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Thursday, February 10, 2011

A different kind of uprising

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Diego Rivera's "Detroit Industry" murals in the Detroit Institute of Arts

It was like a new bird was born out of the burnt ashes of the phoenix Sunday.

If you don't live in the U.S. you might not know about the big hype over TV ads they run during the Super Bowl, the playoff football game between the two conferences of the National Football League. Advertisements cost $3 million per thirty seconds of air time. People like me who don't care about American football watch between touchdowns when the ads come on, for the entertainment, and to see if they spent their money well. For the most part, they're a whole lotta money spent on silly. In fact, the ads were so mediocre Sunday that Don started flipping to other channels during ads. Poor Madison Avenue.

But apparently in the third quarter an ad aired that hadn't hit the Internet ahead of time like many ads had done. It was two minutes long, unprecedented for Super Bowl ads, and cost $9 million to produce and air. (Sounds like maybe they got a bargain.) After the Packers beat the Stealers, the buzz started, and the ad was aired by 2,000 news organizations, including the NBC evening news that we watched Monday night. I immediately loaded it on YouTube and watched. It had 1.5 million views by then after the first 24 hours. At the moment of this post it has 4,740,910 views. The ad was made for the new Chrysler 200 automobile, starring Eminem, but more than being a car ad, it is an ad for Detroit. It's called "Imported from Detroit." Be among the millions and watch the ad here or at the bottom of this post. Chrysler is being criticized for taking the $15 billion bailout from us taxpayers, still being in debt, and then spending so much money on this ad. But as one of the "shareholders" of this loan (which won't be paid back, since they filed bankruptcy), I think the ad might be a good investment. The Chrysler 200 web site traffic has increased 1600%.

Of my 54 years, some of which I lived in Chicago, Oregon, California, and Istanbul, 43 years have been  in Michigan, with Detroit down the road. Two years we lived a couple of miles from the General Motors proving grounds. I grew up when the population shifted from the city of Detroit to the suburbs, becoming one of the wealthiest metropolitan areas of the country, sadly and ironically, as the city of Detroit began collapsing in on itself. The peacock strutted as the phoenix burned. Simultaneously there was the excitement of Motown Records, making black musical artists like Stevie Wonder (from Lansing, where I was born) international stars. After the Twelfth Street race riot of 1967, we felt the heart of Detroit turn sour, as white flight, political corruption, a disappearing tax base, and the decline of the American-made automobile turned a once gilded city into a sepulchre. There was little to be proud of, it seemed, and we felt the shame as the whole world thought of Detroit as the armpit city of the U.S.

Slowly a few have started to invest in Detroit. I've been skeptical, wondering how those with money to invest would want to do so in a still failing city. While our daughter Lesley attended art school in the heart of Detroit's cultural center, the city buses stopped running at night. The workers in the city who had no cars of their own couldn't even get to a night job! Automobile plants closed one by one as imported cars like Toyota and Honda became more and more popular. Unemployment rose, until Michigan's economy was one of the worst in the country. In high school when Lesley went to punk rock concerts at venues in Detroit, I worried about her in Detroit at night, even with friends. In the last few years, when I've wanted to go photograph interesting neighborhood art projects there, Don hasn't wanted me to go alone, even in the daytime. It's just how we think of Detroit.

So when the Super Bowl ad titled "Imported from Detroit" played, a miracle happened. I could feel the city down the road rising up from its nearly burnt out forging fires. You can watch the two minute ad for yourself, and maybe you'll feel something of its power too. As my friend at work said, whose husband was a Detroit cop for twenty years (such terrible tales he tells!), "he was speechless, and I cried." What is so moving to me about this little film-ad is how it gets inside the very aspects of Detroit that we had thought were its weaknesses, and convinces me they are its strengths! The laboring class, abandoned buildings, keeping on with toughness, even when everyone says you're burned up and out.

