Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Anthropomorphism

... the attribution of human qualities to something not human.

Are we allowing ex-wife jokes here?
No.

I'm talking about the special way that kid and the Mercedes were staring at each other in the commercial.  Like two sentient beings.  Which, of course, a car is not.  But I remain fascinated by that bit of psychodrama.

I'm speaking to you here as a car guy.  I'm obsessed with Formula 1.  I'll even watch NASCAR, although sometimes it's stupid.  For sure, the national anthems they play at NASCAR events are almost invariably excruciating.  As an aside, it amuses me that Jimmy Johnson, probably the best current stock car racer in the world, lives in Chelsea.  Probably eats at Elmo with his wife, then has a beer at McManus with Howie.  Who probably doesn't know who he is.  In fact, he lives there because nobody in New York gives a shit about NASCAR and he can walk around like a normal person.  If he tried to walk around, say, Charlotte -- it would be like Elvis had returned from the grave.

Anyway, I've owned all kinds of cars.  Two of them didn't even have side windows.  On purpose.  Which was pretty fucking cold in the winter.  Bracing and exhilarating were the two euphemisms I was most fond of.

So I understand the world's love affair with cars.

Now consider this:  What if cars didn't have headlights?  What if internal combustion engines didn't need cooling?  What if these issues were dealt with in alternative ways?  If you think about the front of a car, the grill looks like a mouth and the headlights look like eyes.  If both those features were gone, cars would look very different.  I wonder if we would still care so much about them?

This is a D-Type Jaguar from the 50s ...

Looks like something out of Cars, the movie.  Makes you want to throw it a num-num and pat it on the head.

This is a bit fiercer.  More fierce.  The front of a Mercedes DTM car ...

I wonder what it's thinking.

But it's not cars like that we need to worry about.  It's when they start to look like this ...

... that the lessons of Battlestar Galactica will seem, in retrospect, like Gospel.


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