Saturday, June 14, 2014

Driving Hybrid Cars on the Moon Dreams

Advertising can be creative and clever and often misleading. So, I'm going to rant a moment on this Cadillac commercial: 2014 Cadillac ELR.

I think we all smile at the flippant remark about no longer going to the moon because we're bored. We like the romantic notion of exploration, inquisitiveness; it's curiosity that drives us in so many good ways. It's the "what if" kind of thinking that keeps imaginations active. But more likely, the reality here is that we're no longer on the moon because it didn't offer efficient means for exploitation and profit. While one person moved on to explore more fascinations in the universe, the majority moved on to what pays.

So, as the character in the commercial breezes past all his wealth, as if he doesn't care about it, I suspect instead that the wealth (and even the advanced hybrid car--after all, it is a Cadillac) is what defines him, rather than astronomy. Usually very curious, scientific types of minds are hiding at a messy desk surrounded by microscopes and computer screens and have little interest in fluff. Money gets behind that curious innovator because it wants to grow and sees potential growth in innovation. There can be excitement in that too and creativity (look at the fun of this ad), but all that halts immediately if the money isn't growing. What drives each is different, I think.

I did find this bit of optimism about the commercial from thinkprogress.org:  "...proof of how far these [hybrid] vehicles have come in the public imagination. Seeing environmentally beneficial scientific advancements as awesome and consumptively desirable rather than as effete seems like real progress." Because that's the only way to get some people to be socially or ecologically responsible.

I'm not saying I didn't smile a bit at some of the notions, because, we were raised with that work ethic, the drive, the pushing forward (go west, young man). But we also know the toll an uncontrolled push can take on what lies before it. Romanticism needs reality checks too. Does this character's boastful two weeks off a year take into consideration the family the ad poses to resemble security and success? Or his chance to actually be in nature, which might have better alerted him to the need for the hybrid car if money hadn't lulled him instead? Does he buy a Cadillac for each kid who turns sixteen and will never understand the lives of the people building the cars, because there are too many fun distractions? If someone said to him, hey, we found an alternative fuel source on the moon, would he be back there after all?

I think it's the money that keeps this one curious. And arrogance, not confidence, resides in his walk.  In art and literature, we use wrappings to convey our ideas  as close to our truths that we can. If a person feels coerced, falsely swayed, the wrappings are of a different sort. Truth or coercion: creative minds are clever.

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