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The Times Gets Back In Touch With the Gritty Detroit Grit

There's a certain trajectory to the New York Times' coverage of Detroit. It went from, "look at that train wreck over by those big lakes," to "look, artists! Just like us," to "look, artists like we used to be before we priced everyone out of the city," to "look! artists not-quite-like us because they have that urban grit thing going. How awesome and Matthew Barney-inspirational." Now it would seem we arrive back at the beginning with the a portrait of the city where you, "can't get a job so you have to go metal scrapping," via video. The thesis seems to be about America losing to China in the global economy which is fed to us through voice-overs as the camera does drive-bys of the industrial landscape. This so-called Op-Doc is made by two filmmakers that have an upcoming feature-length documentary, DETROPIA, premiering at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. They write that they found these men illegally dismantling a former Cadillac repair shop.
Surprisingly, these guys, who all lacked high school diplomas, seemed to have a better understanding of their place in the global food chain than many educated American 20-somethings. The young men regularly checked the fluctuating price of metals before they determined their next scrap hunt, and they had a clear view of where these resources were going and why. They were the cleanup crew in a shaky empire. Somebody’s got to do it. · Dismantling Detroit [The New York Times]