2) Getting asked if I know Eminem when people find out where I live
3) People who live outside the Metro area and insult the city of Detroit.
Three things about life I truly love might be:
1) The corner of 8 Mile and Shadyside
2) Tim Hortons Iced Capps (made with chocolate milk, obviously)
3) When large groups of people band together for a common cause. Especially when it entails some fool gettin' told.
It seems like this happens a couple times every year. A journalist sits down at his laptop, considers the vast, rich landscape of possibilities open to him through which to steer his readers, weighs them against his subject matter, his abilities, and his deadline, and goes the lazy man's route - straight through the heart of every man, woman, and child who feels insulted when Detroit's insulted too. And then those men, women, and children who have internet access assemble to give him the what for.
You might want to read the first couple paragraphs of this sparklingly brilliant work of journalism before continuing. Ahem.
"Muggy with a chance of murder"? How dare he mock southeast Michigan's relentless summer humidity. Until you've lived here, you just don't understand the indignity of watching your carefully flat-ironed coif spring up a frizz-halo three inches in every direction from your head. He's clearly balding. And heartless.
In all honesty though, I write about this because it angers me. Maybe not this specific article per se - Detroit's been jabbed so many times that Tychkowski's jab didn't even penetrate the scar tissue - but the stereotypes his comments stemmed from rouse my ire. Maybe it's because I spend eight months out of the year a school telling people that 8 Mile really isn't that interesting, and is mostly gas stations, used car lots, and strip clubs. Maybe it's because I've personally felt the effects of the auto industry crumbling, watched friends and family members search endlessly for jobs to no avail, and watched as home foreclosures sprung up around my neighborhood like dandelions. True, the city has its problems, we can't ignore that - but to exploit them for a cheap laugh and a catchy anecdote is to cheapen the experiences of everyone who lives in the Detroit-metro area.
Which, ultimately, is what this article amounted to. Tychkowski was trying to draw on a parallel between the crappyness of his team's play and the crappyness of the city of Detroit. It was just a little flourish of rhetoric wordplay. Removed from its geographical context, the turn of phrase is almost clever. He's probably a bit confused why his article has garnered over a hundred comments of angry backlash. I'm not confused. It's because we get judged on vacation when we tell people we're from the Detroit area. Because we get immediately defensive when we see the name of the city at the start of a news article not written by a local publication. And it's because EdmontonSun.com has a comments feature, whereas network sitcoms, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Times Magazine sitting in your doctor's waiting room - all of which have been guilty of laying down the hate on Detroit - do not.
Mickey Redmond was even peeved about this:
"It's completely unnecessary, uncalled for, unrelated to the game of hockey," said Redmond. "If it was an attempt to be humorous, it was a lousy attempt at that. It was not necessary. You're beating up on a city that obviously doesn't need it"
If I used this blog to occasionally disparage against Canada, particularly northern Alberta, I probably wouldn't get publicly told off by the Oilers color guy, which is almost a shame, because our Wikio ratings would go bananas.
Anyway, Tychkowski, you pulled the "lol Detroit sucks" card, and now you're taking the heat for it. I don't know you - you might be a nice guy who feels like a real ass right now (some of those comments had considerably stronger wording than Mickey's), but maybe next time you'll choose your words more carefully. At any rate, you did manage to write one great, succinct, infinitely truthful Detroit-related line the other night - "The Wings are good."
Yes. Yes they are.