Oh Ford

After three months in Cincinnati, I have packed my backpack again, put on my traveling boots and now I am finally back on the road. First stop: Detroit, aka Motor City.
Naturally, I spent an entire day at the Ford Museum. And while the history behind the car company is really interesting and it was cool to see the assembly lines in the Rouge Factory, it was the way the brand name “Ford” was presented at the Rouge to the visitors that impressed me the most.

Ford Rouge Factory

It started on the bus on our way to the factory. We were shown a short but dramatic video about the Rouge Factory. And while we were already in the mood, the first thing we got to see at the factory was a documentary about Henry Ford and his success story. Before we actually watched the documentary, an elder gentleman (honestly, he looked like he had met Henry Ford in person) spoke a few – dramatic – opening words. Just to make sure we would all be aware of the greatness of the movie we were about to see. The movie was only 15 minutes long but it had all the tricks of persuasion that you can imagine: moving words, touching music and, of course, drama. Apparently, this wasn’t enough so we were shoved into the next movie theater where we watched the making of a Ford pick-up truck on seven screens with live effects (steam, water splashing, vibrations). And somehow the very dry, sterile process of  car construction became really dramatic. Why do I keep stressing this word? Because even though I know that Americans love the pomp and the drama (at least, that’s how I call it from my rather rational and serious German perspective), it never became so clear to me as it did watching the skilfully made propaganda at the Ford Museum. Believe me, if Americans want to sell you something or convince you of something, they sure know how! Long live the spin doctors! If even I had tears in my eyes and for a split second believed that American cars are better than German cars – I can see how an entire nation started believing that there is no real breakfast without bacon and eggs, I can see how so many people in the world know the slogan “yes we can”, and I can definitely see how a great part of the world could be convinced to believe in weapons of mass destruction. I am not sure if this is something we should admire or something we should be scared of …

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