Apparently Cadillac’s Olympics commercial has given our enlightened equals at Huffpo some fitful nights of sleep.
Carolyn Gregoire writes:
There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American, but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them.
Whoa, slow down there, honey.
I don’t see a blind mania for work here; rather, I see a well-rested man enjoying leisure time at his home. I don’t see compulsive buying, I see a man surrounded by nice things (disgusting postmodern architecture, though). In fact, one of the actor’s first points in his spiel is to dismiss material wealth as something secondary to accomplishment.
Neither do I see mockery, cruel derision towards other peoples and cultures. All the actor’s speech does is compare standpoints while shrugging off criticisms in his soliloquy. Would this rhetoric still be considered mockery had he been discussing marrying another man, instead? Don’t we mock Putin and the Russian culture for their stance on the issue of homosexuality?
Carolyn’s sloppy criticisms reflect the sloppy, incoherent standards she personally holds. Which is to be expected. What else can we expect from a woman paid to posture against vulgar materialism on one of the most vulgar and materialistic websites on the internet?
Of course, Carolyn isn’t completely wrong in suggesting Cadillac’s ad is a nightmare. There is indeed something dark and disturbing in this commercial, but Carolyn misdiagnoses the problem. For that matter, so does Rush Limbaugh and the majority of the voting public.
This commercial is supposed to be about a car. You don’t see the car for 80% of the commercial. What do you know about the car’s performance, the price, it’s warranty, comparative specs? Can you even recall the body style?
There is no direct reference to Cadillac or the car, the commercial is about the American Dream. Like Coca-Cola and multiculturalism. Like Butterfinger and cuckoldry. It’s associating a product with ideas. Ideals. Feelings. That these ideas may conflict with others is part and parcel of the approach.
You can get an electric car for much cheaper than the 2014 ELR. You can get a Corvette for 20 grand cheaper than the Cadillac. They can’t sell on performance, so they sell on aspiration and conflict. Who needs quality when you have posturing and someone you despise? You buy it because fuck you, Carolyn at Huffington Post.
Worse still, consider that while none of Carolyn’s condemnations are found in Cadillac’s commercial, neither will you find the laudable ideals talked about by the actor. This commercial doesn’t display a work ethic, American ingenuity or accomplishment. It’s an actor talking about something that isn’t there. Your feelings fill in the blanks. In this way aspirational advertisement becomes an inversion, a narcissistic perversion of Western religion. Commercialization has become your god-on-the-go.
The 2014 Cadillac ELR: You may think you’re defending/dismantling capitalism and America, you may sincerely believe you are getting a cheap shot in on those nasty liberals/conservatives… but in the end you’re selling an overpriced car.