Letters to the Editor

Still up in the air

Many thanks for the Northwest Airlines mechanics benefit story (“Solidarity forsaken,” Metro Times, Aug. 31). It was a great event (although our head count was somewhat higher than reported) and a much needed morale booster for the beleaguered mechanics and cleaners. The public face of this strike has been overwhelmed by Northwest Airline’s spin master and getting the real story out there is very important to all workers.

What made the benefit so special was the work of grassroots labor activists. The party was pulled together in less than a week, and even with the ducking and dodging made necessary by union politics, it was spirited and informative.

Reports on the negotiations show that Northwest wants much larger cuts than originally planned, and restructuring that will allow Northwest to outsource some of these jobs from the United States.

Northwest’s indifference to their workers will extend to the looting of their pension funds if they are allowed to get away with their ultimate bankruptcy plans. If they succeed at this, whose future is not at jeopardy? It makes the mechanics look not greedy, but sage.

At the Labor Day parade, participants gladly accepted AMFA picket signs and vowed their support for the strikers. The story must have helped inform them, since the big dailies sent their usual suspects to report the story (it’s always so informative to read what picket-line-crosser Laura Berman thinks about strikes). Kudos to the Metro Times for bucking the trend and reporting the facts and not the corporate line. —Barbara Ingalls, Royal Oak


Do they not bleed?

Re: “Of barbecue & lynchings,” (Metro Times, Sept. 7), Mr. Owens doesn’t seem to get it — suffering is suffering. Species, religion, sex, race — doesn’t make a difference. You cut off the arm of an Asian man, white woman or chimpanzee — they all feel pain. That’s the point — how then do you start to value one individual’s suffering over another? Is an Israeli’s suffering more than a Palestinian’s? Some Israelis would say yes. Does that make it so?

Because Mr. Owens is a part of inflicting suffering on animals, he is typical in his resistance to feeling compassion for nonhuman animals on the same level that he says he feels for human animals.

Mr. Owens’ comment “... I happen to believe that human beings are simply more important than animals” are exactly what slave owners said about slaves and men said about women, not so long ago. This is the mentality that allows atrocities to take place against others — humans and animals alike. —Deniz Bolbol, Redwood City, Calif.


Us vs. them thinking

Keith Owens’ article “Of Barbecue & Lynching” was well-meaning, I’m sure. He rightly takes umbrage at PETA’s sensationalism. Owens is obviously a meat-eater who doesn’t want anything to come between him and his “plate full of ribs, steak, lamb chops, sausage and hamburger.” And he is myopic to think that the animal rights movement is simply a choice between the importance of humans versus animals.

Speaking as a black person, I can honestly tell Mr. Owens that the vegetarian and animal rights movement and the abolition of slavery in this country have historical connections. He would do well to read the book Vegetarian America: A History, by Karen and Michael Iacobbo. He might discover that the major historical figures of the vegetarian and animal rights movement in the United States, from William Alcott and Sylvester Graham to the Seventh Day Adventists, were abolitionists. Vegetarianism, among other things, springs from compassion and respect toward all creatures; it is ethically compatible with nonviolence, feminism and nonracist principles.

Missing from Owens’ assessment is the obvious: Exploitation of people and animals for profit is oppression. Is that not what slavery was all about? This point should not become, as Owens finds, a “weapon of guilt” but rather a point of departure towards enlightened action. The logic Owens uses to continue being a carnivore is similar to those put forth by conservative whites who don’t want to be “bullied” or “bothered” by guilt. Central to this logic is the red herring that fomenting guilt is the problem, and therefore I can continue with the status quo because I am not guilty.

I hope Mr. Owens reads more about vegetarianism and its links to other social movements, including the abolition of slavery. He just might put down his spare ribs — or would that take him on a journey toward feminism? —Renoir Gaither, Toledo, Ohio


Giving us pointers

Your decision to add the crossword puzzle by semi-localite Ben Tausig has been a fantastic addition to your paper. His clever use of clues and smart puzzle topics have been a joy (and a challenge). Up vote!

Your decision to replace This Modern World and Red Meat with what you now have is questionable. Both have had pedestrian beginnings that I am guessing were brought in because unlike the original two are made locally.

Boiling Point seems like a soft, simple-minded version of This Modern World. In fact, the always informative and acerbic This Modern World was one of the reasons I made sure I never missed an issue. The other new comic, The Perry Bible Fellowship, is just plain bland.

I was never a fan of Red Meat, but at least it was original and unexpected. Down vote! —Christopher Schneider, Hamtramck


Bar examination

I enjoyed your recap of Kwame Kilpatrick’s speech on the arts (Art Bar, Metro Times, Sept. 21), but I have some concerns. First, is the new gallery space just for African-Americans and, if so, does that not seem a little bit self-serving when we have great artists in Detroit that are black, white, Hispanic and Asian? Second, Kilpatrick wants to promote the film industry, but he didn’t mention what is currently going on in the city, such as the Detroit Film Center and Thought Collide Films. Finally, he mentioned that he wanted the Cultural Affairs Department back, when, in fact, I have seen more art, music, literature and film events since it has been gone. —Eric C. Novack, Detroit


Not just black and white

I would like to comment on the letter “Media Blackout” (Letters, Metro Times, Sept. 14). I sympathize with this person’s position on this matter. Personally I think all missing persons are equally important, regardless of social class or race, but I’m not surprised when the media discriminate. The media, in all forms, are businesses, not public services. They handpick the news stories we see.

Let’s face it, an attractive, 17-year-old, white, blond honors student missing in Aruba (on her senior class trip) sells, in a marketing sense, in white America. It has all the right ingredients for a national story. This has nothing to do with race and everything to do with marketing. I guarantee you there are “less attractive” missing white girls that didn’t make the news. —Tim Ivers, Troy


Erratum: In our Short Order section “Fish so fresh” (Metro Times, Sept. 21), we incorrectly identified Lily’s Seafood as a restaurant that offers sushi. Though Lily’s specializes in fish, they do not offer sushi. We regret any inconveniences to our loyal readers.

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Metro Times Staff

Since 1980, Metro Times has been Detroit’s premier alternative source for news, arts, culture, music, film, food, fashion and more from a liberal point of view.
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