Monday, July 5, 2010

What Makes a City Cool? Not Telling Everyone You're Cool

Grand Rapids should really benefit from Jennifer Granholm's departure. Another "are we cool enough?" debate has broken out on the Grand Rapids Press website, after an article in its horribly named "Michigan 10.0" series started pondering Western Michigan's ability to be cool. It was followed with a story about ArtPrize, a local arts event, written in the context of making Grand Rapids a destination for the "creative class". It has also re-ignited debate on the website's message boards about how to build the local economy.

I say at this point, Grand Rapids is descending from sounding like a foolish place that actually listens to Richard Florida's bullshit, to one that sounds like a wannabe Jeff Spicoli. When you can't showcase local art without wondering if that makes you a cool city, you might as well just have the mayor skateboard around town asking 18-29 year olds if they're 420 friendly.

Grand Rapids, please stop. I've never advocated book burning, but if that's what it takes, create a bonfire with all the copies of "The Creative Class" you should be torching. Other industrial cities are looking at ways to rebuild their economies, and in spite of tremendous challenges, you don't see Youngstown acting like a 15 year old who can't make the cheerleading squad.




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