This little ad has inspired me to turn my attention to Detroit and share things with you. In the ad you can see shots of Diego Rivera's 1932-33 Detroit Industry murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts (top photo of this post). I'll write about that eleven month project soon, the only Rivera murals in the U.S., and what he thought of as his most important work. This is across the street from a beautiful art deco hotel where he lived while he painted the fresco in the gorgeous atrium court of the DIA and his wife Frieda Kahlo visited, and where our Lesley lived while she went to art school a block away. I felt such pride as I watched the Chrysler ad, about just these murals alone. I want my friends to know something good about Detroit. But I promise I will show you some of the "sepulchre" along with the "gilt."

As long as I live in Michigan, I want to pay attention to this city, as it keeps rising and filling its dead, abandoned spaces again with life. Maybe it will be safe one day for me to take my future grandchildren to walk its streets any time, just as we will in Chicago and New York City.


Detroit skyline on the Detroit River, viewed from Windsor, Ontario, Canada
taken the year we went to the North American Auto Show in 2007


The Chrysler ad "Imported from Detroit":





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74 comments:

J.G. said...

Thank you for highlighting this, Ruth. I had somehow missed it and the buzz. It is a wonderful art piece for the whole city.

I like the instant when we first see the choir and the beautiful voices we've been hearing suddenly synch up with the people singing. It expresses the coalescing message of the whole piece.

João said...

We are part of rivers...and we love it.
It's good to feel at home in the world.

Bruce Barone said...

Thank You, Ruth.

Great and Inspiring post.

I will be thinking about your words all day as I re-paint our sitting room.

C.M. Jackson said...

what an amazing tribute...when I saw the commercial I thought about visiting--the art, architecture and history has always intrigued me ...an article in NY times a year ago about the art movement signals hope as does the recent resurgence of industry in the area.

You have illuminated the wonder and the beauty of the place--thanks!

The Bug said...

It was a pretty powerful moment during a silly game - Dr. M & I were amazed & touched & thrilled by it.

Oliag said...

I am impressed with the creative spirts behind the making of this commercial...hope my tax dollar is paying for that:) Even though I have no connection to Detroit other than loving the Motown sound and owning a Ford truck I found myself cheering for it...

I am excited about learning more about Detroit through your eyes...Providence was always an industrial city too and as the jewelery and textile businesses moved away it had its own problems... not anywhere near as severe as Detroit but still problems. Cities have lives of their own...

deb colarossi said...

I am beyond thrilled that you posted this.
That you are doing this.
That view from Windsor was my view for many years.
It feels like a part of who I am in a way.

I worked at Boblo Island for a time, and it felt the the barometer of the economy . The ownership and management, as well as the numbers, the vibe.

The last time we went to U of M for soccer we drove slowly over the bridge, bypassing the what was and could have been, so incredibly saddened by all of the decay and abandoned. Stunned by the bittersweet beauty in that itself, and the loss.

I hope this makes a difference. I truly do.

Pat said...

That was a great commercial. It gave me goose bumps. I saw it earlier, but there were so many people in the ballroom, it was hard to hear everything. Thanks for showing it again.

deb colarossi said...

Have you read The Geography of Nowhere by James Howard Kunstler?
I am by no means school in any of this,
(in anything really) , but I thought of this book , having read it when my daughter brought it home from school.
It discusses the rise and decline of America's man-made landscape, it's dated , but still came to mind.

Maureen said...

Rivera's mural are marvelous.

Thank you for a great post, Ruth. I hadn't seen that commercial (I don't watch tv).

Babs-beetle said...

Watching that ad, I can see exactly what it means to you, even though I know nothing of Detroit. We have similar areas here. Places that were once thriving with industry, and now appear dead, with all the problems that unemployment and disillusionment brings.

Nancy said...

Ruth - as always a wonderful post! We often want to close our eyes when cities are hard hit and become scary. Thanks for opening all of our eyes!

Amy @ Soul Dipper said...

Powerful, poignant and, please Universe, pivotal.

Let it be the City That Could.

The ad could be talking about the pioneer spirit and determination that brought North America to the standard where we give back to the world today. Detroit - you have served and still can. Obviously, you still have that spirit, that courage, and I'm pulling for you.

Did the ad feed this attitude? You bet! It even brought tears to this Canadian's eyes.

rosaria said...

Very inspiring and uplifting.

