The other side of the Ypsitucky debate

I told you a few days ago why I felt it was fine to use the suffix “tucky” to promote a Bluegrass music festival here in Ypsilanti this summer. Now, in the spirit of open mindedness, I give you the other side of the debate. The following letter comes from my fellow Ypsi 2020 Task Force member Gary Clark:

Friends and Neighbors,

A few friendly thoughts and ideas after the meeting of the HRC on 5/18/09. The discussion at the Human Rights Commission meeting was a good start on an important discussion, however I am extremely disappointed that it did not occur before naming the event in question and before controversy over the issue was elevated to that point. Let’s be clear, there was no wide notice by the DTCDC soliciting input before the naming of the event. Also, as someone who got a call from the DTCDC after the name was published, the DTCDC attitude prevented people from feeling that they could have any sort of productive exchange with DTCDC members and that is why people did not have more discussion prior to the HRC meeting. By all accounts, they did not even get input from their own advisory committee, two of whom are city council members and both of them favor a name change.

The name “Ypsi-tucky Jamboree” was a mistake which is obvious at this point, and inexplicable considering the intelligence of the people involved. One theory floating around is that the event was named as it was with the intention of creating controversy and therefore publicity for the event. I would like to say out front that if that is the case the DTCDC member or members responsible for this approach should resign im mediately and let the advisory board replace them with a more responsible and less self-serving individual or group. They must not be allowed to put their own interests above regard for the city which has contracted with them. I call on the DTCDC to go on the record about this theory and formally attest if this is true or false as soon as possible.

The fact that the majority of Ypsilanti City Council members including the mayor oppose the “Ypsi-tucky” name was not mentioned at the HRC meeting. Please think about what this majority opinion means coming from our own city council members and our mayor to an organization contracted by the city to help the city. I ask the DTCDC to please take a positive step for yourselves our city and rename this event so we can all get behind what is otherwise a good idea.

After the meeting on 5/18/09 an African-American businesswoman who did not speak at the meeting mentioned to me that naming the event the “Ypsi-Tucky Jamboree” is a message to black people not to come. The pain of this connection to a negative past relationship between African-Ameri can people and the people who came here from the south was only briefly mentioned by HRC member Mary Louise Foley, but only a little bit of thought about this by the DTCDC should have revealed this obvious negative connection to the “Ypsi-Tucky” name. “An event by white people for white people” was part of what she said. Earlier in the meeting I sat next to an African-American gentleman who kept saying “…no respect for the black only respect for the green”, meaning that this group was thinking about money first and respect for Africian-American people after that. This division between the races is something we in the city of Ypsilanti are trying hard to heal, not reinforce. Perhaps the DTCDC has not thought about this in this way before. Please DTCDC, change the event name and show that you have the respect for others that they deserve. Change the name and we can all support this event together.

I was disturbed also by the continuous language used by the DTCDC in the phone call to me, in discussion at the HRC meeting and elsewhere splitting the older and younger populations in Ypsilanti. Many of the older people have a larger an d longer sense of the negative history of the pejorative term “Ypsi-Tucky” which has been used both in regard to certain people and to the city as a whole. Perhaps the younger citizens could learn an important lesson from the older community members memory and experience. In any case, this is another split we do not want to foster in Ypsilanti. We are a city with diversity in it’s motto. It expresses the goal of living and working together in a cooperative way. Change the name of this event so we can all support and enjoy it together.

Much has been made of the 10% the DTCDC says oppose this name. Even if this figure is correct, which I doubt because the “study” quoted was an online survey known mostly to their supporters which included the possibility of multiple votes from a single person and no indication of demographics. However, even if that figure is correct I would remind people that Ypsilanti has minority populations of African American people, Gay and Lesbian people, Latinos, Asians, various religious groups etc. all of who’s sensitivities we as a city respect and who’s rights we fought for as a city when we voted in our non-discrimination ordinance….twice!. 10% of the people even in the survey used by the DTCDC regard the use of the term “Ypsi-tucky” as a personal slur, or one against the city itself. That should be enough to convince e ven the DTCDC that a name change would be more respectful to the people it purports to work for. We would never have a festival that featured a term of derision in the name for any of the groups I mentioned above.

I spoke with the man who is the coordinator of the Jamboree and he confirmed that the music to be performed is not just from Kentucky, but has a much wider focus. To my thinking, the “Ypsi-tucky” name does not even fit the music to be performed. Since the festival features a wide range of music, calling it the Ypsilanti Music Jamboree or something like that might actually be more fitting both for the event and for the future of our city.

At the HRC meeting we heard from merchants, community activists, regular citizens and HRC members who spoke against this name. We have seen the petition and the signatures of many community leaders thereon, we know the majority of city council members do not support this naming, nor do some members of the DTCDC’s own advisory committee. That should be enough to convince anyone that a name change is in the best interest of the city, this event and the DTCDC organization itself. The DTCDC apparently thinks of the name “Ypsi-tucky” as interchangeable with Ypsilanti. I realize that the DTCDC thought of this as whimsical and as trying to own a negative,20but as you can see from the HRC meeting that is not the case for many of us who live here.. I also do not believe that the DTCDC has the authority to “re-brand” the city of Ypsilanti as was stated by the DTCDC executive director. Please change the name so we can all enjoy and attend the event and continue to support your organization. The word “Ypsi-Tucky” does nothing but divide us.

I fear that this controversy will produce a negative image for the DTCDC in spite of it’s good work and position it as an adversary to some in the city instead of the friend it wants to be, and should be.

On a personal note, I am one of those people who have given countless hours of my time as a volunteer to help to improve Ypsilanti. Some of my history is listed below.

7 years president of Historic Eastside Neighborhood Association.
Member, Non-discrimination Ordinance Steering Committee.
Founding member of Ypsilan ti Pride Clean-up day.
Founding member of COPAC.
Founding Member of Ypsilanti New Years Eve celebration.
15 years as a guide at Heritage Festival Home tour.
9 years member of Ypsilanti Planning Commission.
Founding member and sponsor of the Ypsilanti “Give Local” campaign.
1 1/2 years chairperson of Ypsilanti 2020 Task Force (final report can be viewed on line on the City of Ypsilanti website).

In every one of these activities part of the goal has been to move away from the image and the history of the city of Ypsilanti as described by the term “Ypsi-tucky”. The 2020 Task Force was charged to vision the city of Ypsilanti in the year 2020 and propose ways for Ypsilanti to move forward. Working together and honoring each other is central to our success. Many of the things the DTCDC is20doing will help build economic development through the arts which is one of the 2020 goals. However, doing it at the expense of community unity is unacceptable. It is so easy to fix this problem. Just change the name. Zingermann’s did it immediately in a previous instance. Why should we be having this controversy with members of our own community? Change this event name and we can all move forward supporting the event and the future agenda of the DTCDC.

Gary Clark
Ypsilanti, Michigan

I don’t know where to begin. I don’t have a lot of time, as I have a roller skating date this evening, but I wanted to say a few quick things in response. First, with all due respect to the anonymous African Americans overheard at the meeting of the Human Relations Committee, the name Kentucky in an of itself is not a pejorative. I cannot imagine that any grown adult in this country would recoil at the suffix “tucky” because of said state’s association with slavery centuries ago, any more than I’d believe that people ran screaming out of a restaurant serving “Texas chili” or “New Orleans gumbo,” in horror. To suggest as much is ridiculous. Also, the committee that met the other day wasn’t the Human Rights Commission, as I understand it, but the Human Relations Commission. Speaking of which, I’ve asked and it doesn’t look as though this commission was called together a few years ago, when that young black man was shot in the back by cops and killed. And I think that’s the most bewildering thing about all of this. A young, unarmed black man was shot and killed here, and, when asked for a justification, the cops pointed to a rap video the man had been in, which showed him with guns. If you want to talk about harmful stereotypes that really do damage, let’s talk about that. Somehow, though, all the people up in arms right now, didn’t feel as though that rose to the level of the terrifyingly harmful “Ypsitucky” stereotype. Oh, and I was at the Zingermans-sponsored Ypsitucky dinner that everyone keeps talking about, and, while they may have apologized for it, I don’t recall them renaming the event… OK, my friend’s dad is here to pick me up, so I’ve got to go… Let me say one more time, though, that associating our fine city with Kentucky is not offensive. I sympathize with these individuals who feel as though this association is a slap in the face, but it really isn’t. Kentucky is a wonderful place, and its men and women contributed toward making this community great. I know there are some that think that’s when our community went to hell, when the poor, stupid people from Kentucky traveled up (or were brought here against their will) to Michigan, but I beg to differ… And, for what it’s worth, Henry Ford supported the Nazis and I think we should shut down the parks to classic car shows.

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  1. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Kentucky didn’t even secede. Lincoln was born there.

  2. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Muhammad Ali was also born in Kentucky.

  3. KateL
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Hello? The term Ypsitucky is in current usage as a Michigan version of the southern
    offensive term “white trash”. It is not about Kentucky anymore, although it used to be. This stereotype of low income, ignorant, vulgar, violent, and usually racist white people is what it is currently used to denote. Maybe you don’t hear it used that way,
    being a well known Ypsilanti promoter… but it is used that way, nevertheless. Is it a stretch to think that some people might take embracing this term to mean “I’m an ignorant, racist, vulgar …etc white person and proud of it”? I think the whole “Kentucky is not an insult” thing is a straw man in this discussion. I haven’t been following the comments on this for a week or so, so maybe this has already been discussed. I still see using it as possible positive reclaim/reframe or possible negative. But I think it should be discussed according to how it is really used.

  4. jorj
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the younger citizens could learn an important lesson from the older community members memory and experience.

    Perhaps you old folks should step aside, and watch the younger ones fix the problem in a positive redemptive way. Not that anyone’s asking your permission.

    In any case, this is another split we do not want to foster in Ypsilanti. We are a city with diversity in it’s motto. It expresses the goal of living and working together in a cooperative way.

    Provided that way is your way.

    Change the name of this event so we can all support and enjoy it together.

    I won’t enjoy, or attend it if you change the name. You sure can come up with a lot of justifications to be dictatorial.

  5. Church Lady
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to organize a boycott against the summer Crossroads Music Festival due to its obvious and probably intended allusion to Satan worship — meeting the Devil at the crossroads to sell your soul for musical ability. Satan worship is nothing to be glib about — there are impressionable children that go to those events.

  6. Posted May 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I hadn’t really thought of the African-American angle as is, unfortunately, normal for white people. One has to wonder. Are there any black people organizing the event or any black musical acts lined up? Because if not, I can totally see how black people might feel like this is an event for white people by white people. I suppose the Ypsitucky name might just be the icing on the cake there.

    I still think the festival should keep Ypsitucky in the name because I do think words can and should be reclaimed. To me it is part of what Ypsilanti is and part of why I like living here. (and btw, I like the name Hipsilanti too. Am I the only one?)

  7. Posted May 21, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    I also found the generalization that Ypsilanti’s younger citizens are disingenuous to be a bit much. For someone who is working to heal divisions in the city it surprises me that he has no problem calling an entire demographic insensitive.

    Where I’m from we have a bluegrass festival called Wheatland that refers to a geographic area as well. They could have named the festival after the city or county is takes place in, but by naming it after Wheatland Township they crafted a very particular theme and feel and paid tribute to the agricultural community it takes place in. Members of that community could have objected on those grounds, but they own and are proud of their heritage. I think that this is a unique and exciting opportunity for Ypsilanti to do the same, and to claim their history instead of insisting that it no longer exists.

