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I frequently pick up Metro Times and particularly enjoy reading Jack Lessenberry's opinions, with which I often find myself in agreement.
While I understand and can excuse Jack's apparent need to show off his wit and his eagerness to be provocative, I think that he allows himself too much license to needlessly and crudely offend those with whom he disagrees or dislikes.
In "Truth & tea baggers" (April 14), for instance, he referred to "The wacky Catholics" and to Pope Benedict as "Joey Ratzinger, ... [who] became CEO of the church of pederasts." In order to be "inclusive", he went on to refer to other Christian denominations as "the Christian nutball universe."
With respect to the tea partiers, Lessenberry's characterizations were on an equally dismal and primitively insulting level. He referred to them as "ignorant ... morons."
Such characterizations of people who may be misguided — or just wrong in Jack's lofty opinion — does nothing to raise the abysmal level of political discourse in our country and, frankly, undercuts the value of Jack Lessenberry's own opinions.
After reading the article, I was left with the impression that perhaps Jack has become much too full of himself, and that is he who is "angry and uneducated."
Cool it with the crude insults, Jack! —Michael J. Berezowsky, Ortonville
The other Jack
I enjoyed John Cohassey's article Kerouac in Detroit ("Winter of his discontent," Jan. 20). It helped bring back some memories.
In 1977, I went on an epic summer-long U.S. hitchhiking adventure. I went down South through New Orleans, Texas and Arizona, then up the coast in California, and back through Washington and the Dakotas. I was inspired by Kerouac, of course.
I was in San Francisco, studying at City Light Books, when I met Edie Kerouac-Parker. I said, "Excuse me, I just overheard you mention Jack Kerouac and Detroit. I've just been reading through some Kerouac writings and I'm from Detroit." She replied, "I was his first wife." We talked, exchanged contact information. She gave me $10 saying, "This isn't from me, it's from Jack," putting a "good mojo" on the rest of my adventure.
Back home, I realized that she lived within walking distance of where I was staying. I was part of that east side Detroit scene. I knew which house Kerouac once stayed in and would visit the Rustic Cabins bar.
I got to hang out with her, and we got to know each other a bit. I visited her house and had several long talks with her. She'd have some of Kerouac's artwork on the walls. She showed me some of her letters that he'd written her. Sometimes we'd watch videos on Kerouac and the beats.
She'd talk about the old days. I asked her about artist George Grosz, Henri Cru, Joan Vollmer Adams, Herbert Huncke and Jack. I wish I'd recorded some of that or taken more notes, but it was great to hear her stories.
She was doing some writing herself. In 1982, she did a poetry book with M.L. Liebler and I had a poem in that. She'd do lectures and readings around town. She liked my work and she had a few small paintings that I did. She was an interesting person. I ended up losing touch with her but I was glad that we crossed paths. — Maurice J. Greenia, Jr.
I wanted to thank Corey Hall for such a poignant review of my film Our School. I think you linked it well to what is happening currently in the media. I appreciate the depth to which you looked into the film, specifically your final statement about the disappearance of characters. It was a truth to our process, where students would change homes, phone numbers, schools, and we couldn't find them. Paul Wertz said in part of his interview, "It's like the city is filled with ghosts. Where do these students go?" —Oren Goldenberg, Our School Productions, Cass Corridor Films and the Issac Agree Downtown Synagogue, Detroit
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