Letters to the Editor

Jul 29, 2009 at 12:00 am

Michael Jackson not above satire

Hip, hip, hurrah!
Hip, hip, hurrah!
Hip, hip, hurrah!

After reading two letters the past two weeks that disparaged the funny article that Serene Dominic wrote about Michael Jackson ("Too soon?" July 8), I feel that I should drop a line stating that I enjoyed the article. The humor reminded me of the kind employed by CREEM magazine, when they'd have some horrid heavy-metal group on the cover, then poke fun at them in the accompanying article. Almost every rock star pictured therein would have some wisecrack made of them in the caption. The lesson I learned was that there were no sacred cows in rock 'n' roll to the writers at CREEM, which is how it should be.

As far as Michael Jackson being the "King of Pop," how can anybody take that seriously? Does a monarch legitimately crown himself? Prince made three times as many albums as Michael Jackson did back in the '80s, all of which were, in my opinion, three times as good as any Michael Jackson album. Furthermore, Prince basically played all of the instruments himself, whereas Michael Jackson played none. Prince wrote hits for other artists during that period, whereas Michael Jackson, according to Deepak Chopra's son, Gotham, had lyrics co-written by him. Yet, if anyone wants to poke fun at Prince, I won't take offense. Why should I? 

About the same time that the Metro Times published Dominic's piece, Patricia Williams wrote a far more devastating article on him in The Nation. Titled "Mirror Man," she states that "If Elvis was 'the White Negro,' so Michael fashioned himself into 'the Negro Caucasian.' He literally erased himself before our eyes, his nose slowly disappearing, his skin fading to ghostly pallor, his voice growing higher and wispier." Even more disturbing than this "transgressivity" to Williams is the news that, "According to TMZ.com and other entertainment news sites, Jackson is not biologically related to any of his three children." She then muses about the ethics of "Bioengineering for specific physical traits."

I think Dominic had the right approach, and anyone who took offense at his piece should simply lighten up. I listened to some of my Jackson 5 records the day after he died, and I appreciate his accomplishments. However, I'm not about to elevate any entertainment figure to a godlike status. Nobody is perfect, even with plastic surgery and eugenics. And this imperfection is a good thing — a common denominator, if you will. Comedy can also be a great social leveling device, and no writer should be made to feel restricted from using it. —Don Handy, Mount Clemens

From the other side

I just wanted to say that I loved Jack's article about his AT&T nightmare ("Stuck in phone hell," July 8). Now here's the funny part: I used to work for AT&T both in advertising sales and wireless sales. Everything that you wrote about your experience rang so very true. The only difference between you and I is that we were on opposite sides of the fence. I have seen how the whole thing works from the top on down. You were damn right they weren't about to cancel your service. What they were going to do is keep you, or at least your wallet, connected to them. Employees are rigorously trained to do exactly what they did and that isn't about to change even in this increasingly competitive and technologically advanced marketplace. AT&T is old-school. I-Phone and U-Verse aside, if you can't treat your customers and employees right then move over because the next company will. And they are. And big companies like AT&T know it. And that's why they're desperate. They always used to say it takes years to find a loyal customer and only seconds to lose one. They also used to say that a happy customer will tell one or two people but a dissatisfied customer will tell 20. So kudos for warning your fellow consumers, and let's hope big companies like AT&T realize that if you don't have happy customers, you don't have a business. —Jamila Evans, Farmington Hills

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