Join 3,496 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing
February 6, 2006 8:08 PM   Subscribe

Motown history traded for Super Bowl parking. (mostly audio) The Motown Center in Detroit was torn down a few weeks ago and turned into Super Bowl parking. Although not the main recording studios, and long abandoned, it still contained many Motown documents and memorabilia, most of which were lost in the razing. Covered by local bloggers: dETROITfUNK (1, 2) , Detroit Blog (1, 2, 3, 4), and Kempa, plus local tv.
posted by caddis (45 comments total)

 
"None of Motown’s hits were recorded here in the Donovan; all that took place was menial office work and some mixing"
posted by smackfu at 8:12 PM on February 6, 2006


If it was that important, someone should've gone in and saved all the memorabilia.
posted by riffola at 8:18 PM on February 6, 2006


yeah, it's sad when an abandoned building gets torn down for something useful...
posted by jonson at 8:31 PM on February 6, 2006


Good trade.
posted by I Love Tacos at 8:34 PM on February 6, 2006


It begs the greater question of what to make of Detroit after what has been a decade long decline in the American automotive industry......

Does the city or even the state have any other economy upon which it can stay afloat or even prosper?

Is Detroit just going to become a regional hub -- and, if so, for what region -- especially since it has a lot of population hubs not so far away?
posted by narebuc at 8:44 PM on February 6, 2006


Heatbreak Hotel studio too.
posted by tellurian at 8:47 PM on February 6, 2006


nothing begs a question. ever.
posted by jonson at 8:51 PM on February 6, 2006


I have total contempt for the "Superbowl" and for all the people who watch it. The fact that the advertising is considered to be the most interesting part is, well, just what I'd expect.

I'm pretty down on America's obsession with cars -- and I'm really really looking forward to the oil running out and all these *assholes* in SUV (including the one who ran over my friends, the one who hit me and then tried to beat me up, and more minorly the ones who park on the sidewalk in my neighborhood) suffering miserably.

The fact that some minorly historic building was torn down to make parking for the Superbowl is a) typical b) picayune c) hard for me to care about when innocent men are being tortured to death and buried in unmarked graves by American soldiers.

But let me go on the record as saying that if whatever stadium contained the Superbowel collapsed into the earth and took all the players and spectators to Hell, the world would be a better place.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:54 PM on February 6, 2006


Detroit's decline has been several decades long, and it has less to do with the auto industry than with a general lack of confidence in the city itself, generally. There's been a bit of a resurgence of late, with the opera house and the athletic stadiums and a few other things, but I think the demolition of abandoned buildings in Detroit should never be seen as a bad thing. Get the old hulking shells out of there, because nothing new and good will appear until they're gone.

As for the Motown history, if nobody's going to actively preserve it, and it becomes just another urban ghost town relic, then it's gotta go, too (which is sad).
posted by JekPorkins at 8:55 PM on February 6, 2006


lupus_yonderboy, I'll drink to that.
posted by nightchrome at 9:07 PM on February 6, 2006


What I find sad is that no one, not the Motown Museum, not Motown Records, not the City, no one preserved these documents and memorabilia. It's not about blame, just about one more chunk of our history lost. I am hoping that these bloggers exaggerated the value of this stuff, but who knows because now it is gone.
posted by caddis at 9:09 PM on February 6, 2006


nothing begs a question. ever.
posted by jonson at 11:51 PM EST on February 6


http://qwantz.com/index.pl?comic=693

Descriptivists unite!
posted by malphigian at 9:31 PM on February 6, 2006


*sigh* htmlified link for those who dislike cut'n'paste.
posted by malphigian at 9:32 PM on February 6, 2006


jon -- I actually like not using logical fallacies or improper grammar (like how the word hopefully is terribly misused). BUT, I can't understand what's really so bad about "begs the question" -- that is, if a statement leads to another question that should be asked to help put that statement into context or appropriate significance -- why can't it be asked?
posted by narebuc at 9:33 PM on February 6, 2006


But let me go on the record as saying that if whatever stadium contained the Superbowel collapsed into the earth and took all the players and spectators to Hell, the world would be a better place.

but what would make *hell* a better place?
posted by It ain't over yet at 9:48 PM on February 6, 2006


I can't understand what's really so bad about "begs the question" -- that is, if a statement leads to another question that should be asked to help put that statement into context or appropriate significance -- why can't it be asked?

