Fringe benefits

Metro Detroit is a region divided. Whether it’s East Side vs. West Side, suburbs vs. city, players vs. haters, or just plain entrepreneurs vs. everybody else, these divisions leave a lasting legacy. They leave an area that could be working together for the common good mired in unproductive infighting. Instead of a vibrant, integrated region that puts a premium on the common welfare, we have battling camps that fight over the spoils and point fingers. It’s a sad fact of life, one covered in our news stories year after year.

But the same divisions that stall progress in the Detroit area make for a very entertaining letters section. Poring over letters from recent years, it occurs to us that the section is one massive rhetorical demolition derby, featuring outraged patriots, contentious greens, outraged prudes, disappointed anarchists, outraged anti-vivisectionists, appalled Hindus, outraged right-wingers, baffling weirdoes or simply people angry at Dan DeMaggio.

The good news is that the unfiltered American debate is about a million times more entertaining than any of the sleep-inducing talk shows, where well-dressed people offer calculated opinions with a reasoned air. Far away from the carefully stage-managed debates, the elements of entertainment abound: mythological views of world politics, vein-bulging anger at any dissent, implied threats of bodily harm and the strange expectation that all articles critical of power must appear alongside an article lavishly praising power.

In the spirit that sunlight is the best disinfectant, we weekly air opinions of all stripes in our letters section: supportive and critical, helpful and hostile, careful and crazy. Here are some of the most entertaining ones we could find.

The Vagina Monologues

I am writing about the picture on the front page for the article "Building a better vagina." I feel that the in-your-face photo was truly over-the-top. I’m not naïve about the articles in Metro Times, nor do I even think positively of the personals or sexually explicit materials that are strategically placed throughout the paper, but there is a time when it gets outright nasty. I feel that this photo is outright nasty! In the future, please don’t follow the lead of "smut" newspapers. Believe me, there are too many out there already. I enjoy Metro Times, but let’s keep it clean.

Gonadal politics

As much as I enjoy Jack Lessenberry’s weekly liberal take on the Shrub and world politics in general, I would really love to hear his thoughts on laser vaginal rejuvenation, especially since the online version of his column features a prominent ad from these very important "doctors."

Come on people: Gimmie a break! The few of us out in the world who tune in on Wednesdays to read this guy’s op-ed about how to make the world a better place now have to stare at an ad featuring a model with an expensive new tight-twat? For real?

It’s not that I’m sensitive and find it offensive — that’s far from the case. I do question the placement, though, and, like I said, I’d love to hear Jack’s thoughts on it. Maybe someone did a study and found that people who read Lessenberry are concerned about such things, but I doubt it.

Raw poseur

What a wrongheaded editorial decision to devote an entire page — the week of the Detroit reunion of Iggy and the Stooges — to the overwrought, pretentious musings of a Canadian (for god’s sake!) rock connoisseur-poseur, whose considered opinion (barely discernible through the muck of his prose) is that Kiss was better than Iggy and the Stooges. This is a joke, right? I’m old enough to have actually seen the early Stooges shows Jeffrey Morgan mentions, and the reality was every bit as powerful as the "myth" that has arisen about them. Clearly, as evidenced by his own writing style, Morgan prefers the use of layers of hideous pancake makeup and cheesy costuming — or, journalistically, an outdated "gonzo" wordiness — which conceal an absence of substance and originality. I’m all for pointing out when the emperor is wearing no clothes, but the whistle-blower must speak truth to power. Morgan is simply a dork, a fool with bad taste. Metro Times should be ashamed for pulling this prank on its readers.

Ooooooh … burn!

I think your review on the new White Stripes album is ignorant at best. You did not tell me anything about the record. It was more of a sissy-ass rant about the beef between you and Jack. I cannot take a word of what you wrote seriously. Jack and Meg are more successful than any rock band to come out of Detroit in a long time, so it is not surprising that there would be gold-diggers and back-stabbers like you lurking out there. I used to respect your reviews, but now I won’t read a word that you write. It was unprofessional for you to even write the review when you know that the White Stripes were not happy with your preemie of a "book."

