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Bewildering Stories

The “Flint Forest”

Mark Koerner

Two days ago, the New York Times ran a story about Flint, Michigan, birthplace of General Motors and arguably the birthplace of the United Auto Workers. Flint is now a declining factory town. The story reports that the mayor says in effect, “Let’s be honest: Flint is one-third as large as it was at its peak and will continue to shrink no matter what we do. So let’s intentionally shrink it even further, turning it into a smaller but more viable city.”

He took the Times reporter to the house he had grown up in (“blue with white trim”) and showed the reporter that the house was now abandoned, as was much of the neighborhood. If this is the way it is, he asked, why even have the neighborhood anymore? Why not build something new, something that people would actually want to live near: “the new Flint forest.”

That is not too far from my reference to identical problems and similar solutions in “A Fresh Start” and Jed Black’s reference to the “Detroit National Forest.” I would guess it would not be far from the Flint Forest, if it ever came to that. Maybe there could be a hiking trail connecting the two...


Copyright © 2009 by Mark Koerner

Mark, I’m reminded of a strip in Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin has written a science fiction story where space aliens drain the oceans and steal the atmosphere. As they depart, they say, “We’re very sorry you’re doomed, but we have to do this or we’d be out of a job.” Calvin asks whether the story is too far-fetched. Hobbes replies, “Not nearly enough.”


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