e-mail me at billdeg@umich.edu


dream cruise

For those of you who don't live in Detroit, this weekend is the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise, an annual nuisance that crowds the main north-south drag with literally millions and millions of people admiring classic cars. Gas stations inflate their prices. Folks plan entire vacations around "the cruise." Today on a local radio show, callers were *showing off* about how lousy the mileage is on their muscle cars: "I get eight miles per gallon in my 'cuda." Excluding bars, local businesses on Woodward hate the cruise. You can't make left turns, parking lots are shut down (landowners rent out their lots to people who pay big bucks to breathe the fumes, I mean get good views of the cruise), and it takes an hour to drive a mile up the road...do the math, horrid for business.

I had lunch with a colleague yesterday (Toast in Ferndale...delicious!), who said, Bill you study working-class culture, this should be a great opportunity for you. Not so much. I can't get past the nuisance factor. The car becomes another consumer good that obscures class difference. The middle-management engineer comfortably affords the classic car. The line worker struggles to afford the same car, buys it soon after taking the assembly job, and scratches plans to go to school in a few years because of payments on said car. But, in the end, they've both got the car and they're out on Woodward showing it off.

The bottom line, I suppose, is that old cars don't interest me, but, hey, they give others pleasure, so have it! The fumes, the waste of gas, the fact that the oil companies must love this event, the near impossibility of getting from point A to point B...I'll admit that this weekend brings out my inner grump.

My Dream Cruise involvement? Tomorrow morning, I'll be joining folks from several local peace groups handing out literature advertising a 'Beat Joe Knollenberg' rally coming up at the end of August. The rally is part of a push by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq to target hawkish members of congress (like my own Rep., the aforementioned Knollenberg) for defeat in November. Get involved, peeps.


AmyinMotown said...

Hey, another Detroiter here. I live at Eight and Woodward (a street over from your friends Bill and Billie, actually--I go to church with them and am neighorhhood-related --although kind of keep my blog on the DL) and sounded off on the Dream Cruise this week. HATE. RAGE. It's not even the Cruise, stupid though it is, it's the spillover for DAYS (although I will say the local constabulary seems to have kept that down to a minimum this year).

bdegenaro said...

Welcome Amy! I go to Gesu, too, and hope to see you there.

RE: the cruise, like I said, I'm glad it brings people pleasure, but it's hard not see it as something that's shitty for the environment and great for the oil companies.