Letters to the Editor

Nov 29, 2006 at 12:00 am

Compassion, not cash

Re: Jack Lessenberry's thought-provoking article on "aged-out" foster kids ("Worrying about the least of these," Metro Times, Nov. 8), those that reach 18 never having been adopted. I can honestly say I had never heard of these kids before, and I am grateful that this issue has been brought to my attention.

Though I agree that we would all be better off if this problem were fixed, and all of these young adults arrived at majority full of hope and opportunity, creating another government response to a government-created problem seems to me to be folly.

The problem with government programs, well-meaning as they may be, is that they are piss-poor replacements for caretaking and loving human beings, mainly parents.

Those on the left may cry out for more funding to fix this problem. History has proven that the multiple trillions spent on social programs have not fixed poverty, ended hunger, stopped crime, educated all the children, etc. Many on the right will simply dismiss the downtrodden as just the spawn of bad decision-making. This violates basic human compassion. Clearly we have to find a way to do better. But the answer does not lie in another program, with more public employees eating up the treasury, building more bureaucratic empires, etc. It lies with each of us looking inward, then reaching out to those in need, working with other like-minded folks to be sure all of our youth are not just provided a roof, clothes and hopefully a meal, but also a loving guardian to hug them, tuck them in, and turn out the light. That child will go to bed at peace, and wake up with hope and happiness. —Jason Vorva, Plymouth


Log on, sign up

Thank you for your article about the U.S. Army's online video game ("Kill or be Killed," Metro Times, Nov. 1). I see the United States Army will go to any lengths to recruit soldiers. But the lives of American soldiers and the lives of innocent women and children are not a game. The most frustrating part about it is, as you informed us, that we, the U.S. taxpayers, paid for this game.

In the Vietnam War, 60,000 American soldiers died. The American people were so enraged they spoke out and protested to end the war. Today there are roughly 2,800 American soldiers that have died in Iraq. Does the death toll have to get any higher for us to speak up? —Ismail F. Aljahmi, Dearborn


Seeing green

In Jack Lessenberry's column ("Reasons enough to go to the polls." Metro Times, Nov. 1), he disses the Green Party, complaining that their platform is "mainly about the war, which governors of Michigan have zero control over." Zero control indeed, but every goddamn candidate from dog catcher on up should be yelling through a bullhorn about this ruinous war, and the suicidal bid to sustain empire of which it is a part. Michigan stands a very real chance of being flushed down the toilet, along with the rest of this nation, if the neocons continue to perpetrate their psychotic agenda. Jack, you should know that the Democrats are a pathetically inadequate "alternative" — not having lifted a finger to oppose either this war, the imperial design of which it is a part, or the fascistic shenanigans that have recently accompanied it.

"They also call for Michigan to issue its own currency," he writes disparagingly. Hey, the world is itching to dump the U.S. dollar, and it is likely to do so over the next few years. That means Game Over for Michigan along with the rest of the country, unless innovative pre-emptive monetary action is taken — such as issuing our own commodities-backed currency.

After the collapse of the dollar, I want to share an $80 Starbucks jumbo latte with Jack (we'll get one cup with two straws), and I will explain to him how he might have saved his ass — i.e., his life savings — by exchanging his then-worthless greenbacks for rock-solid, reality-based Michigan scrip, with Doug Campbell's face on every one. —Alan Lewis, Ann Arbor


The art of the matter

I write to say that I am severely disappointed and frankly baffled not only by the simultaneously superior and provincial tone of Rebecca Mazzei's review of MOCAD's inaugural show ("Soft landing," Metro Times, Nov. 8), but also by its careless and uninformed criticism of several pieces in the show.

For instance, Mazzei complains of Roxy Paine's SCUMAK #2 that its "concept is dated" and that it is "irrelevant in this context." Paine's automated machine produces sculptures by squeezing a viscous, red substance onto a conveyor belt which resembles nothing so much as an assembly line — but one without people. In this, it enters into a conversation not only with the older assembly line on which persons labored (as depicted, for instance, in Diego Rivera's mural down the street) but also with the newer modes of assembly which use computer-operated machines quite similar in design and appearance to Paine's. This allusion to a history so central to Detroit's existence is amplified by the fact that the MOCAD building is itself a former car dealership.

I found Mazzei's objections to the work of other artists equally unpersuasive. It seems as if Mazzei is unhappy with contemporary art itself, which, she concludes, has "gone soft." To be sure, there is a place for an overall assessment of the contemporary art scene, say, in a review of the Whitney or Venice Biennial. But to criticize the MOCAD show because it is comprised of contemporary art is like criticizing the Metro Times because one objects to Detroit. —Jonathan Flatley, Detroit


Nippon's nibbles

I'm so glad you reviewed Yotsuba Restaurant ("Dinner arrangements, Metro Times, Nov. 15). I lived in Japan for four years and developed a love of Japanese food. When I returned to Farmington Hills, I was delighted to find a Japanese restaurant close to home. I ordered my favorite appetizer, age (pronounced AH-gay) tofu. I tasted age tofu at many restaurants all over Japan. Of course, every chef prepares the delicate sauce differently, but all share the sublime taste of ingredients providing light sweetness, light tanginess, and light greenness.

One last comment. I know exactly what your Japanese friend is talking about with regard to Japan's faults. I saw that too. But, the Japanese people are so wonderful in almost every other way, it more than makes up for those cultural manifestations. I can say without reservation that I loved every minute of experiencing Japan and the Japanese people. —Mara Katz, Farmington Hills

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