Paul C said...

You have highlighted a number of fond sites in Detroit which are quite close to home. Delightful overview.

Friko said...

Detroit was just the name of another industrial American city until I watched a documentary on British TV.

I learned that Detroit was a hugely flourishing city which practically invented the motor industry, grew rich, had a gigantic workforce and was one of the main ingredients of the American Dream.

I learned that when the motor industry with its big American cars collapsed Detroit also collapsed.
We saw the derelict buildings, the people out of work and hope all but abandoned.

But then I learned that some people just won't lie down and die and that these same people were effecting a rebirth in small steps but with great determination.

It was a brilliant documentary. If you can add to what I learned from it, I will be very grateful.

freefalling said...

Ummm.... Ruth - we are psychos.
You write about Frida and guess what arrives on my doorstep?
A print of Frida I bought from Etsy.
Psycho!!

Recently I stumbled across this:
http://www.marchandmeffre.com/detroit/index.html
have you seen it?
I found it utterly fascinating.
Before I saw it, I didn't really know much about Detroit except that's where cars were made and Motown was.
It's great to add your perspective to flesh out the picture in my mind.

(I'd love to see those murals in real life.)

California Girl said...

I watched this Sunday night during the SB and I liked it but, after reading your heartfelt, insider's view of what the ad conveys about the city and your emotional response, I had to watch it again.

First, I believe that is the fastest 2 minutes I've seen. I had to double check the timer on the video to be sure it was 2 minutes. Second, trying to put myself in your place as a native from Michigan, it would make me very proud to see this ad.

The ad industry seems to have mixed reviews on the effectiveness of the ad. But, perhaps they need to see it from you POV.

As a taxpayer, I'm not thrilled to think bailout $$ helped pay for this but, WTF, they pay for alot more annoying, less helpful things, like continuing the lives of various Wall Street trading firms and banks who spend their time screwing the avg person like you and me. Are you listening Goldman, Chase Bank, Lehman Bros, BofA?

Nice post Ruth.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Here in Canada, the ads during SB are blocked and replaced with Canadian content.

too bad.

so, I'm really glad you wrote this and presented this piece.

wow!

and yeah -- it gave me goosebumps and it made me want to stand up and shout...

go human go!

Doesn't matter in my book where you stand, what continent, under what flag, what matters is, when we fall, we get back up.

Because we are human being all we're meant to be when we don't let adversity get us down!

Fabulous post Ruth

and this line got me -- it's the hottest fires that make the hardest steel

Susan said...

Oh, brava, my girl! You made this post sing! I watched this when it aired and it was thrilling. I didn't think I liked Eminem, but he put his heart into this...I hesitate to call it an ad, because it is so much more. It bears watching again and again.

The photo of Rivera's artwork is stunning, as is the Motor City skyline. Just lovely.

Barb said...

I love the videography in this ad - it bears watching repeatedly. I didn't watch the Super Bowl so this is the first time I've seen it. Thank you for your perspective on the city of Detroit, Ruth. I have relatives living near there. PS Your family looks extra happy at your daughter's graduation - great photo.

Char said...

loved the positive message

Sandy said...

Ruth...first off, I love that commercial..it definitely feels "powerful". I go to a blog (but haven't for awhile) where this photographer takes photos of decaying towns and scenes and a lot from detroit and if I can find the link I'll send it to you. I love his photos and this reminded me that I hadn't visited his site in awhile.

I really loved reading about your history with Detroit and enjoyed seeing the photos.

I kind of feel towards LA like you do Detroit. I can't believe on some forums I go to, how may people actually wish LA would fall off into he ocean or burn up. I'm dumbstruck when I read stuff like this.

Patricia said...

Wow, Ruth,
Like J.G., I too, missed the ad and the buzz so am thrilled to see it and to read and contemplate your post. The photograph of the Rivera mural is glorious.
I believe that cities in America fail and then rise up again...we have seen that with Atlanta, certainly...and maybe Newark, NJ is starting to climb back just a wee bit. Hopefully you will see the progress in your lifetime.

Terresa said...

