Seeing Detroit Through the Eyes of a Jackass

Johnny Knoxville gets beyond the "ruin porn" of abandoned buildings to show viewers what's good in the Motor City

Television prankster Johnny Knoxville established himself as the ultimate teenage-boy hero by filming himself getting maced, beaten, and tasered on the MTV show and movie franchise Jackass. His recent work, however, is directed at a slightly more sophisticated crowd.

In "Detroit Lives"–a three-part video series in collaboration with Palladium Boots–Knoxville brings viewers along a tour of the Motor City, exploring its rise, fall, and potential rebirth by showcasing the city's burgeoning youth movements.

According to the series's website:

Once the fourth-largest metropolis in America—some have called it the Death of the American Dream. Today, the young people of the Motor City are making it their own DIY paradise where rules are second to passion and creativity. They are creating the new Detroit on their own terms, against real adversity.


This "real adversity" includes one of the nation's highest murder and unemployment rates, but also, what one of the video's interviewees calls "pick and choose journalism," which tends to highlight Detroit's bad while ignoring all its good.