I am amazed to see the sordid yellow journalism going on in this town since Orbit Magazine ceased being the guiding light with its honest, good-natured and inspirational words. I am referring to your moonlighting ambulance-chaser’s petty digs and sour ramblings regarding the enlightened poetry of the great Vic Toledo. Even though you bury Casey’s name-dropping column among the solicitations for prostitutes and bankruptcy lawyers, your publication should show some concern toward what you print … albeit wallpaper for advertising. Rather than simply report that Toledo ranks among the greatest poets of all time, the bitter Casey decided to slur the wordsmith. It’s as if Casey wasn’t even there, perhaps too ashamed to be seen again in public wearing the same black suit. Or possibly he was there — and was too short to see over the heads of the multitudes who had gathered to witness Toledo.
I suggest you find a nicer writer. Perhaps somebody taller or more successful, would be less embittered at the world. As for your acrimonious gossipmonger, I offer this advice: Blowing out somebody else’s birthday cake, won’t make your candles glow any brighter, Casey. —Jerry Vile, firstname.lastname@example.org, Detroit
Casey Coston responds: Such misplaced umbrage is not surprising, and the allegations of "yellow journalism" are indeed laughable, when considering the self-serving source. Indeed, the only thing "yellow" in this whole equation is the rather bloated and diseased spleen which Mr. Vile is apparently attempting to discharge in his sour grapes missive. Upon careful review, it is clear to even the most rudimentary of readers that my column did not disparage Mr. Toledo’s modest works, but rather took issue with what was considered to be a highly inflated price of $19.95 for what was little more than a primitive handmade, backward-stapled publication by a self-styled aging hipster in search of an audience (and I neglected to even address the typos and spelling errors … see, for example, "Cather in the Rye"). While I have grown accustomed to the letter-writer’s infrequent attacks on my vertical proportions as well as his belittling remarks about my profession, I have seen fit to rise above such trivial pettiness. Moreover, I did in fact linger to witness some of Mr. Toledo’s performance (wearing a sharkskin blue, not black, suit). Perhaps Mr. Toledo was unable to see me due to the constant parade of patrons streaming for the exits as he recited his collected works.
Jack Lessenberry’s "Politics and Prejudices" column in the Oct. 4-10 issue of the Metro Times was right on the (corporate?) money. It seems today as if all information is filtered through the corporate censors. That is to say, we can't print or speak the truth because we might offend an advertiser or a corporate sponsor or the corporation that owns us. I've been carrying on a dialogue with a Canadian friend (actually an expatriate American) for quite some time. He pointed out to me recently that for so many years we were worried that we would lose our freedoms to those awful communists. While we weren't looking we simply gave our freedoms to the capitalists. I'm reminded of Ben Franklin’s quote: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Us Americans have traded our freedoms for all those SUVs and sinfully huge homes in the suburbs. I guess we're getting what we deserve. —Joe Crachiola, Detroit
Jack Lessenberry’s column ("Politics and Prejudices," MT, Oct. 11-17) was very unprofessional when discussing the first presidential debate. You only criticized Bush, not Gore, especially when most felt Bush won the debate — just look at his boost in the polls.
I have studied both candidates in great depth, and there are a few huge differences between them.
1. Gore is for high taxes, Bush thinks the people can spend there own money better than the government. If you don’t believe me, then look in 1993 when Gore was the tie-breaking vote for the largest tax hike in U.S. history.
2. Bush is for a smaller government with less control and intrusion. Gore's plan proposes the largest government increase since the New Deal.
3. Bush plans to rebuild the military after 8 years of neglect. If you don’t believe me, then ask anyone who is presently in uniform.
4. Bush believes in school accountability, Gore does not.
5. Bush has a plan to give Medicare to every senior, Gore does as well, but that is what Clinton/Gore have promised for the past 8 years.
The liberal media only shows one side of the argument, which I disagree with. But if you are comfortable with forking over 30 percent to 40 percent of your paycheck to the government, then vote for Gore. —Michael Bronson, Southfield
Jack Lessenberry responds: Well, sure, that's all true, but Gore has promised to name me People's Commissar of Media, and I would get to spend six months doing nothing but compiling lists of Gannett editors to be shot.