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April 07, 2011

The comic-book-clutching bipedal gerbils who funded this dumb idea no doubt thought it chuckle-worthy that the imagined Detroit in RoboCop was a dystopian, corporation-controlled fascist state. The sad fact is, contemporary Detroit is far worse than the relatively happy and orderly world portrayed in that movie. Sure, there aren’t any criminal gangs shooting recoilless rifles around the city, though I’m not sure anyone would notice if there were. In fact, crime is down overall and Detroit is now only America’s third most dangerous city. Still, there is “Devil’s Night””€”an annual orgy of destruction which has had a cumulative effect on the city more spectacular than the Vandal invasions of Rome. Rather than the highly organized, entrepreneurial, multicultural, and corporate-connected Robo-Detroit Mafiosi, modern Detroit is a textbook embodiment of the late Sam Francis’s idea of anarcho-tyranny. Law-abiding citizens are punished by the state, and criminals are free to run wild. Drug-running multicultural Mafiosi would be an improvement over the present situation. RoboCop‘s relatively civilized villains have nothing over the monsters who spread fear in the actual 21st-century city.

At least the RoboCop Detroit made stuff, and the evil corporations seemed somewhat competent and capable of manufacturing interesting, innovative, and useful objects. Omni Consumer Products were planning on bulldozing the place and building a new city, something which couldn’t possibly have made things worse. Are any Detroit-based corporations capable of pulling off something like that? Any large conglomerates, evil or otherwise, planning on employing two million workers to rebuild a ruined city?

The jokey “dystopian” vulgar TV show from RoboCop now seems downright Benny Hill innocent. It seems wholesome in comparison to modern reality TV’s animalistic insanity. Even the nincompoops at the Huffington Post have recently noticed the Ruins of Detroit website (I’ve been following Detroit disaster porn for six to seven years now), graphically illustrating what a ruined American civilization looks like. It looks a lot worse than RoboCop‘s suit-and-tie world.

Presiding over all this urban decay, amid the returning wildlife and the human savagery, Ozymandias-like, is a statue of a titanium Christ figure from a badly aging science-fiction movie. A retro-fantasy image of justice in a ruined city. When Canadian barbarians finally invade and end the whole farce, they’ll wonder what possessed people to build such an object.



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