I went to the Saint Louis Zoo today. It is close to home and is easy for me to visit. From today’s photo safari, I’ve chosen the above picture as the graphic for this post. Interestingly, there were two zoo keepers, both women, in the enclosure. One of them stood guard, while the other one was doing some digging. When I was viewing the cheetah exhibit, another visitor turned to me and expressed his amazement at how great this zoo is. He was even more amazed at the fact that zoo admission is free. I asked if he was from Saint Louis and not unexpectedly he said no. He came to town on business, his meeting ended early, his flight wasn’t until tomorrow, he had the afternoon off and so he went to the zoo. I saw him again later and he was even more excited. He told me that he had already seen three new to him species. I could have told him, you’re welcome, because as a Saint Louis County taxpayer I paid for it, but that would have been rude. We were both having a good time and since there were so few visitors, the animals seemed to also appreciate the extra company.
Another welcoming to Saint Louis is featured in this year’s Budweiser Super Bowl spot, “Born the Hard Way”. This ad tells the Anheuser-Busch origin story. It details Adolphus Busch’s journey from Germany to Saint Louis and culminates in his meeting with cofounder Eberhard Anheuser, over a beer. In this commercial Busch’s immigration is punctuated with travails. Crossing the Atlantic he is thrown from his bunk and requires stitches. In NYC he is met with the angry epithets, “You’re not wanted here” and “Go back home.” Later the riverboat that was bringing him to Saint Louis catches fire and he is forced to abandon ship. This whole story is told in flashback, as we learn later. This casts new light on the ad’s opening line that to any new immigrant would appear threatening, “You don’t look like you’re from around here.” Later, we learn that it was spoken as an introduction by Anheuser to Busch.
AB InBev is the largest brewer in the world and it has been a perennial Super Bowl sponsor. Most of their spots have been of the cute and cuddly sort, think Clydesdales, dogs and frogs. In our current highly charged environment about immigration and the controversy over Trump’s recent immigrant ban, this commercial seems pointedly political, no matter what the brewer says. In this way it feels reminiscent of Chrysler’s 2012 Clint Eastwood Super Bowl halftime spot, “Halftime in America”. I can only hope that “Born the Hard Way” is just as effective. Oh and Budweiser, welcome back to Saint Louis.