Blog: Christopher Schneider

Christopher Schneider is a photographic artist who teaches at Lawrence Tech and OCC. He is also the Program Manager at the Cranbrook Summer Art Institute and a founder of the Hatch arts collective. A native Nebraskan, Chris moved to Detroit in 2001 and has never looked back.

Post No. 5

Ah, what would Michigan be without the Upper Peninsula? I've just returned from a fantastic camping trip up there. Angry Lake Superior, placid Lake Michigan, Pictured Rocks, local eateries and wildlife galore—I couldn't have asked for anything more. And believe it or not, I actually saw both a mink and a lynx! Now who among you can say that?

One striking thing about the UP is that it doesn't really want to be a part of Michigan. In fact, every now and then the Yoopers vote on whether or not to secede and form their own state. I can't blame them—they are definitely disconnected from the rest of our state in ways more than just geography.

All I can say to the UP is, please don't leave us! I promise to spend my vacation dollars on you. I promise to speak well of you and to not make fun of your accent. I promise to visit at least twice a year and to kill my share of mosquitoes. I promise to be friendly to the locals and to not act like an obnoxious urbanite/suburbanite. I promise. I promise. Please stay. Michigan needs you.

On another note…oh how I wish I would hear someone beg Detroit in a similar way! Even though I'm feeling mellow, healthy and happy after spending three days in the UP (even with an aching back from heavy canoeing), I find I still have these fires burning within. Oh Detroit, how I love thee! Why don't you get more love?!

Did you know…

…Insurance companies do not want to insure cars or houses in Detroit? Despite a 20+ year good relationship with my insurance company, upon moving to Hamtramck my auto insurance went up exactly three times my previous rate! Then when I requested that they insure my home, they denied me. The reason? My detached garage was in poor shape.

… Mortgage companies do not want to invest in Detroit? I was approved for a $150,000 home loan for down payment on a house in the Detroit suburbs. Yet I was denied a $50,000 home loan from that same company for down payment on a house in Hamtramck.

… Utility companies virtually ignore Detroit customers? When I bought my home in Hamtramck, it took two months to turn on the gas and electric. Two months! Once I filed a complaint with the State of Michigan, it was turned on the very next day.

But, did you also know…

…that Detroit was named the most liberal city in the US? Yes, it beat out Seattle, San Francisco and Cambridge. The Bay Area Center for Voting Research ranked every major US city according to its voting records. Detroit turned out to contain the most staunchly liberal voters, followed by Gary, Indiana and Berkeley, California. The most conservative? Provo, Utah.