American Factory; Teeter Totter

I actually had to google teeter totter just now having not used the word in so long. In fact, I miss teeter totters and should go find one. Of course, I’d have to find a partner, not the bully types who back in grade school bumped you up too high and too fast where you feared you’d be read about in a newspaper article, like those tragic car accidents where someone gets ejected from a vehicle.

But I digress, instead of talking about American playground apparatuses (which I will make an analogy of, promise), I should be talking about ‘American Factory’ directed by Julia Reichert and Steven Bognar. Reichert is known as the ‘godmother of the American independent film’ and has been nominated for Oscars, most recently for Seeing Red (1983).

In American Factory, a Chinese billionaire buys a failed GM Plant and turns it into a Chinese factory for automotive glass. Fair enough right? No, say wrong, or wong to use a bad politically incorrect pun.

This documentary shows both sides, hence, the teeter totter and if you’re objective like me, you’ll be seeing the middle; the sometimes beautiful friendships between Americans and Chinese, the ‘at least we have jobs’ gratitude of the down and out Daytonites (Dayton, Ohio), the horrific conditions of workers in China which has slowly bled back into American culture. As one of the pro union supporters seconds in the doc, and I paraphrase, ‘didn’t we already fight these battles and win? Why are we sliding backwards? A la Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire as well as many more…

The film does inspire a person to want to discover new human jobs as the last footnote explains that over 375,000 human jobs will be replaced in the next ten years. This is a crisis in my opinion, as people need to be productive to feel self-esteem (is that a clue to the gun violence and suicide rate increase?). I’d like to see a 2020 political candidate address this concern or any person of means, including Mr. and Mrs. Obama. You want the stories told and are willing to fund them, but how about HELPING TO FIND A SOLUTION!

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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