Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Detroit Goes Bust

All the headlines proclaim that Detroit has gone bankrupt. The b-roll footage shows block upon block of abandoned buildings, a cityscape that slipped past dystopia and into irrelevance.  All bankruptcy means, I think, is that Detroit has too much debt to pay back.  But these legal proceedings are not what is noteworthy. This filing probably could have been done ten or fifteen years ago. What matters more is that so little remains where the once-thriving city used to be.  Scholars can debate forever what caused this to happen: decline of the auto industry, freeways, riots, white flight, corruption, mismanagement.  All of these played a role.  Regardless of how much you take from Column A and how much from Column B, the total is still the same. A huge tract of land left in something less than even ruins. What is the next step down? What happens between when the last of the markers of civilization fall but before the archaeologists appear? What is this? Some sort of purgatory of not existing yet not quite gone.

Pity the town that needs Heroes.

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