Social Currency: Being From Detroit
November 24, 2014
Growing up in the Detroit area wasn’t glamorous. I’m from the wrong side of 8 mile, and I am white, I am a fucking bum, but I have never lived in a trailer (although I have spent a couple vacation nights in them). And I’ve been to St. Andrews Hall, Clutch Cargos, and House of Beer parties.
Sorry mom and dad if you’re reading this, but I bet you aren’t that surprised. My first concert was Kid Rock before he was on MTV, I learned how to drive in various Ford vehicles, and I love me some Faygo Rock N Rye. That said, I had it pretty damn good compared to most people from the D.
It’s almost a cliche or a standard trope at this point. Being from somewhere like Detroit – or Cleveland, or Gary, or anywhere else Rust Belt-ish and suitably depressing is pretty cool now. But only if you live in a better place now – New York, Chicago, San Francisco, L.A., Austin, Boston, etc.
America loves itself an underdog, but at what cost? Even most of Detroit’s most famous “alumni” have left the city. If you can, you get the hell out. But you still rep the D once you leave – and perhaps even more so if you’ve gotten out. It’s an compelling form of social currency, and perhaps what’s more important and more interesting is the sense of bravado that it lends you.
So question for the readers – how did where you grew up influence you later?
*Post sparked by the new Eminem release and the fact that many of us will be returning to our hometowns for Thanksgiving.
**More writing on Detroit to come.