Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Dangerous Girl Goes Back to The D

I think sometimes people attribute my anger management problem to the fact that I'm from Detroit. That makes sense I guess; Detroit's an easy target. You can know nothing about it but still have some cursory understanding that it's a rough place. And it is...but it isn't. In a lot of ways it just got the short end of the stick for like 40 years.

But no, that's not why I'm such a psycho. Besides, to say I grew up in Detroit is like saying you grew up in Compton when you're really from the O.C. Er something. Whatever, L.A. sucks.

In 1967, race riots broke out in Detroit—as they had in a lot of major cities across the United States where there were high populations of blacks and whites living closely together. Detroit got the fuck burnt out of it during the riots and then in subsequent years, when the city was left to rot, because anyone who could, fled to the suburbs. The picture above is of the train station downtown Detroit. As you can see in the following photos, there are no windows left.

I'm not posting these photos to tell you what a bad place Detroit is. But I think sometimes people need to see the power of what can happen to a city's economy because of social breakdowns; because of neglect.

I think people think that they can continue to support their own privileged interests and ignore the larger picture of society. I think people believe that what happens to "other people" in "other places" simply will not ever affect them. Detroit is a victim of such neglect and stupidity and corruption.

If you forget that this is all the result of cumulative badness, though, there's something beautiful and eerie in the urban decay. Imagine the feeling you'd get walking through Melbourne and seeing major buildings, skyscrapers, empty and falling through. If you can separate the sadness, you can really see how people are what gives a building life, and how dead buildings make a city a ghost.


Colleen said...

[slow clap]

Oh hell yes. I certainly understand this. Awesome post ecs!

Also, my Irish cop grandfather was in the Newark riots of them days.

I haven't been to the D but when I was in Cleveland there was a shit-ton of abandonment and decay and I wondered if it was like Detroit, only less so.

ecs said...

Sorry 'bout teh typos, kids. I'm tired, boss.

lucy said...

Yikes! i feel like a doctor. Awesome photo of the entrance to the train station.

Skip Cunningham said...

Wow, you're from Detroit and saying that LA sucks. Wow! I think that's a compliment to LA.

But yeah, downtown Detroit looks like a war zone. It's shocking.

Scott said...

That train station is awesome. It's sad that the building hasn't been put to good use.

John said...

i'm a white bread kid (can i still call myself a kid at age 40?) from west mich and i haven't seen too much of the dark underbelly of detroit. however, i don't think it's any worse than the dark underbelly of chicago/new york/st. louis/cleveland or any other industrial town. for that matter, the area around ford field, comerica park, etc. is pretty sweet. it will be interesting to see if detroit can keep some positive momentum going over the next ten years or so....

besides, a detroit chick could kick the ass of an LA chick any day of the week.