Monday, February 07, 2011

Eminem and Chrysler's Curious and Compelling Love Song to Detroit

If you were watching the Super Bowl last night, you may have noticed this ad.

If you were watching the Super Bowl in the general geographic region where I was watching the Super Bowl last night (confession - I was watching the ads, and eating and chatting during the game) - this ad probably made you sit up and take notice.

We were watching with two other families, and the room mostly went silent when the underlying music (the bass line of Eminem's "Lose Yourself") began, and the screen panned over the Detroit Institute of Art's magnificent Diego Rivera murals.

I'll admit I was glued to the screen.

I wasn't sure what the ad was for, and even when the end revealed the ad was for Chrysler, this was so much less about a car to me, than it was about a city that has, indeed, "been to hell and back". (And I'm not entirely convinced it's "back". Yet.)

I spent a good portion of my childhood playing in my grandparent's back yard. In Detroit. Not suburban Detroit - but Detroit proper. Twenty-five years ago, it was a neighborhood in Detroit where pre-teen girls could safely walk to the corner grocery to get milk and lunch meat.

Last week, in that same neighborhood, somebody stole ALL FOUR TIRES off of my aunt's car. (Not just the hubcaps. THE TIRES. They left the car sitting on bricks.)

(And yes, a part of me wonders why they didn't just steal the whole car.)

I'm torn about Detroit - a city that dominates the area where I live, and yet which seems to be crumbling into chaos.

I'm weirdly grateful to Chrysler for putting this ad together - for saying, I think - "We have an ability here - here in the Midwest, here in America, here in Detroit - to make some amazing machinery. Don't give up on us yet."

On the other hand...I still worry about my aunt and my grandmother, and I worry that next time, it won't just be the car that loses something.



Blogger Stepping On Legos said...

Is is sappy beyond belief that this commercial gave me chills AND made me cry? Gawd - I'm such a softy. But as someone who was driven out of Detroit by the economy and who misses my family and my boys' family, it gives me a little hope.

Monday, February 07, 2011 7:55:00 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

It is still much safer than it was in the 90's.

i remember watching shootings and police standoffs from my little brother's hospital room in the DMC when i was a kid. Even though i do not stop at most redlights in the city proper, i am oddly proud and eternally hopeful that detroit will reach it's full potentaly

Tuesday, February 08, 2011 10:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband works with a guy from the 'burbs who found his . . . Suburban? Some big thing like that, anyway, up on blocks with all four tires gone. Crazy. And sad that it's like that anywhere in in the world. Hopefully Detroit can come back, but I think you're right. I don't think it's quite there yet.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 10:04:00 AM  

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