Laughing With Us Vs. Laughing At Us

Last month, Rust Wire had a brief post about a fake “promotional” video for Cleveland posted on YouTube. The video sparked quite a discussion, both on this web site and within Cleveland.

I thought it was somewhat humorous, but many didn’t like it. Some Rust Wire readers pointed out that humor like this can hurt the city and its image, others said we should be able to laugh at ourselves once in awhile. (It even prompted Cleveland’s tourism and promotional agency, Positively Cleveland, to launch a contest to make a more positive video.)

Well, if you didn’t like the video, be prepared to hate this article from humor publication The Onion, titled, “Detroit Mayor Throws First Brick in Glass-Breaking Ceremony for New Slum.”

detroit_article_large.article_large

The fake “news story” is pretty harsh on the Motor City.

Here’s one passage: “Lined with flickering streetlamps, and conveniently located within walking distance of several abandoned Chevrolet plants, the new slum reportedly offers residents the latest in high-risk, hopelessly impoverished housing options,” the article reads. “According to city officials, the fully modern ghetto is made up of 10 main tenement buildings, each featuring a wide range of amenities, including rusted-through sinks, substandard heating, and colonies of cockroaches in every room.”

Ouch.

There’s even an (obviously fake) picture of actual Detroit Mayor Dave Bing brandishing a brick in front of a dilapidated building.

I know that I said I thought the video that mocked Cleveland was funny. But here’s the difference: that was made by someone from Youngstown, who lives in Cleveland, and has no plans to leave.

“I love Cleveland,” the video’s creator told Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett earlier this week. “Absolutely. I really do or else I would have left long ago.”

I guess I just imagine this Onion article being written by like, some hipster guy who works for the Onion, lives in Brooklyn, who has never been to Detroit. It’s more laughing at us than with us.

What do you think?

-KG

4 Comments

Filed under Featured, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Laughing With Us Vs. Laughing At Us

  1. schmange

    Anything The Onion does is OK by me.
    Besides, they’re right.

  2. Oh, I don’t know. The article could’ve been a lot better (it’s not really that funny), but I think it’s rather benign. Pop culture loves to brand cities with sweeping generalizations. There will always be those who expect to have their stimulation spoon-fed to them, and Detroit (as well as most of our Rustbelt cities) naturally filters those predictable people out, leaving the city open to creative souls who understand, appreciate and respect it, and to those find adventure and fulfillment in being a part of a work-in-progress.

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