  8. Posted May 21, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    These people are the same idiots that got rid of the EMU Hurons without asking the tribe if they were even offended or not.

  9. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    Benevolent Dictator Syndrome is a serious psychological disorder that many people have suffered from throughout history. Going along with the delusions of those who suffer from it might keep them from getting mad at you, but it only deepens its hold on them. Giving such people power by capitulating to their demands validates the psychosis. Setting boundaries for yourself, and not validating their attempts to violate those boundaries, teaches the sufferers that treating other people with respect as equals is the only loving way to behave. Teaching someone to respect a group’s right to name their own event is a great way to start.

  10. Daniel
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    —“I cannot imagine that any grown adult in this country would recoil at the suffix “tucky” because of said state’s association with slavery centuries ago,…”—-

    Well said Mark. I’m amused by all this drama. I haven’t seen this much yibble yabble since I called Peter a hippie.

    For those of you against the word – lighten up. The world is melting around us – literally and metaphorically – and you are complaining about the word “Ypsitucky”….

  11. Posted May 21, 2009 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    I love you, Kate, and I believe that this does bother you. I’m sorry if it sounds as though I’m not sympathetic. I just think that a great number of people protesting this are more concerned about their property values than they are about the civil rights of any particular group…. I don’t plan to write about this again. I think we’re well beyond the point of meaningful discussion on the matter. And, to be honest, I’ve stopped caring about the festival, which I’m sure will be called something ridiculously bland now. I think the “oh my god, Ypsitucky is worse thing a person could say” gang has won. They’ve managed to make the other side look like insensitive racists, when nothing could be further from the truth. The people who wanted to put this festival on had only the best intentions in mind, and, unfortunately, that’s been sullied now. Sometimes, I think, Ypsi doesn’t deserve to have good things happen.

  12. galan
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing to me that Mark read Mr. Clark’s letter and missed the point completely. It’s not about Kentucky. Actually in it’s current usage it’s a slur on Kentucky also. I read the letter as KateL says below.

    ” It is not about Kentucky anymore, although it used to be. This stereotype of low income, ignorant, vulgar, violent, and usually racist white people is what it is currently used to denote.”

  13. Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Wake up Ypsilanti! Keep talkin! Keep listening! Don’t be afraid – talk it out – hear it out!

    This is good, this is what is supposed to happen! Protest, stand up for what you believe in, on both sides. Listen to both music. Let’s have this be an Ypsilanti heritage music fest, which means BOTH kinds of music and a mix in between.

    Don’t let up, make this happen. Let’s COME TOGETHER for the Ypsilanti Jamboree, c’mon now Ypsilanti. I’m going for it – let’s make it happen. Forget politics, let’s all come together for music, black, white, all colors and everything, let’s take ownership, all people of Ypsilanti. Let ypur voices heard on both sides and let’s come together.

  14. Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    This runs deep, dig out the roots. Plant anew. We owe this to the children!

  15. Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    Do you see what’s going in Detroit with Oakland County? Ypsilanti has great opportunity here. Don’t give up.

  16. Mark H.
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Seems to me that even if we grant the users of the term “Ypsitucky” all their claims to being positive, not exclusionary, and pro-Kentucky heritage, all those positive attributes will still necessarily carry a negative attribute: The one that associates hillbillies with being anti-Black. This may be an unfair association, but the fact is that Appalachia was and remains the whitest section of the south….. I don’t think this anti-Black attribute is at all intended by the promoters of this music festival, but it seems to me that that message is bound to come across.

    And wouldn’t Ypsi, and the music festival itself, be better served by a name that actually describes the types and range of music being played? How about “The Ypsilanti Americana Roots Music Festival”? Such a name would capitalize on the great popularity these days of the genre-crossing “Roots” music phenomenon, and it would also build on Ypsi’s roots as a diverse American community.

    Lastly, it’s impossible to ever win an argument that boils down to one side saying “I am offended by what you’ve said” and the other side saying “There’s no reason you should be offended. Nothing I said is offensive.” Just having that argument deepens the wounds. Maybe it shouldn’t be like that, but that’s the reality.

    Let’s have peace, and music, at the Ypsilanti Americana Roots Music Festival!

  17. Posted May 21, 2009 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    I can live with that solution, Mark. I think, at this point, that’s our best option.

  18. Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    It doesn’t matter what it’s called, it’s gonna be what it is.

    It seems as if it was already decided what it was going to be, but now it wants to be something different.

    What is it? If it’s going to be called “The Ypsitucky Jamboree” it should feature Kentucky influneced Ypsi roots music. I have preserved many examples of this type of music, mainly bluegrass.

    If it’s going to be called “The Ypsilanti Roots Music Festival” then it must feature Detroit soul related music and influences. I have preserved many examples of this kind of music.

    No matter what, if this much fuss is going to be made, then the title of the festival should be authentic as to what music is represented.

    As it was, the Ypsitucky Jamboree presented as perfectly acceptable genre and style of music to fit the bill.

    It seems as though others want to influence what kind of music is being represented.

    Let’s cut to the chase and talk. If we want to add more of a diverse artist base to the lineup, let’s talk.

    Otherwise let it be and let the chips fall where they may.

    My hope is that we come together but be real, honest, authentic, and compassionate with each other.

    Sometimes this it what it takes.

    I’ll tell you that I’ll be there no matter what it’s called.

  19. Posted May 21, 2009 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Has the name been changed officially?

  20. dragon
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    Kate is right on the money and knows a dog whistle when she hears one. And it’s not always the related association to slavery. The use of coded words and themes to appeal to conscious or subconscious racist concept or frame can also cause some to recoil. It allows the sending out of two messages at once – one pitched for the majority of Americans, the other pitched for a subgroup. This goes on all the time, and usually it isn’t caught – most people don’t hear it. It demonstrates a common white tendency in such discussions–refusing to see or consider how something looks from another, non-white point of view, and then judging that thing from a limited white perspective.
    Maybe the DTCDC should invite what they call the “real America,” one of the “pro-America” parts of Ypsilanti. The real Ypsi, it seems, is small-town, mainly southern and, above all, white. Because music festivals should reflect the tastes of “real Americans”. And anybody that doesn’t get this is overly sensitive or uppity.
    Do I think there is a black Ypsilantian who is not offended by the name, of course, but when you have to decide what the proper number of offended people needs to be to change the name, it’s probably already too many.

  21. dirtgrain
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    Using the term “Ypsitucky” emboldens terrorists.

  22. Posted May 22, 2009 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    That’s it. This is stupid beyond endurence. I signed on to play the Ypsitucky Jamboree. To me, it represents my lifestyle and the lifestyles of my friends and neighbors: being easy going, drinking around backyard campires, urban chickens, growing your own food, eating/skinning local fauna, urban/rural music combos, etc. That’s the Ypsitucky Jamboree I signed on for. I’m not playing some watered down sanitized version of big-toes up our butts PC police gentrification bland-enanny bullshit. Find another band. If someone’s going to accuse me of being racist because of this, you better post anonymously or be able to prove your slander in court, which you will fail at because I’m not. Kiss my ass, Hipsilanti. I’m Ypsitucky and I’m proud.

  23. Sandee
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    First, let me say that I thought the HRC meeting on May 18th was very civil and many friends were in the audience on opposite sides of this issue. We all have great respect for each other and the passion we feel for Ypsilanti.

    I am not affiliated with the DTCDC, other than calling them friends, but Gary’s letter had inaccuracies in it. The YpsiTucky Jamboree is marketed toward 21-40 year olds. That is the group that was approached for input regarding the festival, music, and name. Was Gary’s opinion asked? How about DAY? City Council’s? Probably not, because they aren’t who the marketing was geared toward. The name chosen for the festival was chosen because it was ketchy and fun. Controversy wasn’t a criteria for the name and I must say…I NEVER thought it would go so far over the top!

    When I heard what the festival would be called, I was immediately taken with it. I’ve been around a long time and heard the negative word “Ypsitucky” but I knew this would be a great way to own the name and turn the slur around and make it positive. By taking ownership, educating folks about our heritage, and taking joy in our history is what it’s about. This isn’t Ann Arbor calling us Ypsitucky…this is US calling us Ypsitucky. I’m proud and loud!

    At the HDC meeting, there was a great reception for Ypsitucky Barrel Bourbon…after all…that’s a product, not the city. DAY will have the Ypsitucky Colonel’s perform at their Crossroads Festival…that’s okay because it represents the 5 performers, not the city. The YpsiTucky Jamboree represents a festival….definitely not the city. I think it will help the image of Ypsi not harm it. That’s my opinion and why isn’t my opinion given the same credibility as yours, Gary.

    YpsiTucky Jamboree, Ypsitucky Barrel Bourbon, Ypsitucky Colonels…proud and loud!

  24. Joanne
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Twenty some odd years ago when I came to A2 to go to UM, “Ypsitucky” was a derogatory word. My guy friends would come to town to go to the bars that they called dives. They said the place was run down and the bars full of white trash. In the last few years, if not more than that, the bars have improved, the area has improved, and people’s outlook on Ypsi has improved. The attitude towards Ypsi has improved due to the many events, the interesting stores, the attempts at outreach and upkeep.
    “Ypsitucky” shouldn’t be used because it would be stupid because it will remind people of how they once thought of Ypsi. A more positive name should be used even if just “Ypsilanti Jamboree”. The debate should never have gone as far at the Human Rights board. That was reactionary. When things escalate to that level, a reasonable discussion cannot be had.

  25. Jules
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe how fucked this has gotten. I love the idea of using Ypsitucky and I hope the name doesn’t get changed.

  26. Posted May 22, 2009 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Well said, Black Jake!

  27. Posted May 22, 2009 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I would have gone to an “Ypsitucky Bluegrass Festival”. I flat out will NOT go to an “Ypsilanti Americana Music Jamboree”. I find that whiter than any other hame I’ve heard. At least “Ypsitucky” recognizes Ypsi’s low class roots and celebrates how far it’s come while keeping all classes remaining in the mix. Bluegrass is hill people’s music. It is a music of poverty. We should celebrate that, not water it down with middle class, family friendly, PC nonsense.

    Fuck these people. I would suggest to you Ypsitucky residents to start your own fest in protest. One that will be centered on FUN.

    Ypsi needs to get away from it’s complex of trying to out PC Ann Arbor. With all due respect, Ypsi is a shitty, real, dirty, backward, corrupt and crime ridden cesspool full of real people living real lives. That’s why people choose to live there and there’s much to celebrate in that fact.

  28. maryd
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Cousin Geoff and Mark H seem to be the only reasonable people on this blog anymore. Is this going to be a case of-If it can’t be my way I’ll take my marbles and go home. Fucking call it Butt Heads Unite festival for all anyone cares, get over it and move forward.
    “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet.”
    Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

    Isn’t it about the music?

  29. Posted May 22, 2009 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Good idea, dude. I’d bring my marbles to that game.

  30. BrianB
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Wouldn’t the racist ‘dog whistle’ issue be easily put to rest by including some African American music in the fest and promoting it to the African American community? I didn’t think it was a strictly bluegrass line up anyway. Wouldn’t Blues, Gospel, Jazz or Hip Hop (all have southern roots) make the festival even better and invalidate Ypsitucky as a slur even more? Renaming the festival doesn’t get rid of racist stereotypes, it preserves them.

