And now, Detroit is officially bankrupt…

Detroit is now, officially, bankrupt, and it’s time, again, in telling the history of this once great city of Detroit — home to the automobile as well as to The Supremes — to remind of the book, “Ruins of Detroit,” by two young French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre.Ruin in Detroit

Their photos tell the tragic story better than any words of how Detroit’s decline has created a city of poverty and neglect and decay — an urban tragedy.

And then, it’s time, again, to ask the question – how could America let this happen?

Detroit United Artists Theater

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“Detropia” — a film about a city in tragic decline

“Capitalism is a great system, I love it, but it exploits the weak”, says one of the main characters in the stunning documentary “Detropia” currently playing at the premier documentary film festival “Silverdocs” in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside Washington, DC.

The film, about the impact on an entire city and its inhabitants of the brutal side of American capitalism, is the grim tale of the decline of Detroit, from a glamorous city with nearly 2 million inhabitants and a thriving automotive industry, to a city in tragic decline that has lost over half its population and with a higher percentage of poor people than any other American city.

Made by young documentary filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady, the film is currently shown in packed theaters at the festival on the premises of the American Film Institute. Their film creates the same heartbreaking impressions as the two young French photographers Yves Marchand’s and Romain Meffres’ book “The Ruins of Detroit”, which I wrote about last year.

And the conclusion is also the same: how could America let this happen?

“Clint Eastwood made Obama’s day”

The Clint Eastwood television ad during the Super Bowl last night about Detroit and Chrysler and the U.S. automotive industry’s strong comeback has created quite a stir, both in the ad world and in election politics.

The two-minute long ad, “Halftime in America” is very similar to the Chrysler ad with Eminem during last year’s Super Bowl.

It is also similar to the classic TV ad from 1984, “Morning in America”, about Ronald Reagan.

Republican strategist Karl Rove is upset while liberal bloggers are delighted and claim that “Eastwood made Obama’s day”.

Is “Halftime in America” political advertising? Can it be seen as endorsing President Obama and, indirectly, his actions that saved Detroit’s car industry?

Obama and his name are never mentioned in ”Halftime in America”, and Eastwood, a republican or rather a libertarian, is not talking, at least not yet.

Myself, I’m not sure. Calling it an endorsement for Obama is probably reading too much into it. But take a look and judge for yourselves!

“Ruins of Detroit”

The U.S. Census Bureau earlier this week came out with new population figures on Detroit, “The Motor City,” or “Motown” — depending on whether you like the Cadillac or “The Supremes.”

The figures pointed to the sad story of a once lively, even glamorous city — once the fourth largest city in America — and its disastrous economic decline.

The new census figures show that Detroit’s population declined by 25 percent in the last decade, from 951,270 in 2000 to 713,777 in 2010, and by 60 percent since 1950, when American cars ruled the world and Detroit had 1.85 million people.   

The flight from Detroit in ten years was larger than the 140,000 people who fled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

In a new book, “Ruins of Detroit,” by two young French photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, their photos tell the tragic story better than any words of how Detroit’s decline has created a city of neglect and decay. The photos are heart-breaking – how could America let this happen?

Look for yourselves!