Because that's not the definition of "begs the question". If you want to describe something that leads into another question say, "well, that leads to another question".

"Begging the question" is the antiquated name for a logical fallacy whereby the supporting evidence is the same as the conclusion (more or less).
posted by ryanhealy at 9:50 PM on February 6, 2006


Frankly, the phrase doesn't really describe the fallacy all that well, so I care less about it than the common usage wherein it at least sounds like what it means.
posted by nightchrome at 9:54 PM on February 6, 2006


From Kempa: The NPR story reported that Hitsville on Grand Blvd, which is the Motown Museum, knew about the documents but could not get the funding to get them out of the building

Jeez. How much would it have cost to send a couple of folks in to dig around and haul some of the paper ephemera out of there? Pretty sad. Thanks for this, caddis.
posted by mediareport at 9:58 PM on February 6, 2006



Frankly, the phrase doesn't really describe the fallacy all that well, so I care less about it than the common usage wherein it at least sounds like what it means.


The common usage is manifest ignorance.

Carry on.
posted by ryanhealy at 10:40 PM on February 6, 2006


This sounds like a massive fuck-up in many ways. The owner of the building, for example, failed to inform the museum they still had stuff stored there.

A historical society I was involved with once had a large fireproof building that was converted into a museum. Over a period of about 10 years it was filled with all the artifacts that they'd had donated and kept stored in all sorts of random facilities (like a horse buggy in the donor's nephew's barn). Then the society went through a period of shameful mismanagement culminating in a financial crisis, during which they decided they could not maintain the building (which was leased to them for the princely sum of $1/year). The collections were broken up again, some of them reappearing in a greatly scaled-down museum facility, others stored under godawful unprofessional conditions (like papers in a damp basement), and others nearly or actually lost simply because nobody knew they existed and somebody began cleaning out a back room.

It's ignorance as much as anything that leads to this sort of failure. There was a Chicago photographer back in the 60s who tried to save as mcuh as he could by photographing and scavenging during a period of massive demolition of great buildings. A similar collection of photographs is the gorgeous coffee-table book Lost Chicago. One day the guy just disappeared; it turned out he'd ventured onto a demolition site and fallen through a hole into a sub-basement. Chicago today is undergoing what in my memory is a similarly massive demolition era, this time of the housing and commercial stock that defined the outer neighborhoods of the city, to be replaced with in most cases disappointingly generic condos and such. I hope somebody's documenting those losses, but there's barely any opposition to what's happening -- maybe becasue there's just too much.
posted by dhartung at 10:54 PM on February 6, 2006


ryanhealy, language changes. Deal with it.
posted by nightchrome at 11:02 PM on February 6, 2006


I hate language prescriptivists alot.
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:13 PM on February 6, 2006


Hopefully they wiped out all traces of the Jackson Five.

That shit baby bubblegum crapolla ruined every motown compilation disc since, with the attrocity of including fuckin ABC on the same piece of plastic with Baby Love, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Where Did Our Love Go, Standing In The Shadows Of Love and countless gems polutted by the existance of that kiddy-crap garbage.
posted by HTuttle at 11:15 PM on February 6, 2006


Hey Super Bowls are history too.
posted by wtfchuck at 12:00 AM on February 7, 2006


wow, HTuttle... to each their own, I guess, but I enjoy listening to I Want You Back or Stop (The Love You Save May Be Your Own) every bit as much as anything by Smokey or Aretha or the Temptations.
posted by jonson at 12:01 AM on February 7, 2006


Hey Super Bowls are history too.

Super Bowl parking lots doubly so.
posted by mhum at 12:09 AM on February 7, 2006


Waiter, what's this linguistic argument doing in my Super Bowl?!
posted by JT at 2:40 AM on February 7, 2006


HTuttle must've gotten into lupus_yonderboy's supply of Haties...
posted by alumshubby at 2:44 AM on February 7, 2006


lupus, some people get beat up because they're assholes.
posted by substrate at 3:22 AM on February 7, 2006


And sometimes they get beat up because they're right.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:22 AM on February 7, 2006


Yes, lupus is right. Innocent men are being tortured to death by American soldiers. It's happening right here, in Detroit, you know. By people who own cars. And who hate Motown music. And went to the Superbowl (all merchandise now 50% off!).

