The Corner

Motown’s Greatest Hit Job

This round-up of Detroit’s woes revived my 2011 run-in with the city. The day after Eminem’s Chrysler commercial, I was guest-hosting for Rush and made what I thought were a few unexceptional observations about the reality of the situation. For some reason, they were deemed “controversial” by WJR, The Detroit News et al (although, to be fair, Henry Payne also found them worthy of note here at NRO). The radio host Frank Beckmann’s critique was that I was being “elitist” – or to put it another way:

That commercial made us feel good about our lousy city for 30 seconds. Then you came along and ruined it, you fruity foreigner!

But most of the rest of the reaction was just sad:

The nub of my argument was Detroit’s debasing of its human capital. I pointed out that the city has a functioning literacy rate of about 50 per cent. Forty-four per cent of adults have a reading comprehension below Grade Six level. In response, Detroiters mounted many compelling arguments: “F**k you, Mark Steyn” (South-Eastern Michigan Sports), “F**K YOU, MARK STEYN!!!” (Cletus Pages), “Mark Steyn is a Faggot” (Brandon A Jiles), and “Has anyone fed Mark Steyn a d**k?” (Rufio Jones). I’d say QED, but they’d probably figure that’s the name of a rapper…

Notwithstanding my remarks on Detroit’s illiteracy, many correspondents to Mark’s Mailbox demonstrated an impressive ability to spell the two-syllable word “a**hole“. The Detroit News considered this remarkable enough to reprint a selection of its native sons’ missives to yours truly. In return, Detroiters went on to new levels of incisive analysis and explored the nooks and crannies of my rectum, scrotum, testes, penis, and taste in underwear.

Not to mention I’m also a “child malester“. There’s one for the Grade Six spelling bee.

At this point in Internet etiquette, I believe it’s traditional to caution, “NSFW”. But then “Not Safe For Work” would make a pretty good municipal motto for Detroit.

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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