Friday, September 21, 2012

Let's Get Stephen Colbert To Detroit!

Earlier this week, an old friend (and my former RA!), Megan Deal, sent me a request on Facebook that really intrigued me. It was for a group called Colbert Does Detroit (and so can you!). After some of Stephen Colbert's recent digs at Detroit, they decided to do something about it. They want to get him here to prove to him that Detroit really isn't as bad as he thinks it is. I was able to ask Megan some questions about their goal and what we can do to help.
Hip in Detroit- So, let's start with the obvious- who are you? Is it just one person that started this or are there more?
My name is Megan Deal and I work with Josh McManus as Little Things Labs. Little Things is a problem-solving laboratory, working in post-industrial cities. Colbert Does Detroit is a product of the Lab. 

Hip in Detroit- Besides the obvious being annoyed at Colbert for saying such stupid things about Detroit, what made you start this whole thing? Why did you push it to this next step?
Megan- Colbert's jokes, while they sting a little, are certainly nothing Detroiters haven't heard before. But often times, satire is a great vehicle for changing perceptions, as it allows people to comfortably talk about a topic they may otherwise overlook. We really saw this as an opportunity to shed some positive light on the city.

Hip in Detroit- How did you come up with the idea of the march? What was the thinking behind that as opposed to getting him to just come to Detroit?
Megan- The March idea was in direct response to Colbert's commentary suggesting that walking through Downtown Detroit is just as dangerous as walking on a tight-rope across Niagara Falls in the dark. The goal is really for Colbert to lead a March through downtown, with legions of fans behind him. To us, the fans are really a key component in all this. It's interesting…the Freep recently posted an article about the project and, reading through the comments, I was taken back by how critical and negative most were. Sadly, these comments are usually posted by locals, individuals who live here in the city or surrounding areas. We often feel that the city's biggest critics are the individuals who live here. If Detroit is going to turn around, it's citizens are going to have to change their perceptions first. A march or rally is one way to capture the attention of many and further turn citizens into active participants. 

Hip in Detroit- You already have a huge amount of likes on your Facebook page and are getting some media attention, but how can people help? Is there a deadline or date in mind to get Colbert here by?
Megan- Great question! We just launched our Colbassadors program for people who may want to get involved. The premise is this: if you go to great effort to help get Stephen to Detroit, we'll make you an official Colbassador. If Stephen comes, we'll print t-shirts exclusively for the Colbassadors and do our best to have you at the front of the line for whatever happens. To become a Colbassador, direct message us on Facebook with your idea of what you are willing to do to help. If we think it will advance the cause we'll give you the green light. After that, it will be up to you to document the action and send us a pic or a screen shot of your work.

And of course, if anyone has any other ideas of how we can get people to send a bold message to Mr. Colbert, they can always share on our Facebook page. But please note, this is intended to be good natured and light-hearted. If you don't have anything nice to say, please don't say it; there are plenty of other places to do that around the Detroit interwebs. 

Hip in Detroit- We always ask people this, and it's fitting with what you're doing, so what are some of the best places in Detroit? Best sites to see, things to do.
Always a tough question for me. I never miss a Saturday at Eastern Market. I could spend hours there. I've also recently started riding my bike downtown just at dusk. It's an interesting time to circle the city, as the day's work activities are winding down. Larry D'Mongo's place for cocktails. Supinos for pizza. Cafe con Leche for coffee. Avalon for atmosphere. Bakers for jazz. Bronx bar and Cass Cafe for nostalgia's sake. 

Detroiters may know it, but speaking as someone not originally from here, people outside of Michigan really do have a very bad idea of this area. However, when I got here, my view on Detroit instantly changed and I fell in love with the city. So let's get him here and show him!


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