Your post impacts me on many levels, a dear friend & family member used to live there several years ago. The stories he tells...and there are many, including being shot at (he can report, first hand, the sound of a gun being fired towards you, not away). Hell Night, Hamtrammick (sp?) and the old but rennovated Greek Orthodox church downtown, turned Mormon chapel (that, I'd like to see!).

I'm drawn to Detroit's decay and revival, however organic (read: earthy/roots/from the dirt up). As it rises, it evolves (as things do) into something different, don't you think?

I've come across photographers and blogs in the past few years who specifically focus on Detroit and it's crumbling beauty. There is plenty (and then some!) to appreciate.

PS: I feel a kinship heart with you on this, Ruth, as my own hometown is one I rarely name, it is that stereotyped of a city. (sigh)

Ruth said...

J.G., thanks for watching here and sharing my excitement. Once in a while the "smoke and mirrors" of advertising rises to another level, where the human spirit takes flight. When creative artists manage to do this, I am in awe. Being a writer, I understand the power of words, and when paired with visuals and music, they can really move you. Yes, there is so much in that black choir, isn't there? I'll write sometime about the Underground railroad in Detroit, and also the blacks who came to Michigan for jobs Henry Ford offered.

Ruth said...

João, we are connected, yes. Your own family history in Lisbon tells you much about Detroit, I think.

Ruth said...

Bruce, thanks. I like that you will keep this in mind, because that is how I want to live my daily existence too, keeping in mind the many who encounter such different circumstances from my own.

Good luck on that painting! I'm sure it will be lovely, with your eye ...

Ruth said...

C.M., depending on the length of your stay in Detroit, you would find a lot to explore in a couple of the suburbs too, such as Cranbrook. In Detroit, Greektown is one of our favorite destinations. There are some wonderful old residential neighborhoods to explore. I think Detroit has to have more individual free-standing houses within the city than most big cities, and some of them are really something. The DIA is among the finest museums anywhere.

Ruth said...

Dana, I'm so glad you saw it and share my enthusiasm.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Oliag. It's easy for me to forget what's under my nose. Blogging with people around the world helps me want to stand back and be a witness of my own locale for you. I would likewise be interested to see and hear more about Providence.

Ruth said...

Deb! I love learning that you lived there across the river from Detroit, and that you worked at Boblo.

I really was lost in the despair over this city and couldn't see a way that it could come back. Something magic happened from this ad. It's interesting to contemplate that in psychological terms, and imagine that such inspiration really could make a difference. I think just turning our attention to something, loving it (love is attention), will bring the attention/love of others too, and you know how much plants, children and cities need attention.

Ruth said...

Pat, I think your Super Bowl party was more exciting than the game!

Ruth said...

Deb, thank you for that reference. No, I was not aware of it. I really dislike strip malls! I appreciate what he says at his site about the book, that we not only created the ugly landscape, maybe it has also creates us:

"We created a landscape of scary places, and we became a nation of scary people."

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for this interesting and inspiring post, Ruth. Like most English people, I vaguely knew about Motown, and Detroit's car industry, but now you've made the city more real to me.

The middle-class exodus to the suburbs, the decline of home-grown engineering and manufacturing, the imploding city with all its usual accompanying problems of crime and social malfunction - a sad and familiar story in so many cities in the modern, industrialised world.

Yet how right of you to point to the positive. We tend to dismiss some places too easily out of ignorance. We had the same thing over here with Liverpool: once on the scrapheap, now partially regenerated (though what things will be like soon when all the savage cuts take hold is a depressing thought...).

Ruth said...

Thanks, Maureen. I am excited to share a closer look at Rivera's murals with you soon. I want to learn more about them. There is MUCH cultural, social and historical significance represented in that work, especially for Detroit.

I don't watch TV either. :)

Ruth said...

Babs, it is a universal reality, sadly enough. That in part is why I want to look more closely at Detroit, because we are all facing it where we live, some more so than others. When we build huge infrastructures, and then times change so drastically, how can municipalities keep up?

Ruth said...

Nancy, thank you for your encouragement. I'm interested in the psychological shift in myself, because I was not too much interested in the depressing prospect of looking at Detroit as a dying city. I needed a spark of hope.

