Darn good interview
Re: Travis R. Wright's story on Chris Bathgate ("Salt of the Earth," May 11), Chris is a friend of mine and (secretly) has been a huge influence and inspiration to my own music. I just wanted to say thank you for the glowing and provocative write up you did on him.
It's always seemed that good interviews feel cathartic — especially in the sense that they're not the dry, generic questions that are so often imposed. You took the time to really dive into an artist and a beautifully written narrative ensued. Here's to good journalism! I commend you. —Joe Hertler, Mount Pleasant
Don't tax beer
Re: "Snyder house rules" (May 18), Jack Lessenberry's claim that a higher beer tax won't hurt because people who drink beer tend to be wealthy is flat-out wrong. A 2007 study found that households earning less than $50,000 a year pay half of all beer taxes, which are 6.5 times higher as a percent of income for households with incomes below $20,000, compared with households earning $70,000 a year and more. Raising the beer tax will hurt low- and middle-income individuals the most. There are better ways to fix Michigan's budget troubles. People are already struggling to stretch every dollar. Higher beer taxes are not the solution for Michigan. —Kit Morgeson, Ann Arbor
Getting grossness right
Congratulations to Corey Hall for the candid review of the movie Bridesmaids (May 18). It is indeed "filthy," but the "heartwarming" part eluded me. Most critics shied away from or pooh-poohed the raunchiness lest they be labeled a prude or a goody-two-shoes.
The picture opens with an extended shtupping sequence, in which the main character and her man friend admit they're doing it not out of any emotional attachment, but because it's fun. Throughout the film, the F-word flits into the dialog like a hungry hummingbird.
The fact that "Bridesmaids" was a top-grossing film the week that it opened indicates not so much the increasing decadence of movie audiences — although there is undeniably some of that — as the unawareness of moviegoers as to how gross it would be.
Producer Judd Apatow makes a very profitable living knowing just how far he can raise the R-bar without moving into the X level, which is deadly at the box office. —Henry B. Maloney, Troy