Did you think you really burned Jack by calling him John? That is a real burn! Oh, snap!

I’m sure that really broke his heart. Maybe he will tell Bob Dylan about it some day!

Do yourself a favor, keep personal problems out of our Metro Times!


I can’t believe the nerve of Metro Times selling out the image of Detroit putting Eminem on the cover, and, of all things, he’s pointing the finger at Eight Mile Road, which he doesn’t even come from. How much did these people get paid to glorify that untalented ass-clown Eminem in your articles? I think Metro Times upset Detroit big-time, putting Eminem on the front cover and pointing the middle finger at Detroit and all its readers. As far as I’m concerned, Eminem is an insult to real Detroiters and the art of hip hop itself. Eminem is just a pop artist. Eminem is a fake-ass puppet rapper who has to put on a front to the Britney Spears and ’N Sync culture to sell records. Let’s just dismiss Eminem as the fake bullshit artist he really is, and next time Metro Times can interview a real artist, who actually respects Detroit for the beautiful city it is.


Just because Jack White now looks like Michael Jackson doesn’t give him the right to beat up other people.

Enraged by bad review

I am so glad that your one-sided, totally closed-minded book review for The Five People You Meet in Heaven was not printed in the Free Press. I thought you came across sounding like such an idiot. On the other hand, if your review was printed, it may help the book sales (not that it is needed at No. 1) because I will never read a book that you like. Secondly, the book was short and not too complicated. It is very easy to read in a few hours, and it is just right to myself and many others. I think you’re an idiot. Go find a different profession, please, because you’re the one who should get a bad review!

Thanks for sharing

I’m a 38-year-old, college-educated white male who likes to wear thongs, g-strings and slingshots in public. Of course, I’m wearing super-low-slung jeans. And when a woman walks by I like to flash her my thong.

It’s great to see the reactions. A large majority of women enjoy the show.

Red-state myths

Reading the letters section of Metro Times, I needed to respond to a letter-writer. This person must have just had a huge, hot slice of right-wing cornbread and washed it down with Rev. George W. Jones’ special Kool-Aid.

Excuse me, the Republican Party is for the working people? Trying to roll back safety regulations, trying to end overtime pay, trying to bust up unions and giving tax cuts to the richest 1 percent of the population? I don’t think the working class supports any of that.

This stuff insults my intelligence.

Worst analogy ever

It amazes me how Lessenberry refuses all logic and reason in everything he writes and instead uses continual emotional invective to brainwash the idiot masses.

His latest column is exactly the ignorant, liberal garbage that brought us 9/11 in the first place. Big deal if Iraq has a fourth-rate army and a population the size of Texas. I guess a 4-foot midget with a .22 (waiting in your house when you get home) is quite a bit less dangerous than a 10-foot guerilla with a .44 (waiting in your house when you get home). I prefer not to take the chance on either happening. And it just amazes me how you lying hypocrites can assault Bush I for not "finishing" the job the first time around when all you did was protest that he sent troops there in the first place. I really wish that you ignorant, insecure liberal pukes would just deal with the fact that you’re socially paranoid and completely worried about not being accepted. That way you can deal with your dysfunction in a healthy, rational way; instead of hiding behind the holier-than-thou, I’m-always-right-because-I’m-liberal" propaganda that continually dribbles from your mouths.

There are two things that I hope for:

1.) If there is another terrorist attack on this country, I truly hope it’s Lessenberry and his entire family who is murdered, and not mine.

2.) I hope everything that you people say about Bush is true. In that way, he will turn into a monster dictator and have all of you liberal pukes executed. You should hope for this too because it would put you out of your misery.

Good day and fuck off

Disturbed by letter

I hope I never bump into the guy who wrote that letter. The anger expressed in his letter to the editor was as disturbing to me as the thought of war in Iraq or any place else. Anger is anger. Hatred is hatred. Fear is fear. Nothing will change for the better as long as these are the governing emotions that reside in people.

If you have children, I can only hope that you are not passing your anger on to them. There is a lot to be angry about in this world, but to go so far as to practically wish someone and their family dead? That is the energy that leads to war and terrorism, not "ignorant, liberal garbage."

