Is there a straight line from the libertarian exuberance of the Cannonball Run to the political philosophy of the anti-masker?
The traffic stop is by far the most common site of police-initiated contact with the public. At their wide discretion, police may ticket, detain, and even jail drivers for many violations. Data shows clearly that African Americans are stopped, searched, and threatened with the use of violence at significantly higher rates than are white drivers. Although we never think of it this way, that means the inverse is also true: white drivers are let by, let off, and less harassed by police than Black drivers.
Which automaker “had to his credit,” in the words of Michigan senator Arthur Vandenberg, “more erratic interviews, more dubious quotations, more blandly boasted ignorance of American history, more political nonsense and more dangerous propaganda than any other dependable citizen that we have known”? Well, Henry Ford. But also, a hundred years later, Elon Musk.
How will this unprecedented new reality affect mobility? Will Uber charge extra for a germ-free ride? Will fear of contagion reverse twenty-five years of steady growth in mass-transit ridership? Will workers be willing to sit in traffic after weeks of commuting to Zoom meetings in their slippers? I would love to provide answers, but right now I can’t see past Tuesday. Wait, is today Tuesday?
Blunt and regressive, Ford’s new TV commercials make do without jingles or CEOs, opting instead for Breaking Bad’s scary-manly-paternal (don’t forget Malcolm in the Middle) Bryan Cranston. Dressed in Steve Jobs gear, Cranston is on the verge of delivering a “Future Talk” when he shakes it off at the last minute: “The future wasn’t made in a keynote speech,” he declares. (Presumably this includes Jim Hackett’s keynote speech about Ford’s future.) Next he’s in an easy chair aboard Air Force One: “A presidential speech did not land us on the moon.” Cut to men with pocket protectors sweating over the Apollo Lunar Lander. “Millions of man hours did.”
The Volkswagen scandal was more diffuse, technical and tedious than most journalists allow.
Scandal always captivates, and the VW news captivated Americans for months—even those Americans who usually skip past the automobile section. Reporters like Ewing published updates nearly every day. John Oliver even jumped aboard with a comedy bit mocking the German language and ended with the line, “Hitler trusted us, why won’t you?” With the market prepared, Faster, Higher, Farther has been published simultaneously in English and German, and the author has been appearing on the morning shows to talk corporate scandal. Leonardo DiCaprio bought the movie rights.
The car of the future will be needy and unnerving, and will lack comic timing.
Imagine the value of a car that, thanks to an exclusive multi-year partnership, autonomously drives past Dunkin’ Donuts and heads straight for Starbucks when you say, “Leaf, get me a coffee.” Or, a car in which Nissan Pay replaces Samsung Pay or Apple Pay and takes a piece of the action.
As far as most consumers and producers are concerned, a pickup isn’t a pickup unless it’s big.
The pickup once demanded some accommodation. If you had a “need” for a pickup, you had to forego some of the creature comforts and utility of a car. You did without a good stereo and learned to appreciate poor handling.
I should come clean here and admit that I was involved in the sale of a VW TDI myself. In 2010 I received the following email: “Dear n+1 car guru, I need to buy a car! What’s your assessment of the Prius vs. the new clean-diesel VWs? I look to you…”