Have you watched any TV lately? If you have, you've no doubt seen the gazillion (yes, I counted them) commercials for luxury cars as Christmas gifts. That's fine. I know companies are out there to make money, and want to sell their products. What bugs me is that they strive to reach only the shallowest demographic possible -- people who choose their car based on what reaction it might get from others.
Honestly, I never, ever, not even once, thought about buying a particular car just for the joy of impressing the neighbors. I thought: "Will it be comfortable on a long trip?" "Will it be fun to drive?" "Will it be reliable for a long time?" I never thought: "Will someone else think I'm better because of it?"
As cynical as I am, I still find it hard to believe that people think this way, but the commercials (which must be successful, or they wouldn't be repeated year after year) prove me wrong. Take Lexus and Audi as prime examples. Every commercial focuses on how your neighbors will be impressed by that big red bow on your new car, or that you will turn heads as you drive down a busy street, or that people will turn away from other neighbors' holiday decorations to gawk at the headlights on your new car. The absolutely pathetic superficiality of anyone to whom such commercials would be appealing is stunning to me.
Does anyone (other than a man with a mid-life crisis) really buy a car to impress others? Well, maybe I shouldn't even bother asking that question. Having worked at a law firm where my fellow lawyers strived each year to buy flashier and more expensive cars than the other lawyers, I shouldn't be surprised. (I had one coworker who was 6'5" tall, but drove a Porsche Boxter because the boss said he thought Boxters were cool -- this guy's knees were up around his ears in that car!) But I guess I had naively hoped that such shallowness was innate only to those losers. Alas, unless these auto companies are targeting only my former coworkers, the phoniness and superficiality go much deeper into our society. How utterly sad for our culture.
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