Green horizons

Oh, wah-wah-wah — the Dems are crying again how the Greens "handed" a Republican an election. I can’t wait for the day that the Democrats wake up and realize that they are so much like the Republicans that many progressives can’t stomach the thought of voting for them and therefore have run to the Green Party, where people are pushing for real change.

The Green Party is the only party taking a critical look at this hocuspocus "war" on "terrorism," our ever-eroding civil rights and our ever growing dependency on corporations and corporate money. I watched a movie on some cheesy cable channel about the life of RFK. Back in the late ’60s, he was saying exactly the same things that the Green Party is saying now — and he was a Democrat. So what in the hell happened to that party in 35-odd years? I mean, other than corporations, the almighty dollar and Al Gore. When the Dems are pointing their money-grubbing, corporate-loving finger at Green Party, they should remember that four fingers are pointing back at themselves.

No foreign entanglements

I enjoyed reading Jack Lessenberry’s article, but disagree with him that Bush should not be impeached. Bush’s deception has not just caused the deaths of thousands of civilians and hundreds of soldiers, but it also has put every American more at risk from terrorist attacks. Terrorist leaders such as Bin Laden will certainly use the war on Iraq to recruit many new followers. A libertarian foreign policy of neutrality and honest friendship to all nations, as espoused by George Washington, would be the best solution to reducing the hostility in that region. For straying from the intentions of our founders, for deceiving the American people, and for causing many needless deaths, I believe that the President should be impeached. We should hold our leaders accountable for their actions, especially when their actions cause death and endanger the nation.

Eyeless in Gaza

Ms. LaFave’s interview with Huwaida Arraf of the ISM was very straightforward, but, of course, what Ms. Arraf stated is the biggest piece of propaganda known to modern history. Her summary quote "It’s really an issue of occupation and terrorism of occupation" is the most warped statement ever made.

The Palestinians would kill every Jew and destroy Israel if they could. If there were no roadblocks, innocent civilians would be killed every day. The Palestinians are training their babies to hate Jews and Israelis and their "government" doesn’t even recognize the existence of the state of Israel.

Unfortunately, Ms. Arraf is only 27 years old. She, as well as so many misled people, does not know that the Arabs in the area have been killing Jews since before the creation of Israel.

Listen to Tutu

One Allan Gale is quoted as saying that comparing Israel to South Africa is "totally absurd." I will take the word of Archbishop Tutu above that of Mr. Gale, and he said that apartheid South Africa was a picnic compared to Israel. South Africa never had Apache helicopters sending missiles and bombs into densely populated civilian areas. It never had days and weeks in which entire towns were not allowed locked in, not allowed to leave. It never had dozens of women delivering babies at checkpoints while leering soldiers watched because they were not allowed to reach medical facilities. I could go on, but I suggest that Mr. Gale pay a visit to the Occupied Territories before burdening the paper’s readers with his unconsidered opinion.

False choices 101

Maybe you are right. Maybe we should just sit here and be blown to hell whenever the Iraqis, along with many other Arab countries, are ready. We stand between them and Israel and I pray that we continue to help Israel as much as we can, although we should be doing so much more for them. Not only do we help Israel, we have a great country, and they can’t stand to see any place that isn’t ruined by the Muslim religion. By the way, have you read the Qu’ran? And more importantly, do you understand what it says? If so, you might quake in fear of what could be the greatest destruction of this country that you can imagine. Sept. 11 should give you a clue about what Muslims intend for us. They haven’t given up, nor will they. So maybe we should just wait for more of their evil instead of trying to do something about it before it happens! They say ignorance is bliss so I guess you’re in hog heaven!

Be more judgmental

How could you be so neo-conservative and corrupt as to allow Santa holding a gun to be placed on the current cover of your Holiday Survival Guide? Don’t you know that you are endorsing the ultra right-wing and the NRA by doing this? It almost forced me to not to even take it home, but I did so by tearing the cover off and leaving it at the stand. Wouldn’t a person trying to survive in the jungle been more suitable? What am I going to see next: a story on how a drug addicted Rush Limbaugh is a role model for coming clean? Or maybe how we should support that liar-tyrant President Bush in the next election? In the future, please try and be more judgmental on what you place on the cover. Always remember that not everybody may read the Metro Times, but I bet almost everybody in the metro Detroit area sees the cover. Including — and most importantly — children.

