Up the Ideology

My sequel to the TCT book is the (long) forthcoming attempt to explain why corporate capitalism is doomed by one of its core products, the private automobile.

As this doom approaches, the level of ideology in car advertising on U.S. television grows apace. It is already well into its whistling-past-the-graveyard stage, in fact.

Watch a football game or an evening of godawful sitcoms, and you’ll see claims such as Ford’s jive — couched in the mega-annoying “Introducing the _____” trend in which advertisers of everything from cars to candy bars have recently been trying to hype their wares — about how its latest sedan is “entirely new.” Yeah, sure, the worst of the nineteenth-century transportation inventions is somehow now not so stupid. Why? Because its patent idiocy is starting to breathe on some necks, so must be repositioned, to stave off proper perception for a few more months or years.

Then there is this one from the supposedly cutting-edge Honda corporation.

Things can always be better? Um, no.

Ford’s Latest Finger of Death

skeleton-driverConsumer Reports calls the Ford Motor Company’s new MyFord Touch system, by which automobile operators use computer-video touchpads rather than old-school knobs and switches to perform various mostly extraneous tasks while driving,  “complex and buggy” and “a complicated distraction while driving.”

Translation from the polite punch-pulling language of Consumer Reports: This latest case of marketing-driven product elaboration, which Ford propaganda shamelessly paints as being “all about making the driver’s experience connect with technology in the car, and their digital lifestyle safer and simpler,” is, as the Ford Motor Company certainly knows full well, going to kill thousands of people a year.

Of course, this won’t stop this precisely planned corporate marketing tactic from working.  MyFord Touch, Ford tells Reuters, “is helping make Edge and MKX [the models in which it has been launched) among the best sellers on dealer showroom floors.”

All in a day’s overclass entrepreneurship…using people’s “digital lifestyles” to boost the profits of an outdated corporation’s shareholders, via a deadly, cynical gimmick.

And they say trickle-down economics might be outdated…

Speaking of Clunkers…

clunker Cash for Clunkers is a mega-clunker, as it (very unsurprisingly) turns out.

What kind of MPG leap is the free-money-for-cars gambit yielding? It must be wondrous, right?

Not so much:

Edmunds.com analysts have determined that in May and June, the average fuel efficiency of recently purchased new cars was 21.8 miles per gallon. Since the program launched, the average has jumped to 23.2 mpg, a 6.1 percent improvement.

Wow! Stunning!

And how about the widespread report that the Toyota Corolla is now the #1 seller? Turns out that’s false. The actual bestseller is the Ford Escape SUV, which comes in six sub-models, so gets counted as six different makes, rather than one, in the bogus reports you’re hearing. As Advertising Age explains:

Interestingly, the government’s list of top-10 vehicles sold showed that consumers bought mostly compact cars during the promotion, with the Toyota Corolla in the No. 1 slot. The discrepancy arises because Uncle Sam considers each of the six versions of the Escape (as well as different versions of the trucks) to be a separate model, while Edmunds tallied all Escape-model sales.

The actual top ten models people are choosing with their “Clunkers” trade-ins, according to edmunds.com?

1. Ford Escape — an SUV

2. Ford Focus

3. Jeep Patriot — an SUV

4. Dodge Caliber — an SUV

5. Ford F-150 — a pick-up truck

6. Honda Civic

7. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 — a pick-up truck

8. Chevrolet Cobalt

9. Toyota Corolla

10. Ford Fusion

So, five of the top seven are SUVs or pick-ups.

“Only in America,” as they say…

What’s New, Waste-o-crat?

Insanity, they say, is redoubling the same old efforts while expecting different results.

Have you ever stopped to wonder what’s going to be “new” about the post-bankruptcy auto industry?

I always say that it would take a committee of experts to conceive of a more wasteful arrangement than our autos-über-alles transportation system here in the USA.  Indeed, profitable economic waste — maximum foisting of salable parts and services — is the whole point of the thing.

Over at the “new” Ford, they are getting more blatant than ever about this.

maxheadroom460In a report on how Ford designers are using virtual characters and “mindset segmentation” to focus their manipulative efforts, The New York Times for July 16 conveyed this quote from “Murat Yalman, Ford’s director of global advanced product strategy, a strong supporter of an approach that personalizes the ideal buyer for everyone involved in a vehicle’s development”:

“We had done lots of models based on rationality, but now we are recognizing that emotions play a much more dominant role than we ever admitted,” Mr. Yalman said. “In buying a car, you have to fall in love.”

He added: “We now focus quite a bit on aspirations and dreams.”

These can be embodied in products. “Think of someone who has a really high-end parka in which you could climb Mount Everest. But the person only wears it on the train to work.”

Straight from the horse’s _____.

Speaking of Brazen…

carflipThe Ford Motor Company, fresh off its CEO’s private-jet trip to the pig-trough, today announced the latest grand break-through in capitalist technology — cars that (allegedly) parallel park themselves!

In today’s world, where would you rank the need for this multi-million-dollar invention?

Meanwhile, if you were making a list of reasons for NOT giving even more public money to the foxes who’ve eaten up their henhouses, how high would this news item rank?

Notwithstanding the wastefulness of this unneeded add-on to history’s worst product, what does Ford’s failure to cancel its implementation say about the sanity of its planners, even in narrow capitalist terms?

Ford’s Latest Lie: “All Things are Possible”

We humans are at or extremely near the top of the Peak Oil curve.

Alas, the corporate capitalist investors who dictate which technologies we may use are also intractably addicted to selling cars. They will continue to attempt to do so, no matter the costs, until we remove them from power.

Meanwhile, ponder the Huxleyan/Orwellian (that’s the worst-of-both-worlds character of our unchallenged, rampaging overclass) nature of the waste-pushing propositions they continue to foist upon us. The latest to strike my eye is Ford’s shocking attempt to sell people new cars by saving them 5 or 6 button-pushes a day: “Sync.”

Yes, friends, what we all need to do is boost “our” economy by spending $40,000 on another huge, toxic, petroleum-guzzling contraption, all so that we can turn on the stereo without having to move our fingers! “All things are possible,” say Ford and its partner-in-this-crime, Microsoft, as they announce this glorious breakthrough in human civilization!

Not only is this tag-line mega-laughable in this bought-and-paid-for, market-totalitarian madhouse of a nation, but it is also patently, egregiously, and especially relevantly untrue. The laws of thermodynamics that govern the known universe contradict the childish statement that “all things are possible.” Some things are possible. That’s it.

Meanwhile, very high on the list of impossible things in this universe is the sustainability of the USA’s auto-über-alles transportation order beyond another few decades, at most…