Who Are You?
First of all, “it’s the hottest fires that make the hardest steel” is not a proper analogy. It is true that in certain rare circumstances those who “hit rock bottom” become the most dedicated to never doing so again, and that should be applauded, but this does not make them equals with those who never did. The absence of a negative is not equal to the presence of a positive. The growth foregone on the one hand, and embraced on the other, can not be erased. Nevertheless, does Detroit posses any positives? Examine what else this commercial says. What it claims are it’s positives.
Detroit claims to have “hard work” and “conviction”, and “know-how that runs generations deep in every last one of us.” Does it? If it had hard work it wouldn’t be showing paintings of hard-working laborers, it would be showing actual hard-working laborers. Where are they? If it had “conviction” it wouldn’t be using a degenerate “artist” like Eminem to represent their “conviction.” The mere fact that he has become the face of Detroit says it all. He is a man who couldn’t put two auto parts together to save his life, and who has had so much of his success (no, make that all of his success) simply because he’s exceptionally good at whining about life in Detroit that even if he had to do a real job, his first reaction would probably be to look around for someone to pay him to hear him whining about that. Finally, if the people of Detroit had the “know-how” they claim to have, they would realize that simply being the descendants of those who had it doesn’t make them have it. They would realize that if they actually had it, their commercial for their new car (this is, by the way, a commercial for the new Chrysler 200) would be about the car, and not about them (ie: luxury is not about “where it’s from”, or “who it’s for”). It would be an appeal to the self-interest and rationality of the people they want to purchase it (ie: luxury is about about what it is).
Perhaps Detroit does posses positives in spite of what it itself thinks are it’s positive traits. “Detroit”, after all, is not a unified whole – but merely a collection of autonomous individuals (ironically, part of the cause of that city’s problems has always been it’s view of itself as “whole”; and – judging from this commercial – it still does). So perhaps Detroit actually hasn’t “been to hell and back”, or “hit rock bottom.” Perhaps it does still have what it takes (ie: enough correct-thinking individuals) to deserve the luxury of being part of a modern, industrial, capitalist nation (as opposed to the quasi-Third World cess pool it currently is), but if it ever brings those traits to bear, a few things are certainly not going to be present: The mindless refusal to adjust to changing economic conditions (eg: the labor unions, or the dishonest attempt redefine “luxury” by equating it with sentimental patriotism, instead of trying to catch up to it), the conviction that simply because they, as individuals, are living in a particular city that that has anything to do with their own particular virtue and value (eg: the welfare state, and trying to ride on the coat tails of the past), and finally what will be conspiculously absent is the influence of people like Eminem, who are held up to them as models of success, courage, and confidence – when without all of the misery he claims to hate, he would have nothing to say, and would still be living in that trailer park on 8 Mile Road.