So everyone’s been taking about the Super Bowl Budweiser ad that tells the story of an immigrant who was discriminated against, only to become the founder of Budweiser. I guess it’s supposed to convince us that we’re evil racists for not agreeing with illegal immigration, or something.
Slate did an interview with William Knoedelseder, the author of Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America’s Kings of Beer, about just how accurate the ad was.
What was your first impression of the ad?
It’s got wonderful production values, it’s very expensive and, I think, very effective—and mostly fiction. It’s an alternate view of the Adolphus Busch story. What’s true is, yeah, there was a guy named Adolphus Busch. He did land in New Orleans and come up the river to St. Louis, and there was a guy named Eberhard Anheuser that he became partners with. But the rest of it, as far as I know, is just fanciful. I particularly love the thing on the river where he’s on some sort of raft or a barge with the black guy, some sort of reference to a fella whose name we can’t say on the radio from Huck Finn. That, as far as I know, never happened. They’re just playing with another myth of the Mississippi. Ironically, that’s what Adolphus would do. He used the Battle of Little Big Horn to sell Anheuser-Busch. No one had ever done that before.
The ad sets up a classically American up-by-the-bootstraps narrative, but in the book, you write that most Germans who came to the U.S. were “middle-class liberals.” Was that true of Adolphus Busch?
Adolphus Busch did not arrive poor and struggling. He was from a fairly well-to-do, successful family. He wasn’t tremendously wealthy, but it would be highly doubtful that he encountered whatever that was at the beginning with him jumping off the boat and people shouting at him. He arrived with a ticket and had his own money. Unless they got a hold of some letters from his family, I don’t know where they get all that information. It’s not something that anyone that’s written about Anheuser-Busch has ever seen before.
It also shows Busch encountering anti-immigrant prejudice the second he steps off the boat. Is that something a German newcomer would have faced in 1857?
The discrimination they faced wasn’t anything like the poor Irish who had to fight their way in block by block. By the time he got to St. Louis, there was a very sizable German population there. They all arrived in America with money, and deference comes with cash. I did a lot of research in St. Louis, and there weren’t any German ghettos. There were German sections, but they weren’t anything like that. It was a good place to land if you were a German immigrant.
So it’s basically all BS. Awesome.
As we’ve said time and time again, libs need to get it through their heads that we ARE NOT ANTI IMMIGRATION. WE ARE ANTI ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. To conflate the two is absolutely idiotic. How idiotic, you ask? Well, I moved the the US at 12 years old. Wanna know what that makes me?! A LEGAL IMMIGRANT. I have my own social security number and passport, I pay my taxes, and I respect this nation and the laws that govern it! ABSOLUTELY NO ONE has EVER expressed a problem with me being here because I did not BREAK THE LAW to do so. To conflate legal and illegal immigration and call conservatives “anti-immigration” is absolutely ridiculous. America IS in fact a nation of immigrants. It is now, and always will be. But it it’s up to me, it will be a NATION OF IMMIGRANTS WHO RESPECT IT.