What an excellent job of reporting by Allan Lengel ("Labor strains," MT, Nov. 15-21). It shows that money still buys political influence, and labor unions never really have had the power the public believes. Only major corporations can pay to play that kind of game. It's been that way throughout history. It also shows that Detroit lost a bunch of great journalists because of the strike, and that Lengel was among them. —Gary Dymski, Long Island, NY
Willie Hampton, president of Service Employees International Union, Local 79, is transforming the local union which he finally and rightfully leads after years of stagnant and co-opted leadership ("Clean sweep," MT, Nov. 8-14). He was arrested downtown leading janitors into victory in the midst of unprecedented prosperity in Detroit. If all of us would take such courageous positions without fearing political repercussions, a living wage would be a reality and all workers would be able to work just one job to support our families. Hampton is a beacon of light in these days of moral bankruptcy and cowardly leadership. These are the actions necessary to restore Detroit, which he always refers to as "the promised land." We applaud the restoration of the heart and soul of the labor movement embodied in Willie Hampton's actions. —Elena M. Herrada, email@example.com, Detroit
Thanks so very kindly to Keith A. Owens for writing the article on Ed Roberson ("See it like it was," MT, Nov. 15-21). I am so excited about being able to go see his work. As you stated, it truly would be crime to miss this historical display. Thanks again, and please keep up the struggle. —Gerrie Moody, Detroit
I want to comment about Serena Donadoni’s recent article about Charlie's Angels ("Angels unlimited," MT, Nov. 8-14), since we came to such different conclusions about its cultural meaning. What exactly does the movie say about gender, race and class, now and in the 1970s? The men are either weak (like Bosley or the Angels' boyfriends) or bad guys. The exception is Charlie himself, the millionaire who never appears but manipulates his angels behind the scenes. The Angels include an Asian these days, which is some kind of progress (if "progress" is being a recognized object of power relations). They’re well-paid but in thrall to this mysterious patriarchy. Not much has changed since the 1970s.
Is this an idealized reality for women? Perhaps for the teenage girls who loved the show I was at: A world of strong women and weak men except for a quasi-father-figure, who sets boundaries and provides general direction (and money), checking in once a week for a status report. Or maybe those girls just liked the fun and action.
It was a vibrant, fun movie, but its cultural meaning is all the more insidious, a Trojan Horse for being wrapped in a fun package. Not everything that tastes great is good for you. —Nick Nahat, firstname.lastname@example.org, Birmingham
To fix a city
In response to Jack Lessenberry’s column ("Now for the real election," MT, Nov. 8-14): The best way to change Detroit would be to elect its City Council members by districts, rather than at-large. At-large candidates are elected simply on the basis on name recognition; if I ran for Detroit office I would change my name to Hood, Ravitz or Cockrel and get 50 times the votes I would with my own name. By having districts, candidates would have to talk about local issues. Candidates would have to go home to these districts at night, know about local abandoned houses, rats, crime, toxic dumping grounds, etc. They would also have to listen to their neighbors at block clubs and community groups. Where do the present council members live? Who speaks for 7 Mile and Van Dyke? Somebody in Corktown? Districts would bring out great, community activist candidates who are not yet well-known enough to be spotlighted on TV. The media would have to listen to local issues during campaigns, which they don’t do now. —Roy M. Stoliker, email@example.com, Hamtramck
Wired for sound
I really think it's a great idea having this Internet mtRadio ("Radio head," MT, Nov. 15-21). It gives everyone a fair chance, and well ... it's just great. Thanks so much for looking out for the musicians in town. —Daniel Gillies, bassist of Detektive Riot, Detroit
A book review of The Wholesomeness of a Broken Heart, published in our Nov. 15-21 issue, was written by Audrey Becker.