Thursday, January 28, 2016

City versus City?


Detroit decision makers--especially media people-- need to get it out of their heads that Detroit can be satisfied to exist as an adjunct of the media power of New York City. A  poorly-respected stepchild of New York, at that. Detroit should be putting everything into establishing itself as its own power base.

Before he died, Gore Vidal made the argument that with the rise of the global economy, the world was returning to the situation which applied in ancient times. Vidal was quite the student of history, of course, which gave him the ability to see when patterns repeated themselves. His argument was that in the 21st century it will be not nation competing with nation, but city-state competing against other city-states. The power centers of the ancient world were cities like Athens, Rome, and Carthage. This is how we need to view the situation of the present day.

To control its destiny, Detroit needs its own media. Media centered in this town and controlled by those who live here, not by a competing place. We need to write our own narrative. More than this, media is like an ongoing advertisement announcing the Detroit brand. In this postmodern age, power is determined by how much noise you make. Noise equals power.

This means that Detroit power brokers-- the giant automakers, notably-- need to push to have one of the large networks based in Detroit. Or lacking that, they should be taking steps to create their own large-scale network. This would give them-- and this area-- enormous leverage in the ongoing international game.

Far-fetched? Not really, considering the leverage the automakers have through their ad buying. They may be the biggest ad buyers in the country, maybe in the world. Are they receiving full value and clout for their dollars? Truly?

We at NEW POP LIT are interested in print media. We want print culture-- and arts culture generally-- centered here. We envision a time when we'll be publishing an intellectual magazine out of Detroit able to compete straight up with an influential magazine like The New Yorker. Not just competing with, but beating, as we'll be the new model compared to old.

At the moment we have our hands full with our new literary journal. (Which can be purchased via the Buy Now" button on this page.) We KNOW that we can and will outdo any other literary journal based anyplace else-- including the well-funded journals in New York City. We know this because we know where to find exciting and talented new writers that cronyism-clogged New York won't even look at.

We"ll not be content to be a poor stepchild to anybody.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

About Detroit's New Bridge

As Detroit remakes and reinvents itself, it needs to grab every opportunity to stand out to the world. This means grabbing every opportunity to show itself as a significant center of new art.

Plans are afoot from various parties for a new bridge to Canada-- whether near the Ambassador Bridge or further downriver.

Why not create the new bridge as an intentional work of art-- and thereby capture the imagination of the world?

This is exactly what was done in New York City 129 years ago when the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed. Its creators set out to create a bridge visually distinctive, unlike any that had ever existed. They wanted it to be as important as sculpture. An artwork. This included incorporating gothic arches in it, as a nod to Europe's gothic cathedrals.

Another classic example of engineering as art is the Eiffel Tower in Paris, erected as a symbol of the modern. The city became the center of artistic modernism.

Can Detroit become the New Paris?

Detroit's builders, politicians, financiers and artists need the imagination to be as ambitious as possible. They need to have the mission of making Detroit an arts city-- the surest way to attract attention, credibility, people, and investment-- along with the mystique and magic that accompanies art. A new bridge to Canada provides the opportunity to create a lasting foundation for future growth. The kind of architectural event that will be talked about for decades and centuries to come.

Will the city's (and state's) leaders grab this chance?