4 Places That Are Worse Than Detroit

26 Jul
The Iconic “Spirit of Detroit” monument.  In its left and right hands are Detroit mascots Ulrich the Urchin and “The Naked Nicklesons”, respectively.

The Iconic “Spirit of Detroit” monument. In its left and right hands are Detroit mascots Ulrich the Urchin and “The Naked Nicklesons”, respectively.

Unless you owe somebody $18 billion, you have more money than the city of Detroit.

Detroit recently announced that it is declaring Chapter 9 bankruptcy, because, in Detroit, the best and most proven way to solve a problem is to give up.  The tragicomedy of the situation, of course, is that it couldn’t even succeed in declaring itself a failure; in essence, even having no money is too much money for Detroit to be able to handle.  While there are multiple reasons (a shrinking population, too many public sector employees, this guy named Kwame Kilpatrick, etc.) why Detroit is in the situation it’s in now, those are too hard to understand; and if college has taught me anything, it’s that the best way to declare yourself an expert on a subject is to be really loud, vocal, and domineering about that subject while doing as little research as possible, because, as everyone age 16-28 knows, intelligence is directly proportional to the amount of Facebook posts you have about Egypt.

Passive-aggressive hatred towards my generation aside, the vast majority of Detroit looks like a rusted urban toilet (just look at this.  And this.  And also this).  Detroit’s lusciferian fall from grace is even more impressive (unimpressive?) when you consider that, in 1940, Detroit was the 4th largest city in the nation.  Today, it is the 18th largest.  Hell, in 1950, it had 2.5 times the population that it does now.  That’s incredible.  That’s like Wal-Mart reverting to a mom-and-pop liquor store by 2073, or the largest automobile manufacturer in America’s stock falling to $1 a share[1].

If you for some reason live in Detroit, you shouldn’t abandon all hope[2].  There are plenty of places that are worse than the Motor City.  And while a short list, you can take solace in the fact that, hey, you could be stuck there, and that would be way worse, right?

This piece is entitled, “Someone Please Make a Documentary about Flint."

This piece is entitled, “Someone Please Make a Documentary about Flint.”

Flint, MI

You don’t have to look far to find a location more irreversibly depressing than Motown.  The great city of Flint, located in *gestures to hand* this part of Michigan, has a story that reads a lot like Detroit’s:  boomed during the peak of the American auto industry, failed miserably to adapt when information technology became the new prime American industry, now looks like the backdrop of a Martin Scorsese movie.  Of course, Flint is in a way crappier position because it has no name recognition (at least people know Detroit is a real-life fallout zone); Eminem was never on a Chrysler ad[3] proclaiming the honesty of a product that was “Imported from Flint”.  And through all of Detroit’s garbage, they still have retained pro teams in all four major American sports (two of which, the Red Wings and the Tigers, are consistently good); I feel like people might play sports in Flint, but they probably use old car mufflers for bats and shit.

For finite proof, consider this: Every year, the FBI releases a list of what they deem the most dangerous cities in America.  Detroit, not surprisingly, made the 2013 list, at #2.  Guess who was #1.  Go ahead.  Guess.

“At least we’re not in Flint.” – Inferno, Canto XXXII, line 54.

“At least we’re not in Flint.” – Inferno, Canto XXXII, line 54.

The 9th Circle of Hell

While not nearly as awful as Flint, the 9th Circle of Hell is definitely worse than Detroit.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dante’s Inferno, the 9th and final circle of hell is themed “Treachery”, in the same way a frat party might be themed “Sexy Teachers and Mythical Creatures”; except in the 9th Circle of Hell, there’s less natty light and the temperature is at a more reasonable level.

But back to the whole Treachery thing.  Say what you will about Detroit, but its residents aren’t traitorous.  For about half of a decade, ever since the recession, the mantra of Detroit has been, in some form or another, “Detroit Is Coming Back”.  And even now, despite the city doing everything it can to communicate to its residents and Michigan as a whole that it is not on the rise, Michiganders – like businessman and angry-letter-to-LeBron-James-writer Dan Gilbert – still think it’s on the rise.  It takes stones to keep force-feeding yourself rhetoric that you know is in no way true at all; you have to put loyalty above intelligence.  And that’s what Detroit is.  Loyal, and not intelligent.  Like a dog.  Or a Paula Deen apologist.



My Apartment When the Air Conditioning Broke

At least in Detroit there is wind, sometimes.  At least there is air that is moving around and circulating and doesn’t just sedentarily sit in place and mope like an obese lizard.  I have never experienced as much physical and mental trauma as I did the week of July 8th, 2013, when, for four mind-frying days, my apartment’s air conditioning unit stopped functioning.  Over those four days and four nights, I produced more sweat than urine.  I was able to broil a chicken in my bathtub[5].  On the Wednesday of that week, Peter O’Toole rode through my kitchen on a camel’s back, followed by a caravan of Arabs.  Was it cinematographically colossal and majestic?  Yes.  But it didn’t make up for the fact that at one point I seriously considered skinning myself in order to get cooler.

I understand that Detroit is a depressingly poverty-stricken city, but at least there are places in that city (I assume) that possess functioning air conditioning.  I literally, figuratively, virtually, and all of the other -lys, could not picture a place, real or imaginary, that could possibly be as bad as my apartment without air conditioning.  Don’t even fucking try to argue with me, dude; you don’t know what I went through; you’re wrong and I’m right and you’re just racist and misogynist and look at this article I found aren’t I smart.

[1] Which of course has never happened.

[2] Well, first you should run, because that crackhead behind you has a knife and hasn’t had a fix in ten hours.

[3] Best part about that ad: the wry smile that creeps itself onto your face when you realize the majority of Chrysler is owned by FIAT, an Italian automobile company, and therefore Chrysler did not go to “hell and back”: it really just went to hell (which happens to be Torino, Italy, where FIAT is based), lost all of its money playing slots, and had no choice but to sell its pale and flimsy body to the devil.  I don’t know who the devil is in this metaphor, though.  Berlusconi, maybe?

[4] You guys all knew this was coming.  A reference to how hellish Tech is.  Pretty clever, isn’t it?…wow, this is getting really sarcastically confrontational really fast.  I’m sorry.  Anyways, what I want to say is, I’m not going to repeat any more ancient adages about Tech; they’re not witty and are as stale and over-used as Fucksaw jokes; and quite frankly it’s summer and I haven’t had personal physical contact with anyone my age for three weeks and I don’t have the patience to regurgitate Sunday Funnies-esque jokes about the Technological Institute.  Point is, it’s really fucking big and there are a lot of rooms and it’s hard to find your discussion section.  That was the gist of the joke that I had in place before I deleted it and replaced it with this footnote.  It wasn’t funny, and I didn’t feel like patronizing you with it; you’re clearly smarter than that, since you’re actually taking the time to read this footnote instead of just skipping it altogether.  So there.

[5] It was delicious, in case you were wondering.

2 Responses to “4 Places That Are Worse Than Detroit”

  1. Laurie Keim July 30, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Your photograph gags had me laughing aloud but from then on it got better. Luv your stuff.
    Laurie Keim


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