"From Day One, the real essence of Autoextremist.com was the fact that I said what others were merely thinking, or would only discuss in 'deep background' and in 'off-the-record' conversations. It was never a 'touchy-feely' publication that coddled its readers and genuflected at the feet of the car companies. There's plenty of pabulum in this world. And if becoming a lifetime member of the 'Milquetoast & Crumpets Afternoon Tea & Automobile Society,' while sitting around the fire chatting about Renault Dauphines floats your boat, there are plenty of other automobile publications out there to satisfy your primordial need for blandness. But that's not Autoextremist.
Born out of a defiance and frustration with the status quo that I believed was stifling creativity and squeezing the very life out of the automobile business - particularly as practiced here in the Motor City - and then fueled by my passion and vision for how great the business could become again and what was necessary in order for it to get there, Autoextremist.com was not only a labor of love for me personally - it became an influential force to be reckoned with in this industry with an impact far beyond my most vivid imagination." - From the introduction to The United States of Toyota.
So that’s the Deal on Detroit on this 10th day of October. Is this a tough town? Unquestionably. Are things on an upward trajectory? If you’re purely looking at the automobile industry that lives here, absolutely. But when looking at the health of the city and its environs, and the deep-rooted problems that plague this city and its educational system, the ones that are preventing this city from doing anything but a dismal two-steps forward, five-back self-defeating dance of "progress," then we indeed have a long, long, long way to go.
Yes, as a town and as a region we do have a long way to go. But this is who we are and this auto thing is what really matters to us. We don’t need sympathy and the glossy stories of late are nice but they will never define us, or what it’s really like to be here and be from around here.
We’re a state of mind that’s filled with countless contradictions and our great history is offset by some lurid realities.
We’ve contributed much to the American fabric yet we have a historical propensity to make things brutally tough on our day-to-day well-being.
We’ve brought this country a sound like no other and a gritty, gutty context that’s second to none, yet we’ve created countless problems for ourselves, most all of them self-inflicted.
We created the “Arsenal of Democracy” when our country needed it most, yet we allowed a movement based on fairness to become a disease based on entitlement and rancor.
We’ve contributed much to this nation's progress and standing, yet we can’t seem to get out of our own way at times, which is infuriating and debilitating.
But thankfully, the story never really ends for Detroit. At least not yet anyway. We’re still standing, warts and glaring faults and all. And you can forget the recent glory stories about our renaissance because we don’t really need ‘em to validate us.
We know who we are. And we know that the perception isn’t often favorable. And we get that. But still there’s an exuberance and spirit here that no trendy Super Bowl ad can ever capture.
It’s a Detroit thing, or if you must, a Dee-troit thing. And we’re proud of what that means.
As Paul Simon so eloquently put it once in Papa Hobo:
It's carbon and monoxide
The ole Detroit perfume
And it hangs on the highways
In the morning
And it lays you down by noon
Got a hell of a hockey team
Got a left-handed way
Of making a man sign up on that
Automotive dream, oh yeah...