Recent struggles of Michigan State basketball notwithstanding, the city of Detroit is on a hot streak. Eminem's two-minute Chrysler commercial was the water cooler moment of this year's Super Bowl. At the age of 85, legendary local crime novelist Elmore Leonard is the producer of a breakout basic cable hit. GM's hourly workers are reportedly set to receive bonus checks of more than $3000.
Yes, it's a good time to be in the Motor City. But are local leaders losing touch with the city's rich cultural heritage? Consider Mayor Dave Bing's refusal to engage Twitter users who suggested the city's new urban renewal project should include a statue of RoboCop, the fictional, futuristic Detroit beat cop who battled street crime and evil industrialists in three films of steadily declining quality.
Bing, an NBA Hall of Famer, might not realize the impact RoboCop had on ordinary Michiganders from 1987 to 1993. The movies were filmed in Texas, but tapped into the fear--universal at the time--that shady European conglomerates wanted to bankrupt the town, tear it down, and build a gated community called Delta City. RoboCop stopped this from happening on three separate occasions. Without his efforts, the world would have been deprived of Barry Sanders, Eminem, and the 119-loss Tigers of 2003. That he did this on a city paycheck, turning down multiple chances to start his own security consulting firm, is even more commendable. Considering Rocky Balboa got a statue in Philadelphia for losing a boxing match, why shouldn't Peter Weller be immortalized in bronze and iron for saving a major American city while also participating in valuable cyborg research and development?
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.