Monday, February 07, 2011

Detroit: Build The ROBOCOP Statue!

Hat-tip, BAD

Someone tweeted the Mayor of Detroit, Michigan a wacky idea: Erect a statue of RoboCop, arguably the most famous fictional character to be associated specifically with the city. The Mayor, naturally, said no.

Y'know what, though? I think it's actually a brilliant idea. Detroit should totally do this.

Anyone who knows anything about Detroit knows the place is in trouble - the collapse of the U.S. Auto Industry has brutalized that whole area, and it's in serious need of new revenue streams. Lots of economically-shaky regions have successfully rebuilt themselves as tourist destinations, but thus far most attempts at turning nostalgia for the Golden Age of American manufacturing into landmarks have fallen short... y'know what DOES sell, though? Kitchsy, semi-ironic pop-culture relics.

I live a short drive from Salem, MA, a city that relies on tourism for the overwhelming majority of it's revenue. A few years back, TV Land lobbied for and bankrolled the construction and installation of a statue of Samantha from "Bewitched" downtown (on the rather shaky premise that the show had done an episode there once), and it's become a very popular site in a city that lives and dies by it's landmarks. This is the best-known one, but TV Land has actually done this for other icons like Andy Griffith and Ralph Kramden, too.

I bring that up less as precedent and more as a suggestion of how something like this ought to get done: Whoever owns the rights to "RoboCop" (whatever's left of MGM, I believe) isn't really doing anything with them that this point - it wouldn't cost much, in "Hollywood dollars," to buy a piece of property in Detroit and stick a statue on it, and you have to imagine the city would be more amenable to it if it weren't costing THEM anything. It'd be a HUGE publicity-coup for the rights-holders, and a net-positive for the city in terms of press coverage, tourism and image-building.

There's actually some pretty solid precedent for this, too: Remember those monuments of the Ten Commandments that caused so much trouble in the U.S. recently? A LOT of those weren't put there for specifically religious purposes - they were publicity-stunts to promote Cecil B. DeMille's "Ten Commandments" movie in 1956.

Seriously, someone needs to get a letter-writing or facebook/twitter campaign going to both Detroit and the owners of the Robocop character. There's no reason for this NOT to happen.

30 comments:

Ezenwa said...

I'm for it and I'm not even from Detroit.

KevinCV said...

As a Michigan native, I definitely think we should do this. I'm just a tad surprised no one thought of it sooner... XD

Smashmatt202 said...

They've got a Rockey statue in Philadelphia, I don't see why they shouldn't make a Robocop Statue in Detroit!

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

So a museum for the world's largest religious faith is an injustice put on this Earth solely to piss you off is just too much...but a statue of a man in a plastic fiberglass armor whose sole defining characteristic is that he's Master Chief with a police badge is just the thing Detroit needs?

I'm just saying.

Jonathan said...

Eh... Ironside, I don't think Bob said he had any problem with public displays of the ten commandments. He is using it for comparison's sake.

Christopher said...

Jonathon, I think Ironside was talking about Bob's previously mentioned disapproval of the Creationist museum.

And yeah, Robocop is better than a giant monument to willful ignorance.

Willingdruid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Willingdruid said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Gamecase said...

I think the major reason to NOT build a Robocop statue is that it would remind everyone that Detroit is an urban cesspool. It's so bad there that regular cops can't do anything about it, and you need robots.

I'm waiting for some company to bail the city out and make the premise of Robocop come true

Blue Highwind said...

I've been to Detroit. Robocop Statue or no, I am in no hurry to ever go back.

Bob said...

@Ironside,

The Creation Museums (and if you're referring to something else, I apologize) are not an "injustice," to me - I'm a Capitalist, if folks want to invest their OWN money they can build whatever damn fool operation they want. As a man of science and dual-citizen of both the 21st Century and reality, putting up a facility that is designed for the SOLE purpose of misinforming people and calling it a "museum" is perverse and tragic to me; but not "unjust." My objection to the Kentucky (?) operation was that it was to be funded with tax-money, a clear violation of both the Constitution and the supposed principals of the so-called "conservatives" who it's targeted at.

As for RoboCop, aside from being the iconic centerpiece of one of the seminal films of the last century and easily one of the more important modern science-fiction tales; he's uniquely well-suited to the city of his story's setting - it's no accident that it takes place in Detroit. A man who reclaims his humanity and retains his dignity through sheer will against both the mechanization that has engulfed his body and the degradation that has engulfed his city? If a Rocky statue belongs in Philly (and I think it does) a bronzed Alex Murphy should stand in Detroit.

