Pro Tips from Aaron Foley: 'How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass'

January 09, 2015, 12:23 PM by  Alan Stamm

Anyone who follows Detroit journalist-turned-adman Aaron Foley knows his views on what's good and not good about Detroit are expressed with wit, verve and style.

The first-time author's book comes out in fall. (Photo by Alan Stamm)

The 30-year-old former blogger and reporter takes his game to a new level with an upcoming book catchily titled "How to Live in Detroit Without Being a Jackass."

About time, right? Sounds like just the type of help newcomers need as barkeeps give way to mixologists, baked goods are served by Corktown bagelistas and hipster is a weapon-grade word.  

The first-time author, a native Detroiter, describes it as "a guide for newcomers, wannabe gentrifiers, clueless suburbanites, Detroit haters and everyone in between."

Foley announces the fall 2015 release Friday morning on social media. His publisher is Rust Belt Chic and Belt Magazine, based on Cleveland's east side.

Last May it published "A Detroit Anthology," a 240-page paperback with an opening chapter by Foley titled "We Love Detroit, Even If You Don't."

Foley, who earned a Michigan State journalism degree in 2007,  joined the Team Detroit ad agency in Dearborn last October as a writer. His experience includes freelance journalism, an associate editor position at Ward's Automotive Group and the education beat at MLive Media Group for three years. He also has worked at five daily newspapers in Michigan and California.

Here's a taste of  pure Foley: 

On visiting: The so-called "grit," "never-say-die spirit" and "determination" is not unique to Detroiters. It's in all of us, everywhere. Say hello. Smile. Shake hands. Be courteous. Be polite. Be normal. . . . Don't ask stupid questions. Yes, 8 Mile is a real place. No, 8 Mile isn't exactly like the movie "8 Mile." --, Nov. 8, 2013

On downtown: We should be careful to avoid needlessly dividing downtown from the rest of Detroit, when we all know that the recovery for the city as a whole is going to be a long, drawn-out process. . . . Is it absolutely necessary to live downtown to be part of the revival? Who do you think are maintaining the communities outside [there]? It seems like those Detroiters are the last prideful people that are left, and they’re constantly attacked from all sides. It shouldn’t be this hard to live here. -- Metro Times, Dec. 29., 2014

► On neighborhoods: Detroit is 139 square miles. The world doesn't revolve around Midtown. And not every guy under 30 wants a loft with exposed brick walls and shit. Sometimes you just want a roof over your head and a place to plant some daylilies. Detroit has plenty of neighborhoods that offer just that. -- Jalopnik Detroit, Sept. 13, 2013  

On meeting people: Everyone here is six degrees away from each other, but we're also pretty insular about who we hang with. Seems to be the thing in your 20s and 30s for everyone. That might mean if you came here from out of town instantly expecting to make a bunch of friends, it didn't happen because we were all at a house party or some bar you've never heard of, talking to people we just saw a week ago. Or we were in Ferndale. -- Jalopnik Detroit, Sept. 13, 2013

On media: That "Detroit by Air" piece that you all are sharing from the NYT . . . Did you see any neighborhoods on the west side or any parts of Southwest there? No? Why is it so easy to fall into the binary of extreme blight and extreme wealth while ignoring everyone in between? . . . I'm tired of seeing the "bankruptcy house" in Brush Park that is around the corner from Whole Foods in every story. I'm tired of photogs going up eastbound 94 and going to all the worst east side neighborhoods while refusing to step foot in, say, Sherwood Forest. And the whole "look how poor Detroit is compared to these rich people" narrative is tiring. Find a different angle. . . . Actually I'd just be happy if the NYT left Detroit alone for a few years or at least get some writers on board that are familiar with the city. -- Facebook, Dec. 8, 2014

On loving Detroit: I love Detroit. I know a lot of people who love Detroit. It's a twisted love that runs the gamut of emotions: joy, disappointment, hurt, anger, fear, elation, delight, apprehension, courage, resentment, cynicism, stubbornness, optimism and confusion. Then again, maybe that's something we all have in common. Have you ever loved? You mean to tell me that everything you've loved was just cut and clear? There was never any condition or obstacle? When it's love, you know it's real." -- "A Detroit Anthology," Page 17, May 2014

Leave a Comment:

Photo Of The Day