Saturday, December 13, 2008

When I Was a Child

Chris Matthews' most recent Big Question was "Is the American car dead?" Nobody on his little variety show wanted to say Yes. And they all decided to play a sickening little game of my favorite car is... Corvette. Mustang. Even a Corvair from Andrea Mitchell. Tho a heartening answer came from Andrew Sullivan who recused himself because of a complete disinterest in cars. He just wants a good bike that doesn't break down.

Despite Matthews' prediction that America needs a new sexy car that all the kids'll want and the parents'll buy, the idea of the sexy car is doomed. It's an old idea that I thought was cool up to when I was about 13 and the '57 Chevy just got boring. The symbols and the connotations of power and girth are no longer enough to make little people quiver and sweat as they nervously discover new totems for their potency.

The new symbols are small phones and smooth keyboards and flat screens. It'll take a while before cars lose their muscle, but they will. They have reached their speed limit, literally. If they get smaller they lose much of their utility. If they get bigger they will be forced to fall behind the demands of an energy shift. They drain resources too much to accepted as a pure aesthetic. And as technology leads to less frequent travel the raison d'ĂȘtre of the car is thrown aside.

I realize that this point of view doesn't really mesh with the current vote on Matthews' page. But we will grow up.

1 comment:

Casey said...

Wow -- you mean my iPod will stop delivering perfect satisfaction? When? And what then?

Oh yeah: 2012!!!

Awesome. I'm trembling already.