Ruth said...

Amy, thank you for joining me in this shift in perspective. I think we underestimate, at least I do, the importance and power of our mindset to influence circumstances. I think that love and attention are really prayer, the way I pray now anyway.

Detroit is so intimately connected with Canada, it is really palpable when I go to the Detroit River and look across, or cross the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor.

Ruth said...

Rosaria, I'm glad you feel that too.

Ruth said...

Thank you and welcome, Paul C. You look at us from across the river, and I'm sure you and other Ottawans would benefit from a stronger Detroit. We benefit from you, our gentle neighbors to the north.

Ruth said...

Friko, even I did not know about the gilded age of Detroit when I was growing up. I would like to see that documentary! I appreciate so much that you watched it, and I hope, hope that I can share more that will be of interest to you about Detroit.

Ruth said...

Letty, wormhole psychos! Frida is a wonder. I have a postcard of her on my desk at work. Inspiring.

I didn't know about the Marchand-Meffre project. It's marvelous! I love the abandoned station on the cover of the book. Did you know a lot of movies film there? It is so archetypal. People have talked about how cool it would be to turn it into a resort. I have mixed feelings about that. There's something in me that sees beauty in the decay, and that is also problematic. It's like taking photographs of "urchins" on the street in foreign cities as a tourist. They may be "picturesque" but they are poor and should be respected! Fascinating photographic images in what you shared, thank you. I will keep it as a reference.

Ruth said...

Thanks, California Girl.

I totally agree with you about the pace of the ad and had my own disbelief that it lasted two minutes. I wish it could be made into a full length documentary, and maybe what Friko watched in British TV would be along these lines.

There are major problems with Chrysler, not the least of which is their complaining CEO about the high interest rates the government charged for their loan. In the context of all that has happened the last two and a half years, as well as the long term history of Detroit's automotive culture (have you seen "Who Killed the Electric Car?"?), this ad can be seen in many ways. Someone said that Chrysler misrepresents themselves, as if they are tough as steel, when they took a bailout! I'm looking at this for Detroit, and for the hope. But while we look and hope, we have to remember what got us here in the first place, the many things, which I want to explore here in the coming months.

Thanks for your interest!

Ruth said...

Louise, I love that: "go human go!" -- we are all the same, connected by the same hurts and triumphs, fires and rivers. Perfect.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Susie, my friend, I am touched that you, too, watched and rejoiced!

I look forward to sharing more of Detroit with you.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Barb. Maybe your relatives can take you to a dinner of flaming cheese in Greektown some day.

Yes, Lesley's graduation day was another triumph, she loved her time at CCS so much, and they served her very well, helping her get placed in a very good design job in NYC, though parents and students alike often worry a bit about finding work in a field like art.

Ruth said...

Char, I'm glad!

Ruth said...

Hi, Sandy, thank you. I've seen some very good photographs of abandoned buildings and properties in Detroit. They are beautiful, because they are real. I hope the people who remain there will see their city come back and those spaces rejuvenated.

Yes, LA. When we lived there I found it desolate in many places. It needs new life too.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Patricia, I'm thrilled that you share my enthusiasm.

Yes, Newark! What Mayor Booker is doing with out of his own passionate heart is incredibly inspiring!

Ruth said...

Thank you, Terresa. I agree with your embrace of the decay and dirt, the hell and grit, that has to happen to really understand the revival. It was that very acknowledgement that so touched me in this film-ad.

Your LV, NV does have its similarities and misconceptions. People from the outside can't witness it the same way you who live there can.

I'm happy to walk these streets with you.

Ruth said...

Hi, Robert. Thanks. It's significant that you mention Liverpool, because while writing this post I had that city very much in mind as a British counterpart, a sister city of sorts. I'm glad to hear it has undergone some revival, and along with you, I pray that its new life won't be cut short in this harsh economic landscape.

rauf said...

