Detroit, No Chaser...
So I'm posted up at a party the other night, celebrating Time's shiny new media effort here in Detroit, watching the best and brightest mingle and toast and congratulate themselves for daring to do this in the D…
…and all I can think about is how horribly wrong it can go...
Be for real: Detroit – at least the city proper, which birthed and reared me – doesn't usually go well with Big Media. The mixture can too often be a nasty brew of sensationalism and too-easy narratives, lazily or hastily sketched caricatures of an America in decline.
On the flip side, Detroiters usually don't appreciate the mix even when – nah, especially when — it hits home. Nobody likes looking bad (and we just know we're going to wind up looking bad), but few places have our capacity to resist criticism even when it's deadly accurate. If an entire town can harbor collective deep-seated insecurities, we've got ‘em. We rail against the portraits of us – as a city too poor, too drained, too far along in decline to ever bounce back – partially because many of us fear them to be true.
Still, it's one thing to recognize that it's tough to properly mix Big Media with the Motor City. And it's another thing to know that, no matter what you concoct, it'll almost always be tough for many of us to swallow.
But now, I've been asked to help tend bar.
And because I love this town – what we used to be, what we are, what we strive to become — I'm going to try my hand at it. So welcome to my blog.
I can't promise my special house blends will always go down smooth. But I'll do my best to add it all in, and that includes ingredients – voices, people, places from every quarter of this town – that don't always abound in the admixtures major media serves up.
Detroit is still a beautiful, diverse and magical place. We're not just an old Packard plant or a dilapidated train station or an O-fer football team. We're festivals and concerts, artwork and architecture (and the Red Wings!) -- and because I know this, I look forward to the days when what I offer does go down easy.
But Detroit is also a troubled city, a place where race and class divide, families struggle, industries crumble and bureaucrats steal. I know this, too – and so there will be days when there ain't much sweet.
Of course, much of the mix will fall somewhere in between. And whatever the blend, I'll always try to serve it straight up.