  31. BrianB
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    If a dog whistle is blown and no dogs hear it does it make a sound?

  32. maryd
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    To clarify:
    Instead of arguing about words, let’s have the music. Maybe you remember the Frog Island Jazz Festival, 3 high holy days of summer, hot sun and great jazz on Frog Island? Or maybe you remember The EMU Winter Jazz series in the Freighthouse, 3 times over the winter, chasing those winter blues? If you couldn’t afford the ticket prices you could join the “crew” and get in free. Or maybe you remember 3 days of free music under the tents in depot town at Heritage Festival, with $2 brews? Most of us just want the music back.
    I do think Fucking Butt Heads would be a good band name though…

  33. Dirtgrain
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    A token Black bluegrass band?

  34. Andy French
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Here is the response the Depot Town Community Development Corporation sent the HRC after our meeting on Wednesday.

    First of all, we thank the HRC for the opportunity to hear the opposing opinions of the community. Although we put an open invitation forth to the community to discuss the use of the festival name of Ypsitucky Jamboree, only 1 resident took us up on the offer. Now that we have actually heard the concerns of the opposition, we are looking at the broader picture and it is evident by the letters of support we have received and the independent mlive poll that the community as a whole is supportive of this endeavor.

    It is the opinion of the DTCDC that the word Ypsitucky is the appropriate word to showcase the festival and we will hold to the name Ypsitucky Jamboree. The DTCDC has a steadfast commitment to ensuring that the festival represents our heritage in a positive manner. We feel that Ypsitucky is not a discriminatory or derogatory term. In the meeting with the HRC, several of our detractors acknowledged that the word Ypsitucky is ok to use in certain instances, for example, the Ypsitucky Colonels and the proposed Ypsitucky Bourbon. Like the uses outlined in these examples, the Ypsitucky Jamboree is simply a 2 day music festival which appropriately highlights the Southern heritage in this area.

    In order to be sensitive to the feelings persented in Monday night’s meeting, the DTCDC has made some compromises in the design of the festival. First, we have created committes dedicated to highlighting the history behind our southern heritage and also to educate attendees on the great Southern migration. We decided to implement a broad-based survey that will solicit opinions of the appropriateness and relevance of the name. Over the next 4 months we will be evaluating and deciding if this name will continue for future use and will report our findings to the HRC at that time. We invite all of the members of the HRC to be our guests at the festival.

    Kaci Sicheneder
    Andy French
    Gerry French
    Merrill Guerra
    Candace Pinaud.

  35. Posted May 22, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    In that case, let’s play marbles.

  36. Posted May 22, 2009 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s just great that we care.

  37. Mark H.
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    at risk of dragging this on further….i’d just like to observe that the terms “Americana” and “American roots music” reference the multi-racial roots of American music. If you know what those terms refer to – if you know what types of music they include (blues, country, jazz, folk, bluegrass, Carolina string bands, Texas swing, to name just a few), you then know that the types of music they cover are hardly lilly-white, contrary to what one person posted above. That person objected to my suggestion that the festival be called “Ypsilanti Americana Roots Music Festival.” I proposed that, in the land of (where Ypsilantians debate the big issues) as a effort to restore the peace and provide a name for the Jambore that actually describes the music to be played. The suggested name was not, and is not, a whites only thing. “Ypsitucky” conveys no particular idea of any type of American music, except a vague hillbilly affiliation, and that affiliation most certainly is off-putting to many music fans.

    All that said, I didn’t call anyone a racist, and I don’t think anyone else did either. Still, and quite importantly, there are connotations to words, as KateL wisely stated near the top of this tread.

    Nobody wins a debate that revolves around “You should not feel insulted by my words” versus “Your words are insulting.” But having such a debate is very good negative marketing. Too bad for Ypsi, and too bad for the music, that this is the debate we’re having.

  38. Mark H.
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Gospel is another type of music that is widely known to be covered by the “roots music” label. Anyone seriously want to argue that Mahalia Jackson was whiter than something called “Ypsitucky”?

    What’s so funny about peace love and understanding?

  39. Posted May 22, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was supposed to be a Bluegrass festival. Here you are, not only fighting about the name, but wanting to include musics that were not part of the original plan in order to be sufficiently liberal? I appreciate your intent, but your need to be PC is a little over the top.

    Ypsitucky Bluegrass Festival is a great name. I will go and check it our for sure but I’ll be really let down if there’s only one Bluegrass band and 50 gospel choirs. Not that I dislike gospel at all, but, dammit, it says bluegrass, that’s what I want to see.

  40. kjc
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    dude, i’m pretty sure one thing i’ve kept straight is that it was always to be called the Ypsitucky Jamboree, not the Ypsitucky Bluegrass Festival.

    and i’ve seen some of the bands. definitely not all bluegrass. fyi.

  41. Posted May 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I did not know that. OK, then, I will not go in with any expectations of seeing only Bluegrass, although I was excited at the prospect. However, I will make it a point to attend regardless.

    Sorry, nix my previous statements then. Carry on insulting one another.

  42. Posted May 22, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    I wish someone would offer a backyard and we could have a Ypsitucky Jamboree tonight.

  43. Mark H.
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    thanks, kjc! I recall nothing in any of the descriptions i’ve seen that asserts that there was anything truly Appalachian or bluegrass about the music planned for this Jambore. That no clear type of music was conveyed by the planned name is perhaps a marketing problem. But it is surely clear that there’s nothing Appalachian or southern about the program planned.

    And dude, I am not “PC” but I do favor naming things in ways that both convey information about them and that avoids offending people. English has so many great words — I don’t get the point, aside from marketing, of using words that have certain clear connotations to convey meanings not related to those connotations.

    Black Jack’s statement
    above, pasted below, leaves me wondering what he actually objects to, or what kind of music he wishes to play….
    Black Jack: —
    “That’s it. This is stupid beyond endurence. I signed on to play the Ypsitucky Jamboree. To me, it represents my lifestyle and the lifestyles of my friends and neighbors: being easy going, drinking around backyard campires, urban chickens, growing your own food, eating/skinning local fauna, urban/rural music combos, etc. That’s the Ypsitucky Jamboree I signed on for. I’m not playing some watered down sanitized version of big-toes up our butts PC police gentrification bland-enanny bullshit. Find another band. If someone’s going to accuse me of being racist because of this, you better post anonymously or be able to prove your slander in court, which you will fail at because I’m not. Kiss my ass, Hipsilanti. I’m Ypsitucky and I’m proud.”

    Reminds me of a student I once had, who insisted that most women did not object to being called “bitches,” that only feminist extremist disliked the term. I told him I very much believed he was mistaken; he insisted that he was right, and he further said that Black women in particular liked being called “bitch” and that there was nothing offensive in the term(he was a white guy). I asked the class for their understanding of the B word, and he was sternly informed by his female classmates that it was indeed deeply offensive. I think this young man clearly meant not to be offensive, but rather meant to be cool, or edgy, or provocative. What he did was reveal himself to be deeply ignorant, and that ignorance became a teaching moment.

    That Ypsitucky is not and cannot be an label that is broadly inviting and inclusive seems as plain as day to me. That doesn’t mean all who thought that the name was a good idea were motivated by hate — nothing like it at all. But the name surely courted needless controversy, and unproductive controversy as well.

    Nor does it follow, Black Jack, that anyone who objects to the term Ypsitucky has any desire to censor the actual musical program. Far from it.

    what’s so funny about listening to your community, and finding out what the required elements are for peace, love and understanding?

    Anybody have the new Elvis Costello CD, which I believe has a song that makes reference to the city of Ypsilanti? I loved hearing him sing here a couple years ago…

  44. KateL
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry I was snarky, Mark, and I love you, too. I do think its great to reclaim words and turn them around. (as in “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it”) I was frustrated that people did not seem to understand how the term is actually used. I have been warned away from people and neighborhoods deemed “Ypsitucky” out of concern for my safety as someone who doesn’t look necessarily white/midwestern.
    Not because people were concerned that if I bought a home there, it would not gain in
    value as it might elsewhere. Maybe I didn’t make that clear. If Ypsilanti was having a
    “redneck community barbeque” to reclaim that term, people could easily misinterpret it. I am not taking sides, I do see it both ways. I just felt the current use, rather than the past use, should be considered.

  45. jorj
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    “Ypsilanti Bitch Fest”

  46. jorj
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    This is about power.

  47. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Remember the swine flu?

    That was awesome.

  48. Marion
    Posted May 22, 2009 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    I would just like to second Mr. Clark’s assertion that people of color would not feel welcome at anything including the word “Kentucky.”

    I guess that’s why I’ve never seen a person of color at KFC?

  49. Posted May 22, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    Wait wait wait… before this goes any further, I understand that the name will not be changed, correct? That it will stay the Ypsitucky Jamboree? So we can stop fighting now, and enjoy our weekends, yes? Peace to all the worthy combatants on all sides who call themselves by some variation of Ypsi.

  50. Posted May 23, 2009 at 1:35 am | Permalink

    I think you should call it the Ypsitucky Jesus Jamboree.

  51. Lisele
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “That Ypsitucky is not and cannot be an label that is broadly inviting and inclusive seems as plain as day to me. That doesn’t mean all who thought that the name was a good idea were motivated by hate — nothing like it at all. But the name surely courted needless controversy, and unproductive controversy as well.”

    Thank you Mark & KateL for saying clearly what I’ve been trying to say all along. The example of “bitches” was appropriate and exactly right. I care who is hurt or offended, and want an inclusive festival because I love music, I’m a singer, and roots music knocks my socks off — blues, country, jazz, folk, bluegrass, and YES, especially crabgrass, are some of my absolute favorites. I adore Black Jake & the Carnies, btw. Excellent music and I even have their CD. I am anxiously awaiting the new one. So, Jake, no matter what the festival is ultimately called — and I hope they change it — I really hope to hear you play there.

  52. Mark H.
    Posted May 23, 2009 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Black Jake,

    Isn’t it true that the group sponsoring the Jambore has said it will conduct a study of some kind over what the appropriate name for this event is? The sponsor may or may not be willing to change the name that, in what clearly was a lapse of good marketing sense, they picked; maybe they’ll stick to it. But the statement that’s been reported that they will study the issue indicates that they are creating some wiggle room, and some room to reconsider the name. I make no predictions, but it hardly seems to be over yet.

    Controversies like this, about offensive names, are like controversies over scandalous behavior by public officials: They don’t die, they don’t get settled, unless the offending practice is dropped or the scandal linked official resigns. If they linger on, with no retreat from the offensive language (or scandalous behvavior), the taint lingers, and the institution’s credibility is harmed. All this is all the more true for any kind of activity/institution that requires public approval or a consideration of “market”. Music fits that category, as does municipal image.

    I’m waiting for the fat lady to sing, and i hope the city leaders find a suitable tune that allows face saving all around while also allowing a retreat from a needlessly controversial name. Wiggle room is good – it allows people to respond to events and to correct mistakes. Will it happen here? Don’t know. If no retreat is taken, however, the likely upshot will be that Ypsilanti will provide a venue for an event that will be controversial in a way that sends two messages: “We’re Ypsi, we’re white, and we don’t care about anyone’s sensitivities!” and “We’re Ypsi, we’re white trash, come here if you’re also white trash!” Not the desired messages, and nor accurate messages, about Ypsilanti.

