Originally published October 1, 2010
Every week in the newsroom we get into petty, fake fights with one another that usually start out of relentless mocking – questionable choices in entertainment, lapses in judgment or dissing on former flames.
Without fail, I get some kind of flack for hailing from Detroit – Motown, the D, Hell (depending on who you are will impact the nickname you give it). I’m not even from downtown Detroit, rather a suburb outside of it that was the antithesis of the once great city.
And every time the topic comes up, I present the same arguments, with no avail: It’s not all bad! Some parts are nice! Every city has shady areas! Trying to win a sports argument is even tougher.
The point of this column isn’t to complain about the lack of respect my hometown gets, not only in the newsroom, but across all of America. Rather, I want to shed light on Detroit, something it so desperately needs.
Right now, beating on Detroit is like picking on the smallest kid in the class. It’s the quick fix for those trying to find a city worse than their own or cheap comedians looking for the easy joke.
Here’s what all the haters are missing – the heart, the passion, the drive to return to glory that still lingers in all the residents of not only Detroit, but the entire state.
Michiganders are the most adamant supporters of the “Drive American” movement, they’ll pack Ford Field for Lions’ games no matter their season record, and they’ll defend the city to the day they die, even if they move to Arkansas.
Sure, we might have given the world the musical STD that is Kid Rock and for a while, we might have been the murder capital of the U.S.
But the good Michigan has brought (and still brings) to the table definitely outweighs the bad.
In the entertainment world, the list of Detroiters is wide and varied, from James Earl Jones to Kristen Bell and Tim Allen to James Wolk (R.I.P. “Lone Star”).
Recently, even those from outside the cozy confines of the mitten have expressed a newfound interest in restoring the city to its glory days. The eternally cool Patti Smith has been recently quoted telling young, struggling artists that the New York scene is dead, to migrate to Detroit, and David Byrne wrote a blog about his recent trip to the city, saying “The skies here are bigger than in New York.”
As a born-and-bred Michigander, I might be biased, but go check it out for yourself. Discriminating and discarding an entire city with such a storied history because you think it’s too dirty, too rough, too dilapidated is unfair to those who live and die in the city.
Give it a chance, go for a visit. Hang around the newly restored area near Comerica Park, the Fox Theater and Ford Field.
The great Clint Eastwood deemed the city worthy enough to shoot “Gran Torino” in it. If it’s good enough for Dirty Harry, then no one else should have a problem with it.
Even if you hate it, if you think it’s the worst place you’ve ever been in your entire life, you can always drive down 8 Mile Road and tell your friends you lived to see the day.