Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Sojourn: A Robocop Statue for Detroit? Seriously?


Betcha didn't know that Detroit is becoming a "Technology Town"! So why not "RoboCop"?
It started as a joke: a man from Massachusetts sent a tweet to Detroit Mayor Dave Bing with an unusal suggestion: how about erecting a statue in Detroit of "Robocop" the half-man/half-machine anti-hero of the movie of the same name. In the 1987 original movie, the crime in Detroit is so out of control that a large reconstruction project is halted; meanwhile a cop is severely wounded in the line of duty and the business owner helps the police to re-make him "Six Million Dollar Man"-style into a crime-fighting cyborg with painful suppressed memories. "RoboCop", starring Peter Weller, was actually nominated for two Academy Awards and won a "Special Achievement" Oscar in 1988. The person who suggested that Detroit erect a RoboCop statue apparently thought that if Philadelphia could have a statue of "Rocky", why not Detroit and RoboCop?
Here is a copy of the Twitter exchange:
@MT
@mayordavebing Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky & Robocop would kick Rocky's butt. He's a GREAT ambassador for Detroit.
February 7, 2011 11:59 am via TweetDeckRetweetReply
Mayor Dave Bing@mayordavebing
Mayor Dave Bing
@MT There are not any plans to erect a statue to Robocop. Thank you for the suggestion.
February 7, 2011 11:43 am via TweetDeckRetweetReply
Many people in Detroit immediately jumped into the same defensive reaction: "Oh no, not another reference to crime in Detroit! We don't need that!" But another group, more forward-thinking and internet savvy Detroiters decided this was a good idea!
1) It could be a tourist attraction, just like the Rocky Statue.
2) It could be a symbol of metro Detroit moving to become a statewide, national, and international technology region.
Of course the City of Detroit doesn't have money to erect a statue, so this group decided to turn to a decidedly 21st century solution: crowdsourcing! Crowdsourcing is just what the name implies: getting funding sources from a like-minded crowd.
The Detroit non-profit "Imagination Station" initated the RoboCop Statue campaign and signed up for the crowdsourcing funding entity "Kickstarter". They have a goal to raise the necessary $50,000 in 30 days; and after just a few days raised $6,000. People can invest for as little as a dollar. 
Visit the Imagination Station Kickstarter page here.
I was in a meeting on Friday with another non-profit group; many of the attendees at the meeting were young people who made a conscious decision to move TO Detroit from places like ann Arbor, Chicago and Californina to be a part of the revitalization of our City. Imagine that! 21st century projects and initiatives like those of Imagination Station (pun definitely intended) will go a long way to moving Detroit forward. There is crime in every city. Detroit is much more than that. 
A RoboCop statue can stand for Detroit as a center of future technology; and as a tourist destination!

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