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11:37 pm EDT 64°F (18°C) in Monroe, MI
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The other day, I think it was Wednesday, I first heard the following news story. The San Francisco 49ers fired Kirk Reynolds, a front-office staffer, for his part in producing a video for 49er players that featured simulated lesbian sex, off-color racial jokes, and a parody of San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom's position on same-sex marriage; Reynolds, impersonating Newsom, says, "We make our own rules here in San Francisco," as a same-sex wedding proceeds in the background. The supposed "purpose" of the video was to teach players how to deal with the "culture" and the media of San Francisco. It was shown to players last summer as they began training camp, and according to 49ers owner John York, "was never intended for public viewing."
In my update from April 19, 2004, I made mention of a comment made by 49ers running back Garrison Hearst that he "[doesn't] want any faggots on [his] team." In light of that quote and the aforementioned video, it seems that the 49ers must follow the Jerry Falwell Rule: whenever anything goes wrong — like the team's 9-23 record in the last two years, and 42-57 overall record dating back to 1999 — blame the gays. I mean, as the 49ers have been reduced further and further toward irrelevance in the NFL, this anti-gay stuff coming from the team has increased. It seems pretty clear to me that the football-fan side of God is punishing the 49ers for promoting hatred against a certain class of His children. (Hey, maybe that's why the Detroit Lions still suck — they hired ex-49er coach Steve Mariucci just after the 49ers fired him in 2003. Then again, the Lions have sucked for 40 years, and have only won one playoff game in my entire lifetime …)
Speaking of Detroit, I'm going to steal a page from the book of a certain James F., the creator of the hilarious blog Why I Hate D.C.. Detroit's mayor, Kwame ("The Diamond Earring") Kilpatrick, has made it clear twice in as many days why Detroit sucks a fat one. (Note: Loyal "Why I Hate D.C." fans will find my reference to a fashion accessory hilarious, but my obscure humor will probably be lost on the rest of you.) On Thursday, Kilpatrick ripped Detroit for an "obsession with race" that he believes prevents it from being a diverse, cosmopolitan city. Detroiters have "forgotten that cities are supposed to be fun," Kilpatrick said to the Associated Press. The truly sad thing for the city is that Kilpatrick is right on.
A lot of cities give people some reason to come downtown during non-business hours (i.e., evenings, nights, and weekends). For example, Chicago's downtown area features the shopping of the "Magnificent Mile," the amusement park at Navy Pier, and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Studios complex, in addition to literally hundreds of well-known, quality restaurants (some of which, like Giordano's Pizza, can only be found in Chicago). Even better yet, Chicago possesses a great diversity of cultures and ethnicities; for example, a southwest-side neighborhood just off the Stevenson Expressway features some of the best Mexican food you'll find in the Midwest, and a North Side neighborhood along Halsted Street is the pre-eminent gay mecca of the entire Midwest. Other relatively decent Midwestern cities give people some kind of attraction to bring them downtown, such as clean, upscale shopping (Indianapolis) or beautiful, well-maintained parks (Milwaukee).
Detroit, on the other hand, is everything a city should NOT be. Basically, unless there is a Red Wings or Tigers game going on, the average person (and especially a family with kids) has no business being downtown after 5:00 pm. Quality restaurants and bars are scarce to non-existent in downtown Detroit. You can forget about doing any shopping downtown; all of that action is out in the suburbs. (Not to be racist, but it's no wonder that Detroit's 85%-black population shops en masse at large malls in "inner-ring" suburbs; they have no place to go in the city.) Belle Isle, Detroit's most famous city park, is notoriously ridden with crime and absolutely swarms with prostitutes. A small Mexican-dominated neighborhood and the occasional enclaves of well-to-do whites represent all of the "diversity" present in Detroit — there is no "Chinatown" or Asian-dominated area like many cities have, and even Arabs, the largest immigrant group in the area, want nothing to do with Detroit, instead opting to live in the suburbs. The only "gay mecca" that Detroit can be said to have is Rouge Park, on the city's west side; arrests for having sex in a public place are numerous there. (The suburbs of Ferndale and Royal Oak, northwest of Detroit in Oakland County, are about as close as the Detroit area gets to having any kind of gay mecca, but even between the two of them, I can only think of maybe half a dozen bars and two bookstores.)
The Detroit area, as a whole, is one of the most racially-segregated major metropolitan areas in the United States. I know that a lot of cities have "white neighborhoods" and "black neighborhoods," but generally speaking, on a city-wide basis, the "white" areas and the "black" areas tend to balance each other. On the other hand, metro Detroit's black population of roughly one million is almost completely confined to the city proper and a mere handful of inner-ring suburbs (primarily Southfield, Oak Park, Hazel Park, Ecorse, and River Rouge). With the exceptions of Inkster, Romulus, and immediately neighboring (to Inkster) parts of Garden City and Westland, the rest of the Detroit area is either (a) Arabic, or (b) as white as a lily. (Arabs number roughly 50,000 in metro Detroit, and they, too, tend to fit into the pattern of housing segregation, living largely in southeast Dearborn and Sterling Heights.)
(Interesting aside for those who don't know the history: The reason that Inkster is a majority-black city has to do with Henry Ford, the man behind the Model T. He built the so-called "Rouge Plant" in southeast Dearborn during the late teens and early 1920s, and needed thousands of workers to staff its assembly lines and steel mills. Unlike most people of his time, Ford had no problem with employing black people, but his white workers wouldn't stand for having to share neighborhoods with the "undesirable" black folks. Ford proceeded to build an entire neighborhood of elegant homes in west Dearborn — an area now known as the Ford Homes Historic District — for his white workers, and at the same time, he built not-as-nice homes for his black workers in Inkster, about five miles farther out from the plant than the "white" neighborhood. Today, eighty-odd years later, this self-segregation continues.)
Earlier today, at a mayors' conference, Kilpatrick decided to take one of Detroit's few remaining institutions of civic pride, the Freedom Festival international fireworks show (co-produced with Windsor, Ontario, Canada, which is immediately across the river), and cheapen it by using it as a mere political pawn. Kilpatrick has been battling Detroit's City Council over the 2006 city budget recently; a couple days ago, Kilpatrick vetoed a budget plan passed by Council, citing the fact that hundreds of police officers and firefighters would be laid off under the Council-passed plan. The Council is now seeking to override Kilpatrick's veto, and earlier today, he threatened to cancel the fireworks show if Council does succeed in overriding his veto. That's just what Detroit needs; yeah, let's go ahead and screw the residents out of the one thing that makes them proud to be Detroiters, just because we have some political squabble going on. Come on now, Diamond Earring. Maybe if you would concentrate on the city's problems and stop bling-blinging so much, Detroit wouldn't be the joke of a dying city it is today.
I had an anti-Catholic Church rant in the works, but that will have to wait for another time, as I can't make these entries infinitely long. At some point, I am also going to set the record straight about my free-fall into financial disaster between 1998 and 2004, continuing my "manifesto" series of updates here. As for tonight, though, it's getting late and I'm getting tired, so good night, one and all.