Letters to the Editor

The naked truth

I read with interest your review of Michele Tarailo's show Ebb and Flow ("'She' is the landscape," Oct. 22). As curator of the exhibition, it was my suggestion to use the image of the embracing couple on the cover of the Art Gallery of Windsor's newsletter. The image was chosen because it was a recent work by the artist and it reproduced well in color. As you can tell from the image in your article, much of Tarailo's work is monochromatic, densely layered and difficult to reproduce.

It never occurred to me that this image would "titillate" or "mislead" anyone. Nudity in art has many meanings largely based on social and cultural values. Perhaps your misunderstanding is a reflection of Canadians' more relaxed attitude toward the body. Most Canadians and Europeans are perplexed by America's obsession with the body as evidenced in the protracted debates about abortion, stem cell research and race. But surely, even in this highly charged context, Tarailo's meek, embracing couple suggests vulnerability and the power of relationships to overcome the often cruel entanglements of daily life rather than anything untoward.

Everyone brings their own experiences, desires and level of maturity to the interpretation of art. Galleries are full of nudes and some individuals will inevitably interpret these works as sexually arousing or morally offensive. But those seeking titillation are more likely to find it in the back section of Metro Times or similar publications than in an art gallery's newsletter. —James Patten, Windsor, Ontario

The straight dope

I'm 76 years young, and I hope before I die that this nonsense about continuing to criminalize the medical use of marijuana comes to an end ("Yes on Prop. 1," Oct. 22). The offense is not in using marijuana for medical purposes. The offense is arresting people who do.

For more than seven decades I've not smoked marijuana — yet — but if I should develop a medical condition that subjected me to severe pain or nausea which would be alleviated by smoking pot, I wouldn't hesitate a second to use it. One's quality of life trumps uninformed bias every time.

We have long benefited from medical alcohol, medical cocaine, medical opium, medical heroin, medical hemlock, medical LSD and even medical botox for wrinkles. (Botulinum Toxin is one of the most poisonous naturally occurring toxins in the world. It has even been developed for use in chemical warfare!)

But not medical marijuana? That's ridiculous!

Anything can be abused ... alcohol, food, driving a car, candy. Should we criminalize sex, politics or the stock market because they might be abused? God knows they have been — by all age groups! Marijuana itself has also been used and abused for thousands of years and will continue to be for thousands more.

Is marijuana a 'gateway' drug? No more so than peanut butter. Alcohol is the young teen's gateway drug of choice. It's street-accessible and more abused than most other street drugs. Teen alcoholism is common. Who ever heard of "marijuanaism?"

Marijuana abuse is a completely different issue, unrelated to medical marijuana.

I urge you to vote "yes" to pass Michigan's Medical Marijuana Amendment. Your vote of approval on November's ballot will benefit tens of thousands of patients, and perhaps someday you and I might be one of them. Thank you for giving the issue serious thought.
—William F. Brabenec, Attica

Legalize it

After listening to the Oct. 23 WJR debate between Dianne Byrum and Bill Schuette regarding Proposal 1, I was dismayed by the lack of integrity again displayed by Schuette.

Far from the truth is his apparent belief that he is the moral compass on this issue. Schuette admits to his past recreational marijuana use yet expects us to believe he's now so passionate that the ailing should be jailed for use under their doctors' advice, that he's devoted himself to the cause? How can we take seriously the argument that access to a safe and effective medicine for the sick should be denied, but youthful recreational use of the same substance is just a mistake to be learned from? The hypocrisy and cruelty are galling.

Schuette epitomizes a familiar faction of public servants who insist that we should do as they say and not as they do, even if that means arresting the seriously ill. He also represents how out of touch far too many public servants are with the concerns and will of the citizens.

The arguments of those opposed to Proposal 1 have been comprised of blatant lies and a total distortion of the facts. By making his case through dishonest means Schuette has lost all credibility.

Our system is corrupted and broken, and Schuette is a shining example of how badly change is needed. That change will begin on Nov. 4, with the passage of Proposal 1. —David Light, Saginaw

Less than best, Pt. 1

I have always enjoyed and participated in Metro Times Best of contest ("Best of Detroit 2008," Oct. 15), however I did not appreciate the comments regarding Indian Village home foreclosures and cheap gas in Highland Park. Joking about foreclosures is grossly insensitive, and while Highland Park has had a multitude of problems, telling outsiders to go there for cheap gas then telling them to watch their backs is an insult to the residents of Highland Park. I realize that many of the comments come from readers, but you do have an editor — whom I hope reads this. —Linda Willis, Detroit

Less than best, Pt. 2

I am just reading your Metro Times best-of issue. You put a Honda and a Toyota as your best buys in Detroit? With all us auto-workers out of jobs? Do you dare to put that there? There's nobody that works for Honda or Toyota buying anything in your magazine or doing anything for anybody in this city. ... This is insulting. I work for Ford and I'm going to take this article and post it online so that every auto-worker and UAW worker sees this and sees what you think of us auto-workers! —Anonymous, left on our voice mail

Our reply: We hate to point this out, but it wasn't our call. It was our readers who selected Toyota for Best Used Car and Plymouth's Victory Honda as Best Place to Buy a Car. They voted, we published the results and we are sorry for any hurt feelings among our auto-working brothers and sisters.

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226; faxes to 313-961-6598; e-mail to [email protected]. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.

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