Wednesday, November 10, 2010

An Unscientific Study of Flint

I've drawn some very unscientific conclusions after three years of blogging about Flint:

1. Inexplicably, readers just don't get as excited as I do about urban planning issues. (Yes, my feelings are hurt.)

2. Posts on drinking, party stores and fake I.D.'s really seem to resonate with the target audience.

3. People love any items related to Angelo's Coney Island, Halo Burger/Kewpee's, or Slim Chipley, sometimes referred to as "The Flavor Deputy."

Can we come up with any grand conclusions about our beloved hometown based on these findings?


  1. Well, I love this blog as a place to share memories and recollections of a town that really, in all honesty, isn't there anymore.

    And I'm less compelled to join in the autopsy.

  2. "Boom and bust" was the way Stewart Mott recently described Flint (before his death). All the nostolgia of the good ol days of the 50's 60's and 70's before GM went downhill will always elicit joy and happiness from the ex-pats.

    Those that are still there see things radically different as they are so close to it.

    Flint alternately depresses and delights me, much like it does you, Gordie. The spirit of our hometown is not dead, even if it does feel that way when we read it in the NYT...

    I had thought the gay community would blow up Carriage Town and turn it into a mini-Ann Arbor, but the only thing "blowing up" are the furnaces.

    The whole town just needs a new identity. The Vehicle City/car stuff really irks me, too. Flint is not a car town anymore. Put it to rest.

    Bury GM and move on.

  3. I'd guess that the disinterest in planning probably has a lot to do with the fact that Flint's had lots of "plans" in the past and we see how they worked out. Obviously, what's going on downtown today is different in many, many ways, but I suppose I understand the skepticism.

    Also, I think there's probably a feeling that the city's problems go so deep that a bunch of eggheads with fancy degrees couldn't possibly fix it.

    As to the food aspect, we loves to eat in Flint. Always have. And we're very protective of our conies. I grew up telling people from elsewhere that hey, that's a chili dog. That's no coney!

  4. Eating and drinking are "anabolic". Planning to tear our home city down, or at best, less positive being planned to be done than is being planned for other cities in similar circumstances, seems "catabolic".

  5. Flint...we eat, we drink, we don't do politics real well.

  6. I'm not usually given to Biblical sayings, but it seems obvious that Flintites live by the dictum "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die."

    My understanding is that the Bible doesn't say anything about the desirability of urban planning.

  7. I love the urban planning issues - so please, continue to cover those!

  8. What can you say, Gordon -- We are a simple but proud people. Even those of us who has never step foot in a General Motors factory -- we know that there is still a bit of a rivet head flowing in our DNA.

    Flint people don't get excited about martinis and fancy cocktails -- give us a shot and a beer and we'll talk endlessly about anything and everything -- except urban planning.

    Yup, it's hard for a Flint person to get excited about urban planning when the "urban planners" give us something like the price tag on an eye sore like Genesee Towers.

  9. 1. You are definitely not alone on this one.
    2. Blue collar and college mindset.
    3. Nostalgia that is connected to"The Good Ole Days" will always create a lot of feedback.
    Question: No, but we all get to share the disparity of it all.

  10. Give us some urban planning that will genuinely restore Flint to its best and we'll get excited.

    We keep reading here about multibillionaires who are from Flint or lived in Flint. Do any of them have the sense of vision that Charles Stewart Mott did for Flint? Apparently not Stewart Mott.

  11. Gordo -- hereabouts we seem to all be of differing mindset but we all agree that the Flint of our past, or our present, somehow needs to be preserved or documented in some way. In previous posts and emails you expressed concern that these digs might become just another nostalgia site for times goneby. Perhaps that's just what is needed. But me thinks, humbly, that you have surpassed the nostalgia thing and sincerely hope that you please keep on keepin' on with what you're doin'. As someone said above, leave the autosopy for others as there are any number of other sites where the post-mortum can be viewed.

  12. Whatever you are doing Gordie, you are doing it right.

    The comments tagged to your post are quite relevant and full of truth.

    Flint: "the vehicles were on top and have done the flippity flop"


  13. Two things: Nostalgia always trumps reality. And Internet content (and blogs therein) is still regarded largely as entertainment. That goes for everybody, not just Flintoids.


  14. Flintexpats will only be a Nostalgia site. The nature of the readers being expatriates that are not in Flint means that the city is only VITAL in their memories. I now live 20 minutes outside of Flint and find less and less that I recognize in the old neighborhoods. I do find more and more that I admire in downtown. Farmers Market is a constant, it changes seasonally.

  15. craigkite, I can relate to your sentiments, but I have to point out that the majority of readers come from the city of Flint. Or at least they are in the city when they log in. This really surprised me. I figured the blog would appeal largely to expats, hence the name. But according to google analytics that's not the case.

  16. Anabolic/Catabolic begets another theory.

    Eating and Drinking elicit Parasympathetic Physiological responses.

    Urban Planning is like Fight or Flight-Sympathetic Physiological responses.

    GY's response about the people who comment-they have either Fled (true Expatriates) or are still Fighting-and may be interested in Urban Planning.

  17. OK, so why are there never any posts about the ambrosia of the gods that is a Luigi's pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni?

  18. I'm surprised that FlintExPats participants are mostly current Flint area residents. Following this blog for a couple years now (from Indianapolis); I have had the feeling that other than a few notable exceptions, locals didn't participate much. As a side note, we just finished up the last of our King Arthur frozen pasties yesterday. Will need to stock up again during our Christmas visit. Keep up the good work Gordie, I bet maintaining this blog gets awfully tiresome on occasion.


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