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Onion story pokes fun at Detroit

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Detroit, on the rebound from bankruptcy, is featured prominently in a satire piece begging the nation for business.

The Onion article, published Tuesday, is titled “Detroit Begs Nation To Just Give It Something, Anything, To Manufacture.” A subtitle quotes “residents” who ask for work making “refrigerators, towels, whatever you want.”

The piece details a fictional news conference with Mayor Mike Duggan, who told gathered reporters that the city is ready to open its facilities and activate its workforce to manufacture anything from sailboats to artificial knees to novelty ice trays. The mayor spent about 12 minutes listing a wide array of items the city could produce, according to the piece.

He also sent out a press release to “thousands of CEOs nationwide” offering the city’s “tens of thousands of employees” and bountiful industrial space.

“You know, we’re not really married to the name Motor City anymore, either,” Duggan is quoted as saying in the fictitious article, claiming Detroit would “gladly” become Ladder City or Deck Sealant City. “I was just talking with some residents the other day about how we could easily become the pool supply capital of the world.”

Since the city emerged from bankruptcy last year, the real-life Duggan has been focused on rebuilding neighborhoods, touting initiatives to help residents repair their homes, reuse vacant land, train for jobs and start new businesses. The city has continued demolishing abandoned homes and workforce development initiatives, including programs that give boosts to small businesses.

Investments in the city since bankruptcy include $32 million by auto supplier Sakthi Automotive, which plans to transform the abandoned, vandalized Southwestern High School into a training center for high-tech manufacturing jobs. The project was announced last year by Duggan and Gov. Rick Snyder, alongside Sakthi officials.

More recently, several local businesses received $500,000 grants last month as part of Detroit’s Motor City Match program.

But as the 700-plus word Onion article progresses, its version of Duggan becomes more desperate: lifting his podium, speaking louder and “appearing visibly flushed and perspiring.”

The satire wraps with a surreal image of a “red-faced Duggan” digging through the rug of a City Hall briefing room, in search of “real valuable” coal, iron or silver.

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