Interlopers with preconceived notions of morbid crime scenes, obscene poverty and the remnants of a city that resembles the fifth level of hell in Dante’s Inferno regulalrly descend on Detroit, intent on startling viewers with the horrors of this city – real or not.
No doubt Detroit does have more than its fair share of woes, and the city’s image has been more than a bit tarnished. But that is not the whole story, and any honest journalist would delve head first into discovering what works here rather than aspire to shock spectators, with salacious stories that sensationalize a great city’s decline. While it may be no country for old men, it’s is hardly the barren wasteland that recent national broadcasts continue to depict.
On, Sunday, Nov.10 renowned chef and host of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” visited Detroit to sample Detroit’s culinary fare. The problem is that he sought out and found the most obscure eateries, under-the radar dining dives and drum barrel barbecues that few Detroiters, if any, even know about, and help them up as a representation of the food experience in Detroit. (Anybody ever been to Duly’s Place for a coney, or Greedy Greg’s for barbecue?)
If Bourdain’s intent was to seal the city’s fate as a food desert, he accomplished his mission. As one friend told me after watching the episode, “You would have thought that we were primitive and barbaric spear-chuckers spearing rats to cook over open fires.”
But in his Tumblr post Bourdain had this to say about his trip to the city and waht he enocuntered. “You’ve got to have a sense of humor to live in a city so relentlessly f*****. You’ve got to be tough and occasionally even devious,” but he added,” Detroiters are funny, tough and supreme improvisers.” Of course there was no shortage of footage featuring vacant houses and dilapidated buildings, (with audio of crickets chirping in the background to underscore Detroit’s desolation).
A couple of weeks ago, 60 minutes aired a program and did a real hatchet job on the city, although they promised a fair and balance report.
But as for those other major cities which also have a seedier side of life, i.e., every major city in the country, just be forewarned about the Trojan horses of journalism to get in your gates and attack.
Detroiters are like family members, we may argue and even bicker with each other, but I dare an outsider to cast aspersions on my brothers and sisters and not expect a heartfelt response. You don’t get to do that.
As for me and mine we’ll probably visit one of those lesser known dining venues like Detroit Seafood market for the lobster mac, or award-winning chef Wolfgang Puck’s Saltwater and Bourbon Steak, before we resort to hunting on the streets for food.