Gray Flannel Dwarf

2/6/2006

UK Journo’s take on SBXL host, Detroit.

Pretty good article, and real. I don’t care what they said on the news, about Detroit being a great host, and really cleaning things up, and that a lot of the bad things said about the city are all wrong.

No, they’re all right. I’ve been here over the past year, watching the facade go up, watching the “Bridge to the Motor City” be built, watching them plant grass along the highways in November in an attempt to make the place look green… something the author nails quite well.

But look a little closer, and many of the renovated office buildings on Woodward are still empty. The shiny glass panes are back-lined by faux paper interiors, creating an oddly Potemkin Village effect. The crucial question remains. When the imperial passage of Super Bowl XL is over, when the 100,000 visitors have returned home and the white hospitality tents in central downtown have been removed, will the city resume its long, secular decline?

There’s nothing good about this place, so far as I can tell. Well, I’m a Tigers fan, and even they stink.

People here continue to fool themselves into thinking Detroit is a great place. They continue to fool themselves into thinking that the American automakers will lift the city up by the bootstraps and bring employment and wealth to the region. They continue to fool themselves into thinking that Kwame Kilpatrick is the right kind of guy to have running the city, with his 30-thousand man security detail.

Having hope is one thing, but you have to have at least a basis, grounds, some sort of common infrastructure for that glimmer. There’s nothing here on which to plant any sort of hope. I really just don’t get it.

I always had an inkling of this sort of feeling about Bristol — high hopes and grand plans without appropriate infrastructure — but man, the expression of this ideal here absolutely dwarfs that of the smaller tri-city. And at least Bristol is relatively untouched, kind of a clean canvas. Detroit, on the other hand, is ready to collapse under its own weight.

That’s my impression of this city. Spent basically a year of my life here, and I have seen little evidence that being a lifelong resident of this area would’ve made me see things any differently. The hundreds of thousands who came in all saw a live production of propaganda in action… and while they probably know this, and the news anchors and sports figures and analysts know this… this whole weekend it was all about how much Detroit had improved and how all the naysayers were wrong.

These people sold out and drank the kool-aid… and in doing so, they only continue to perpetuate the myths in the minds of this area’s residents. This UK writer is the only one that I’ve really seen yet who has the balls to come out and tell it like it is.

March 1st, man. It can’t come soon enough.


Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 1:37 pm