“When you slam on the brakes, you’ll be ahead of the pack!”

May 7, 2014 at 7:44 am (By Ron)

So on Facebook the other day, Amba — remember her, bantamweight, the Bulldog Drummond of copyeditors — mentioned that the Chinese may make Detroit a Chinese City.  Now, I thought, why?  Don’t they have enough empty cities of their own?  Or are  they trying to complete the set, like baseball cards?

But there must be a million things we could do with Detroit.  They’ve already got a new business in “ruin porn” tourism!  Can’t screw up that by fixing their problems, can they?  It would be just like Detroit to do just that.  So I put it to the floor — what would you do with it?  Blow it up?  Make it into an 11,000 hole golf course?  Maybe a place to test new weapons!  Oh, we do that now?  Never mind.  Maybe Detroit is the cutting edge of America’s future….the canary in the fiscal coal mine, setting the standard for collapses to come.  Endless possibility — that’s what Detroit has always been about!


My post title comes from Bruce McCall’s Bulgemobile series from the old National Lampoon.  His cool book is The Last Dream-O-Rama.



  1. mockturtle said,

    Having learned from their ‘build it and they won’t come’ experiences, the Chinese now turn their empty theme cities into tourist attractions. A reproduction of Beijing would fit very nicely in Detroit. The ‘Forbidden City’ could be duplicated to scale and wouldn’t have to be forbidden.

  2. Icepick said,

    I got nothin’.

  3. Scout Paget said,

    The whole catalog of these cars is really hilarious. The extended rear lounging area of the ‘Flashbolt’ just had me cracking up. As a fan of vintage auto adverts I really appreciated McCall’s satire. :D

  4. wj said,

    Answering a question like “What to do with Detroit?” always has to start with “what does this place have that’s uniquely, or at least unusually, useful. In Detroit’s case, my (uninformed) list would be:
    – Good transport links to the whole Midwest
    – Cheap land
    (Feel free to come up with additional, or alternate, features.) Lots of place have one or the other, but how many have both?

    Once you have that, you have a clue as to what direction to go. Think about something that needs elbow room, and transport. (And doesn’t care what the winter weather is like.) There’s what you want to try.

  5. karen said,

    How cool would it be to be able to buy up those foreclosed and forlorn properties and feed the soil and build something from the ground up- literally.
    Yes, my friends- i think in terms of tracts of land and open areas. Design an entirely new way of living and thinking- that is actually pretty common/ nonsensical.

    Teach people a little self-reliance.
    Teach people to embrace the difference.
    Teach people to live in the moment.
    Teach people to get along.

    Cows in Detroit.
    Milk it, baby :0)!

  6. karen said,


    Somehow- this may be of key importance, as well.
    To my muddled mind, of course:0)

  7. mockturtle said,

    I’ve always liked Friedman. :-)

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