Imitation is, indeed, the sincerest form of flattery. It is also – in the case of the “electrified” replacement for the V8-powered Dodge Charger – an admission.
We know you love what we can’t sell you anymore.
That being the V8 engine we’ve made it sound like the 2024 Charger has but doesn’t.
Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis didn’t state it quite that way, of course. But it is the reality of the situation. Instead of the engine people want – and buy – Dodge is going to try to sell them a “Fratzonic” sound replicator that “revs” and “rumbles,” to remind people of what was and hopes they will forget they can no longer get.
Dodge claims the sound can reach 126 decibels, “making it as loud as a Hellcat-powered Dodge.”
It’s a dodge, alright.
Why put so much effort into replicating the sound of the V8 this device doesn’t have? If, that is, “electrification” is so appealing? If it is what people want? Everyone knows why. It is for the same reason we keep old photos of long-gone loved ones, things to remember them by.
But this thing is an affront – as well as an admission.
It is like sending a widower someone who looks like his wife as the replacement for her and thinking he’ll accept her. Expecting him to. See! She looks just like her! Has the same color hair and wears the same style clothes. We’ve even replicated the way she used to sound. . .
But she cannot be replaced. He has his memories of her. They are infinitely more real than the ersatz replacement sent to him by perhaps well-meaning but tone-deaf friends. He wishes his wife – the real thing – were still here. And if she has been taken away, then respect her memory and leave it be.
Dodge has not and that is the nature of the affront.
As far as the admission:
“We were super confident with the idle (sic) because the idle was to us non-negotiable. It literally has the cadence of the Hemi V8 firing order so we knew that it was right.”
Italics added – because electric motors do not idle. They spin. If you are proud of that fact – and more to the point, if you think buyers want that – why not let that sound speak for itself, instead?
It is also why an ersatz shifting experience styled “eRupt” has been programmed into the ’24 Charger – the word in italics to emphasize the fact. Electric cars don’t shift because they do not have transmissions and so don’t have gears to shift. The electric motor connects directly to the driven wheels and both spin in unison. There is just one forward speed. Dodge knows people who like Chargers – and cars of its type, generally – like to shift; like to feel and hear the transmission shifting.
But since that’s been cancelled, too, here’s a simulation of what was.
The natural progression of this unnatural transition is to simulate driving, itself. The “meta” version of the once-open road. Put on your VR goggles as you’re driven to wherever you’re allowed to go. Klaus Schwab’s dream – the nightmare from which he and his hope you will never awaken once you’re no longer able to discern the fiction from the fact, as the latter rapidly recedes in the rearview.
Kuniskis made an admission he probably didn’t realize he was making when he said the following at a presentation of the device styled “Charger” the other day:
“We said, ‘OK, if it’s going to happen, let’s do it like Dodge . . . We’re not going to go there and do the same thing. Dodge is going to get lost if we try to do the same thing as everybody else.”
Except they are doing exactly the same thing – as “electrification” is the same thing, for everyone. An electric motor and batteries, all fundamantally the same. How does the device styled “Charger” differ from the device styled Tesla? They are the same devices, each with programmable sounds. Tesla could just as easily program its devices to make the same sound.
The Charger – not the device – made real sounds no device can replicate.
And as far as “it’s going to happen” . . . as if this were natural. As if it just sort of did. As opposed to forcing the unwanted upon the unwilling and hoping they will forget by replicating the sounds and experiences of what they’ve allowed to be killed by pretending it just sort of . . . “happened.” No, it was allowed to happen. Enabled by an unwillingness to fight it.”
Will it come to pass? Will people accept the virtual fake as the replacement for the real? It is arguably the question that will give us the answer to what it means to be a human being and also whether human beings will give up what it has meant to be human.
The French philosopher Rene Descartes famously said, cogito ergo sum – I think, therefore I am. But is thinking everything? And how is thinking even possible – in any objectively meaningful sense – when it is disconnected from external reality, when everything is, literally, in our heads and no longer bears any relationship to what’s occurring outside of them?
Perhaps Descartes’ quip will have to be modified, in turn:
I think, therefore I whirrrrrr.
. . .
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