    Years ago GM had a car called the “Nova.” Nova in Spanish means “won’t go.” GM marketing people were puzzled why the car did not sell well in Latin America. The marketing experts missed what the name actually conveyed to potential buyers. The narrowness of vision can often thwart the best intentioned of initiatives, as the human audiences all see things from unique perspectives. YpsiTucky, like the Nova, won’t go, regardless of its originators intentions.

  53. Posted May 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    I hate to rudely leave you hanging, Mark H., but I don’t feel like arguing about anything today. Nothing personal.

  54. Posted May 24, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    can anyone explain to me why the phallic nature of ypsi’s ‘brick dick’ and having ‘tower power’ are positive images associated with our city and why ypsitucky doesn’t/isnt?


    just sayin’.

    I like ’em both. But I like just about anything that gets people talking and maybe makes a lot of people squirm.

    happy sunday.

  55. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Together, we need to pry Ypsilanti out of their cold, dead fingers.

  56. Sal
    Posted May 24, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Who are these DAY and DDA people? I saw there names and the only one I recognize as being a business owner and resident is Peter Rinehart. I brake for Bombadill’s but if I’m braking for a place that casually fires employees I’d sure as hell like to know the full story.

    Peter. If you did. Why did you fire Mr. Vosburg?

  57. ljakes
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I think casually firing employees is something Peter is known for actually. It’s why I don’t brake for Bombadill’s.

  58. Posted May 25, 2009 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    As for your questions about he tower, Bee, I’m not sure. I don’t know the history. My guess is that the architect spent his career trying to build cock-shaped buildings, and that Ypsi was the first town to say “OK.” If you haven’t noticed yet, we’re the kind of town that would sell our cow for a handful of magic beans… As for why it hasn’t been torn down yet, I guess that the Human Relations Commission hasn’t gotten around to it yet. You should request a special task force… By the way, I overheard a woman saying that she doesn’t feel welcome here because of it… And when they’re done with it, they can tear down the offensive Kentucky Fried Chicken on Michigan Avenue.

  59. E. G. Penet
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Question is: How much ignorance can be balanced on the head of a pin?

  60. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 25, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    About a microliter.

  61. Posted May 25, 2009 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    You guys can keep on talking here, but I think I’m done with all this nonsense. When all of this started, I was told that the term Ypsitucky was offensive because it ridiculed Kentuckians. When I, as a Kentuckian, said that I wasn’t offended, I was told there were some who were. When I asked that they be pointed out, I was told that, since they were brought here as slaves during the 1940’s and 50’s, they were reluctant to come forward. Then, when that story fell apart, I was told that, in fact, it was the African Americans among us who were offended by the Tucky suffix. A community leader had overheard a black man saying as much. With all due respect to Mark and Kate, and others whom I respect, my sense this is more about a group of older white folks who think the term “Ypsitucky” reflects badly on them than it is about any other group. These folks are tired of living in the shadow of Ann Arbor, and they want Ypsi to be successful. The thing is, they see Plymouth or Northville as models of success, where younger folks don’t want to live in a sea of preppy parents pushing thousand-dollar baby carriages from Pottery Barn to Starbucks. We want to live somewhere authentic, eclectic and diverse. And that, I think, is the crux of the matter. Ypsitucky is just one facet of a much larger issue.

  62. Posted May 25, 2009 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Hear hear!

  63. Mark H.
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Your points are well taken, Mark, and I don’t think you and I are that far apart on this issue. I am not personally offended by the term. But i’ve known lots of white and black students from the Ypsi area who casually use the term — always with a clear awareness of its racial (that is, whites only) connotation. Usually they are referencing areas outside of the city of Ypsi.

    Clearly it’s absurd to think Kentucky is a place to be ashamed or, or that slaves were brought here to work at the bomber plant….but the term has a more complex history. So too does the term in places like “Taylortucky” and other down river towns.

  64. galan
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Once again, I think KateL. says it very well.

    “It is not about Kentucky anymore, although it used to be. This stereotype of low income, ignorant, vulgar, violent, and usually racist white people is what it is currently used to denote. Maybe you don’t hear it used that way,
    being a well known Ypsilanti promoter… but it is used that way, nevertheless. Is it a stretch to think that some people might take embracing this term to mean “I’m an ignorant, racist, vulgar …etc white person and proud of it”? I think the whole “Kentucky is not an insult” thing is a straw man in this discussion.”

  65. Posted May 26, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    What the hell is wrong with you people?

  66. Posted May 26, 2009 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m not an ignorant, racist, vulgar person, and I’m proud Ypsitucky. Glad we cleared that up.

    …maybe a little vulgar.

  67. galan
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    One more thing. We are not Northville nor are we Plymouth, nor do I think we aspire to be. We are not “Ypsi-tucky” and all that has come to mean either. We are Ypsilanti.
    That’s our name and we should be sticking to it.

    Furthermore, this is not about Kentucky or people from Kentucky any more. It is about the term and the negative and untrue things it says about us and our city. We do not need to bring it back, it was here plenty long enough in the past.

  68. Posted May 26, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I keep writing things, but they keep coming out snarky, and I keep erasing them…

    I think that means I’m done with this thread.

  69. Dan Izzo
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    The best part of the whole post is when Mark says “I have to go, my friends Dad is here”. Clearly this whole post is an elaborate prank perpetrated by a 14 year old girl. . . who’s legally married in Kentucky. Thank you! Good Night! Try the veal!

  70. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Permalink


    I’ve tired of this debate, as well, but intentionally, or not, you quoted me from the earlier post on this topic and so I feel drawn in. I said:

    We are Little Detroit. We are Ypsitucky. We are Hipsilanti. We are all that and much more.

    We are Ypsilanti.

    Can you affirm all that we are and all connotations and expressions of what we are? Were you and yours offended when we were branded as Hipsilanti? Where was the outrage then?! (Many, many of us hung our heads in civic shame when that one flapped on our street poles.)

    Maybe it would help if you described what is we “are” so we all know and can all fall into step?

    Frankly, I think the entire overblown opposition to this term is an embarrassing miscalculation that will have repercussions. Which is okay. Because that is Ypsilanti, too.

    Two steps forward. Two-step back.

  71. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Apparently, I missed a backslash i after the “We are Ypsilanti.” That’s where the quoting part should end.

  72. Laura
    Posted May 26, 2009 at 11:14 pm | Permalink


  73. Posted May 27, 2009 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Not sure what your point is, Laura. Are you suggesting that because I’m from Kentucky, I’m a redneck?

  74. Curt Waugh
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I think she just means that y’all don’t know how to drive yer damn truck.

  75. Mark H.
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Ypsi is blessed to have Mark Maynard here. We’d be doubly blessed to have two Mark Maynards around…but the we’d have to look into whether unethical cloning has been carried out within city limits.

  76. Lisele
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Mark I am surprised at you, really. It’s not that confusing. I can’t imagine equating a desire to be like Northville and Plymouth and other such gentrified non-communities and a desire to be inclusive and welcoming to all. Sheesh. For me, it’s all about COMMUNITY BUILDING, where our festivals are welcoming and not so “edgy, outre, cool, trendy, hip” that we exclude others. I am definitely an older white person. But definitely not enamored of living in a “sea of preppy parents pushing thousand-dollar baby carriages from Pottery Barn to Starbucks.” You’d never catch me in either place because I’m all about bricks & mortar, buy local, eat local, left left left etc.

  77. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what the word “Ypsitucky” meant to everyone else here before this whole argument happened. Everyone else besides the “it’s offensive” crowd, I mean.

  78. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    How about “Ypsitrashy” as the new pejoritive version to replace the redeemed “Ypsitucky”?

    It eliminates the confusion caused by there being nothing wrong with Kentucky, not to mention the fact that many hard working Ypsilantians did in fact migrate up here from the south (whatever states that means). Plus it cuts to the heart of the intended insult, as described by those offended by the term.

    I myself may begin to use it pejoritively to describe disrespectful litter bugs who invade Depot Town for the Heritage Fest. It’s a pan-racial term, by the way. It judges character, not skin color. Ypsitrashy.

  79. Tiny Tim
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Rampant factionalism may lead to organization of old order Ypsinistas.
    They were the ones opposed to the importation of little people at Willow Run back in the day.

    Have the concert, if they protest we’ll can have fun ignoring them. I’ll bring the midgets.

  80. Posted May 27, 2009 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    I wish Ypsitrashy people would stop throwing fast food bags in my front yard.

  81. rodneyn
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Here here!

    To all those that walk by my house on your way to/from the party store: “I don’t let my kids’ dogs pee on your shoes, O passers-by, please don’t throw your Doritos bag/liquor bottle/cigarette in my front yard.”

    Maybe I need to put out a sign to that effect?

  82. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    A creatively re-trained dog might speak louder than words.

  83. Mark H.
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    A serious but not i hope polemical comment. One of the things that has bothered me personally, as a historian of 20th century America, about how the Ypsitucky Jambore name has been promoted/advocated/defended is that so often it’s been discussed as a celebration of the “Southern” heritage of Ypsilanti. Three problems with that. First, the -tucky suffix hardly references the true or full “Southern” heritage of Ypsilanti — it merely references the Appalachian heritage of some southerners in the Ypsilanti area, at best. Appalachia is but a part of the south, and it’s the most white part of the South. So call it “Appalachian” not southern. Second problem — most Ypsilantians of southern background are not Appalachian migrants or their children or grandkids. Most of the southern -dervied folks of Ypsilanti are from more Deep South states — Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, the Carolinas even. This is to say what’s obvious: The Southern heritage of Ypsilanti is largely but not entirely African American. Third problem — the city of Ypsilanti was not welcoming to Appalachian migrants back in the 40s, or later for that matter. Most of the Appalachian migrants who came to this area for jobs at the bomber plant did not live in the city of Ypsilanti — they lived in the township. Often in very poor housing, with terrible schools for their kids. The town fathers of the city of Ypsi proper back then looked down at the Appalachians, and did not want them in the city. This is one of the reasons the city leaders rejected the suggestion, back in the 50s, that the city annex the township or large parts of it. Who’d want to include those hillbillies in the city? That was a huge blunder, of enduring negative consequences for the city and the township, but it was a choice born in part of the anti-hillbilly bias of the leaders of the city of Ypsilanti.

    So what I’ve wondered about this “Ypsitucky” label since I first heard it as a name for a musical event has been this: Is it meant to embrace an actual real heritage, a real history of Ypsilanti, or is is meant to embrace some fabricated idea of the city’s past? Further, isn’t it odd for a city with a very large Black population to adopt a name for a festival that, on the face of it is marketed as “southern” but actually references just the whitest part of the Blackest part of the nation?

    Peace love and understanding. And hey, I love Appalachian music. Doc Watson is a hero of mine.

  84. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 10:59 pm | Permalink


    Maybe we’re zeroing in on the difference…

    where our festivals are welcoming and not so “edgy, outre, cool, trendy, hip” that we exclude others.

    I’m not a car guy. I’m excluded from VWs, Camaros, Orphans, and everything Thursday night. I’m guessing there’s a lot of people in town who don’t live Elvis, firetrucks or Michigan Beer. And the Latino festival and Noise Permit … talk about exclusive.

    I’ve always liked this town because if offered something for everyone, not something for “everyone.”

    I want Ypsitucky one weekend and Ypsiyuppie the next. I want to celebrate it all, not to distill it all into a tastelest blandilanti.

    Here’s a challenge. Name one festival “that doesn’t exclude others.” I’ll supply the “others.”

