When you cross the border into our state, whether on the highway or arriving in an airport, the first thing you see is a sign proclaiming that you have entered something called “Pure Michigan.” As an advertising slogan, this has always struck me as bizarre. For one thing, purity is not a high value of mine; there seems something vaguely Nazi-ish about it to my jaundiced Jewish eyes. (What next? A picture of Henry Ford accompanied by the words Arbeit macht frei?) Second, our state (like the country as a whole) is a congeries of contradictory populations—the heavily African-American city of Detroit balanced by the mostly white west side of the state; the wealthy, if not plush, suburbs balanced by the rugged and impoverished Upper Peninsula.