Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coming Home for the Detroit Auto Show

As the Detroit Auto Show swings into action, Lawrence Ulrich has an interesting profile of the city many journalists love to hate. He writes:

My late blue-collar father and retired white-collar uncle worked for Budd, a parts supplier that was absorbed by a German steel company. My brother, Kurt, is a millwright at Chrysler, though he’s been idle since Easter and has had two tours of Iraq as an Army reservist.

As a teenager in the ’80s, I lasted a year in a union-free shop, a nasty corrugated bunker where accidents and callous managers taught me why unions came to exist. Now I’m back for an annual auto-show pilgrimage, which also allows a catch-up with friends, family and the city that I love — sort of. Detroit and its eponymous industry are both like the relative who’s in and out of rehab: you’re never sure whether he needs a hug or a smack upside the head.


  1. Read Mitch Albom's article in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. Detroit needs compassion, respect and pride for the millions of hardworking auto workers who came before and helped create the "middle class" in America so put on some jazz music and remember it as it was and can be again. Add Flint to that hope too.
    - Pat Young

  2. Mom Young!

    Playin' Coltrane "Ballads" (recorded '61 and '62) as we speak, er, as I type. I'll follow that up with some (David) Fathead Newman. It ain't bebop, but it'll have to do.

  3. May I recommend Sammy Davis Jr.'s "Hello Detroit"? ;)

    You can check it out on the detroitus mix found here....

  4. Thanks for the inspiration regarding Detroit and Flint. I've got Dizzy G playing in the background right at this very moment...


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at