“FRESH OFF THE BOAT” Takes a leak on Detroit

We Detroiters can be a sensitive lot. We do not necessarily agree with our realities. The city is certainly no masterpiece of the modern condition, but outside sources have a particular way of making it look extra gross. We have all learned to see the trees, not just the haunted forest.

The video begins with Eddie Huang, the host of one of VICE’s many web programs, Fresh Off The Boat, urinating into one of Detroit’s many broken down light posts. The proprietor of the establishment he is relieving himself in front of is not exactly pumped and he berates the host with some colorful language.

“There were no customers and I went in to apologize,” he continued in the video. “To me, I’ll show everyone me at my worst. I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful at all.” Huang said, in his defense. I can’t totally disagree, I am fairly confident everyone I know has had a similar need. Maybe not in the daylight, on Grand River, on the sidewalk, but I guess I get it. Maybe.

It was a perfectly inflammatory way to open a three-part piece that VICE is doing here in the Motor City. Part one, the intrepid chef and local rapper, Danny Brown take on the Big Baby, one of Detroit’s best sandwiches and conveniently located in one of our rougher neighborhoods.

About a month ago we selected the Big Baby from The Food Exchange (8451 Harper Ave., Detroit) one of the five sandwiches you have to try in Detroit. With reason, this mouthwatering land mine is covered with corned beef and all the usual fixings, and don’t forget 3 slices of cheese. Here are the other four.

Danny Brown then escorts Eddie Huang to the Bronx Bar as a sort of reminder that Detroit isn’t all lightpost urinals and bombed out edifices. They discuss the Detroit condition and Danny Brown at one point mentions that the area around The Bronx Bar was “crack central” and it provided a positive tone to finish up the 11 minute video which the first part in the series. Part two takes place in Dearborn and Part three ends with a trip to Packard Plant.

After choking down the Big Baby sandwich, smoking marijuana on the street with Danny Brown and slipping into an SUV, Eddie Huang remarks, “People just need to get some money out here for real.”

Yes Eddie, we know. Brilliant. Where were these solutions before the city declared bankruptcy?

The video does go to curtains with a positive note. Eddie Huang is mentioning how Danny Brown is apparently one of the people trying to help the city and make it a better place.

Huang finished up with this bit of poetry.

These are the things we want to see happen in America, this is how we build a middle class. Its the only way to dig an American city like Detroit out of the dumps, when the everyday man comes up from wherever the &$% he came from, plant his flag and contribute what he has to the city, this country, and the world in general. Eddie Huang

That’s a statement I actually can get behind.

Although the video was a bit myopic and lent too much to the dystopia, VICE is excellent at getting people talking. What better way to generate a little buzz then to have your host take a leak on the sidewalk. Maybe when I am in Brooklyn this December I’ll remember to not use the bathroom on the plane and see how they feel about that.

After watching.. what are your thoughts?


Leave a Reply