Flint, Grand Funk Railroad, impoverished third-world hellhole, Killtown USA, Michael Moore, Michigan, murder, places that suck, rape, rust belt, Sandra Bernhard, United States of America, unlivable places
It’s easy to feel sorry for Flint, Michigan. The decline of the American Auto industry has hit the decaying rust belt hellhole harder than most cities, and the town that gave us Michael Moore, Sandra Bernhard and Grand Funk Railroad is but a bleak, violence-torn shadow of the bustling, can-do city of yesteryear. It’s no wonder that so many people believe Flint’s best days are behind it.
But this view, which relies entirely upon conventional thinking, fails to take into account some very real superlatives. While Flint may be completely lacking in viable industry, a reliable police force or a functioning infrastructure, factors which have previously been used to determine a city’s livability, it nonetheless possesses unique features ripe for promotion. One way in which Flint has for many years quietly distinguished itself is in the fact that there are few places in the United States where you are so likely to be brutally violated or killed.
If Flint’s City Fathers fail to embrace proactive strategies, they will be unable to capitalize on the Michigan cesspit’s surfeit of violence and murders. They would do well to follow the example of the Chinese, who use the same word for both ‘crisis’ and ‘opportunity,’* and turn their wheels into the skid. Like Salem Massachusetts, which, after years of avoiding association with its shameful witch-slaughtering past, embraced its dark history in recent decades and is richer for it, Flint could benefit from highlighting rather than hiding the tide of pain and misery running through its streets. Plain old Flint, Michigan might not be much of a draw for tourists, but who wouldn’t want to visit Killtown, USA?