Ruth, Long ago, i can only say long ago and i don't remember how long ago, while i was reading Arther Hailey's 'wheels' which was an in depth account of Detroit auto industry in its hey day. In one place the Chrysler engineers strip down a Japanese car (Datsun i think, not sure). They said this is a motor bike on four wheels and it will never sell in America. How wrong they were. i think there was a discussion on cost effective fuel efficient small car, the idea was rejected and they continued with big gas guzzlers. Its sad how few bad decisions ruined a thriving Industry.

honestly Ruth, i am not impressed with the commercial, poor visuals and narration. Perhaps it is an attempt to compete against a similar highly successful BMW. They have to come up with something better to make the Americans buy it.
Hope Detroit industry thrives again.

Ruth said...

rauf, yes, Detroit auto execs were so wrong! They kept feeding Americans "what they wanted": big, boat-cars, then big SUVs. They let the Japanese take the sedan production, sticking with the higher price tag vehicles for domestic production. They really missed the "boat."

Well we disagree on the ad-film. I find the narration gripping because he's so real, especially when he says, "huh!" It just goes right through me. And I find the visuals stunning! It isn't "pretty" that's for sure, but it shows Detroit for what it is, without facades, although the Fox theater is pretty fabulous.

Thanks, rauf, I hope it will thrive too.

Sidney said...

Nice and clever add... but it would not have touched me as much without your words.

rauf said...

you know i don't think Ruth, i write on impulse. It just strikes me as i read or watch. For any successful lawyer doctor stock broker or a businessman an European car is a symbol of success. They are competing with those cars targeting the American rich, who have already decided on a foreign car. A commercial helps a product to sell. You can't impress them with the singer and these visuals or any reference to Detroit. To revive the Detroit Industry they have to think of exporting and impressing the third world rich. It would not impress those who have watched the mouth watering European car commercials.
Luxury is not here.

George said...

This was a song of love, Ruth, or perhaps a memory of love. You have painted your own mural, one that captures the affection that is seen in the stunning Diego Rivera murals. I saw the Chrysler ad a couple of times and it's wonderful, a new standard in advertising. It will be interesting to see if it has any lasting impact. Quite apart from the fortunes of Chrysler (or the lack thereof), the ad reminds me, sadly, of what a better world is was when people without formal educations could learn a skill and work with pride in the manufacture of things. We have lost our way, and with any luck, Detroit may show us how to return to a more sustainable path.

I love all of your photos in this post, but the first and last are fabulous, especially the last. That is a stunning shot of the Detroit skyline at night.

Ruth said...

Sidney, thanks for reading and watching.

Ruth said...

rauf, I was a little surprised they used the word "luxury" in the ad. It didn't seem right for the car to me either. But I have to say that I did rather like what he said about luxury being as important where it comes from as where it's going. Actually the Ford Fiesta was not a luxury vehicle but it was hugely popular in other countries.

Even Audi now has a series of ads that are poking fun at the "old rich" -- the ones who drove Mercedes Benzes. Because of the anger over the economic meltdown that happened from Wall St, appealing to people on a different level is important too. They can have a nice shiny car without driving the super-luxe brands.

Ruth said...

Thanks so much, George. I'm glad you felt the strength of my affection that was stirred by this ad. I felt that the film makers in all aspects really got it right. It isn't easy to convey what they did in 2 minutes.

You're so right about the loss of high paying jobs for skilled workers. I grew up with brothers and friends being able to count on that, and sadly it is not a reality any longer.

I'm glad you like the photos. I'll show you a few more in the days ahead, some previously taken, and new ones I want to take when I explore more.

Bella Rum said...

Such a wonderful post, Ruth. I believe they put their money in the right place with this ad. Americans love an underdog.

We admire that never-give-up attitude, and the belief that hard work, excellence and know-how will get the job done. All those notes were played in this ad. It will take all those things for a lot of places around the country to get back on their feet.

The photo of the Detroit skyline on the Detroit River is gorgeous. I'm looking forward to future posts.
Bella

Anonymous said...

I'm your 61st comment! ( Unless someone beats me to it :))
Just wanted to say that I adore, yes, adore your blog.
Ruth,
thank you.
For the words, for your thoughts, your poetry.
For it all.
xxx

Loring Wirbel said...