    I’d rather live in a town that gives all the others their place in the park.

    Without casting judgment.

    This may seem harsh, but I feel like some people have been fighting so long they just pull triggers without taking a good look at what they’re aiming at.

  85. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    To go on …

    It’s why the Heritage Festival Parade is so magnificent. You don’t have 100 non offensive to anyone floats drifting by. You have 100 potentially offensive floats walking together, one after another, expressing every crazy corner of one of the most truly diverse towns in our state.

    Lift your heels, anti-Ypsituckians. Be glad someone who dances to a different drummer lives next door.

    If you’re not. Move somewhere where everyone looks, thinks, votes and brands just like you.

    Pride. Heritage. Diversity.

    Well said. If only folks would believe in all three, co-existing as one. Some, it seems, want to steal the spirit from the trinity.

  86. Publius
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I just drove through Kentucky on Tuesday. It was very nice.

  87. Dirtgrain
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Well said, OEC. Mark H., by your logic, shouldn’t we change the name of our town? The majority of us aren’t Greek?

  88. Jim
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    A few years ago a visiting Turkish gentleman observed to a colleague of mine that General Ypsilanti killed a lot of Turks. So yes, the name Ypsilanti is offensive, at least to some Turks.

  89. Posted May 28, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    That’s an interesting turn of events, isn’t it?

    I wonder how long until someone suggests calling together the Human Relations Commission?

  90. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Anybody offended by “Ypsiturkey”?

  91. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 28, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    We could have an Ypsiturkey Germboree, and have long pointless discussions about offenses that aren’t really given and pandemics that never materialize, all to the soothing sound of game bird calls.

  92. Yall Look Silly
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    The HRC ruling came down last night, telling the city to force a festival name change.‘Ypsitucky’-article-820.html

    In response, the Depot Town CDC has said that they might move the festival. (Into a bar, maybe?)

  93. Brackinald Achery
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Good Lord. Unanimously, too.

    No wonder our city is falling to shit with leadership like this.

  94. Dirtgrain
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Confederacy of dunces.

  95. Posted May 29, 2009 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    I am ashamed of being from Ypsitucky now.

    Don’t these elected officials have anything more important to do?

  96. kjc
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    “Don’t these elected officials have anything more important to do?”

    maintain and improve the parks themselves?

  97. jorj
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Hahaha, that’s great, kjc! They should start a band.

  98. Posted May 29, 2009 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I just got off the phone with the owner of the Harmony House Hotel, he said we can have the festival in the parking!!!

    Bad thing is he want’s us to change the name to the Ypsilanti Ho’ Down

    The city should be ok with that guess.

  99. Posted May 29, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Is it true that the only people who showed up to speak at the HRC meeting were six antituckians? Guess maybe we should have showed up.

  100. Posted May 29, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I think this whole HRC mess could have, and should have, been avoided. Now, I’m afraid that we’re going into a death spiral. I’m told there are people drafting a letter to the city asking that the name of the “Wurst of Ypsilanti” festival be changed to the “Best of Ypsilanti.” I also hear rumbling that someone is researching what General Ypsilanti may have done to the Turks, with the thought of bringing the information to the HRC. Our city has bigger issues to deal with right now than all of this nonsense. And it boils my ass to think that all of this could have been avoided had a few people supported a quirky little bluegrass festival in the park. At the very least, it’ll be an interesting summer as we beat ourselves silly.

  101. Church Lady
    Posted May 29, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget the devil-worshipping, soul-selling “crossroads” music nights! Think of the children!!!

  102. John on Forest
    Posted May 30, 2009 at 10:48 am | Permalink


    I agree that this could have easily been avoided. However, you are wrong to say “had a few people supported a quirky little bluegrass festival in the park.” Not a single person who spoke to the HRC was against a ‘quirky little bluegrass festival in the park’. In fact every person who spoke was absolutely in favor of it and supportive.

    The issue was not the festival. The issue was the name chosen for the festival.

    1. “ypsitucky” has been and is offensive to many individuals.
    2. “ypsitucky” has been and is intentionally used by some individuals as a pejorative slur to Ypsilanti and/or a subset of Ypsilanti’s residents.

    Using “ypsitucky” to name a music festival in Ypsilanti divides our community. We never need to have division in our community.

    There are hundreds of other potential names that could have been chosen for this festival that would have been just as trendy, without being offensive to a significant part of our community.

  103. Mark H.
    Posted May 30, 2009 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I agree with John on Forest: an outdoor music festival wasn’t what anyone objected to, it was the name for the festival that many found objectionable. And let me again stress something that I think has been not focused on enough: “Ypsitucky” and “taylortucky” and similar seemingly Appalachian based nicknames for geographic areas in the industrial Midwest have long served as a signal that the area in question does NOT welcome Black people. This meaning is not I am sure at all what the promoters of this Jambore had intended to convey….but that connotation is a hard one to avoid. That it was not intended, nor anticipated, by the promoters explains why they were blind-sided by the controversy their choice of a name produced.

    I’ve known lots of EMU students who self-defined their families as being from, or having previously been from before moving out to, say, Chelsea, “Ypsitucky.” I’ve also known many Black students who recognized the name Ypsitucky as a sign of where they were NOT welcome. This area is now and always has been pretty heavily racially segregated in terms of housing…and Ypsitucky is a name that, locally, powerfully brings that reality back to mind. Not a welcoming connotation.
    Nor is it immediately clear how naming something ypsitucky would put to rest all the white trash connotations of that name (and of course, locating the festival in one of Ypsilanti’s great parks that was, historically speaking, at the center of the town’s most blue-blood neighborhoods and far from the working class Appalachian populated areas outside of the town further undercut the intention of using this name. Homes on Huron and Cross Street were most certainly NOT part of anything anybody called “Ypsitucky” in 1944 or 1954.)

    Since the promoters wanted to use a public resource – the parks – for this event it should have been no surprise that there’d be objections voiced. Using a private bar or other private property for an event that many find objectionable is common, and rarely provokes protest. Use a public resource for the same event, and protest is almost assured.

    As far as i can tell, none of the local promoters of this planned event are from Appalachian families that migrated to the area during WWII or in the postwar era, to get jobs in industry. This may be why, as far as I can tell, none of these have fine folks realized that the -tucky suffix references both anti-Appalachian bias and the patterns of racial exclusion/segregation that prevailed in the housing developments and neighborhoods built for those Appalachian migrants.

    Anyone have Ralph Stanley’s phone #? I’m betting he’d be against using the Ypsitucky designation, and that he’d immediately get why it’s offensive to some. The music doesn’t need the controversy, and the ypsitucky name, while intended to be healing toward the anti-hillbilly prejudices, unintentionally stirs up objections to an even older, more persistent source of exclusion in American society: the color line.

    The solution is clear: promoters of the Jambore drop the offending name, state that they meant no offense to anyone (which is true), and come up with a new name for this potentially wonderful event. There’s no winning a debate over whether offended people are right to be offended!

    Let the bands play, under a banner that describes the music in a way every music lover can be proud of. Don’t pick a banner that will pointedly exclude most people in Michigan whose roots are Southern.

  104. Posted May 30, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe this nonsense is still going on.

    One thing I can tell you is that I will never, ever move to Ypsilanti as it appears that only stuck up, PC assholes live there.

    Just looking at these ridiculously stupid comments, I can safely say that Ypsi is worse than Ann Arbor.

  105. Posted May 30, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I am actually kind of offended at the suggestion that the people who named the festival are the ones dividing our community over this issue when clearly it is a very vocal minority who is at least as responsible. I mean even if you agree with them that the name is slightly offensive surely it isnt offensive enough to warrant this level of outrage?

    But fwiw, at this point it probably would be a good idea to rename the festival. If it were up to me I would name it the Ypsilanti Whiny Butt Jamboree Ghetto Ho Down because it would at least offend everyone equally.

  106. Posted May 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great name. I’d definitely go to that.

    Ypsilanti has to get over it’s inferiority complex.

  107. jorj
    Posted May 30, 2009 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    it’s not just a festival asking the city’s permission to have it in the parks — it’s a festival to RAISE FUNDS FOR THE PARKS!!!

    A few offended people are going to turn an event that started off as of the people, by the people, and for the people, into an event of the offended few, by the offended few’s disenfranchised roots music minstrels, for the offended few. They’ve disenfranchised a huge section of the population by showing them they could stubbornly pout, accuse, and fake injury to draw a foul better than their opposition can, and therefore deserve to wield power over everyone else. Is that really what kind of town we live in? Why should anyone have any loyalty to a town like that? Why would anyone want to live in a town like that, with that type of petty power struggle on top of everything else like insane property taxes that apparently can’t even pay for the parks without the help of another group putting on a big fund raising festival???

  108. Mark H.
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Below I copy comments I made a year ago on, about the Ypsitucky issue. And i again suggest that people read the novel THE DOLLMAKER or see the Jane Fonda movie of the same, and then discuss it, over food or drink, in a civil manner.
    I propose Friday, July 10, 6:30pm, at the Corner Brewery. I’ll be there. Who’s interested? My idea is that we NOT talk about names for any outdoor concert, but instead talk about the local and national histories in which this controversy is rooted, along with the literature and culture of Appalachia.

    Migrants from Appalachia to the north were overwhelmingly white; Appalachia has relatively few Black residents (those hill country areas were not good plantation land). But of course lots and lots of African Americans migrated to the north since 1915 from other areas of the South.

    And thanks elviscostello for your righteous memories. Yeah, the Village area, i forgot that. As a kid, my Indianapolis neigborhood included “Indiatuckians” and lots of jokes, some funny, some cruel, about Appalachia.
    And Appalachia is a huge swatch of territory – it includes SE Ohio, much of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, as well as parts of Virginia and North Carolina, Georgia and a bit of Alabama. Not all of any of these states, but huge pieces. If I recall, since 1940 over 10 million people left Appalachia. So you can be from NE Alabama and be Appalachian and hence fit the real meaning of the ‘ypsituckian’ label. Not that i encourage using that term, but it has been used both self-descriptively and pejoratively.

    How’s this for an idea: interested readers of can get hold of the novel “The Dollmaker” and we read it, and then meet at the Corner late this summer to discuss it and to drink? Maybe a tech person can podcast it.
    And if you don’t wanna read the book, get the made for TV movie starring Jane Fonda. No doubt the Appalachian people in Michigan were often mistreated; capitalism tends to mistreat labor. And for a bit of cinema realism on Applachian coal miners’ strikes, see the great film of John Sayles, “Matewan.” Long live the freedom struggles of the Appalachia people! Down with the coal operators and all the corrupt double dealers everywhere!
    To tie this tread to others, i should mention that Robert F. Kennedy, as part of his political awakening in the late 1960s, made a remarkable trip thru Appalachia, Still remembered there now. He was investigating poverty. It is the poorest region in the land.

  109. Posted May 31, 2009 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Good god. Don’t you think that this has gone far enough?

    I bet you were the one behind changing the EMU Hurons to the absolutely asinine “Eagles” because it “offends” people. Like EVERY STATE DOESN”T ALREADY HAVE A TEAM CALLED THE EAGLES. I’m offended by such a lame choice for a name and the total disregard for the Huron tribe, who, reportedly, considered the name an honor. Can you change it for me now that I’m offended by your PC stupidity?

  110. Posted May 31, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    My greater point is that Ypsilanti has a great habit of ignoring everything that makes the town an interesting place in favor of watered down, everyday, boring PC nonsense.

