Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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You Might Be a Metrosexual... but Chances are You won‘t Admit it

Robert Downes - September 9th, 2004
-- If you think that make-up for men sounds like a good idea, you might be a metrosexual...
-- If you’d rather go shopping for the latest styles in GQ magazine than go fishing or to a NASCAR race, you might be a metrosexual...
-- If you’ve ever considered getting a Brazilian bikini wax “down there,” you might be a metrosexual...
-- If you... well, you get the picture -- for men, being a metrosexual is the flip side of “you might be a redneck.” Especially here in Northern Michigan where the urban environment of the metrosexual is a rare and far between thing.

In fact, much of the metrosexual trend seems to have blown right by Northern Michigan. But for a humorous primer on the subject, check out “The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches from an Almost Hip Life,” by Peter Hyman, a paperback published by Villard Books.

In a series of essays on Internet dating, Mexican vacations, leather pants, massage with a “happy ending,” women who vomit on the first date, group sex and other trendy topics, Hyman has some wry fun spoofing the urban male lifestyle of the ‘90s. He’s a “slightly gayish-looking” straight man living in a “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” world, cynically aware that the whole metrosexual thing is just a marketing ploy “akin to the Gen-X craze of the early 1990s.”
For those who aren’t up to speed, Hyman offers a definition:
met•ro•sex•u•al met.roh.SEK.shool.ul n. (1994): a dandyish heterosexual narcissist in love with not only himself but also his urban lifestyle; a straight man in touch with his feminine side.

Metrosexuals are distinguished by their interests in style, good grooming and the pleasures of the urban lifestyle. Unfortunately, Hyman notes, men with these attributes have been slapped with a marketing label to identify their slot as consumers.
“A straight man cannot exhibit good taste in design or home furnishings, or the competence to dress himself in something other than golf shirts and pleated Dockers, without social theorists and the advertising industry boxing him into a corner and pinning him with a label that functions as the cultural equivalent of a scarlet letter N (for NARCISSIST, or NAME-BRAND NERD), ” he writes.
That’s why few, if any, men refer to themselves as metrosexuals. Hyman himself admits that he latched onto the term primarily for marketing purposes to give his book of essays a hook.

But whether you care to admit your membership or not, the fact remains that the metrosexual lifestyle is a real phenomenon. Heterosexual men are borrowing a sense of style from the gay culture in the same way that early white rock & rollers such as Elvis Presley borrowed from the music of black America.
“The term ‘metrosexual’ was coined in 1994 by Mark Simpson, a British queer theorist who used the word to satirize the phenomenon of ‘strays’ -- gay-acting straight men who, with their disposable incomes and consumeristic obsessions, were shopping in record numbers in London.”
That revelation produced books such as “The Metrosexual Guide to Style: A Handbook for the Modern Man,” and scads of magazine articles and chit-chat on the new man on daytime TV talk shows.
The trend dovetailed with the claim in the mid-’90s that “men are the new women,” meaning that men had broken with macho traditions and are suddenly just as concerned with their bodies, clothing and grooming as many image-conscious women. Going to the gym has become a major priority for many men, as has close attention to hair styles and adorning the body with tattoos and piercings. Today’s emphasis on male beauty harkens back to ancient Greek ideals depicted in nude statues of buff gods and athletes.
“Why is metrosexuality happening now?” Hyman wonders. “Experts suggest it coincides with an explosion in male vanity -- men apparently care more today about the way they look than ever before -- which has been gaining momentum over the past 15 years.”

You don’t have to look far for signs of the metrosexual trend. This summer, for instance, it was reported that a number of male movie stars and pop singers are having the hair removed from between the cheeks of their rear-ends in what sounds like an especially painful wax job.
Other examples:
• Mark Wahlberg’s ad for Calvin Klein boxer briefs in the early ‘90s got men suddenly very concerned over the state of their abs.
• The development of men’s skin care products and cosmetics revives notions of the 1700s when men wore powdered wigs, hosiery and makeup.
• Facials, manicures, pedicures and other spa services for men.
• In an ironic twist, spoofing redneck culture by wearing trucker hats, chain wallets, Hooters T-shirts and mullets.
Ultimately, it’s all about shopping, Hyman says.
“The metrosexual revolution is not so much an uprising as it is a more efficient way to sell expensive face creams, allowing marketers to trade on good, old-fashioned insecurity (a method that has been successfully imposed on women for decades). Men with disposable incomes who like to shop, it seems, are this year’s black.”

A law school dropout, former “Vanity Fair” staffer and confirmed heterosexual, Hyman wants what every metrosexual yearns for: “a model/Fulbright scholar girlfriend, the job with generous stock options, and the well-appointed 2BR w/vu on New York’s upper West Side. Instead, he routinely finds himself single and unemployed in his closet-free walk-up and the last woman he liked, got back together with her lesbian lover.”
Even in Northern Michigan, it’s not hard to find men who fit the bill described above, although their digs may be centered in downtown TC or Petoskey, rather than Manhattan.
Ultimately, being a metrosexual is about a man’s freedom to express his creative/feminine side... along with that shopping thing.
“Metrosexuality, in its highest form, is supposed to represent the freedom for the straight male to tap his creative and sensitive wellsprings, without fear of reprisal,” Hyman writes. “As the rigidly constructed roles regarding masculinity are loosened, those gray-area “feminine” behaviors become more acceptable.”
So go ahead and drink the Kool-Aid of metrosexuality without guilt. Enjoy that fruit-based facial and eucalyptus steam bath. Shop for your flat-front trousers and Italian tassel loafers with a carefree spirit. Ride your Vespa helmet-free with an American Spirit clenched between your teeth. Consider a new pair of black leather pants. As a metrosexual, you’ve got permission to act on your impulses.

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