RoboCop is many things to many people. To MT, the accidental city planner who originally proposed erecting a statue of the action hero in a tweet last month, he is "a GREAT ambassador for Detroit." (The tweet was directed at Detroit's mayor Dave Bing.) To the people at the public arts nonprofit Imagination Station, who raised the $50,000 needed to create the statue, he's a potential tourist attraction for the embattled city. To many Detroit residents, activists, and writers, a RoboCop statue is a tragic misuse of effort and resources in a city with nearly 20 percent unemployment.
As someone who has lost numerous hours to debating the merits of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 film with fellow sweaty sci-fi cultists, I quickly joined the ranks of those who donated money for the statue.* Now, with the funds raised and at least one potential site (on land owned by Imagination Station) confirmed, MT's humble suggestion is on its way to becoming bizarre reality. This is probably thrilling news for some, depressing news for others, but I'd like to make the case for why the statue should be welcomed. RoboCop (the cop and the movie) is a great ambassador for Detroit. And though a statue to him won't fix the city's problems, it does have something important to say about the place and its plight.