    Ypsi to me: Ypsitucky, Deja Vu, the Elbow Room, Movies 4 Sale, the Shadow Art Fair, Fast Eddies, Dalat, The Ugly Mug, The mighty HURONS, Prostitution, Plasma Cetner, Bunky’s Pawn Shop, Drugs, buying Whipits from the weird drug store on Cross Street, great Korean food, great Mexican food, FUN, and, last but not least, a giant penis in the middle of the town.

    Ypsi to you: Northville, Canton, Novi and a host of boring places that are just like everywhere else, where noone is EVER offended because the places are SO FUCKING BORING.

    YPSITUCKY is a unique and great place in the state of Michigan. Perhaps you would do better to move to Warren.

  111. Posted May 31, 2009 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Go, Hurons…

    From Lansing came the word, which the regents timidly backed,
    that Eastern Michigan University – their old nickname be sacked.

    In their wise and wondrous ways, the Regents have now declared,
    that the Indian name of Hurons, shall never more be shared.

    Will we now have to change Lake Huron or Huron River,
    all because a commission in Lansing, did an ultimatum deliver?

    Surely knowledge and wisdom did abound, within their conference room,
    that the new name of Eagles will now give Eastern a great boom.

    The Board of Regents – with their thumb-word creeds,
    their large professions and their little deeds –
    have finally decided E.M.U.’s new nickname.
    But to many Alumni and grads, support will never be the same.

    President Shelton, lately on the scene, did state his position sincerely.
    But did the Alumni and students have a chance, to state their own position clearly?

    Why then should this change even take place?
    Has prejudice again reared its ugly head?
    Is this really about a certain race?
    Or has politics replaced common sense instead?

    According to a collegiate dictionary, Huron’s name is a proper noun,
    not an adjective, nor a verb. Not a description that causes a frown,

    Now can we all feel proud and happy, that “progress” has taken place?
    But don’t ever sit back and wonder, if this is really about a race.

    In closing let me say, a time like this demands,
    strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands.

    Where have such people gone? Where are they now today?
    Who can say what would have happened, had they been here to say:
    Hurons! Hurons! Hats off to thee.
    Fight! Fight! Fight! On to victory.

    Authored 1991

  112. Posted May 31, 2009 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Word on the streets is there’s a city council meeting about the name change this Tuesday June 2nd at 7:00 (I assume pm?). Come on out and show your support for the Ypsitucky Jamboree — we need all your support in the form of you all showing up that we can get, or we’ll lose! Cause you better believe the opposition is showing up!

    Spread the word to all the other proud Ypsituckians!!!

  113. Posted May 31, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    While I am on the side of the Ypsitucky name, I have to admit that I don’t care enough about the issue to spend my time at a city council meeting.

    I do hope that the anti-Ypsitucky crowd can remember that the people who gave the festival that name clearly are the sort of dedicated involved people who are a serious asset to the community. I hope they can be respectful of that and can consider that before stomping on them because of their choice of a name and their reluctance to change it.

  114. Posted May 31, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    They won’t remember that. They will show up and do what it takes to win.

  115. Posted May 31, 2009 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    In the end it has nothing to do with the name or the Festival itself, it’s all about a group of people who want to make themselves feel better by being able to control something.

  116. Mark H.
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    dude, you gotta be kidding! You think that my little mini essays on Mark’s blog are what’s prolonging the controversy about Ypsitucky being used as a name for a music concert? Do you live in Ypsilanti, do you know anybody who lives here outside a small circle? If so, I’d think you’d be aware of the controversy – it has legs, as they say, and I did not create them. I have tried to explain why this controversy has staying power. I have added many words to this tread, but I’ve not caused the controversy; I have tried to analyze it. Is analysis a bad thing?

    Personally, I am bored with reading and hearing defenses of this name choice by people who seem absolutely clueless as to what the name means in most contemporary usage, where it came historically and what actual geographic neighborhoods it was applied to, and how the word was used for at least half a century to verbally mark off racial borders in eastern Washtenaw county. Foolishly, people keep asserting it reflects a “proud Southern” heritage, ignoring how it was used to set off poor white (Appalachian) neighborhoods from other poor southern-migrant neighborhoods, and most certainly does not reflect the entire “Southern” heritage of this area. Some the pro-Ypsitucky-ians even seem to think the name “Ypsitucky” was mainly used to describe Ypsilanti, when in reality it was a put-down used by the older Ypsilanti long term residents to distinguish themselves from the hillbillies who lived, WWII and after, largely to the east of the city of Ypsilanti. I do respect the ‘let’s reclaim that ugly name and redefine it’ pro-Ypsitucky name argument, but I think it’s naive to think enough time has passed for that to work. The writer for the Lexington, KY paper who’s covered the story shares that view, too.

    Dude, and community development corporation folks – let’s get the geography right: Riverside Park was no where near Ypsitucky….and now you wanna hold a festival there, in a public park, call it an Ypsitucky Jambore, claim it reflects “Southern” heritage when really you just Appalachian (white)’ southern heritage (hence you’re excluding the larger Black Southern population of the area and their Southern heritage), and you think nobody should be offended and everybody should feel welcome? What planet are you from? People are offended when they feel disrespected. That’s a fact, deal with it. This name emerges from so many kinds of disrespect they probably can’t all be counted — chief among them being its crazily narrow concept of “southern” when it comes to residents of SE Michigan, and it’s clear if unintended evocation of segregation in this county’s housing and employmenet markets over the last 7 decades.

    There are many reasonable and well reasoning defenders of the Ypsitucky brand name, there also shrill, unreasoning, name-calling, disrespectful defenders of it. As dude’s posts above show. Nobody who advocated the Ypsitucky name meant to be exclusionary or hurtful. But not enough analysis was done to know what the name conveys.

    Peace, love, music, and understanding to y’all.

    For the record, I live in Ypsilanti, and I have never lived in a homogenous suburban community of the type dude seems to think i want to transform Ypsilanti into. I proposed a friendly get together to chat about Appalachian history and literature and culture in the SE Michigan area, and he feels attacked and rants about me being a PC liberal out to control people. What controls or censorship have I advocated? None. The dude is off his rocker.

    A little story. About 6 years ago I was taking EMU classes on field trips to historic sites in Ypsilanti that I could use the landscape of to illustrate nationally significant trends in American history. The whole field trip had to be completed in about an hour. I took a few classes to Prospect Park, at Prospect and East Cross. That’s less than a mile from EMU, but not in the EMU neighborhood. Two different students, in two different classes, both Black women, approached me privately before the field trip and said they didn’t feel “save” going there. I respectfully asked why, and after pressing some, each of them told me that the park was in an area they’d always been told was unsafe for Blacks. Turned out, they’d both grown up in eastern Washtenaw county, and they’d always heard those eastside and just east of the city township areas called “Ypsitucky” and knew they were hostile to Black people. Long story short — they joined the field trips, had no troubles, saw a lovely park with a vital history they’d never heard of. Both women also were hesitant to use the name Ypsitucky: They knew it was a put down, that it traded in stereotypes, and was unfair. Yet they also felt real apprehension, if not fear, at the prospect of going into….Ypsitucky!

    Wanna bet if they and their friends would be feeling warm toward the Ypsitucky Jambore? I’m betting none of the people in those women’s circles will be buying tickets.

    Friday, July 10, 6:30, Corner Brewery, let’s talk about local history and the great novel THE DOLLMAKER, written about West Willow and migrant Appalachian workers.

  117. Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    Wow. I think it is very sad that people might not feel safe in certain parts of Ypsilanti because of their race. Sure, our city is segregated more than it needs to be and that bothers me but no where near as much as the idea that people would actually feel unsafe on a guided field trip to a lovely local park.

  118. jorj
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Prospect Park is like a 24/7 klan meeting. What a moving story.

  119. jorj
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Your students’ fears are just about as valid as a white person’s fears about walking around Ypsilanti because of hearing stories about hostile black people. Catering to stereotypes and fear in either case is no solution. Changing the name of a festival is no solution. If there were an African American festival in Ypsilanti, and I brought six fearful, offended white people to the HRC, how valid would your argument be then? What if I brought a few black people who were offended at the term “African American” because it made them feel like second class Americans?

  120. ypsilistener
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Clearly, jorj has no wish to be bothered with history.

    As for Mark’s story, I doubt there was any exaggeration whatsoever. I used to live in Mark’s neighborhood, and I have seen the original deed to a home built in the late ’30s or early ’40s, which specified that only Caucasians that could live there, unless they were servants. On our deed, the original wording was redacted, so we didn’t realize why the heavy black lines were on it, until we saw that original. In addition, we were told that, “back in the day,” any African Americans who entered the neighborhood should expect to be beaten.

    Yeah, Ypsi has some interesting history.

  121. Ol' E Cross
    Posted May 31, 2009 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Mark H,

    To second jorj. Three years ago, I introduced my self to someone in my neighborhood because he was also out with his daughter of the same age. He was white. He asked me where I took my daughter to the park. I said, “Prospect.” He said, “Really?! It’s a little ‘dark’ for me.'”

    So, white people think Prospect is too dark. Black folks think it’s too light? It hasn’t changed in the well more than six years I’ve been living here. I’ve been there, easily, a hundred times and, except when I’m alone, am always in the minority race.

    Your story does illustrate a relevant point.

    When people react to things based on what they heard “was,” rather than what actually “is,” they are quite often irrational, out-of-touch, and hopelessly wrong.

    The end of your story is also telling. Apparently, the students didn’t take your racist field trip before the YHRC to have it canceled and you weren’t sensitive enough to their concerns to cancel it on your own. Instead, there was, by your report, education: they joined the field trips, had no troubles, saw a lovely park with a vital history they’d never heard of.

    Gasp! Peoples expectations of prejudice were confronted by an actual experience? What would happen if the same thing you did with Prospect Park was done with, um, “Ypsitucky”? What if:

    they came to the concert, had no troubles, saw a lovely side of history they’d never heard of…

    But, if you want to perpetuate the notion that dark folk aren’t welcome at Prospect Park and the term “(fill the blank) … tucky” means the same I’m sure the guy I met would be grateful.

    As if it’s our goal to perpetuate irrational fears and stereotypes?

  122. Marion
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    I’m a little confused by the above few posts, but what I gather is that everybody should be afraid of and offended by everything anyone was afraid of or offended by in the past?

    Ypsi listener? Which neighborhoods in Ypsilanti do you recommend “African Americans … expect to be beaten” today?

    Mark H has asserted that “Prospect Park” is a term that indicates a place that is “unsafe for Blacks.” I’ll add that to the list of Ypsilanti hate speech that the YHRC should address.

  123. Mark H.
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    Marion, you did not get the point of my story, and you distort my comments by saying
    “Mark H has asserted that “Prospect Park” is a term that indicates a place that is “unsafe for Blacks.” ” I asserted no such thing. I did say that some students who did not know the east side of Ypsi at all, but who are from the eastern part of this county, had the impression that that park was within an area called, informally and they knew it to be pejorative, “Ypsitucky.” They felt the area was unsafe or hostile to Blacks. Big difference, Marion, between what I wrote and the straw man you attack.

    And hey, OEC, brother: good point about new experiences being educational! Fully agree. However, students in a college class are more likely to go on a required field trip than members of the general public are likely to voluntarily spend money for a ticket to a musical event with an off-putting (or worse, depending on one’s perspective).

