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Auchter's Art: Since our infrastructure can't get much worse, it can only get better

Mar 23, 2018

The songwriting credit for the majority of Beatles songs is listed as "Lennon-McCartney," but in truth most of the songs were composed individually by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. One of the more famous examples of actual collaboration in the later years of the band is the song "Getting Better." In the refrain, the more optimistic and positive McCartney wrote the lyric, "It's getting better all the time," and the more pessimistic and negative Lennon contributes the next line, "Can't get no worse."

This week Governor Snyder signed a new bill to add $175 million to the current year's budget for road repair. In the signing ceremony he was, well, Rick Snyder: a corporate coffee mug of bubbling, artificially sweetened enthusiasm. A paraphrase of his speech, "The pothole situation in Michigan is just getting better all the time." To which I say, "Well, it couldn't get much worse."

And yet, with the news this week of Ford Motor Company looking to purchase the Michigan Central Station building and property in Detroit, I find myself at an "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" level of McCartney sunshine (which is to say, sort of sickening). The Michigan Central Station is an architectural marvel. But where once it was a majestic point of entry to a thriving Motor City, it now has sat derelict for 30 years as an albatross and an eyesore.

Ford, which was founded in Detroit, is looking to return and invest. It is already committed to moving a couple hundred workers to a Corktown neighborhood location nearby. Buying, renovating, and then using Michigan Central Station would be an enormous boost for Detroit.

Now I hear all you Lennons out there, "Ford is only doing it for the PR." "It's all about profit." "It's just further gentrification that doesn't help the people of Detroit." I get that. But you know, sometimes the two sides can coexist. Sometimes Lennon and McCartney work together to make a pretty good song.

John Auchter is a freelance editorial cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.