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It’s about skills, not skin

Re: “Home team advantage” (Metro Times, July 13), I couldn’t care less about the race of the firefighter, police officer or paramedic who responds in time of emergency. So what if the Fire Department had a majority white academy class. If they were the best candidates, then so be it. I wish that firefighters Khari Wheeler and Reginald Amos, along with most of the embarrassing Detroit City Council, would spend less time and energy spewing the same tired old apologetic rhetoric, and put more effort into attracting and keeping the best. —Tom Page, Detroit

 

They wanted what we had

The basis for the newspaper conflict was simple. The company wanted what we had and knew they could just reach out and take it. After all, they had the Vance goons with the video cameras, they had the police with the billy clubs and shields, they had the judges with the injunctions and RICO act, they had the lawyers to hide behind — and, yes, we should have blocked the driveway and been arrested,

But the thing is, we all had families that still needed to be fed and clothed and sheltered and they would have suffered, and no job is worth that. —Glenn Anderson, Sterling Heights

 

Rising from the ashes

Jack Lessenberry: When observing the labor movement in this country over the last 15 years of my working career (from the UFCW to the UAW), I had always thought what was happening to them was similar to events taking place in my Ushers and Knights of Columbus clubs at church. Over the last 20 years or so, the upper leadership and support groups had “fossilized” with older, less flexible, people — leaving the younger ranks wondering what to do. That is where an Usher colleague of mine talked about the “Phoenix” strategy. The strategy, simply put, was to wait out the old codgers until they moved to Phoenix, Ariz. (or Florida, or “6 Feet Under”) and then take over the organization. While this may have not been the best way of handling things, it did prove to be surprisingly effective to truly institute change. Granted, there have been a great many changes over the last 25 years with the labor organizations of America (and elsewhere), but the labor field is still ripe for a well-managed and well-led organization. —Matthew A. Sawtell, Sterling Heights

 

Neighborhood threat

Keith Owens: In response to the article concerning the “quality” of Warrendale (“A neighborhood fights back,” Metro Times, July 13), I would like to say that I am very relieved to hear that people, the Metro Times included, are taking time to recognize and help make people aware of this problem in the city, specifically, working with people such as Carrie Engle. I may not live in Warrendale; however, I am appalled at the lack of physical help in keeping these areas up. People need to be outside, cleaning, working hard for a month, making the physical appearance of their streets more appealing, then completing more restoration as time moves on. She is very sincere in her quest to save the quality of her neighborhood. Small steps are steps, nevertheless. I hope more people respond to this article and find ways to get involved. A community — black, white, Hispanic, Asian — can come together to achieve a goal. Be proud of where you live, treat it as a home, care for it and help it thrive, or survive, without the junk accumulating carelessly, and most important, take care of your neighbors. —Megan Franklin, Detroit

 

Groove is in the heart

Re: “No more puppetry” (Metro Times, July 6): I applaud Kent Alexander’s courage to stand up to others and follow his own path. As a fellow metalhead, I understand how the music takes you in. I am sure the same holds true for other genres of music (I am the only person in my family and circle of friends who also likes classical and opera as well, somehow it too speaks to me), but sometimes I wonder how many people “pretend” to like a type of music to seek acceptance.

The African-American community is especially guilty of this. As if rap and R&B (and blues and soul for the prior generation) are the only allowable music to listen to. Why limit yourself? Explore. Find what speaks to you, as an individual, not what you think you should be listening to because of your ethnicity.

But, to be sure, Kent is not alone as an African-American metalhead. Sevendust is but one example. Go back a few years to Living Color with Reid on guitar. And all metalheads pay homage to one of if not the greatest guitarist of all, Jimi Hendrix.

So, stay fast, and in the best Star Wars Emperor’s voice, “Welcome to the fold, my son.” —Christian Davis, Detroit, airferrets@yahoo.com

 

Make me wanna holla

I truly enjoyed reading “‘Hey baby’ this” (Metro Times, June 22). I have had men catcall me from the back seat of their friends’ cars while I’m in another car. It’s really infuriating to think that I can’t drive on the road without someone trying to “holla” at me. Thanks for that story. It made me laugh. And handing out the cards is an interesting idea, but, then again, you never know who you’re dealing with. I’d rather ignore someone than end up being followed. —Theresa Roach, Flint

 

History lesson

Curt Guyette’s dreary “Ticker shock” (Metro Times, July 6) about “staying the course” in Iraq came to mind this morning in a Royal Oak cantina. I am almost ashamed to be a middle-aged white male, overhearing as I did a discussion by some dumb-as-posts members of that cohort (plus a World War II vet) about the war and the recent horror in London.

These laddies egregiously mixed their metaphor, and I can only slightly forgive them because Fox 2 news consistently mingles the “war on terror” with the war in Iraq. The odious French came in for special punishment, and how even they are “coming on board.”

I have news for all warlike white males, Republicans to the man. Europeans have been solidly “on board” with terrorism since the 1970s, to name the high points: Munich, the Irish Republican Army, Basque separatism and the Red Brigades. These travails long precede the gringos’ coming-of-age when one of their corn-fed right-wingers demolished the federal building in Oklahoma City. —G.M. Ross, Lowell, gmr@wmis.net

 

Point of no return?

As I was sitting at my favorite watering hole the other day, I overheard a bartender and patron talking. “We should blow up every mosque here and in Iraq,” the bartender opined. When I hear this type of thinking I can only come to one conclusion, our country is at least half occupied by totally ignorant, stupid, self-centered people. I understand being a conservative or Republican if you have sound ideas. To listen to some of the backers of Bush and his policies unnerves me to no end. I just don’t get it. I read what the Metro Times journalists write and not only totally agree but it seems it should be obvious to any rational person. I remember laughing when I heard Ronald Reagan was running for president. He wasn’t even a good actor! How can he possibly win. Without a script in front of him he was lost answering reporters’ questions, but yet he won. Throw the words God, country and freedom into a sentence and the idiots eat that shit up. I am getting pissed-off just writing this letter. I hope our country can weather this storm but I sincerely doubt it. We are closing in on the point of no return. —Jeff Wilmoth, Detroit

 

Metaphoric muddle

I found the book review “Chicken curry for the soul” (Metro Times, July 6) of Barbara Henning’s You, Me and the Insects a very nice and readable introduction to the text.

A minor point that left me both amused and bemused is the facetious-sounding reference to the yogic tradition as chicken curry (albeit for the soul) in the title of the review. It is not at all a question of irreverence that is irritating here as much as the question of irrelevance in terms of gross incongruence of the metaphor used.

A Hindu, like myself, is often bewildered by such utterly unconventional and irrelevant linguistic-symbolic allusions to the spiritual practices of her faith in the U.S. media; my belief is that “chicken curry” is not really a suitable metaphor for most forms of traditional Hindu spirituality, however hybrid they may appear.

It is primarily because Hinduism attaches great significance to symbolic representation in its spiritual idiom in which, I am afraid to say, chicken curry has no honorable place; in fact, such a metaphor might well prove to be antithetical to what Hindu philosophy strives for. —Saumyadipta Pyne, Farmingdale, N.Y., spyne@cs.sunysb.edu

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