    The point is that “Ypsitucky” has meanings and connotations that are inherently exclusionary. Even if the people using or advocating that the term be used to name something as wonderful as a musical event have little idea what the connotations are.

    By the way, are there any advocates of the Ypsitucky Jambore who are actually Ypsilanti area residents whose families moved to the area during or right after WWII from the South, to take industrial jobs? Just curious. Biography isn’t destiny but it’s always relevant to the horizons we can imagine. One student of mine, a young man whose mom was born in Ypsilanti during WWII of Kentucky migrant parents and who himself was raised in Ypsi Township, told me that his mother absolutely prohibited using “Ypsitucky” — she regarded it as a hateful word, tantamount to the N word. He’s graduated now and I’m not in touch with him, but I’m pretty confident that none of his mother’s children and few of their cohort will be at this Jambore, despite their being in the demographic that’s the Jambore is allegedly being marketed toward. Folks like him hear “Ypsitucky” and feel you’re calling them white trash….which is not inviting. And this guy was a serious music fan, of the real stuff. Maybe what they hear is more determinative of their reactions than what the promoters want them to hear. Dude’s list of what Ypsilanti means to him, posted above, isn’t likely to make people want to come to town and hear music, either.

  124. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    “Don’t these elected officials have anything more important to do?”

    maintain and improve the parks themselves?


  125. LOL kid
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    I loves me this OEC character:

    The end of your story is also telling. Apparently, the students didn’t take your racist field trip before the YHRC to have it canceled and you weren’t sensitive enough to their concerns to cancel it on your own. Instead, there was, by your report, education: they joined the field trips, had no troubles, saw a lovely park with a vital history they’d never heard of.

    Gasp! Peoples expectations of prejudice were confronted by an actual experience? What would happen if the same thing you did with Prospect Park was done with, um, “Ypsitucky”? What if:

    they came to the concert, had no troubles, saw a lovely side of history they’d never heard of…

    But, if you want to perpetuate the notion that dark folk aren’t welcome at Prospect Park and the term “(fill the blank) … tucky” means the same I’m sure the guy I met would be grateful.

  126. Posted June 1, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Annoying reminder:

    Tomarrow, Tuesday, 6/2 at 7:00
    City Hall

  127. Posted June 1, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I’ve got a meeting tomorrow, so I won’t be able to make it. Jake, can I deputize you to cover it for You seem like a good, impartial source.

  128. Posted June 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink


  129. Ol' E Cross
    Posted June 1, 2009 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Mark H.

    I can only offer that my “white trash,” as you call them, friends are proud of the term. Oddly, most of my “white trash” friends seems to have a lot of black (trash?) friends. They also seem quite proud and defensive of the the term “white trash.”

    I add all the quotes because I’m not sure if I’m “white trash.”

    To clarify, the only response I’m really interested in is your definition of “white trash” and why that is uninviting.

    “White trash,” you suggest, is a horrible insult.

    Why, why, why?

    And, am I?

  130. irritated
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Ol’ E Cross,
    How in hell do you come up with Mark H. calling you and your posse white trash? Talk about spin and twist.
    Lets all just roll around in it, all those nasty politically incorrect pejoratives. Yes it does smell like dog shit now…

  131. Mark H.
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Dear Irritated,
    Thanks for your post. I agree fully!

    Dear OEC,
    I would never call anyone ‘white trash’. As a kid, I was sometimes called that myself, and it was never meant nicely. Personally, I think it raises questions about self esteem for anyone to proclaim themselves ‘trash’, but maybe that’s just me. Trash isn’t valued, people should be valued. So, while I don’t know you, OEC, but if you and your pals want to embrace white trash as self description, I won’t object. But you’d be naive to think it’s main usage isn’t negative and stereotypical.

    And back to your earlier digression: yes, my beloved Prospect Park is frequented by lots of Black people. That hardly means that ALL Black people in the county are familiar with it, let alone comfortable with it. You seem to assume that since some Blacks know and like the park, all Blacks would know it’s a friendly place for them. False reasoning, that is. Clearly much of the Ypsi/Ypsi Township area is racailly demarcated territory, but these demarcations are not always well understood even by people who live in local pockets of this territory. Get it? This is relevant to the ypsitucky dispute.

    More to the point: Nobody here is disputing my earlier points about the geography of Ypsitucky versus Ypsilanti. Can I take that as a concession by the Ypsitucky advocates that they really didn’t have a clue as to what the term meant back in the day and where it came from? All dude has to say is that he likes what he takes to be the contemporary connotations of the term, and OEC proclaims himself to be white trash. Are those self identifications much of a basis for saying that the term isn’t hurtful or negative to others? We all need to be careful about overgeneralizing from our own narrow perspectives.

    Out in the real Ypsilanti, thoughtful people are worried about the negative branding that this Ypsitucky label may produce. I’m gonna listen to Ralph Stanley now. Recommend the same to everyone.

  132. Capstone
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    No verification yet, but I hear that our “Ypsitucky” debate was just mentioned on FOX News.

    I wonder if there will be network trucks at tonight’s City Council meeting.

    Good work, people.

  133. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    No such thing as bad press.

    Speaking of derogatory/self-pride words (that aren’t banned by city councils) with different ethnic/geographic definitions (depending on who you ask), this from the wiki article on the word “yankee”:

    A humorous aphorism attributed to E.B. White summarizes these distinctions:

    To foreigners, a Yankee is an American.
    To Americans, a Yankee is a Northerner.
    To Northerners, a Yankee is an Easterner.
    To Easterners, a Yankee is a New Englander.
    To New Englanders, a Yankee is a Vermonter.
    And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast.

  134. What's In a Name
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I see that the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti (DAY), one of the most vocal and agitated groups about this Ypsitucky thing, just released their Crossroads Music Festival line up for the summer. Who’s playing on August 28th? None other than the Ypsitucky Colonels. That seems incredibly hypocritical to me. Who’s going to ask the HRC to investigate this and who’s going to picket Crossroads until they remove that incredibly offensive band from their lineup?

  135. Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Ypsitucky set a cage to kill a friend’s woodchucky
    who’d wrote a note to Maynard’s page to hate on Ypsitucky.

    Ypsitucky let’s show up
    Ypsitucky bandies
    City Council don’t muck up
    The Ypsitucky Jamb’rees


  136. Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Ypsitucky rent a place on N. Washington Street
    rained dishwater apon his face and couch by the T.V.

    Ypsitucky moved on out from that basement shack
    Never whined nor made a shout nor got his deposit back.

  137. Denise
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    The Ypsitucky Colonels are 6 talented musicians, branding themselves and their music – not the entire community.

  138. nameroo
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    What’s in a name:
    It’s one thing to name your band the Ypsitucky Colonels. It’ another to have a festival in a public park named Ypsitucky…NWA is a rap group but it’s not the NWA Festival, see the difference…

  139. Shanster
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    So, wait, NWA is not offensive when it’s a groups name, but would be offensive as a festival name? Seriously? And branding yourself is different from branding a festival?

    If you don’t like the name of a group, you don’t buy the music, if you don’t like the name of a festival, don’t go. In fact, just go have your own less offensive festival, invite Kenny G, John Tesh, and Yanni for all I care. Why do you have to get your Ypsipanties in a bunch about something that ultimately will be attended by a very small minority of the people?

  140. kjc
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    this is the public park the city is very concerned not be used for a music festival that will negatively “brand” the city, but it’s not a public park the city wants to maintain and improve. is that right? cuz that part of this whole thing blows my mind.

  141. Posted June 2, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    Okay, here’s my report.

    First off, I guess starting at 7:00 means starting before 6:30, which is when me and my thuggish white trash bodyguard/bandmates showed up. Also, I was promised “I Heart Ypsitucky” stickers, and there weren’t any. Seriously, I wanted to put them in CD’s and stuff. Maybe I missed them or just didn’t ask. You DTCDC folks owe me some stickers!!!

    There were more antituckians than protuckians. All us protuckians showed up late, seemed to me, having not gotten the memo that the council meeting was starting early, unlike everyone else. We still got to speak though, so no big deal.

    There weren’t any interesting fireworks. All the antituckians went on and on about how offended and disgusted they were, blah blah blah. They had prepared statements featuring twitters and whatnot. Most of our team went off the cuff. There were angry murmers behind me when the other protuckians were speaking. After some apparent city council regular preached about bad cops and not enough tampons in the prisons, I rattled off some heartfelt if not very compelling personal feelings about the whole Ypsitucky thing, which included my true but also not very compelling feeling of disenfranchisement, and not being motivated to do charity gigs for city stuff if that’s how the city operates. Lame, but that’s how I feel about it. The City Council folks looked a trifle hostile to me sometimes, but I’m a trifle socially anxious, so my perceptions might have been a trifle innaccurate. Or maybe not.

    I saw some friends there on the other side. As an Ypsituckian, I feel it’s my responsibility to make at least some token attempt at maintaining a hillbilly feud, so here goes: you can kill and eat your own stinkin’ groundhogs and squirrels; and, you, you owe me my deposit from three years ago from the greasy flood water basement apartment! Okay, now we’re friends again.

    My impression is that our side lost before it even started.

    The main reason we lost, besides the fact that their side have a bunch of business owners who showed up, and city council were probably already against it, was that hardly anyone from our side showed up. You don’t fight back when someone tries to screw you, you end up getting screwed. I guess I can’t judge anybody, since I usually don’t get politically involved myself about anything I gripe about. But that’s how it works. You can bitch all day long on blog comments, but if you don’t show up when the time comes to do something about it, you lose.

    Again, not judging anybody or pointing fingers. Not a guilt trip, either. I don’t show up to stuff either, except for this time. And most people frankly didn’t care that much about it, or have something else scheduled, which is totally valid. I only showed up because this stuff really pissed me off cause I was so excited about playing the YPSITUCKY Jamboree. Not the downtown business owners’ (God bless ’em) “putting the nanny back in hootenanny” Jamboree.

    I think I might eat crow and play the gig anyways, seeing as how my not playing won’t cause a walk-out or otherwise accomplish anything… that is unless some old lady gets offended at us and makes city council kick us off. But now I know how the City of Ypsilanti operates. Just another con on the pros and cons list of whether or not to buy a house here and play benefit shows that benefit public anything. Those cons are really adding up for me, unfortunately. But I’m just one person with no political power, and I don’t think anyone else feels that way, so no one cares.

    That’s pretty much it. We left after something about living wages and how hard it is to figure out what they should be.

  142. Posted June 2, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and someone compared the DTCDC to North Korea. It was hilarious.

  143. amused1
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Ah growing pains. I think this comes down to what do people want Ypsi to be in the future. Will it be a blandly comfortable bedroom community always looking to pacify the potentially offended? Will it be an edgy “arts” community willing to risk offending citizens with a “screw you” attitude supposedly in the name of freedom of expression? Or maybe something in between? Me, I’d like the in between.

    Dear naming committee, perhaps it’s time to admit that maybe, just maybe, you didn’t do your homework and that perhaps, just perhaps, it’s not the right time nor the right venue for “reclaiming” the Ypsitucky moniker. The choice seems to have done little but further divide the community and show Ypsi in a poor light. Maybe the reclaiming should take place through colloquial usage by the families of those who moved here from the south rather than a marketing campaign.

