Michigander Diaspora discussion

Aesthetics and Sensibilities of Michigander Diaspora

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message 1: by Chris (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:15PM) (new)

Chris (scrapplechingon) | 3 comments Mod
We Michiganders are a strange breed. We come from a wilderness that was chewed up and spit out by industry. Every fall, businesses shut down and deer carcasses grow on the roofs of vehicles. We tend to be descended from people who didn't fit in or got kicked out of other places and signed up for some free land up north near the frigid lakesides. Like local native Madonna, we get through long winters by regularly trading in our public identities. Also like Madonna, we get the hell outta there. We roam the continent in old salt-rust scarred cars. We gawk at the world innocently but with a strange sense of humor formed by postindustrial decay. We enjoy the reputation for being tough motherfuckers that comes with having survived the economic version of a neutron bomb and for being from the land of Hoffa. We get through difficult situations with a combination of hardened numbness and excruciatingly polite mannerisms. After you've been to Autoworld, there's not much absurdity that's going to phase you.

message 2: by Elaine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new)

Elaine (urbanbamboo) Hi Chris. Thanks for starting the group... I love Michigan, but I say this after living elsewhere for the last 16 years. The riots, the frigid cold, the ups and downs of the auto industry and the resulting effects on local economy, the CRIME and political corruption, etc., (not to mention the ugly way Detroit was portrayed in Beverly Hills Cop!)--a lot of people would say, "What's to love"? I think many of us who lived there can see the beauty underneath Detroit, the amazing place it once was and how it struggles to get back there, and we want it to succeed. We can see the beauty in decay and be moved by it.

For those of you who love the old buildings, have you seen this site? http://www.angelfire.com/de2/detroitp... (Have patience with the popups, it's worth it.)

message 3: by Joan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new)

Joan  | 1 comments I think another couple of factors in the Michigan aesthetic are the immigrant experience and the Great Migration. These two population movements crash into each other around Detroit and the other rust belt cities. I myself am half Michibilly and half Hunky. I have eaten white beans cooked with fatback and chicken paprikash in the same meal. I am equally comfortable in a swamp and a junkyard.

message 4: by Elaine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:34PM) (new)

Elaine (urbanbamboo) Joan--thanks for the add. Definitely the Great Migration was a huge influence. Funny how the auto industry was such an agent in transforming Detroit's population and attracting people from the South. That's another thing I like about Michigan: its diverse cultures. The Native American population around Saginaw and in the north, African American, French/Canadian, Greek, Armenian, and so many others make Michigan really unique for a midwestern state.

message 5: by Jim (new)

Jim (rangerider) | 1 comments You might look for Ruins of Detroit on line. This stunning pictorial essay presents a stark portrait of a lost civilization.
I was born in North Carolina but spent many years in Michigan. We lived in Jackson as well as Port Huron.
I left in the winter of 1976 and with the exception of short visits have never looked back. The history of the state fascinates me and has led to the penning of a book or two as well as several hundred feature articles.
My dad still lives in Jackson. His roots are deep there.
Connecting Vandercook Lake and Jackson is Hinckley Blvd., named for my grandfather. He was a road commisioner there in the teens and twenties. When I was a kid there was picture of him and Henry Ford on the front porch of the Hinckley house.
I have a long list of favorite places that in all my travels have never been equalled - Hartwick Pines, the Swedish Kitchen in Escanaba, the Badger from Ludington, the cherry festival in Traverse City to name a few.
I have been in the desert southwest so long now that if the temps drop below eighty degrees the long underwear starts to look tempting. I suppose I have become one of the dry roasted nuts.

message 6: by Jilly (new)

Jilly | 1 comments Same here. Half Polish/German and half Appalachian. My husband is half Polish and half Mexican haha.

I miss going to the cider mill this time of year haha.

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