Metro Retro: 35th anniversary edition

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15 Years Ago in Metro Times: MT Political Columnist Jack Lessenberry analyzes the possible role of Ralph Nader as spoiler in the upcoming 2000 presidential election. Looking back at the recent debate between candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush, he identifies the “vital policy differences” between the two as “… 1) abortion 2) whether finger-pointing is a good idea, and 3) the ethics of sighing.” While pointing out that the exclusion of Nader in these debates has diverted focus from the real issues, he does note that “… George W. did reveal a sort of terrifying ignorance on foreign policy … but by then the folks were nodding off.” If only they hadn’t. Luke Forrest reviews the Black Eyed Peas’ Bridging the Gap, which he awards 3 stars: “… a solid, unspectacular effort …” James Keith La Croix is similarly unimpressed with Meet the Parents and identifies a “disturbing” undertone of anti-Semitism.

20 Years Ago in Metro Times: Detroit’s newspaper unions hit their breaking point with management and the strike begins. Ultimately, the journalists’ union lost its unfair labor practices case on appeal. The strike was costly for the unions and, although they still remain active at the papers today, the lost circulation from the strike has not recovered. Also in MT, Hobey Echlin writes the first of many-to-follow histories of Detroit Techno. A sub-headline reads From Belleville to Britain and back again for this cover story following Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson. While describing the climate of the party days, May told Echlin, “The Detroit people were really educated. They knew a good record, a good mix, and if you didn’t play well, they just wouldn’t dance.”

25 Years Ago in Metro Times: Editor Ron Williams publishes a 10-year retrospective, noting that “years are not an operable unit of measurement in publishing … thinking in years is not particularly functional. Or the sign of a healthy mind.” (Don’t tell the authors of “Metro Retro.”) He takes readers back to the origins of Metro Times, and lays out a fundamental set of guiding principles: “We will continue to publish stories that the mainstream corporate media see fit to routinely ignore … We will continue to oppose the absurd concept that somehow those who live on one side of Eight Mile have nothing in common with those who live on the other. To oppose the prevailing notion that somehow this is not, in fact, one metropolitan community with a universe of issues in common.” Michael Moore recounts how Father Gengler had banned all freshmen and sophomores from watching the Detroit Tigers at the 1968 World Series on TV and listening to it on the radio. A young Moore is busted with a small transistor radio under his pillow. Mark J. Norton rips into the “English Bozos” who have shamelessly emulated Detroit icon Iggy Pop, and hopes he is not relegated to a “footnote in the history of New Wave.” (Looks like Iggy turned out OK.) Former Delta airlines pilot Michael Palmer is caught smuggling guns to the Contras in Nicaragua, using the same plane to bring cocaine and marijuana back to Michigan.

35 Years Ago in Metro Times: In the very first issue of Metro Times, Editor Ron Williams and Arlene Lecours take a look at recent funding cuts that place the future of Detroit shelters in jeopardy. JD Snyder breaks down Michigan Public School Amendment Proposal A, as well as Michigan Rainy Day Fund Amendment Proposal C, for MT readers. Bill Rowe looks at new wave legends the B-52’s, who had risen to fame on the heels of their debut single “Rock Lobster.”


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