I just became Facebook friends with a guy I telemarketed with when I was 15. We were the only children employed at this location and would sneak away from our desks to make out on the clock–once against the manager’s office door.
The telemarketing place was next to Subway on 11 Mile, and I felt obliged to accompany the guy there on our dinner breaks. He would order a 6-inch meatball sub. I tried to time it so I could smoke 3 cigarettes.
The boy’s preference for Subway’s hot sandwich menu was the only evidence I needed to know that he grew up east of I-75.
We were both too young to drive but somehow I wound up in “his neighborhood” after work, shirt up, in a tree-house, sucking his dick. He pulled it out of his American Eagle boxers–Just more proof of his second-rate, meatball sub, K-Mart Plus, post-war, cul-de-sac eastsiderness.
I noticed a blemish on the skin of the guy’s penis and alerted him to it. He said he didn’t know what it was, but discouraged any concern. I didn’t trust the guy but I trusted my instincts even less, and so with a great deal of anxiety I continued to blow him, though not to completion.
He had a small, clammy eastside dick.
It was the first time I fraternized out of my school district, and the second place I worked as a telemarketer.
Half-built jail in the middle of Detroit. Photo from FADED DETROIT
Wayne County Chief Financial Officer Mark Abbo proposed a new budget that includes cutting $1 million of funding for what he referred to as “low priority” initiatives like testing evidence from the Detroit rape kit backlog. High priority initiatives include allocating $81 million dollars to the county’s waste management facilities so it can be turned out for future profit, and fixing other failed projects like the new Wayne County jail, which is currently sitting half-built in the middle of downtown Detroit, looking much like one of the city’s famed abandoned buildings.
Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano put construction of the new jail on hold after blowing through $170 million and needing a $91 million budget increase beyond the original $300 million estimated cost. The County is currently talking to Quicken Loans CEO Dan Gilbert, who wants to add the jail to his fast-growing collection of Detroit city property.
The rape kit backlog, discovered in 2009 and dating back to 1991, requires an estimated budget of $5 million to rectify. Prosecutor Kym Worthy is currently suing Wayne County and Ficano’s office for that amount. In the interim, Wayne County has restricted her ability to further test the rape kit backlog unless money comes from external grants. On March 9th, the Prosecutor’s office will hold a fundraiser to support continued testing of the rape kit backlog. Mariska Hargitay of The Joyful Heart Foundation and the television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit will be speaking at the event to promote Worthy’s efforts to eliminate Detroit’s rape kit backlog.
Since this is a blog and not a newspaper, let me reiterate a few numbers:
Abbo & Ficano take $1 million away from sexual assault victims to put toward an $81 million project–their second of two get-rich-quick schemes involving turning out Detroit contract services. $1 million doesn’t mean shit to these guys–it’s just over 1% of their new proposed budget. This is how little Abbo & Ficano care about the 11,000 rape victims who have spent decades waiting for justice.
In the summer of 2010 I became an adult novelty critic, visited the Detroit Museum of New Art, hooked up with Doc Waffles, and discovered the rape kit backlog. And since then everything has changed.
Image via Deadline Detroit
Last week in Detroit, an enormous can of Crisco was placed next to the Joe Louis Fist statue by The Dirty Show director Jerry Vile. It was an art installation that lasted for six hours. You can read about it here.
It is assumed that Fox News’s widely publicized Facebook comments about the installation were asked from a position of naiveté, but can anyone explain what “Vessel of Hope” means? We all kind of have an idea that putting a can of Crisco by the fist re-frames the meaning of the sculpture to be a sexual act that is as unpleasant as bankruptcy–in other words, a sexual act that is unwanted by the person receiving it. The Crisco makes penetration/bankruptcy a little easier and less painful (and less dangerous?). No journalist or blogger has actually demonstrated that they are capable of reading the message, let alone interpreting it. So let’s give it a try…
Vile claims the intention of the piece is to ease pain of bankruptcy in Detroit. This positions Detroit/we as the “vessel” of the installation’s namesake (“Vessel of Hope”)–the vessel that is receiving the fist. Detroit/we are the ass. Detroit/we are the pussy. We need the Crisco because the fist feels bad. But what/who is the fist?
The fist has to be the City of Detroit: violent, duplicitous, masculinist, intimidating. These are the qualities under which the City of Detroit operates.
The good news is that that type of power structure has failed. It went bankrupt. It doesn’t work. But not after fucking the people first–fucking them not with a cock to give them pleasure but with a fist to give them pain (again–why would we need the Crisco). It is a disheartened message delivered without empathy from a disheartened messenger.
A few years ago when I wrote about Sex Positive Detroit I maintained that there was a diverse chorus of voices in Detroit regarding sexuality. I think that I was overly optimistic. Just because someone is talking doesn’t mean that messages are being sent and received.
I feel sad and angry and hopeless that Jerry Vile’s Dirty Show is the only public sentiment on sexuality from the area…the only voice loud enough for people to hear. In the public realm, sex in Detroit is totally disturbed. And although I moved away from Detroit and I have no solutions, I will continue to push for awareness and cognition.
This weekend I attended one of Detroit’s favorite community gatherings–Marche du Nain Rouge. Each spring, Detroiters gather in the Cass Corridor for a celebration ritual in which they get to call upon a myth from the city’s founding and “chase the red dwarf” out of the city. According to legend, an evil red dwarf will be seen in the streets prior to violent tragedies, beginning with an attack of the first white settler in Detroit in 1701 and including Detroit’s surrender in the War of 1812, the Battle of Bloody Run, and the 1967 riots. All of these events are struggles over race and territory.
About 3 seconds after it crossed my mind that the “nain rouge” (“red dwarf”) is probably a reference to Native Americans and that historically, the myth was probably used to villainize Native Americans in Detroit, I saw this:
The woman holding this sign is Doc. She stood alone at the beginning of the Marche du Nain Rouge, affecting the necessary shock to present some critical information that seems to have been lost somewhere in Detroit’s compulsion for community. By the end of the parade, a small group gathered around Doc and conversations ensued about race relations in Detroit, the relationship between the historical European American oppression of Native Americans and African Americans, the lacking conversation about race in Detroit, the practice of ritual, and the making and re-making of meaning. You can watch a video of Doc explaining the history of Marche du Nain Rouge on the sidelines of the parade in the Cass Corridor.
What do you think–how much history still exists in this newly-revived Detroit tradition?