Tuesday, December 10, 2013

What to do with Detroit?

Gawker has a few ideas. Today Gawker posted an article, if you can call it that, with what looks like a group chat. Don't bother reading it. It's one, long inside joke that doesn't even end with a bang...like an SNL skit this side of Tina Fey.

Okay, SNL is a worn target, but so is Detroit.

"What Should Be Done About Detroit?" Well my first response to the question posed by Gawker, and seemingly everyone in the Western World was, "Well, what do Detroiters think should be done with Detroit?" Now sure, Detroit is currently undergoing the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy, so the city has willingly accepted national input.

But to use a prominent blog to pose the question and then follow that question with an internal conversation and a series of inside jokes, with no input from anyone in Detroit, is a bit disrespectful to a city that still deserves at least a shred of respect.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a huge fan of self deprecation and politically incorrect humor, but the article isn't even funny to anyone not involved in the conversation. And for politically incorrect humor to be funny, it also should have a point.

This article is just a bunch of New York hipsters abusing a real city most of them have never been to, to fill HTML. Come on, Gawker isn't my favorite blog, but it's better than this turd.

Still a city

That said, the Motor City is in a dire situation, they've even considered auctioning off the city's art collection valued at $866M. Sure, that's a handsome number, but when you consider the fact that $800M builds a convention center and Detroit owes $18B, is it really worth it? Maybe. Detroit holds an art collection on par with many large American cities. While it will barely make a dent in the city's debt, why hold art that no one is visiting at the cost of pensions?

Detroit's problems are complex, and perhaps that's why Gawker pitched an inane conversation at it instead of thoughtful discussion. I'm not going to pretend to know how to fix that city, but its rebirth will unlikely be relative to Philadelphia's or any other major American city. Detroit has lost more than a million residents who aren't returning.

When Detroit does find its way, and it will, it will certainly be smaller, less globally relevant, but it will always represent what it once was. Gawkers need to remember that, despite what's become of the city, Detroit built an industry few cities can claim.

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