If Washtenaw Avenue were a taint, would that make Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti the anus?

I’d like to preface my comments by saying that I like the Ann Arbor News. I may, on occasion, disagree with their corporate leadership, but I think the people in their Ann Arbor office are trying to do the best that they can in an increasingly difficult environment. As we’ve discussed here before, the demands on them are incredible. I know people on the staff, and I cannot imagine having to work as hard as they do, churning out story after story with little in the way of time or resources, knowing that, to a great extent, your worth within the Advance Publications family is measured more by clicks and shares than by journalistic ability. With all of that said, though, headlines like this make me crazy.


Advertising dollars are dwindling. I get that. And I understand that, in order to make money online, you have to break through the clutter and attract viewers via social media. But at some point, you have to draw a line and say, “Well, this really isn’t news,” right? I mean, I get that the news business has always been about blood, guts, crime and sex. We tend to romanticize it now, but, truth is, it’s never been perfect. It’s always been about attracting eyeballs. And I get that everyone in the online content business right now is trying as best they can to replicate the the Buzzfeed business model, putting more effort into the writing of catchy headlines than the content to follow it. But at some point it just gets silly. And that’s what I’m thinking here. I mean, I could accept the recent Ann Arbor News story about the changing size of Melissa Gilbert’s breasts, as there was kind of a story there, but I can’t see how today’s “Could Ypsilanti be the Brooklyn to Ann Arbor’s Manhattan?” article is anything but a hollow attempt to leverage previously reported information about the recently released Washtenaw County Affordable Housing Needs Assessment under a meaningless headline meant to grab interest and inflame the passions of online trolls, who are always looking for an opportunity bash either Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti.

And, plus, the whole thing just sounds embarrassingly provincial to me. Can you just imagine someone in New York reading this headline? I’m picturing coffee and soggy bits of bagel being sprayed across sophisticated urban kitchens everywhere, as people erupt in uncontrollable fits of laughter… Why not compare the UM art museum to the Louvre, while we’re at it? Or Ann Arbor to London? Or Ypsilanti to the moon?

Could Ann Arbor be the earth to Ypsilanti’s moon?

And I don’t mean to suggest that this is terrible reporting. The headline references something said by the head of Ann Arbor’s DDA. I just didn’t like it, as I think the analogy is ridiculous. But maybe some people need shorthand… a way to wrap their minds around what’s happening. And maybe, in that sense, this is necessary. I would have just titled the piece, “Fuck, all the interesting people are leaving,” but maybe it’s better to use code. (Manhattan = rich douche bags)

And, buy the way, the analogy is pretty dated at that. The interesting people, by now, have almost all been pushed out of Brooklyn.

[Apologies all around. The article just rubbed me the wrong way. I just hate that analogy. It triggers something in me. I’m sorry if I suggested that it was just Ann Arbor News click bait. I’ve just got a lot on my mind right now.]

This entry was posted in Ann Arbor, Rants, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted January 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    The title is just click bait. Sorry.

  2. Posted January 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I should have used a photo of a taint.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted January 17, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    As we have the Water Tower, I think Ann Arbor would be the anus.

  4. Posted January 17, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Why do you hate Ann Arbor so much?

  5. Posted January 17, 2015 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    My understanding is that most of their freelance staff was recently let go. (I believe those are the people whose bylines say “Special to….). This affects several friends of mine, and it is very upsetting as those were some of the best articles.

    That said, I think most people who know me know that I passionately love Ann Arbor (I should marry it). I would take a bullet for it and will do so, once the NeoCon war starts. That said, seeing it compared to Manhattan was about as surprisingly as looking down and seeing my dead grandma crawling up my leg with a knife in her teeth. Maybe not that surprising, but still pretty shocking. And ridiculous.

  6. mariah
    Posted January 17, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    You are def not the first person in my feed to have a WTF reaction to this headline. I did actually do a real life spit-take. I’m right there with you on it being ridiculous and clickbaity, and also – it’s true ppl can’t afford to live in Brooklyn anymore.

    Then again, I got pissed when ppl kept saying “Detroit is the new Brooklyn,” too. All I could say is “Detroit is Detroit is Detroit.”

  7. Jcp2
    Posted January 17, 2015 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    If Ann Arbor were Manhattan, then Ypsilanti is also Manhattan, just different parts, like midtown versus Harlem. Brooklyn is a completely different animal, as is Queens. I suppose Saline could be Staten Island.

  8. Posted January 18, 2015 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand the point of this article.

  9. Posted January 18, 2015 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    There have been no other comments since my last one, besides this one.

  10. Posted January 18, 2015 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand this business of comparing one place to another. Maybe it’s the legacy of Comyns Beaumont, who thought Jerusalem was actually Edinburgh, and the Bible took place in Britain: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Comyns_Beaumont

  11. Posted January 18, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Particularly since Ann Arbor – Ypsi is nothing at all like NYC.

  12. Brainless
    Posted January 18, 2015 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    The last I checked, Manhattan and Brooklyn were part of a strong regional government. If I’m not mistaken, they refer to it as “New York City”, whatever the hell that means. Sounds made up.

    I propose we rename Ypsilanti “Somewhere Else”. Then, all the menial laborers in Ann Arbor can fulfill the rich boomers fondest wish of where they should live.

  13. Coop
    Posted January 18, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    You may not like the Ann Arbor News, but they like you.


  14. idea man
    Posted January 19, 2015 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Writers at MLive are charged with writing three stories a day each. In addition, they’re expected to keep on top of social media and engage with people. This means that content is constantly recycled. One good story can wind up as half a dozen different posts. It’s not the fault of the writers. It’s the fault of the system.

  15. idea man
    Posted January 19, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Case in point, this one quote from Lois Richardson keeps coming up in different articles.


  16. J.T. Garfield
    Posted January 19, 2015 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Ypsi is like the pee hole to Ann Arbor’s shaft. All the action is in Ypsi but no one wants to go in there.

  17. Jan
    Posted January 19, 2015 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    How about Regis, to Ann Arbor’s Cathy Lee? I’d take that.

  18. Joanne
    Posted January 21, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Really? I have to do math to post a comment? The problem with Pollay’s comment is that she’s not up on what changes are taking place in Brooklyn-big retailers pushing out smaller stores; gentrification driving up prices for rent and homes; developers buying up blocks to tear down and build expensive towers of apartments. And she seems unaware that affordable housing, art, boutiques and trendy neighborhoods exist in other parts within other NYC boroughs. But it’s as if she really wants to say Ypsi is “affordable” and lets build more “affordable”-cheap housing there and not worry about A2. And since when is Ypsi “our” Ypsi to Ann Arborites?

  19. Posted January 31, 2015 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Obviously, Ass Arbor is the anus to our World-Class Brick Dick.

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