Letters to the Editor 

An expensive lesson

I would like to thank Sarah Klein for the article "In too deep" (Metro Times, Aug. 9). I think that debt accumulation in this age bracket is, as the article pointed out, an epidemic. I myself have accumulated $8,000 in student loans in pursuit of an English degree at Wayne State University. The last semester I attended at Wayne State was at a cost of $4,500, not including books and living expenses. That amount is currently outstanding and was sent to collections by Wayne State within four weeks of the semester's end. It should also be noted that a $1,600 "late fee" was added to my outstanding balance. My total school related debt now totals $14,100 and rising. Being that I now have $6,100 in collections, I have been turned down for every loan I have attempted to get to try to consolidate and manage my debt. The whole situation has put a bad taste in my mouth in terms of school and the worth of a degree. I can no longer justify the accumulation of debt in order to receive a degree in English. I have since decided to resume my plumbing apprenticeship (the pursuit I quit in order to get my degree). It should also be noted that I will have to leave the state in order to fulfill this pursuit. Somehow, in my time at Wayne State, plumbing became more attractive than copywriting for a Hummer brochure and living to pay off a collections agency. So I will be leaving for California, the land of milk and honey, where I have a plumbing apprenticeship lined up (remember — the one I couldn't find here). I will pay off my debts over the next few years. At that point I am thinking of going back to school in California to finish my degree at a resident tuition rate next to zero. —Nicholas H. Klaus, Detroit


Too busy to think?

As a former college professor — and someone who was able to take advantage of cheap college costs years ago by actually enjoying my life before having to do the 9-to-5 thing — I'd like to comment on the article about the use of easy credit to fund education. I would go even further than Nicholas von Hoffman, quoted in the article, and suggest that while I doubt that there was any organized plan to keep students from activism or turning on and dropping out, I'm certain that many in positions of economic and political power are aware of and quite content with a system that guarantees that all or most college students will become hardworking consumers. The system just can't handle another repeat of those crazy '60s kids avoiding good ol' American responsibility. I can't tell you how many current students I've tried to encourage to take some time off and see the world (and to see how the world sees us), who tell me that it sounds like a great idea, but unfortunately they have some debts to pay first. —Dennis Summers, Royal Oak


Just desserts

What I got out of Jack Lessenberry's column "So Much For Free Speech" (Metro Times, Aug. 9) is that Michigan Supreme Court justices are willing to throw the Constitution in the trash by banning political speech to protect themselves from Geoffrey Fieger calling them nasty-poo-poo names. Maybe the upcoming midterm election is the perfect time to replace Constitution-hating politicians with candidates who love our constitutional rights. —Allen Salyer, Royal Oak


Free speech and money

Keith A. Owens' article, "The gentle touch that money can buy" (Metro Times, Aug. 9) has me very angry. Apparently, in his Free Your Mind column, Mr. Owens wants us to free our minds of any independent thought processes and accept his opinion as truth.

How can Mr. Owens equate the remarks made by Mel Gibson with Rodney King's fleeing and eluding, which endangered countless innocent motorists, or the attempted felony assault of a police officer by a drunken fool in a trailer park in Denver?

The last time I checked, our right to free speech protects not only Mel Gibson's right to make the abhorrent and offensive comments he made, drunk or sober, but also Mr. Owens' right to twist truth any way he chooses.

Money had nothing to do with the treatment Mr. Gibson received. And the comparison you made in your article is a disservice to the reading public. —Ken Adams, Detroit


Squeeze play

Re: "Pulp friction" (Metro Times, Aug. 2), great story! You did a fantastic job with this report and I want to commend you for that. I also want to commend Daniel Kotwicki III for coming forward. There is no betrayal in revealing information that affects the public, even if a relative is doing it. There's something wrong with our society when it feels a person should help cover up for a relative.

Daniel Kotwicki III is a brave individual and stand-up guy, no matter what his reasons for going public with this story. I salute him and hope that most other, objective readers and consumers do, as well. —Brian G. Walsh, Jackson


You don't know Jack

In your June 28 cinema section, Michael Hastings wrote in his review of The Shining this line about Jack Nicholson:

Despite the occasional high note, his career — like so many other '70s legends — devolved into self-parody in the '80s.

While I can't disagree entirely (The Joker doing a song-and-dance number on a float? Ouch!), I really enjoyed another portrait of breakdown in the David Mamet-toned The Pledge. Poor Jack (or his character, Detective Jerry Black), in a moment of all-too-human pity, makes a promise he desperately needs to keep, and as the investigation drags on, he slowly loses touch with what's really important around him, and we ultimately leave him walking in circles in the dust, staring at the sky. And I think Nicholson did a fine job as Col. Nathan R. Jessep in "A Few Good Men." Quoted nearly as often as "Here's Johnny!" — at least at the time — was "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!"

So for what it's worth, I think Mr. Nicholson still has what it takes. The Joker notwithstanding. —Dave Florek, San Francisco, Calif.

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