They’re tearing down old Detroit and sending the pieces to China. That’s the message of a new micro-documentary from the New York Times, “Dismantling Detroit.” Filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady write:
One freezing evening we happened upon the young men in this film, who were illegally dismantling a former Cadillac repair shop. They worked recklessly to tear down the steel beams and copper fasteners. They were in a hurry to make it to the scrap yard before it closed at 10 p.m., sell their spoils and head to the bar.
Surprisingly, these guys, who all lacked high school diplomas, seemed to have a better understanding of their place in the global food chain than many educated American 20-somethings. The young men regularly checked the fluctuating price of metals before they determined their next scrap hunt, and they had a clear view of where these resources were going and why. They were the cleanup crew in a shaky empire. Somebody’s got to do it.
It’s true that the media goes too far with the Detroit story sometimes, searching for decay and ignoring renewal. But this story, I think, is less about Detroit as a case study than it is about America right now.
Adding dissonance: GM becomes world’s largest automaker again