It’s called a corrective

I find it curious that you had a large article complaining about the "lack of fair reporting" in the American media and were disgruntled by most news channels not having anti-war voices, while your magazine has been nothing but anti-war propaganda. Where are your pro-war voices?

Don’t patronize us

It’s so annoying when straight people oversimplify the struggle gay people go through. Gay folks suffer discrimination every day. Not just from employers, landlords and family members but from strangers and even friends. It can feel like bleeding to death from a thousand paper cuts. Because of this we are usually the toughest bitches in any crowd. We don’t need a pat on the back from condescending liberal straight guys who just want to let us know that they think we’re OK. Don’t do us any favors.

We found the WMD?

I just wanted to send you a quick response to let you know how much your article sickens me. This is a perfect example of how the media is so biased and caters to you liberal freaks. I will have to do some investigating as to whether there was an article praising Bush for his tremendous job as president next to yours. For one moment, let’s forget about 9/11 and al Qaeda and talk about Saddam Hussein and the Middle East and the true reason why we went to war. Do you not think, in that pea-brain mind of yours, that Saddam Hussein was not a threat to this entire world? His daily schedule would consist of murder, rape, lying, cheating, etc. Do you not think that this man, ruling a country, who turned it into his own personal Sodom and Gomorrah against the people’s will, deserves to be brought down from power?

I think it would be safe to say that our country is in much better hands with Georgie in office than our adulterous Mr. Clinton. George Bush has not lied to us, not once. There were plenty of weapons found, and still in the process. I can’t wait until he gets re-elected to laugh in your liberal face. How about this one? Which one would you rather have as a president?

A: A man with morals to help raise our country the way it should be. A man who has the smarts to sign a law to ban partial birth abortion. Yes, that is the murdering of innocent children, when they are in the process of being born!

B: A man who vetoed the bill, twice! A man who, along with his wife, will march in the gay pride parades in New York City, but not in the St. Patrick Day parades because they are too catholic. This is disgusting.

And to see an article like yours is even more disgusting. Hope your liberal freak views don’t kill ya!

A pan for Dan

Dan DeMaggio: I thought your article on the Rockettes was obnoxious and lacking any sort of journalistic integrity. Opinions are what they are, but I would think you could be a little more creative in your distaste for the show without out mentioning drugs and cameltoes. Maybe that’s why you’re not writing for The New York Times. I heard they’re making a sequel to the Beavis and Butt-head movie, though, so maybe they need another writer? Have fun in Detroit, and maybe, if we’re all lucky, you’ll be shot by Ted Nugent.

Damn you, Dan!

Would someone please give Dan DeMaggio $20 for a blow job? But who would want to waste their money when he obviously can’t get it up or keep it up. How sad to see just how limp his fantasy life and anatomy are when there are 20 beautiful women dancing their legs off and the poor "14-year-old" doesn’t even get to see some "snatch" — or was it "bush"? Is he mad because they have husbands and boyfriends and girlfriends and friends? Or is it because he knows if they had a choice between celibacy, masturbation and him, he would come in fourth? Dan, whatever it was that you were on during the Rockettes’ performance, you paid way too much.

Really hates Lessenberry

I have a dream … that Jack Lessenberry would shut the fuck up and let Keith Owens have his editorial page in the Metro Times.

I think Lessenberry is the most redundant, self-centered narrow-minded writer ever to be in Metro Times. I read his article this week, and all I got to say is, "Grow some balls, Jack, and say what you got to say without dissecting quotes from good people, like Martin Luther King Jr., who are intellectually and spiritually superior to your crackerjack mold. If you got something bad to say about blacks, then say it and quit hiding behind other people’s opinions and words, because doing so is not editorializing but an act of sheer cowardice. You are not speaking for anybody but yourself when you beat around the bush."

