"With a ruling by a federal judge on Tuesday that Detroit is eligible to enter bankruptcy, the fate of the city’s art collection — one of the finest in the country — now moves front and center in the legal battle over the city’s future."
Early this year, John Patrick Leary, a professor of American literature at Wayne State University, published a story in Guernica called "Detroitism" about, primarily, the two competing journalistic and artistic narratives about the Motor City.
There’s the Detroit Lament, which he describes as an examination of the city’s decline that is mostly told through the examination of physical spaces. You may have heard it referred to as "ruin porn." And there’s the Detroit Utopia, stories which purport to show a new way forward for the city, be it through urban farming, $100 homes or bicycling. (Utopian depictions of Detroit, Leary noted, tend to involve young creative white people.)
This is actually a quite great account of the media and how it deals with Detroit. "The city's second-most-overused blight shot is of the mile-long ruins of the Packard Auto Plant in East Detroit. 'This is the visiting reporters' favorite thing to see,' [photographer] James [Griffioen] said. 'The people all come here to shoot the story of the auto industry and they love this shot because they can be like, 'See that? That's where they made the cars,' and then forget to add the footnote that the plant's been closed since 1956.'" Oh man.
In the nights before the promised Mayan Apocalypse, mysterious configurations of bright lights hovered over Brooklyn and San Francisco's Mission District. The first commenter here made the reasonable assumption that it was all some kind of viral marketing aimed at overpaid young urbanites.
But the product of such clever, vague and expensive advertising has yet to appear. And the silent, terrifying craft are now being seen over far less desirable urban areas including Detroit, Indianapolis and the Gulf Coast of Florida. What could it mean? Is Detroit poised for a comeback? And why are they also appearing in Poughkeepsie?
A few days ago, in my professional capacity as a Japanese TV News Producer (read: guy who carries tripod, tells police, “sorry, we’ll leave”), I was dispatched to Detroit for the North American International Auto Show.
The first day began with the Car of the Year awards, and the first of many bad metaphors to come: “Michigan’s film industry is also booming, so to put this in film terms: this is the feel-good movie of the year, and the NAIAS is the theater.” On stage, the CEOs lined up almost Von Trapp-style, except for that one guy on the right. The Chevy Volt beat out the all-electric Nissan [...]
Not only is former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick fully caught up on the payment plan he made to resolve the $1 milllion debt he owes the city as part of his probation-Kilpatrick served 99 days in prison on obstruction of justice charges-he also sent in this month's payment a week early! So there's no need to throw him back in jail, says his attorney.
"If the Booty Lounge is rocking, Detroit police come knocking." [Spoiler: The Booty Lounge was indeed rocking, and the knocking of Detroit's constabulary resulted in the cessation of posterior oscillation.]
There's a reason that the notion of selling the Brooklyn Bridge has long served as shorthand for a rudimentary con job. Public authorities own and administer the span, and so documents decreeing private ownership of the thing are so plainly the handiwork of a scam artist that they've basically been retired from circulation as anything other than a Vaudeville-era punch line.
But greed and vanity reliably trump reason on the American scene, and so the current dust-up over the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, has the point of the bridge-selling parable precisely backwards. As the main artery for trade between the United States and [...]