Sarah Klein’s story on body modification ("Modified states," MT, Oct. 18-24) left me with an understanding of the culture that I never had before. She did an excellent job of comparing acceptable Western modification practices with those of the unaccepted subculture. It's obvious that she isn't some preppy newsperson following a story. Instead she wrote from experience and it gave her story an edge over other articles I brushed off in the past. Today, I am enlightened, educated, intrigued and itching for a tattoo! —Monica Mitchell, email@example.com, Okemos
Ann Mullen's article about Hamtramck politics ("Crazy politics," MT, Oct. 18-24) could not have been more one-sided and misinformed. It appeared Mullen did nothing but rely upon the opinion of another reporter.
Hamtramck faces possible state intervention due in large part to the financial improprieties of the Zych administration. The auditing firm Plante & Moran identified several aspects of the city's finances that were "reportable conditions," which can indicate a violation of law. Much of the $1.5 million in outstanding bills was spent without the permission of the City Council, which is a direct violation of law. Crime has increased every year under Zych, while the number of police has decreased. Hamtramck has never been dirtier and city services never worse. This would not be tolerated in any other city and MT would be one of the first to expose it, but since Zych is an artist, it's overlooked.
As a former Zych supporter, I can testify that my opposition to him as mayor has nothing to do with where he was born or raised or what flags to fly in Hamtramck. It has everything to do with holding public officials accountable for their actions. —Steven Haag, firstname.lastname@example.org, Hamtramck
A big Plus
I always enjoy an article concerning Plus-8, Ritchie Hawtin or nostalgia on the Detroit techno scene ("More revolutions per decade," MT, Oct. 25-31). What Ritchie was talking about in reference to the old-school parties and the new "candy ravers" (which I like to call them) has really taken away from the mystique that we all had pride in concerning the Detroit scene in the early 90s. This new rave scene that I think was force-fed to us from the West and East coasts is influenced by kids wanting to dress the part and be trendy. It has nothing to do with the music. Lately it seems that the only true techno party that comes anything close to what we used to experience is the Plus-8 parties and that is why they are legendary. —Todd Hockenberry, Thockenberry@hotmail.com, Ann Arbor
In a review of Spike Lee’s Bamboozled ("Watermelon man," MT, Oct. 25-31), Larry Gabriel points out, "Minstrelsy survives in American culture as the basis for the variety show, musicals, stand-up comedy — and in the majority of roles available to African-American entertainers today." That includes football and basketball (though the performers are well paid). —Ralph Slovenko, professor of law and psychiatry, Wayne State University, Detroit
I understand Liz Langley’s feelings about the bother, hypocrisy and seeming stupidity of the marriage contract ("Singled out, MT, Oct. 25-31). But this contract developed over many thousands of years for very good reasons. Being able to trace ones lineage for medical reasons is important. Many ailments are a result of heredity. To be able to recognize these as being part of ones heritage enables an individual to ascertain and be alert to the symptoms of a disorder and for doctor's to be able to anticipate and treat those symptoms.
Marriage contracts could, if recorded and cataloged properly, enable one to trace one’s biological family history. —Monroe "Bob" Molner, Southfield
The ring’s the thing
I really enjoyed Liz Langley’s article about marriage. I knew in my bones that I didn't want to get married or have children pretty much ever since I stuck my head out of my mothers womb. I got a vasectomy when I was 20, and have never second-guessed or regretted it. I was not quite so steadfast with marriage. I proposed to my wife after I had known her for two weeks. She wisely said no at the time, but later proposed to me. We have now been married for 24 years.
However, wedding rings just reek of "ownership" to me. They make me think of the metal rings with prongs that were fastened around African-American slave’s necks who escaped from their masters. Although we both I have wedding rings, neither of us really wear them much, and they are more pieces of jewelry to me than anything else. —Mike Jackson, email@example.com, Ypsilanti