I was touched by Jack Lessenberry’s column, “Our animals, ourselves” (Metro Times, Dec. 8). It immediately reminded me of an excerpt from Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being: “True human goodness, in all its purity and freedom, can come to the fore only when its recipient has no power. Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view) consists of its attitude toward those who are at its mercy: animals. And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”
I’d like to thank the hard workers at the Humane Society. —Melanie Stevenson, Ann Arbor, [email protected]
My reading of Jack Lessenberry usually is due to either Michael Corleone’s reminder to “keep your friends close and your enemies closer,” or the adage to “know your competition,” which always succeeds in amusing my politically Democratic son. But one thing that was proved by Lessenberry’s article regarding the state of animal care in Detroit is that even the most ardent of political opposites can find common ground in this world. A dog lover? Awesome. A dog walker? Even more awesome. Guinea pigs? OK, extra points, I suppose. In my book, Jack Lessenberry is now more than an OK guy, and I mean that in the most understated but sincere way. Good luck to the Michigan Humane Society. —Tom Maletic, Canton
Jack’s right, we need a sweep
Re: Jack Lessenberry’s editorial, “Kay Everett and other woes” (Metro Times, Dec. 1), I was so pleased to see someone who feels the same way about the city of Detroit as I do. I have never lived in the city, nor do I plan to in the near future. I do, however, live close enough to see the shambles that lie in the epicenter of our great metropolis. The City Council is a joke. The use of the word “inbred” in your editorial could not have been more appropriate. The mayor is almost laughable in his actions, if they weren’t so pathetic. Detroit not only needs a clean sweep, it deserves it. The potential for regrowth is still there, but one begins to ask oneself how much longer that will hold true. Keep up the good work. —Shance Carlisle, St. Clair Shores
Detroit: Remains to be seen
“Detroit is dying”? Have you seen Detroit lately? I’m not talking about that rapid, white-knuckled drive through the city, but an actual exploration of the many new housing developments, condos, lofts, nightclubs and restaurants going up in this town. This isn’t to keep “… anyone who can afford to …” from leaving. This city doesn’t give a damn about them. These improvements are to woo suburbanites back into Detroit.
You call the African Town proposal, “horrendously stupid.” Am I stupid for wanting to spend my money (that’s right, Detroiters do have money) at businesses owned by black residents of Detroit who want to provide a central place to shop, eat and do business? This concept isn’t new, suburbanites are experts at it. No, it won’t bring money from the suburbs, but what white person is going to spend their money at a black-owned Detroit establishment that hasn’t been approved by the Metro Times food critics?
Those who have stayed in Detroit do not see a dying city. We see a city struggling and slowly succeeding at making a comeback. Whether it will benefit those who have stuck it out remains to be seen. —Cassandra Agee, Detroit
The beat goes on
Re: your article about Roy Brooks (“Drumming up support,” Metro Times, Dec. 8), I knew and worked with Roy from about 1996 to 1998 — I used to project 16mm films while he performed. One of the gigs we did was the opening of the museum of African-American history in 1997, another at Bert’s Marketplace, etc.
Yes, he’s one talented man. I enjoyed working with him, although it was not always easy to work with him, but I was glad to have the opportunity. —Julie Meitz, Detroit, [email protected]
Terrific article/review of Michael Luchs’ underpublicized exhibition (“Revolutionary rabbits,” Metro Times, Dec. 8). You are always so effective in providing the social and aesthetic context for an artist’s work, which certainly broadens one’s appreciation of Luch’s accomplishment. —Dennis Nawrocki, Detroit
Whose revolution was it?
You have to stop printing this nonsense by John Bow from Birmingham. This country was built by the outcasts of British society, who, in turn, killed the natives and made them seem like they were the bad guys, enslaved my ancestors, reaped the benefits of free labor to make this the largest economical cess-pot in the world, and then made it so that the rich are rewarded, while the poor keep working with no reward.
You cannot be serious, John. How can you compare the two issues? If we were to kill the Iraqis, put American colonists there, then have our colonists revolt — then you have a comparison. These Iraqi people don’t like us; they probably would really hate us if they read your senseless remarks. I’ve rambled on and on for two weeks about your stupid-ass letter. Don’t make stupid comparisons, suburbanite. I also know what some people are going to think after reading this: “If you don’t like it, why don’t you just leave?” How’s this for an answer, I’m going to stay and make my own way like the colonists. Since I didn’t come here by choice, and leaving is not an easy solution, might as well take advantage of the fruits of the land. —Randelle Ripton, Detroit
Southpaw strikes back
Re: Joel Beckett’s essay, “Dear Angry Left” (Metro Times, Nov. 17), I sense an equally angry conservative in his piece. The tone of Beckett’s two cents’ worth was interestingly caustic considering he should be more assured in light of his party’s affirming victory on Nov. 2nd.
Conservatism now has two intellectual poles that seem to contradict each other. One is a cynical idealism represented by the neo-cons. This is the dominant pole now in terms of power.
The other, our English teacher from the southwest side represents, is naive realism. This more submissive, common form of conservatism looks back to the “Kennedys, Trumans and Moynihans” as OK substitutes for conservatives for lack of any better choice. They see the world as Ronald Reagan might have. And as studied as any of the stale think tanks they subscribe to, they like to believe they see the world as it is in all its static black and whites.
Unfortunately for them they are not only out of step with events as they spiral into the chaos of their own logic but also are an anachronism in their own Republican Party.
And of late, have sounded more and more anxious, confused and downright resentful, at the left no less, for being forced into voting for Bush despite his obvious contradictory policies against conservatism, like ballooning deficits, unfair tax structures, nation-building, lying about national security matters, advancing social agendas and on and on.
These policies have little to do with true and well-thought-out conservatism, which at least had consistency going for it.
And so Joel Beckett either hasn’t really thought out why he voted for Bush or he really isn’t a conservative. And until he sorts that out, he really doesn’t have much to offer in advice to the left. —Ed Sweeney, Detroit
MT fair on condo clash
Great story on Slattery and the Venn Manor (“Condo clash,” Metro Times, Nov. 3). As an old friend of Leslie and Pete Malcolmson and an admirer of Bob Slattery, I’m caught in the middle. You did a great job capturing both sides and addressing the most critical issue — fixing code violations.
To be sure, the units are wonderful, some of the best urban rehabs around. But the nickel-and-dime complaints are numerous. Then again, lawsuits against developers regionwide are numerous, even with the supposed best of the best.
Slattery takes buildings that may have been abandoned 20 years, deals with landlords that want millions for their old properties, and finds it tougher to get qualified help.
With a thoughtful approach, maybe more community mediation, projects like Slattery’s will continue to grow, while resident satisfaction will increase. People also forget that, for something like 25 years, relatively no new housing was built.
Hopefully, more people will come on board, bringing down the costs and bringing up the density in neighborhoods like Midtown. —Maureen McDonald, Detroit
Erratum: Due to an editorial error, the review of Outrageous Cherry’s album, Why Don’t We Talk About Something Else (Spun, Metro Times, Dec. 15), was mistakenly credited to Johnny Loftus. It was written by Shannon McCarthy.Send comments to [email protected]