St Louis is not Detroit

This week on NextSTL (nee UrbanSTL), a great call to arms to regenerate St Louis – and a reminder to think of it as more than a post-industrial city: “From Possible to Real: Recognizing the New Frontier”.

Responding to the Chrysler commercial featuring Eminem, the author writes,

Since Sunday, St. Louis has asked for its own Detroit moment, or at least what a 30-second spot could detail. What do we have to offer the contemporary narrative? The answer: more than we want to admit. We were the front door to the second New World; we were the foundries for pioneers and trailblazers – men and women venturing across a western terrain that held either Eden or an inanimate hellscape.  Yet, there was no waiting. There was little time to worry. We cut our teeth on the grayness of information and the lack of answers, motivated to act by the unseen and unheard. For that was The Great Era of Curiosity, when we did more than explore – we entered every day with the energy to eclipse the norm. This is the first cemetery of common uncertainty, where all anxiety frayed and fringed in the face of the frontier. We were the home to the riverboat gambler, the trapper, the captain, the hunter, the hustler, the immigrant and migrant, the business-owner – textiles and bricks and cars and beer and an endless conveyance of flying machines. We were second to none, not the Paris or Florence of any continent – we were the St. Louis of America. A posse ad esse. This was where the possible became the real.

I didn’t find the commercial so galvanizing – I couldn’t help but wonder whether Eminem would have participated in an ad for a Detroit community organization.  (I don’t want this to turn into a blog about Eminem, but if he does work with Detroit organizations, there was not much information about it available online.)  And I had to wonder where Chrysler headquarters were located.  Answer: not Detroit.  The company headquarters are located in the suburb of Auburn Hills.  And, if I can quibble just a little more – the Fox Theater featured at the end of the commercial was restored by Marian and Mike Ilitch – owners of Little Caesers Pizza.

But, my complaints about the ad aside, the blog post is a great read.  As I work this weekend to tighten up my project narrative, it’s helpful to imagine what my 30 second spot for St Louis might be.

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