    Dear vocal opposition, whatever happens don’t gloat or pout. Move on without rancor or digging it up in the future. Behave in a way that will encourage groups to be more communicative so that we may avoid these kinds of problems in the future. But also, keep in mind that this community is evolving and that part of the evolution requires a certain pushing of the envelop. Choose your battles wisely and recognize that sometimes as a community we may have to live with an apparent “offense” for a while in order to figure out whether or not it truly is an offense.

  144. Mark H.
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Black Jake,
    thanks for the report on the council meeting. Nice writing style, yours. But there are a couple of ‘facts’ I am curious about and did not find in your report. First, did Council take any ACTION about the name controversy? Second, what was the approximate SIZE of the crowd there? If you or someone could clarify these points – the first major, the 2nd not so major – I’d be grateful.

  145. Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    FWIW, Black Jake. I appreciate that you cared enough about this issue to get involved enough to go to the meeting and speak. Anyone who cares enough about the community in which they live to get involved is an asset to the community even if they end up on the losing side of things. So while you might still be wondering if you should buy a house here, I certainly hope that you do.

    Also, I hope you play the gig.

  146. Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    No action was taken yet, so my feeling about the outcome is officially premature (I’m sticking by it, though).

    Most of the seats were taken, with some empty in every row, and there were some people standing in the entranceway. I suck at figuring out the number of people just by eye without counting heads.

  147. Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Lynne.

  148. Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    You know what, though, Mark H.: we didn’t stay till the end. They may have voted after we left, I don’t know.

  149. BornInYtown
    Posted June 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    lemme be judgmental for a moment, but if those in Ypsi city don’t like the name ypsitucky,than urge the festival to Ypsi township. It seems to me as if the majority of any hillbillies or descendants of the southerners left live in the township not the city. As for those transplants that are so up in arms over the title, concern yourself in the history you make, not the history you have no connection to.

  150. council
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    I was told that the council cancelled the contract with cdc and would take over the park in 45 days.

  151. Jim
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    AA News coverage:

  152. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Nothing like forceful meddling to enervate active love in one’s city.

  153. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    If the DTCDC still refuses to change the name, which I hope they do on principle, is the City really capable to run the parks and all their various fests? Do they have the funds? Or will they wreck the best that Ypsi has to offer, and cut off their noses to spite the face, just to get their way?

  154. BrianR
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, I posted my thoughts on this matter HERE.

    To answer Mr. Achery’s question on the parks:

    At the last City Council budget session in May, we moved $22K from the Clerk’s budget into Parks for the maintenance and operations of Riverside and Frog Island Parks. This gave us 2007-08 levels of funding for parks. Said another way, it got us back to pre-DTCDC budget levels. The argument that the City can’t maintain its Riverside and Frog Island parks is now null and void.

    If you look at the Council Packet for last night on the City’s web site, you’ll see the DTCDC’s annual report. They report they spent $9,371.56 in park maintenance with another $1,404.21 in utilities and water for a grand total of $10,775.77. Prior to the DTCDC, the Ypsilanti Jaycees handled scheduling. They currently do it everywhere else in the City.

    The festival can go on as planned in Riverside Park with the same original name if the promoters choose to do so.

    I hope it does.

  155. Posted June 3, 2009 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Mr. Robb:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts; however, I don’t understand the position you take in your blog post. You say that you don’t care about the name, that you can’t help how people feel, that Council can’t legislate feelings, and that you didn’t want to be the Council member known for being against a name. You say, “I’m all in favor of a generational culture war in Ypsilanti.” You say, “I hope the festival goes on as planned. I hope they have the courage to stick with the original Ypsitucky Jamboree name. And I hope they keep the festival in Riverside Park.” You say that, “the thing I liked most about Ypsilanti is that I could carve out my own niche without anyone caring what I thought.” You call it “a stupid little name.”

    Given all that, why did you introduce and vote for the motion to withdraw the DTCDC contract?

  156. BrianR
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    The original resolution should have never been brought to Council. And it’s unfortunate that the Ypsitucky issue became confused with the DTCDC.

    I introduced and voted on the substitution because this argument stopped being about Ypsitucky long ago. This morphed into an argument about an organization the City was contracting with that was purposefully dividing the community.

    If someone or some group wants to do something to send the town into chaos, they have all the right in the world to do so, but the City has the right not to contract with that group either.

  157. Posted June 3, 2009 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Brian Robb:

    Not to contradict you, because I don’t have the background that you have on this issue. But what evidence is there that the organizers were attempting to divide the community? To my mind, they chose a name that they thought was reflective of the community’s heritage and when there was a backlash, they chose to stick to their guns rather than back down and have to start over from scratch . Is there more to it than this?


    Col. Will

  158. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    The festival can go on as planned in Riverside Park with the same original name if the promoters choose to do so.

    I don’t get it. How can they use the original name for this festival without everyone going into a tizzy again and bringing it up in front of city hall till they change it?

  159. Cat Man Do
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    What’s there to get? Mr. Robb is saying that they can do what they want, and have the Jamboree, but, if they do, the City will cut funding for the CDC. He’s being facetious.

  160. Dobrowski
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s sad that this Jamboree business has turned into what it has…there is no clear solution anymore. Everyone involved wants the best for Ypsilanti but what’s best is to drop it and leave it where it is. Leave It Alone! There is no answer here, and the best answer is to walk away. I am sorry. I have spoken to the people who began this (I am an unbiast observer and this shit is making my fucking job a lot harder than it should be), and none of them expected this kind of backlash. They are not racists. They are good people who want to have fun. The people who are opposed I understand too…if someone thinks the name “Ypsitucky” is offensive, that is there right…and if they live in a city that wants to use the name, and they feel labeled…that is their right.
    Throw down the weapons…both sides. Leave it where it is.
    Everyone wants Ypsi to be what we all see it can be…let it happen.

    …finish this so I can do my Job in Peace.

  161. BrianR
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Achery / Colonel Will / et al,

    This Ypsitucky issue has been unfortunately intertwined with the DTCDC. A lot of people showed up last night. Some wanted to Council to get rid of the name Ypsitucky Jamboree. Some didn’t. In the end, Council didn’t.

    Maybe in person I could try and explain this better, but I don’t care how many people protest the name Ypsitucky, the City can’t and won’t change it. They can still have the festival. No one can stop them. I wouldn’t doubt that people would get in a tizzy again, but there’s nothing they can do. I don’t care about chaos except when it’s being created by people we are contracting with for services.

    The irony here is so delicious. The people who wanted the name changed are happy, but the name wasn’t changed. The people who wanted the name to stay are unhappy, but the name wasn’t changed.

    As far as the termination of the DTCDC contract, this wasn’t a threat to get them to change the name. I didn’t care about the name. Changing it isn’t going to influence me any.

    When I met with members of the DTCDC and had them advise me as to why they picked the name Ypsitucky Jamboree, I was told at the time it was because it would create controversy and publicity. It was about marketing. That public argument later evolved into the celebration of Ypsilanti’s southern heritage, but that wasn’t what was discussed with me in March.

    Finally, the City doesn’t fund the DTCDC ergo we can’t cut funding.

    For what it’s worth, the East Prospect Park Neighborhood Association is having a meeting in Prospect Park tonight at 7PM in the pavilion near the basketball courts. The Mayor will be there to answer questions from the audience later in the meeting. We could make this a meet up and talk Tucky. I’m not going to be able to answer all the questions here on this blog. It’ll be easier to answer in person. I hope to see everyone there.

  162. Bob
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Does it matter what you call it? The notion that any black people are going to show up for a bluegrass festival is pretty hilarious.

  163. Posted June 3, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Brian, sorry I’m working late and am missing the meeting as we speak.

    So… are we having the Ypsitucky Jamboree — in the parks — for the parks — or aren’t we?

    Are the downtown power player antituckians pleased because the DTCDC is no longer going to be in charge of the parks?

    …and the DTCDC displeased because they are no longer going to be in charge of the parks…

    …and everyone’s being offended by the name “Ypsitucky” was just a veil for a big Ypsilanti inter-fiefdom political turf war*?

    You’ll have to forgive me, I’m a little slow on the uptake in figuring out what all this new stuff means. This is my first foray into city politics.

    *(or feud, as we Ypsituckians might call it)

  164. Preacher Man
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

    This reminds me of the story of King Solomon judging between two mothers. They had each had a baby, but one mother had accidentally crushed the baby in her sleep. Now they both claimed the baby was theirs. Solomon ordered that the baby be cut in half, and half given to each woman. The first woman was pleased with the ruling, but the second begged the king to give the whole baby to the other woman, to spare its life. So king Solomon knew then that the baby belonged to the second woman.

    I’m glad the downtown folks are pleased with the ruling, even though they didn’t get their whole baby — just the parks out of DTCDC hands, no name change.

    In regards to demanding the name be changed from a festival that has gathered such enthusiastic support from participants to raise funds to benefit Ypsilanti, I refer you to the old saying: “don’t muzzle the ox while it is threshing out the grain.”

    You folks who so artfully pretended to be offended by the name should be ashamed of yourselves.

  165. publius
    Posted June 3, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Now that this appears to be over, who’s penis ended up being the biggest after the measuring was completed?

  166. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted June 8, 2009 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    To those who think the name of a music festival can brand a city, there are music festivals held all over the country and none of them has ever changed the “brand” of the city it was held in. Othere wise, we would be live four hours east of Lolapalooza (an event held in a public park, btw) and three hours north of Hookahville. And I’m pretty sure those communities welcome the additional income.

    This is, and has been, only about the city’s old political infights. I’m sorry that down town doesn’t get along with depot town. But you know what? The average ypsi citizen coul care less about your quaral. We would really like you to get over it. All of you.

    And to those offended by Ypsitucky; is the Wurst of Ypsilanti going to harm our public image? I mean, it makes it sound like we’re showcasing our criminal element. Our classic car shows make it look like we’re celebrating old gas guzzling cars at the expense of our environment. Having a beer fest makes us all look like drunks. See where I’m going with this?

    And, Mr. Robb, what happens next year when we don’t have extra money in the budget for the parks. Or the year after that. And, unless I have a drastic missunderstanding of our city’s budget, we could be using that money for other things. Like keeping out parks lit at night. Or fall leaf collection. Or police and fire departments. We are rejecting a dual gift to the city. The money that the DTCDC provides to care for and improve the park, and the money that could be brought in to local buisness by a festival. And, we are making ourselves look like fools for event alowing this debate to take place. It is not, and never was, the buisness of the government. If everything that offends someone is brought before city council, our government will be paralized beyond what it is already by it’s day to day responsibilities.

  167. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted June 9, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    for the record, while there doesn’t seem to be much that I agree with Brian R. , at least he and the mayor are here posting….

  168. Bob
    Posted June 14, 2009 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I too am offended by the band calling themselves “Ypsitucky Colonels.” Not only are none of them actually colonels, they have no military experience whatsoever. In fact, they look like a bunch of liberal, gay-rights supporting reefer hounds. They should call themselves Ypsitucky COLONS because they are a bunch of assholes.

  169. Curt Waugh
    Posted June 14, 2009 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    publius, I believe that Mark reserved for himself the right to declare penis sizes on his blog.

  170. Posted June 15, 2009 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I usually kill spam, but I had to let that last one go. I love the idea that someone would read a thread with 167 comments and ask people to “expand on their thoughts a little more.”

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Jim Spence on June 15, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Jim Spence…

    After reading this post, I am not sure I understand what you are trying to relate. Please expand on your thoughts a little more. Thanks…

  2. By jim's barbeque on April 6, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    A year later, and this is still stupid.

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