Imagine a wasted and broken city, a great grey expanse of steel and concrete canyons, silent save for the echoing lamentation of pigeons and the constant scurrying rustle of the vermin who remain always just out of sight, and who are the true inheritors of this necropolis. Picture streets festooned with rubbish and unnamable filth, faded newspapers dancing in the breeze as they skitter along crumbling sidewalks past abandoned industries whose soaped or broken windows stare out like blind eyes, but which once could see, and beheld a city on the come, a bright, raucous, thrumming and most of all–vital–metropolis, one which proved no more substantial than the mirage of Cibola.
Chances are, the image in your head is a fairly accurate depiction of Detroit, Michigan in 2011. Detroit, which once could truly be called Automobile City and boast of the world-famous Motown Sound, is now known primarily as the city which has made the most Olympic bids without ever being allowed to host the Games. The blighted, abandoned ruin has fallen so far as to make rust-belt crapholes like Gary, Indiana or Youngstown, Ohio seem prosperous by comparison.
But a group of philanthropists believes it has a cure for the city’s myriad woes: RoboCop, the titular character in the 1987 film. Although the technology to unleash a cyborg death machine upon the streets of the Motor City is still at least five years away, it’s hoped that a likeness of RoboCop might be similarly efficacious in revitalizing beleaguered Detroit. A downtown statue of the fictional icon, fans argue, would be a steal at $50,000.
Things are looking good for fans of the project. Just three days after beginning their funding drive, the statue’s backers say they’ve received the $50,000 necessary for the project. Supporters hope that the statue of the gun-wielding mockery of human life will act as a magic totem of sorts, driving away Detroit’s bad Ju Ju in much the same way as RoboCop did the career of Peter Weller, the actor who portrayed the fascist automaton.