Monday, September 14, 2009
The future of Lady And Sons; Organic Bean Sprouts and Pomegrante Mineral Water
Sure the title is supposed to sound stupid, as ludicrous as the thought of Bob Barker donning wrestling tights for Vince McMahon, though that reality was perilously close to occurring a week ago. However, just as insane as the thought of Paula Deen doing a yoga headstand while Jelly Roll walks out of the kitchen with a plate of fat-free bean curd, rice and watercress hoecakes was a headline in the Savannah Morning News Exchange section Sunday: "The future of car buying in the U.S.: Don't supersize me." Please, don't make me choke on my bag of cracklins.
To be fair to the Morning News, the article was not penned by one of its scribes. It was written by Tom Krisher of what has rapidly deteriorated into one of the sloppiest news organizations in the world, the Associated Press. No, that is not a commentary on (cue the timpani and deeper- than-whale-dung voice guy) "liberal media bias", so please, the "Obama is Josef Stalin in black face" crowd should refrain from commentary. The A.P. has, like many traditional news organizations, simply become lazy, and Mr. Krisher was too lazy to even make a cursory glance at history and human nature.
The gist of Mr. Krisher's argument is that "American car-buying habits have changed forever. Scarred by the worst financial crisis since the 1930's and still leery of high gas prices, people are walking into showrooms intent on spending less." While Mr. Krisher acknowledges the exact same thing happened in the 1970's, which is when the actual last "worst financial crisis" occurred, this time things are different thanks to the biggest group of self-serving individuals outside of Members of Congress and the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990's; the Baby Boomers.
The Boomers, who all of a sudden are as young as 44 according to Mr. Krisher (which would also make them eligible to be Young Democrats and Young Republicans, at least in Chatham County!), make up one quarter of the population. They drove the economy out of recession in the 1980's, but now Mr. Krisher says the poor babies are too "scarred" by what happened a year ago, so they aren't spending money this time around. If they are spending money, they are buying smaller, more fuel efficient cars and aren't going back to the muscle cars and SUV's of the past because this time, Mr. Krisher assures us, gas prices are staying high (cue the kid with the glasses from "The Sandlot") FOR-EV-ER!
If Mr. Krisher had told us that South Carolina would never, ever win a mythical national championship in football, that we could believe, but to say that gas prices will never again be low, relative to inflation, is absurd. It might never be 89-cents a gallon, but just as economic highs and lows are as sure a thing as Kanye West going ballistic because he was accidentally served a vanilla milk shake at a McDonald's drive-thru, gas in the next few years will be affordable enough for most of us to go out and get that BMW 5 Series with the 4.8 liter V-8 cranking out 360 horsepower.
"But but but", you stutter, "surveys show we all want 'green' cars now, cars that get 87 miles to the gallon and run on cow farts and distilled water." You would be correct but for one cruicial fact; we lie. We lie and we like doing it. "Sure, I'd LOVE a hybrid car." "Oh, yes, more public transportation is a GREAT idea." "I LOVE going to non-Thirsty Thursday Sand Gnats games. No I wasn't disguised as an empty seat!" Those phrases are among the many that should bring forth the fire extinguisher for your trousers. We like lying so much that we elect people to public office who lie, then we re-elect them until they die and, at their funeral, we forget about their pathological career and hail them as the greatest thing since sliced white bread...oops, sorry Kanye...and ice cream. We tell people what we think they want to hear because we are terrified of causing offense.
The truth is that we Americans love our cars, and we love driving them even if it takes us three hours to travel down Bay Street and five hours to find a parking space. Guys also love fast cars and, yes, so do gals. "Oh, come on Ray, the stereotype of the woman from 'Grease' who loves a guy because of his fast car died 50 years ago." Um-hmmm. And super dentist Brad Durham's next trendy creation will be permanent installation of "Bubba" teeth. You put any woman behind the wheel of a Bugatti Veyron that goes zero to 60 in two-and-a-half seconds and they'll sound like they're on their honeymoon with Brad Pitt. Yes, outgoing Chief Berkow, too much speed kills. But it is also sexy, and we love it as well as the gallons upon gallons of gas it burns.
We could make life easier by telling the truth so writers like Mr. Krisher wouldn't embarass themselves, but since we won't cooperate, get ready for more "news" stories telling us how much we love our hybrids even though they aren't being bought in great quantities, how much we long for the days of the AMC Pacer, and how we Americans are "green for good." Just remind me to tell you I told you so when, in a few years, the same news writers are "shocked" and "stunned" at the enormously successful comeback...of the Hummer.