Stupid oil. Stupid commercials. Stupid Superbowl. Stupid Motown.

Sorry, just trying to put lupus' irrelevant rant into some kind of context for the thread. Bit of a stretch, but I may have pulled it off.
posted by Slap Incognito at 4:59 AM on February 7, 2006


.
posted by nola at 5:28 AM on February 7, 2006


The common usage is manifest ignorance.

We're an ignorant people, we English speakers.

C'mon, save your energy for the real battles, like to/too, your/you're, effect/affect, "hypocracy", "inciteful", and shit like that that leads to the moral degeneration of youth and other such maladies.
posted by beth at 5:33 AM on February 7, 2006


Oh, I just meant that Lupus is right that Superbowl fans should plummet into a sucking hell hole.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:37 AM on February 7, 2006


HTuttle must've gotten into lupus_yonderboy's supply of Haties...

No. It's called TASTE. Look the word up. Get some.
posted by HTuttle at 5:57 AM on February 7, 2006


Detroit should be sold to the Canadians, for scrap. Detroit is a boil on the ass of Michigan.

I was born in Detroit :-P
posted by Goofyy at 6:11 AM on February 7, 2006


Again with the hate on professional sports. Well you know what lupus_yonderboy? Your music SUCKS!

Ha! I am now intellectually superior to you since I think something you enjoy is inferior!

Isn't elitism FUN!
posted by WinnipegDragon at 6:23 AM on February 7, 2006


I'm still furious over this news.

(But I've long since gotten over the misuse of "begging the question." Take it elsewhere, people.)
posted by cobra libre at 6:56 AM on February 7, 2006


It's not elitism that makes me hate the Superbowl -- it's the relentless, unselfconscious consumerism.

If Americans took a tenth the time they spend watching football games and used it to find out something about the rest of the world and the people in it, then the world would be a much better place.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:13 AM on February 7, 2006


I'm a bit torn on this kind of "memorabilia". From what was linked, it's just standard office paperwork with famous names on it. I suppose a superfan might want a copy of Aretha Franklin's insurance card but it's the kind of stuff a museum would just put in storage in boxes. (Because they couldn't throw it out, on principle.)
posted by smackfu at 7:13 AM on February 7, 2006


(Citizen Premier wins)
posted by infidelpants at 7:14 AM on February 7, 2006


If Americans took a tenth the time they spend watching football games and used it to find out something about the rest of the world and the people in it, then the world would be a much better place.

The anti-intellectualism and America-uber-alles attitude of the unwashed masses would never let this happen. They just aren't that kind of people, and you'd have to do something extraordinary to make them care. I wish I knew what would work, honestly. Most people just won't make the effort until their ignorance costs them something dear to them. Like cheap gas.
posted by beth at 8:08 AM on February 7, 2006


I suppose a superfan might want a copy of Aretha Franklin's insurance card

No, it's not just memorabilia, it's archives. It's the primary sources that future histories of Motown musicians might have used. That's why archives primary sources are maintained; it's some work to keep them around, but it's nothing compared to make up for them once they've been lost or destroyed, and you can't know in advance what someone's going to need later, you can only take good guesses.

In this case, there was apparently a serious bout of miscommunication, and no-one in a position to act knew that those archives were there to make those good guesses. Aretha's insurance card might not be valuable to someone doing research on the early days of Motown, but a carbon copy of a letter from a Motown A&R exec to an artist that no-one knew Motown turned down? Maybe it was in there. We'll never know now.
posted by mendel at 8:51 AM on February 7, 2006


If Americans took a tenth the time they spend watching football games and used it to find out something about the rest of the world and the people in it, then the world would be a much better place.

Now replace the word "Americans" with "everyone in the world" and replace the word "football" with "soccer/football/calcio/futbol/hockey/whatever" and you'll have a much more accurate statement. But let's not pretend that America is the only place with a vast population of drunken sports nuts who know more about their favorite team than about their own government. To do so reveals extraordinary ignorance about the rest of the world.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:07 AM on February 7, 2006


Are you ready for some football!!??!?!

...apparently not.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:57 AM on February 7, 2006


« Older Prehistoric art in the American Southwest....  |  CSMonitor's Jill Carroll updat... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments