The Wednesday before the 2022 Super Bowl, a fellow Detroiter opined to me that this Super Bowl was “The Detroit Super Bowl.” Say what? Her reasoning was that both Matthew Stafford and Eminem were playing.
I’m a huge Stafford fan, and I have been since the Lions drafted him. I continue to root for him, just as I continued to root for Kirk Gibson when he went to play for Gomorrah. I did not pretend Gibson represented Detroit in Dodger blue, just as Stafford doesn’t in a Rams helmet.
No, the Detroit Super Bowl will be the one the Lions win. I estimate this will happen no more than ten years after the arrival of the messiah. I am a patient man.
Eminem is a different story — because Detroit music is a different story. In my novel Say Nice Things About Detroit, I included a paragraph that takes on the subject. Sometimes I think I wrote the whole book just to include this paragraph. My editor wanted to cut it. Her reasoning was opaque, and, as she was originally from Cleveland, I chalked it up to some undisclosed and misplaced loyalty.
My loyalty is neither undisclosed nor misplaced. Detroit is special for many reasons, but none more so that the music it has given the world. The paragraph is below.
They drove straight to the funeral. The radio played music that had been new when he was young but was now called classic: Mitch Ryder, Bob Seger, Glenn Fry, Ted Nugent, Alice Cooper. Detroiters all. It was difficult for David to explain the pride he felt in his city, but certainly this music was behind it. Throw in John Lee Hooker and Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and the rest of Motown, the jazz of Carter, Burrell, and Henderson, the power of the MC5 and the Stooges, the pop of Madonna, and the current efforts of Ritchie, Mathers, and White, and you could argue that what the Motor City really made, the thing that would last long after the Ren Cen crumbled into the river and the world no longer needed cars, was music.
Scott Lasser is the author of the novels Battle Creek, All I Could Get, The Year That Follows and Say Nice Things About Detroit. His non-fiction has appeared in the New Yorker and New York Times; he co-wrote two episodes of HBO's True Detective. A alumnus of Dartmouth College, the University of Michigan, the Wharton School and Lehman Brothers, Scott lives with his family in Aspen, Colorado.
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