Thanks to Anne Mullen for her article "EMS Mess" (MT, Aug. 9-15). I am very proud to have spent the majority of my adult life working as a Detroit medic. That Detroit EMS has functioned as well as it has for so long is simply amazing, and only due to the efforts of its field force.
Every other large city in America uses firefighters to some extent as medical first responders. Detroit firefighters have been fighting this issue for many years. Why whip a dead horse? Why integrate an unwilling workforce to respond to those in need?
If Detroit EMS is going to live up to its potential, it won't be from first responders, or fancy politicking. It can only be through strong community action and involvement. —Jason Blackman, firstname.lastname@example.org, Bloomfield Hills
The missing kink
Alisa Gordaneer’s informative article "Getting the kinks out (MT, Aug 9-15) misses a vital, historical part of Detroit’s fetish scene: the gay leather/fetish community.
Not mentioned is that there has historically been much flow and interaction between the gay and straight fetish communities. Gordaneer fails to point out that there are several active gay fetish/leather clubs that have been around for years. She also states that "… it seems the time has yet to come when Detroit merits a full-time fetish bar." The Detroit Eagle, near the New Center, has been widely known as one of Detroit’s ‘leather bars’ since the author was in diapers. Also overlooked are other bars which have since closed.
In an otherwise complete article, not taking these facts into account is a glaring omission, effectively writing off a whole segment of Detroit’s fetish scene, one of the oldest and most established parts of it. —Timothy Huth, Ann Arbor
Alisa Gordaneer responds: You're right. However, I'm well aware of the gay side of the scene — and to do justice to it would require a whole other story. I'll be re-reading my copy of Pat Califia's Macho Sluts in preparation.
One of those things
Keith A. Owens’ attitude, shared by professional race-baiters and prevalent in his piece on a photographic exhibition examining lynchings in America ("The truth shall make us ill," MT, Aug 9-15), reminds me of the message on a T-shirt I noticed: "It’s a black thing. You wouldn’t understand."
Implicit in that condescending jab, evidently aimed at all nonblacks within reading distance, is a definite desire not to be understood. It perpetuates the segregative exclusivity necessary for Owens and his ilk to continue to be martyrs to "the cause."
Owens’ tone, heavily hinting at racial complicity, truly riles. Guilt by pigmentation is a humongous reach. With "driving while black" getting justifiably prominent media coverage nowadays, he should know better.
Using photos like these for shock value is the hackneyed tactic of an intellectual punk. Whip out a picture of a barbecued brother, and the right-wing quips and comebacks suddenly run dry.
I’m left wondering at what point the black man gets "past," if not "over," the injustices inflicted on him.
I don’t know how, if or when true social and economic integration will ever become a reality in America, Mr. Owens, but I know how it won’t: Keep blaming "Whitey" for everything the rest of your life. —Todd Steven Kindred, Garden City
Keith A. Owens responds: I can't figure out how those T-shirts remind Mr. Kindred of my lynching column since lynching wasn't a "black thing." Sure, we were invited to the party, but we didn't send out the invitations. As for my "hinting at" racial complicity? No hint needed. Check the photos. Is he suggesting that I was blaming all white people? Wrong. Never said that, never meant for such a ridiculous sentiment to be implied. When will blacks get over it? Maybe that's one of those black things you wouldn't understand. Not white folks, Mr. Kindred. Just you.
The pictures in your article about the lynching book have once again made me lose so much more respect for mankind. God help us, may
it never happen again. —Theresa Thomas-Marino, email@example.com, Oakland
There's an infinite amount of free music available for those who do not wish to steal from others ("Napster no more," MT, Aug. 9-15). Open your mouth and sing, fergoshsakes. That's how it was done before Thomas Alva Edison. —Dr. Matthew H. Fields, composer, Ann Arbor