Ruth, you didn't see it live? YouTube was the first time? You didn't watch all four quarters? I'm going to have to inform Homeland Security about this.

who said...

Yeah Ruthi, how come all your work, year-with-poets books seem to be the Wyoming edition translations. If you're not going to make a citizens arrest Loring until HS gets here I think someone had better step up.

I am beginning to think those conspiracy theories about women pulling all the strings behind the curtains is true, what the hell? there are no bees in Utah.

quick! somebody tackle her!

Ruth said...

Hi, Bella! I am gratified that you agree with me, along with many others. I know that advertisements are "smoke and mirrors" really, just as any film is, and more so maybe. But maybe all our art, all our expressions of anything, are "smoke and mirrors" now that I think of it. But this one is so positive, so embracing of reality, so good at representing the spirit of Detroit, I can't resist its power.

Thank you for sharing my enthusiasm today, I look forward to sharing more about Detroit with you soon.

Ruth said...

Anonymous, welcome and thank you! Those are very kind words, I am touched.

Ruth said...

Loring, nope. If I get arrested, I'm gonna tell them about all your nefarious dealings with Al Jazeera, etc. . . .

:-)

Ruth said...

Dusti, oh no! Loring has given you reason to suspect me again!

:-)

Stratoz said...

The commercial blew me away. We rarely have the TV on so I almost never can connect about ads, but this one I saw. If it touched me here in PA, I can only imagine how it felt in Michigan.

M.L. Gallagher said...

Hi Ruth -- back again to read the comments as your comment column is always filled with great words and ideas!

As to the ad -- an ad is meant to create an emotional response, not to sell cars or toys, but to stir our emotions so that we 'take action'.

This ad does all of that and more.

it also suggests with its final frames that our fixation on 'foreign' is undermining our nation/economy/people -- in this case, your nation as I'm Canadian -- though we Canucks also fall prey to the thinking, if it's made in Canada it's not 'luxury'. To really make a statement of wealth, I gotta 'Buy German'.

Funny beings we humans.

The emotive power of this video is powerful -- just the fact so many people on your blog took the time to comment is amazing!

Peter said...

What a fantastic declaration of love for Detroit! I think that your article is even stronger than the commercial!

I visited Detroit once, during a short weekend in 1965, and, not being aware of Diego then, I missed his mural painting! Today, being a fan of him and Frida, that mural painting would be the first thing I would visit! At least this one has remained, not like the one he made for Rockefeller in NYC.

Jane Lancaster said...

Ruth... I grew up in a rough place too.. a scary place..this has inspired me to write a piece on that for my blog.. where Pam and I grew up. It haunted us all our lives. Great piece, thanks. I love Eminem too he looks so like my nephew Billy..

Jeanie said...

I think I thought I had replied to this -- then remembered I was interrupted, left the computer and came back totally losing my place.

This post has tremendous resonance for me. I'm a Lansing kid, but as a child would periodically go to Detroit with my mom. Sometimes to see a play. One trip I remember was going to Hudson's to meet my favorite author, Carolyn Haywood, then sitting on the pedestals that held the mannequins reading my book while mom shopped.

About eight, nine years ago, when Rick was working for the Japan America Society, we were invited to an event to meet the Japanese consul. It was a black tie occasion at the Fox and we took two Japanese friends with us who were part of a goodwill delegation. They wanted to see Detroit so we left a little early to drive them around before the event. There were no people. It was 5:30 and the streets were empty, barricades on the doors down Woodward. They were shocked, and frankly, so was I.

I long for the "return" of Detroit, and a new generation seems to be embracing this and giving it their best shot. When I saw the ad, my throat got a huge lump. It does, upon re-viewing.

The house in the photo -- where is that? It reminds me of the Darius Moon house downtown.

Ginnie said...

When I first saw this ad last week, Ruth, it sent chills up and down my spine. It made me proud of a city I know so much about but not 'up close and personal.' I would love to see Detroit take the bull by the horns and out-trump all the other car manufactureres out there. When they do that, America's day will come and Detroit will be fully back in business. Trust me! I hope it happens in my lifetime. :)