Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Page Turner: Detroit, An American Autopsy

Am I ever excited to discuss this book! I know I've said this before, but
Martin ruined reading for me. Since reading the Song of Ice and Fire series
I have found most novels to be unimaginative, uninteresting, and bland. Lately,
I've found myself drawn towards real life stories, for as Mark Twain points
out: "Life is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to
stick to possibilities; Truth isn't."  Me reading this book was almost
inevitable - Paul has a certain affinity for Detroit. His love for the city began
as a child when he would don the Red Wings jersey and cheer for a team
miles from his own home. He recently took a trip to Detroit to see a game
in the Joe Louis Arena before they tear it down. So I've been listening to
the plight of Detroiters (from someone who sincerely believes that Detroit is
a victim) for years. I've also been seriously interested in the world in which
we now live in, a world of financial servitude. This book highlights the affects
of this, for when we live in an age of debt there will be problems. But I write
all this with compassion and love for humanity. If you're like me and you are a
child of knowledge, and want a bit of grit with your truth, then this book if for you!

Reasons to Read Detroit

1. If you're planning a trip to Detroit, this book will give you the
ins and outs of the city. For example, apparently it's not the
best idea to get gas on Gratiot Avenue. 

2. I was not aware that Detroit has such a multi-faceted
entertainment industry. The city offers plenty of things to do,
such as setting vacant houses on fire, urban adventuring,
and murder watching. Bored this weekend? Pack the kids
into that minivan and go watch a planned murder unfold. I
was astounded by all the crime that Detroit witnesses in
a year. In comparison, the city in which I live, Ottawa,
has around 200,000 more people than Detroit, yet in
2013 there were only 9 murders in Ottawa while in
Detroit the numbers were in the 300's. But even my
own city is experiencing an increase in crime, in 2012
we had seven murders. People, beware. I can't imagine
living in a city that murder is a common occurrence. I
even lived in a semi "bad" area of the city when I was in
university (I've witnessed a man beating his wife.  A coke
head tried to break into my friend's house next door via
the balcony because he had mistakenly thought it was his
drug dealer's house, which was the next unit over. And
our building was the target of arson). But that's just baby
talk in comparison to the daily events unfolding in Detroit.

3. If you're a follower of truth, this book is for you. I'm not
sure how much more honest LeDuff could be. Although,
my doubts about the "truthfulness" of our media, including
newspapers, is unwavering. As LeDuff puts it: "I love being a
newsman and I believe in the words carved in the sandstone
parapet of the News building : Troubler of the Public
Conscience. But that ideal had become as ossified as the
statue of Benjamin Franklin up there. From New York to
Los Angeles, American newspapers were yellow and stale
before they even came off the press. Dog-beaten by a dwindling
readership, financial losses and partisan attacks, editors had
stripped them of their personality in an attempt to offend no one.
And so there was no more reason to read them. Safety before
Truth. Grammar over Guts. Winners before Losers.

4.  Despite all the crime, corruption, and evil that exists, not only in
Detroit but everywhere in the world, this book will reinforce the
idea that good does exist. Although, the path of good is not always
the easiest to walk. "When a well-packaged web of lies has been
sold gradually to the masses over generations, the truth will
seem utterly preposterous and its speaker a raving lunatic."
Dresden James

5. Journalists produce great books. This may not be the rule, but the
ones that I've read are wonderful to read. It must be the journalism
background and the use of all their attention-grabbing devices that
make these books captivating page-turners. Another good read to
check out is The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson.

6. (As they say) History often repeats itself. The story of a town or city
booming, gaining wealth, putting itself on the map as an important place,
and then the eventful downfall of that city or town. This usually happens after
the area has been depleted of its natural resources and wealth. New areas
with copious amounts of possible-riches must be sought. People move. 
The once never quiet city has now become a ghost town. Do we hope
that Mother Nature will be able to undue all the damage we have caused or
do we believe the world is large enough for all of our excessive desires?
On a positive note: the beaver, who had not been seen in the Detroit area
for a century, has been spotted once again.


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