The "ruins" of Detroit. (photo: ifmuth via Flickr)
Yeah. You know, the “ruin porn” and the “urban decay porn” you sent me, gloating over the death of Detroit like a ghoul over a corpse.
I’ve seen it already, thanks for sharing though. Over the last ten years as I’ve driven through Detroit watching its skyline and its streets and homes change after the auto industry fucked it again and again — yeah, I’ve seen the real thing, not just the warmed up leftovers you sent me.
This is what happens when a city of nearly two million occupants is treated like toilet paper by the corporations it made great. What did you expect would happen when after years of tax abatements and rolling over for these corporations’ short-sighted, quarter-to-quarter and purely selfish demands?
Did you know that General Motors thwarted the use of street cars when it “owned” Detroit? It wanted to encourage its workers and city residents to buy its vehicles or use the buses it built, and in turn the white collar and eventually blue collar workers used the cars they bought to move to the suburbs where they could have their two- and three-car garages. The only people left behind were folks who really couldn’t afford to move to the suburbs or those hardcore souls who were dedicated to living in Detroit.
But that was over the course of the last several decades, the course of my lifetime that this urban flight occurred; it was a slow and steady bleed.
During the last ten years the slow bleed became a hemorrhage as the automotive industry offshored tens of thousands of jobs, spawning even larger numbers of job losses among suppliers, and even more jobs lost as workers fled the state and no longer purchased services from their neighborhood dry cleaners or hair salons, no longer frequented their restaurants or their grocery stores.
The collapse of the financial industry gave them the coup de gras, what with the damage subprime mortgages did to the financial subsidiaries owned by GM and Chrysler.
But I can see why you indulge in the porn; it’s fashionable. So fashionable it’s predictable. The residents of Detroit and Michigan can almost predict which photos the pornographers will take when they arrive, because we see them again and again.
But the truth is this: Detroit has been through boom-and-bust before, survived and lived to tell about it as has the state around it. Unlike many parts of the country which are relatively new and have never gone through the cicada-like cycles, Detroit is an an elegant old survivor who wears scars deep down to her bones out of sight of the youngsters who mock her. . . . Read the rest of this entry →