Welcome to the 2016 Dubious Achievement Awards 

Michigan’s most dubious

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Sorry to drink and run

In a bid to restore confidence in Flint's lead-plagued water system, Snyder claims to have visited a Flint home and consumed filtered water out of the family's kitchen tap, and that he intends to continue drinking filtered Flint tap water for the next 30 days. But instead of being seen as a selfless display of empathy, many see it as an insincere PR stunt. Flint Mayor Karen Weaver says the promise "does not impress us at all." And all of five days go by before the guv jets off to Europe for trade discussions. A spokesperson says bringing Flint water along "isn't feasible."

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY SEAN BIERI
  • Illustration by Sean Bieri

The book battle

In April, a Tecumseh couple were arrested and arraigned, facing misdemeanor charges for failing to return two books borrowed from their public library (thriller The Roman Prophecy and Dr. Seuss, A Hatful of Seuss, for the record). In addition to late fees, each were to be charged a $105 "diversion fee" — and according to the judge, failure to pay could result in 93 days in jail and a maximum $500 fine. In May, the charges were dropped after they paid the late fees for the novel and the cost of replacing the Dr. Seuss book, which they had misplaced.

Missing the mark

A New York-based program called the Caliber Collection holds a gun buyback event in June — in quite possibly the most garish example of the monetization of Detroit's decline. The group takes unloaded guns, melts them down, and turns them into chic jewelry (sometimes diamond-encrusted). But no, donors don't get to keep the jewelry: they just get a $50 gift card. Sure, they're getting guns off the street, and a percentage of sales goes to funding future gun buyback programs, but something here seems like a misfire to us.

Can't muzzle this dog

In 2009, Maryland's Flying Dog Brewery and the Michigan Liquor Control Commission entered into a lengthy legal battle after the agency tried to ban the sale of the brewer's "Raging Bitch" Belgian-style IPA, objecting to the beer's double entendre name and label artwork (which featured a Ralph Steadman illustration of a dog with humanlike genitalia and breasts). In May, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit sides with the brewery, ruling that Michigan officials could be violating the brewery's First Amendment rights. Flying Dog later used the damages received to found the "1st Amendment Society," a nonprofit dedicated to free-speech issues.

That's not how you get a bachelor's degree

Speaking of free speech, just because you can say something doesn't always mean you should. In May, Harrison strip club Miceli's Corner updated its street sign to say "Now Hiring Class of 2016," seemingly encouraging graduates of the local high school to apply. Some residents think that was not the right message to be sending to their youths. "Children fresh out of high school shouldn't be taking their clothes off for money," one resident tells Saginaw's WNEM. "In no way were we trying to offend anybody," Miceli's management later told WNEM in a statement. "The sign was simply a joke."

Doesn't anybody knock anymore?

In Redford, a report of a domestic violence situation caused police to shut down a neighborhood around midnight, blocking off several streets, and initiating a tense, 11-hour standoff in the area of Winston and Acacia. Special tactical vehicles from Livonia and Redford were deployed, as police clad in body armor did everything they normally do when a suspect barricades himself in a home, launching tear gas canisters into the house and even making an effort to send a robot in. Finally, at about 11 a.m., police discovered the home was empty.

Fruitcake to go

Tricia Ann Kortes, 46, went to a Bloomfield Township Kroger to pick up a custom cake for her son's birthday party, and she was so unhappy with the Batman v. Superman decoration on it that she screamed, "They fucking ruined my 7-year-old's birthday cake!" and then drop-kicked it, sending frosting and cake flying. Kortes stomped on what was left of the confection, and kicked over a "wet floor" sign while storming out of the store. After being approached later by police, Kortes said the cake "accidentally slipped out of her hand." The case got so much publicity that Kortes was identified as a customer who slapped an employee at Ray's Ice Cream last year.

Stripping, for freedom

In June, a paunchy, bearded man stripped down to a thong at the podium at a Libertarian Party Convention in Florida. That man was one James Weeks, a then-county sheriff candidate of Livingston County, Mich. Weeks said he did the striptease as a dare, but also an act of performance art. "To me it meant that our government is so corrupt that it needs to be stripped down," he later told MT. Turns out a lot of Libertarians seemingly aren't that chill about free speech, though — Weeks' dance was met with immediate boos from the convention floor. (Later, in November, Weeks lost the race for Livingston County Sheriff.)

Taken aback

In June, a 25-foot-tall statue is erected near Woodward Avenue and 13 Mile Road in Royal Oak, based on Alfred Eisenstaedt's iconic photograph of a Navy man kissing a woman in New York's Times Square at the end of World War II. But as some critics pointed out, the statue is essentially a monument to sexual assault: The story behind the photo is that the dude, drunk, ditched his date to smooch the woman, a stranger, later identified as Greta Friedman. "I was grabbed," Friedman said in 2012. "That man was very strong. I wasn't kissing him. He was kissing me." (Friedman died this year at the age of 92.)

The only thing "wasted" was your tax money

In 2014, Snyder signed off on a pilot program that screened adults applying or reapplying for state cash assistance. A questionnaire was part of the "suspicion-based program" attempting to determine which applicants should be subjected to drug tests — with failure of two tests, or failure to take one, resulting in the loss of benefits. After a year of testing in three Michigan counties, Lansing announces the amount of drug users the program ensnared: zero. What's more, nobody refused the test. Total money earmarked for the program: $300,000. Total money saved: $0.

Popu-fucked

Populux, the electronic music venue that took over the Magic Stick's former digs, sows the seeds of its demise in July when someone tweets a racist tweet from its Twitter account that included hashtags #BlameObama and #FuckBlackLivesMatter while linking mass shootings to "libtards." The incendiary tweet is deleted quickly, but not before artists and patrons pledge to boycott the fledgling club. An apology tweet notes that the venue's account had been hacked, a claim that was never substantiated. The club closes permanently a couple weeks later when it was announced that the Magic Stick would return.

Grab 'em by the titties

Long before this disastrous election ended with disastrous results, we still thought that Donald Trump's campaign was a joke (still is a joke — just a very real and scary joke). When Trump makes a stop on the trail in Detroit (at the Economic Club, no less), he makes a Freudian slip that we can't help but wonder if it was a slip at all. Instead of the word "city," it sounds like Trump said the word "titties." The internet goes wild once this happens and one Detroit beat-maker, djkage, uses the slip to craft a ghetto house anthem called "Massive Titties in Detroit." It could be the only positive that came out of this awful election.

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION BY SEAN BIERI
  • Illustration by Sean Bieri


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