There are several better columnists that could grace the pages of Metro Times besides Jack Lessenberry. If I were your boss Jack I would fire your ass.

No dogs or white kids

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for stating it so well. The answer is definitely not having a whole lot of whites and their kids (I see and hear enough of these "kids" every fucking weekend) and dogs (well, maybe that’s OK) move into the city. Many suburban "Detroit" people are so nasally provincial it’s sickening. They are nearly completely interchangeable with citizenry of such places as Aurora, Ill., Shaker Heights, Ohio, Bloomington, Minn. Or even Lodi, N.J. These are people who are to be laughed at, perversely proud of their inability to deal with diversity of any sort. Most of these people haven’t had an original thought since Christ was a kitten. Thanks again for telling Jack, but ever so politely, just what an asshole he is. But hey, he likes it.

You’ve got a fan, Tom!

[This letter came with an enclosure, an editorial by Detroit News columnist Thomas Bray.]

Read a real columnist who is white, heterosexual (man and women for those of you in New Fallujah: Detroit) religious and conservative. (Those four words are something You People just cringe when hearing. These white columnists in the news are worth reading, because they tell it like it is about you liberal minority liars on the left. Now, read this and maybe you’ll learn something, since nobody reads your white-male-hatin’ trash paper that I wipe my ass with every morning. Also, tell CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, The View and the feminazis that until they change their attitude, nobody will watch the Bush-haters.

Why don’t you move to France!!

Really hates paying taxes

How unfortunate for readers that a basic economics class is not a requirement for the communist-in-residence position held by Jack Lessenberry!

I just made the last $700 monthly payment on a $30,000 income tax bill, admittedly a good problem to have, incurred from my old business in Ohio. This is the way liberals like Lessenberry reward job-creating entrepreneurs like me. Lessenberry thinks I should make more $700 monthly payments so poor little Wayne State University students won’t have to pay higher tuition.

No thanks, Jack. Let them quit college, start a business and pay taxes like I did or pay the higher tuition and shut up.

Lessenberry accurately describes himself as a "progressive." That is, progressively transferring more and more hard-earned wealth from the productive risk-takers to the nonproducers. No matter how much altruistic spin you put on it, it is morally wrong and counterproductive. You cannot tax your way to prosperity.

I’m awaiting the results of the Michigan Residential Builders licensing exam I took last Friday. I hope I’ll be starting another business, which will put Michiganders to work. That is, if the state of Michigan believes my efforts should be rewarded by letting me keep most of the fruits of my risk and labor, unlike Lessenberry.

Call and response

As evidenced by that letter-writer, not even 100 progressive-liberal-communists can generate as much whining in their entire lives as can a single capitalist-conservative in five minutes on the subject of taxation.

Perhaps, with the aid of his entrepreneurial job-creating know-how, he can devise a morally correct and noncounterproductive mechanism that will pay the teachers that educate his future workers, build the highways that will carry him and his workers to job sites, pay the police who prevent said jobsites from being ransacked, and, most importantly, maintain a sewer system that can swirl away his tired right-wing bullshit before it gets any stinkier.

If he can’t figure one out, then surely such a sainted, hard-done-by wretch as himself can continue his deliberations in one of those countries where no entity pays any taxes whatsoever.

In the spirit of letting our readers have the last word, we’d like to close with this short note we received from somebody who wrote a long letter calling us "ignorant" "capitalist-hating liberals" who need to "get off the rich’s asses" and, as far as the war goes, "choke it up and deal with it."

Yes, you can run the response. I’d prefer not to give out my phone number, especially in light of the subject matter. Political debate has become very emotional recently and I’d rather keep my opinions nameless.

Michael Jackman is a writer and copy editor for Metro Times and puts together the letters section every week. Send comments to [email protected]

About The Author

Michael Jackman

Born in 1969 at Mount Carmel hospital in Detroit, Jackman grew up just 100 yards from the Detroit city line in east Dearborn. Jackman has attended New York University, the School of Visual Arts, Northwestern University and Wayne State University, though he never got a degree. He has worked as a bar back, busboy,...
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