Monday, August 17, 2009

“Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus” (”We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes”)

Mexican Town, Detroit (May 5th, 2009 - Jasen Mehta)

Papa Hobo
by Paul Simon

Its carbon and monoxide
The ole Detroit perfume
It hangs on the highways
In the morning
And it lays you down by noon
Oh papa hobo
You can see that I’m dressed like a schoolboy
But I feel like a clown
It’s a natural reaction I learned
In this basketball town

Sweep up
I been sweeping up the tips I’ve made
I’m living on Gatorade
Planning my getaway
Detroit, Detroit
Got a hell of a hockey team
Got a left-handed way
Of making a man sign up on that
Automotive dream, oh yeah, oh yeah
Oh, papa papa hobo
Could you slip me a ride?
Well, it’s just after breakfast
I’m in the road
And the weatherman lied,
Oo-------, ah-----, oo-------

I was reading several articles/blogs about Detroit, and a few had several, well-written reader comments. Below I cut and paste some snippets of comments I read.

  • The people here are great... the politicians, not so much. But there is hope here, a vision shared by many Detroiters... how appropriate that the city's motto translates to, "We hope for better days; It shall rise from the ashes." (written in 1805) That is the lure.
  • Detroit once vied with New York as the most important town in America. Alas, that dream went away as racial animus, and the success of the union worker led to its own demise. The workers kids all became college grads and left - and bought foreign cars to boot.
  • Detroiters, both lifers and recent arrivals, sincerely love their city, for some very good reasons: it's quintessentially American, both in its history and its ethos, which prides hard work, entrepreneurship and optimism; much of what remains of it is architecturally stunning; it can claim the invention of three, perhaps four major genres of pop music; and its residents, despite withstanding decades of economic hardship and inhumanly cold winters, are terribly warm and friendly people, in a tough, earthy Midwestern sort of way.
  • If you're looking for a posh lifestyle where things are made easy, Detroit is not for you. But if you want to be a part of something bigger, helping to redefine a city that so much of the nation has given up on, Detroit should be one of your top considerations.
  • Detroiters have an "enormous self-esteem issue"
  • "they [Detroiters] are so passionate, and so committed"
  • "What people love about Detroit...what I love about that we can do something to change it, to make it better. They all want to be part of something bigger than themselves"
  • " dismiss this city that has been in an economic depression for many terrible, and insensitive especially for all the wonderful people, that are just struggling to survive in a city that is scorned by the entire US."
  • Detroit does not have "they" problems; these are "we" problems that affect all Americans
  • poetic urban decay and poignant physical metaphor
  • "It is arguable that smaller grants spread widely throughout the Detroit art community would provide much more stimulus..." but, "Creating an elite group can be just as demoralizing as no support at all."
  • most frustrating aspect about metro Detroit for me has been the lack of a cohesive creative community
  • people in Detroit don’t exactly have a lot and tend to really appreciate what good does come there way
  • Sometimes I think maybe designers in Detroit can be bit too idealistic, but I would certainly rather be around that than people seeming to ignore the issues around them

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