But I'm not here to debate all that crap about the auto industry. Right now though, I am here to debate the gluttony and the laziness. I'm here to redirect you to a much simpler time, and an easier place, and to lobby for the return of one of America's forgotten symbols of success and prosperity...or maybe misguided perceptions of success, and uselessness and gluttony.
Remember the hood ornament?
These things weren't meant just as handles to assist in the removal of the hot radiator cap, they existed to symbolically direct the occupants of the car - starting with the toddlers in the backseat, looking over their parents shoulders - to better lives...and bigger, more prestigious hood ornaments than the ones that graced their parent's view out over the hood the generation before. We wanted more. We wanted to project that we had more. We wanted to make sure that others around us knew that they were losing, in the unspoken race to success and 'more', to 'Me'.
Hood ornaments represented something that, in our young professional careers, would help us in projecting our self perceived and assigned assets of strength and stamina. Agility and lithe efficiency. Speed. Entitlement. Some of us have more. We will achieve more. Get more. As William Henry proposes in In Defense of Elitism, we deserve it.
And as we Americans grew older, and we realized the American Dream and became Doctors, Lawyers, and Engineers, we yearned to project intelligence and wisdom. Of course, Doctors and Lawyers and Engineers had more wisdom. (?) More potential. More success. They almost owed it to the rest of us to push the target for personal achievement, to show the rest of us with less potential for 'more', the way to 'more'. Like my daughters G.I. Specialist, (who labored to write his notes in her medical history with a very expensive, and very leaky, and nearly non-functional Mont Blanc fountain pen), demonstrated; the achievement of becoming a doctor or lawyer or engineer is almost second in importance to the act of making sure that other people around you know that you are a doctor, lawyer or engineer. That leaky pen existed in that examination room that day, to stress the existence of that 'more'.
Still, in the end we are all made of the same stuff. The same goo and lumps and sticky mess wrapped in biological Saran Wrap, and a car, and it's hood ornament, is just that; a car and a hood ornament. There's Real Irony in the use of our tax money, gleaned from years of effort in toil in pursuit of our symbolic 'more', long used to support the unsustainable sprawl and growth of our nations roadways, now instead going to support a failing industry floundering under the weight of, and symbolized by, such an iconic figure such as the hood ornament. We complained about the taxes. We complained about the traffic, and we complain today about the bailout. Aren't they all the same?
When is More actually Less?