is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Jason has a book out now, Ad Nauseam: A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture
. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is a tinkerer and artist
and writes for the Onion News Network
. He lives with his partner Sally, five animals, too many old cars, and a shed full of crap.
First off, I love cars, I own an odd one
, and, thanks in part to Make: magazine, I've even raced
them a little bit. That's why I've deluded myself into thinking my opinion on this has any relevance here at all. So, if you don't mind, indulge me.
Recently, a study
showed that people tended to prefer cars with "angry" faces. Auto designers have known this for a while, as the vast majority of cars available today have "faces" (you know, the front end arrangement of headlights, grille, and shapes that we tend to read like a face) that are at least aggressive, and at most absolutely freaking livid. This is across the board, too-- from entry-level cars to minivans to expensive sports sedans-- they all look like pissed-off turtle robots. There are exceptions, of course, but many of the most notable ones (New Beetle, Mini) are modern updates of vintage designs.
Now, I think there is absolutely a place for aggression, determination, and even a bit of anger in auto design-- some
of my favorite cars
use this as a major styling inspiration-- it's more about raw power and aggression becoming the default
look for all cars that disturbs me.
Personally, the visual character I've always sought out in a car is a certain degree of plucky fun-- something upbeat
, but not so damn serious all the time. Now, I don't expect everyone to have the same tastes as me, but there seems to be a growing homogenization in auto design to favor these cars that look like douchebags. The fact that the statement everyone wants to make by the vehicle they drive is one of intimidation and power seems like it's the symptom of something unpleasant going on in our culture.
Maybe someone smarter than me can shed some light on this; I know people want to seem successful and powerful, to some degree, so maybe that's it. I don't think this is the case in all cultures, as Japan seems full of cars so confusingly cute you want to spit. Cars form part of the constant background of our visual lives, so it's worth taking a look at them every now and then and seeing how they make you feel. Lately, when I look around a parking lot, it feels more like I've stumbled into a den of demented robot land-sharks. If I had it my way, the land sharks would still be there, but there'd be a good assortment of other faces out there, some of which would be looking like they just want to chug some 87 octane, go fast and have fun. Oh, and maybe get your ass to work on time.
On Thursday May 26, Red Nose Day will return for the second year. It’s all about giving to children to fight hunger, sickness, and homelessness. In the video above, the most famous magician in the world, David Copperfield, has his own magical way of asking you to get involved. There’s going to be a two-hour TV show on […]
Facebook gets a bad rap, but where I live, it has brought neighbors together, and it started because of the things I didn’t want to share.
When the Congressional Science committee wants to talk about the cold weather, and when NASA has to defend their budget by explaining why NASA is important, it can make people who believe in facts… a bit tense.
DJI is the world’s leading designer and producer of easy-to-fly drones and aerial photography systems. If you’re a drone enthusiast, you want a DJI. If you know absolutely nothing about drones and think they’re weird, if you win a DJI you’re going to become a drone enthusiast.Enter this giveaway (for free, yes) and you’ll get a […]
Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]
Not all hackers are malicious information thieves—white-hat ethical hackers work with technology companies to ensure the security of their computer systems and user data. With all of today’s high-profile data breaches, ethical hackers are in considerable demand. To learn these critical skills and break into the high-paying cyber security field, try taking the courses in this […]