One of the reasons it seems that all cars are increasingly the same cars is that almost all of them are crossovers, most with or offering some type of all-wheel-drive system. This has homogenized them to the point that picking out which one was made by which company has become almost as challenging as divining the difference between Home Depot and Lowes.
Same here, same there.
Could it be on purpose?
What if the object of homogenization is consolidation? To acclimate people to the one-size-fits-all? Which ideally fits the electric car, which is as-the-same as it gets.
These look-alike/drive-alike crossovers also serve to make people forget that, once upon a time, there was variety in function as well as form. A spectrum of differences that ranged from cars such as the old ass-engined, air-cooled VW Beetle with its unmistakably Beetle sounds – as well as shape – to other end of that spectrum and V12-engined luxury dreadnoughts made by Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar that were just as unique in altogether different ways. There was no mistaking one for the other.
Once upon a time.
Government regulations have had a homogenizing effect on vehicle form and function that is essentially Soviet, in that it trends toward one-size-fits all, like the uniform (single form) of a proletarian in the worker’s paradise.
Or rather, on type fits all.
We are still allowed to choose small, medium or large. Also color. And perhaps the size of the data-mining you (probably also watching you) touch-swipe Telescreen that forms the centerpiece of almost every same-same new vehicle today. How long before the image of Big Biden – or whomever’s next – manifests on the screen, unbidden, to exhort you to avoid Wrongthing?
People are becoming resignedly used to this.
Tesla led the way, with cars both homogenous and fully Telescreened. Everything you’re still allowed to control is controlled via the touch-swipe Telescreen. Other Telescreens – TeeVees and computer screens – tell the people it is good and most of all, “cool.” That they must have it, in order to be “cool.”
As they lined up to be “vaccinated,” they are lining up for this. Predicate conditioning made it all inevitable. Decades of exhortations that unseen danger lurked everywhere, initially in the form of “terrorists” you couldn’t see. This led to a “virus” you couldn’t see – even more fearful to not see. But it was on TeeVee – and people did see that.
They cringed – as required.
The homogenization of transportation has been under way for decades longer than that, beginning in earnest back in the mid-late 1960s – when the government began to get seriously interested in the homogenization (via regulations) of new cars. It began modestly and even superficially reasonably, if you didn’t question this business of the government forcing you to buy (and later, to use) seatbelts, for instance.
Many people didn’t object to this business because they wore seat belts themselves, already – voluntarily – and could not see the danger of forcing people to (buy) and (later, inevitably) to wear them. It was like the good advice to eat your veggies – without realizing the white-hot danger of empowering the government to make you eat them.
That latter principle, once established – however initially unthreatening and even sound-seeming – led us half a century hence to where we are now, which is very far down the road upon which that journey began.
Acceptance of seatbelts-by-decree led to acquiescence to 5 MPH bumpers, also by decree. From there to mileage mandates and mandatory air bags – and mandatory restraints for kids until they became teenagers, which resulted in their being conditioned to both fear and dislike cars (this latter being extrapolated today in the form of the Face Diapering of kids too young to understand that they are being conditioned to fear the world – and other people).
This has been enormously successful. The car culture which was once synonymous with youth culture in this country has almost completely dissipated – to the point that something on the order of a fourth to a third of the driving-age teenage/young-adult cohort doesn’t even have a license or drive. This is a thing inconceivable to the generations who were reared before seat belt use became obligatory, who weren’t strapped into restraints in the back seats until they were almost old enough to drive. We champed at the bit to get our licenses, as soon as we could – and we loved our cars, often working after-school jobs in order to be able to buy them.
These cars not only gave us the freedom of adulthood years before legal adulthood – which made us eager to become adults as soon as possible – it allowed for expression of our individuality, courtesy of the incredible variety of cars we were then free to choose from. Everything from those old gattling-gun exhaust-tipped Beetles to a third-hand chromed and bench-seated land yacht in which a young man might find paradise by the dashboard lights.
Today, it’s different – because it’s increasingly all the same.
And that’s very sad.
. . .
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