If Detroit's emergency manager feels a need to do penance, he must know talking into Charlie LeDuff's microphone is an essential stop.
So that's just what happened Wednesday in Kevyn Orr's latest "what my remark meant" interview explaining this statement: "“For a long time the city was dumb, lazy, happy and rich."
LeDuff: You told the Wall Street Journal we're fat, stupid, lazy. You want to explain?
Orr: That is an idiom or phrase I've used probably a thousand times in past . . . and it usually gets a laugh. So what I said was a long time ago, and I'm talking about the '20s and '30s, that's the time frame, I said the city was dumb, lazy and rich. It was the city. It's not the people.
In my 30 years of practicing, I've never insulted anyone. It's not my style. I don't call people names. I understand how people, if they think someone would say that about them, that's condescending. They'd be upset. But I never said that about anybody, and I wouldn't say that.
LeDuff: So if they took it that way, you're sorry about it?
Orr: It's not so much sorry because I don't think they should be taking it that way. It wasn't my intent, but I want everybody to be assured I don't talk of people that way.
LeDuff: What did you mean?
Orr: I just meant that a long time ago we were very flush, and we were very happy, and weren't paying attention. It's a phrase that's generally used to mean people are just happy where they are, and they're not paying attention to things down the road. . . . I could've used another allusion. I just used that phrase.