Places in the Sun

Letter from the Editor
2000

You’re home watching a little TV between work and walking the dog and, during a commercial, you hit the “jump” button on the remote.

The shiny head of CNN reporter Ali Velshi fills the screen. “Why is he yelling at us?” you ask your couch companion.

“Jump,” back. It’s time for a breath of fresh air.

This year, especially, the early warm breezes may have the reviving effect of smelling salts — leaving us gulping and gasping with a sudden return to life. Who hasn’t been feeling battered, even if only by the Chicken Littles of the world?

“Is the American dream dead?” asks CNN’s resident cranky guy, Jack Cafferty, who’s also lamented that this is no longer our father’s America. Actually, it is. From their Depression-era days to layoffs, to war, and recessions, from small homes, to one-car households, and children who paid their own way through college — this is our parents’ America. Cafferty maybe meant that our elders had more hope and felt a greater sense of wide-ranging possibility.

But try convincing us of that on a glorious spring day. We’re certainly ready. While planning this issue — our staff’s jackets, gloves, and scarves still hanging on office coat hooks — we developed a premature case of spring fever. That explains the convertibles, swimsuits, bicycles, pleasure boats, and flowers that fill our pages. Who says American hope has withered?

Hope and despair are inevitable lifetime companions. Even Norman Rockwell, the artist best known for portraying an idyllic America, chronicled our country’s tough times, as the current DIA exhibit, American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, shows. (At hourdetroit.com we interview a woman who served as a model for Rockwell.)

Art matters, as the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Leonard Slatkin told a Wayne State audience recently. It elevates us and, putting it practically, serves as an antidote to the 24-hour toxin drip of CNN and others. Arts organizations sustain us and help make us a significant American city.

On the topic of arts, our story on Michigan’s “incentivized” film industry (page 30) explores whether that economic effort will have a happy ending. The curmudgeonly Cafferty probably would predict doom.

But it’s warm outside.

Time to step away from the TV and arrange an outing that lifts the spirit and pumps even $1 into the local economy. Just grabbing an ice cream at the local stand helps employ a high-schooler.

It’s warm outside.

During our winter-imposed isolation, the extent of our common-man experience may have been helping extricate a stuck motorist from a snowy rut. Now that we’re back to sharing the sidewalks, we can try helping one another escape our collective economic rut.

Of course we’re aware of the hovering shadows of despair. But to borrow lyrics popular in our father’s hopeful America, why not walk on the sunny side of the street?

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