than a decade for a candidate who is doing some original and necessary thinking on environmental and foreign policy issues. I would like to get excited about a candidate, and Lana Pollock is someone I can get excited about. —Daniel Duane Spyker, [email protected], Detroit