Wednesday, August 20, 2014

So Not Funny

I'm not above taking a certain perverse pride in growing up in a tough, unpredictable city. But MLive's Blake Thorne explains why the t-shirts, stickers, and hats that glorify the violence that plagues Flint are far from funny:
The real subject of this apparel was Flint's violent reputation. I'm sure you've seen it before. It's been around, there are several iterations. Some shirts say "Murderville" or "most violent city," some simply have the word "Flint" alongside a drawing of a handgun or a bullet hole. 
Bang bang. You're dead. People get killed here. Funny, huh?
Sure, they're meant to be jokes, a tongue-in-cheek riff on Flint's violent reputation. Maybe at first they seemed funny, or clever. That one where the "L" in Flint is a sideways gun. That's kind of cute, right? 
But somewhere along the line, these shirts -- or hats or stickers or whatever -- have lost their cultural cachet. There was a time, maybe, when making a joke about murder was the only comfort in an endless winter of senseless violence. Some people might still feel this way.
Read the rest here.

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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