Skip to main content

Stu Bykofsky wishes for the devastation of Philadelphia

Weird little column from Stu Bykofsky this morning, wishing that Philadelphia would be a little more like...Detroit:
Unlike Philadelphia, Detroit's business community is as galvanized and aggressively optimistic as a Disney theme park.

Over the weekend, members of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists were bombarded by some biggies from the past, the Big Three automakers, and the future, Quicken Loans, which just brought 1,600 high-tech jobs to downtown - and will add an equal number in the months ahead, jobs dragged from the suburbs because its young staff wanted to be where the action is.

The action is still modest, but the downtown bowl has new buildings, refurbished hotels, casinos and a Hard Rock Cafe. But drive just one mile east and there are block-long gaps where buildings once stood, where neighborhoods died. The city is toying with the idea of growing farms within the city limits.

Ideas like that are far more revolutionary, made necessary by necessity, than Philadelphia's bike lanes. Ideas like that are born of a desperation that has not yet gripped Philadelphia. Maybe it should.
Yes: Byko is saying that Philadelphia would benefit from almost complete and utter economic devastation—something that (like Detroit) would cause us to lose two-thirds of our population and leave the rest desperate and scraping along for survival. Maybe then we could attract more artist/hipster types to the city core? That sounds like what he's saying.

Hey Stu: We already have a Hard Rock Cafe.

I've heard local folks make the Philadelphia-Detroit comparison before—though not quite with Byko's apparent enthusiasm—and I think it's wrong. Philadelphia, these days, isn't quite so dependent on any single industry the way Detroit was for a long time: We've already largely experienced our industrial collapse, but in stages—it was unpleasant, but it didn't bring down the city with it. What's more, we have geography on our side—we're part of an urban ecosystem: New York-Philly-Baltimore-D.C. are all in relative proximity to each other; some folks here commute to NYC every day. Detroit is more physically isolated.

In any case, I don't think Stu really wants Philadelphia to have a near-death experience. If he does, he's an insane, evil madman who doesn't deserve a column. Mostly, I think he went to a convention in Detroit and had to come up with a column for Monday's newspaper somehow. This is what we got.


Popular posts from this blog


I've been making some life changes lately — trying to use the time I have, now that I'm back in Kansas, to improve my health and lifestyle. Among the changes: More exercise. 30 minutes a day on the treadmill. Doesn't sound like a lot, but some is more than none, and I know from experience that getting overambitious early leads to failure. So. Thirty minutes a day.

One other thing: Yoga, a couple of times a week. It's nothing huge — a 15-minute flexibility routine downloaded from an iPhone app. But I've noticed that I'm increasingly limber.

Tonight, friends, I noticed a piece of trash on the floor. I bent over at the waist and picked it up, and threw it away.

Then I wept. I literally could not remember the last time I'd tried to pick something off the floor without grunting and bracing myself. I just did it.

Small victories, people. Small victories.

Liberals: We're overthinking this. Hillary didn't lose. This is what it should mean.

Nate Cohn of the New York Times estimates that when every vote is tallied, some 63.4 million Americans will have voted for Clinton and 61.2 million for Trump. That means Clinton will have turned out more supporters than any presidential candidate in history except for Obama in 2008 and 2012. And as David Wasserman of Cook Political Report notes, the total vote count—including third party votes—has already crossed 127 million, and will “easily beat” the 129 million total from 2012. The idea that voters stayed home in 2016 because they hated Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is a myth. We already know the Electoral College can produce undemocratic results, but what we don't know is why — aside from how it serves entrenched interests — it benefits the American people to have their preference for national executive overturned because of archaic rules designed, in part, to protect the institution of slavery. 

A form of choosing the national leader that — as has happened in …

I'm not cutting off my pro-Trump friends

Here and there on Facebook, I've seen a few of my friends declare they no longer wish the friendship of Trump supporters — and vowing to cut them out of their social media lives entirely.

I'm not going to do that.

To cut ourselves off from people who have made what we think was a grievous error in their vote is to give up on persuading them, to give up on understanding why they voted, to give up on understanding them in any but the most cartoonish stereotypes.

As a matter of idealism, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on democracy. As a matter of tactics, cutting off your pro-Trump friends is to give up on ever again winning in a democratic process.

And as a long-term issues, confining ourselves to echo chambers is part of our national problem.

Don't get me wrong: I expect a Trumpian presidency is a disaster, particularly for people of color. And in total honesty: My own relationships have been tested by this campaign season. There's probably some damage…