Fair & Just Questionnaire: Jack Lessenberry

Journalist Jack Lessenberry is known for his political commentary on Michigan Radio, as well as his weekly columns in the Metro Times. He is also revered for his award-winning coverage of Geoffrey Fieger and Jack Kevorkian’s many assisted-suicide trials, which appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire and the New York Times. Here, the always entertaining writer shares his views on the Soviet National Anthem, dreaded “W” and love of his life.

What is your favorite color?

Some restful and warm shade of blue.

What is your favorite song?

The Soviet National Anthem. No, really.

What is your favorite restaurant?

The late, lamented Golden Mushroom.

Who is your favorite Detroit celebrity?

Geoffrey Nels Fieger, naturally.

Where is your favorite place to be?


What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Reading, writing, and spending as much time as possible with my books, my dog, and especially Elizabeth, the love of my life and my best friend.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

George Orwell with a dash of H.L. Mencken and Leon Trotsky.

Which living person do you most admire?

Barack Obama, I suppose. Or Mikhail Gorbachev.

Which trait in yourself do you most deplore?

Eating too much.

What trait do you most deplore in others?

Selfishness, short-sightedness and laziness.

What’s your greatest extravagance?

Books and travel.

What is your favorite journey?

Any place Elizabeth and I go next.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


On what occasion do you lie?

When asked my weight.

Which living person do you most dislike?


What is your greatest regret?

Not having more hours in the day or years to live.

When & where were you the happiest?

Right now, thankfully.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Ability to sing without torturing people.

What is your current state of mind?

Cheerfully eccentric.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would have more athletic ability than a salamander.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being useful.

What is your most treasured possession?

My memories.

Where would you most like to live?

Where I do – Huntington Woods and Charlevoix.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Puckish sense of humor and wide-ranging knowledge.

What do you most value in your friends?

Warmth, caring, intellect.

Who are your favorite writers?

George Orwell, Leonard Cohen, Ted Allbeury.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Frodo Baggins.

Who is your hero in real life?

Mikhail Gorbachev.

How would you like to die?

Peacefully, in my sleep, without pain, with all my faculties, a thousand years from now.

If you were a speech part, what would you be?

The best part.

If you were a car, what kind would you be?

A 1952 Citroen 2 CV.

If you were food, what kind would you be?

Pasta with some form of wild mushrooms.

If you were an animal, what kind would you be?

My Australian Shepherd Ashley.

If you were fine art, what form would you take?

A painting by Manet.

What’s your motto?

Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice. Oops, that’s the state’s not mine. Well, we can share it.

What’s your favorite quote about the law?

quis custodiet ipsos custodes.


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