Robert said...

@Bob If I called you a c*nt, which I am not, would you delete my comment? After reading Willingdruids comment i'm sort of confused on your rules regarding cursing on comments on your site.

Nick said...

@Robert: Bob didn't delete that comment. It would have said, "This post has been removed by a blog administrator," not "removed by the author."

Gamecase said...

Bob changed my mind; build the statue Detroit. Maybe there is an old police station with cool architecture? Make it like a farmers market or something and bring in all the ironic hipsters and the nerds trying to eat better.

Bob said...

@Willingdruid,

Fair warning: In the future, please don't use expletives directed at other commenters. I don't care if people cuss at ME, but I will delete personal insults against other commenters regardless of who's on what "side."

tyra menendez said...

World's largest religion? Citation needed. Considering the billions of Asian people (China and India) that are not Christian, that seems a bullshit claim, to me.
And, as the number of openly atheist, in this country has risen to 16%, that makes us a larger minority than Jews or Hispanics and approaching the number of blacks, appeasing us is going to have to become a priority. So, yeah, some of us care about the separation of church and state and know better than the fabrication that this is a Christian nation. It may have a lot of Christians in it, but it is not a Christian state.

The whole RoboCop thing may be vexed as the (questionable) plan is to do one of those in-name-only remakes, unless that has changed. Personally, a RoboCop statue would be nice, as long as it was Peter Weller's face, not that other guy.

tyra menendez said...

PS Someone should ask Bruce Campbell what he thinks, as he's a Michigan native. I think it would be fun to know his take on it, if anyone could find it, in print, somewhere.

Willingdruid said...

@Bob

I'm sorry, I just assume that the 'sticks and stones' rule generally applies on most public forums.
But it's your blog so I'll try not to use "expletives" in my comments in future.


(I hope that didn't come out sounding sarcastic)

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

@BOB.

Oh yeah...well...Dracula's coming over tonight for you and I said okay.

That's fine, I just have trouble imagining a statue of Robocop anywhere. For any reason.

Anthony Arndt said...

@Bob, thank you for bringing up the 10 Commandments "Monuments" hoax. Unconstitutional cold war money grabs are still unconstitutional.

And regarding "world's largest religion" museums, I wasn't aware of there being any controversial Hindu or Muslim museums. I've been in some really hilarious Muslim museums ("See the sauce pan of the prophet ABRHAM!") showing that there were suckers long before PT Barnum.

Joe said...

I believe for the moment, Catholicism is still the world's largest religion, and Catholic dogma accommodates evolution.

Gamecase said...

Christianity is still the largest religion lumping Catholicism, Protestantism and Eastern Orthodox together. Islam is the second and fastest growing.

Bob said...

@Willingdruid,

The language isn't a problem, using "against" other commenters is:

"Fuck this!" = cool.
"Fuck you!" = not so much.

Other than that, go nuts :)

Chris Wyatt said...

My hometown is Modesto, CA, which also happens to be the hometown of George Lucas and setting of his movie, American Graffiti. Downtown, there's a statue depicting a scene from American Graffiti, and its become something of a local landmark for the town. Not a huge tourist draw anymore, but its something of a symbol of local pride and something that residents really enjoy.

So I say build the Robocop statue in Detroit, even if it doesn't draw much tourism, it would still just be a cool thing for the city.

Brandon Wright said...

As someone from "Detroit," I vote they should definitely do this. Especially now that the Detroit area is billing itself as "Hollywood North" and trying to start a movie-based industry in place of the shattered auto industry.

Dave Cesarano said...

Dude, I'm from the Philly area. All I gotta say is:

ROCKY STATUE.

Reverend Allan Ironside said...

@ Dave

The problem with that analogy is that Rocky didn't just do something for Philly, he made a specific PLACE famous. Robocop's most memorable location was a run down landfill/scrap yard/toxic waste dump.

RocMegamanX said...

@Gamecase

Speaking of a company, you better hope it's not a real-life OCP.

mindjazz said...

Personally I would prefer they make another Robocop movie.

TJ said...

I would love to contact you directly. But I can't find an email. Check out our post on this.

http://www.theendoftheinterwebs.com/2011/02/detriot-robocop-statue-new-prime.html

Shoot me an email at theendoftheinterwebs@gmail.com