The Sound of Good Memories

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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? 

Everyone knows why.

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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  1. Eric,

    I know this is about gas engine memories, but what about old school, two stroke Detroit Diesel memories too? We used to hear the old school Detroits everywhere when we were young; now, they’re so rare that we take notice in the unlikely event that we hear one. For the memories, here’s a 12V71 powered Brockway at Bear Mountain, NY:

  2. Cypher: You know, I know this steak doesn’t exist. I know that when I put it in my mouth, the Matrix is telling my brain that it is juicy and delicious. After nine years, you know what I realize?
    [Takes a bite of steak]
    Cypher: Ignorance is bliss.

    Agent Smith: Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world? Where none suffered, where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that, as a species, human beings define their reality through suffering and misery. The perfect world was a dream that your primitive cerebrum kept trying to wake up from. Which is why the Matrix was redesigned to this: the peak of your civilization. I say your civilization, because as soon as we started thinking for you it really became our civilization, which is of course what this is all about. Evolution, Morpheus, evolution. Like the dinosaur. Look out that window. You’ve had your time. The future is *our* world, Morpheus. The future is our time.

    The odd thing about these films is that the directors have become the simulation personified, but that’s for another post…

  3. I’m currently on an adventure, driving a ram v8 towing a 5K toyhauler w/2 motorcycles in the back up and down the west coast. Figure I’ll do 2500-3000 miles on this trip. 250-275 range, 10min fillups. But, and a big BUT, the magical sound of the v8 singing 3000-5000rpm is just awesome. To feel, hear it working it’s ass off to get me where I want to go.
    And today I backed out the approx. 100HP 2-cylinder motorcycle and rode it 4 hrs up and down twisty roads in the SW, up and down mountains, passing with ease the few cars I saw. And the best part? hearing it sing with a crackle now and then is just so sweet. I will remember it long past the time I park it.
    Doubt they’ll get that sound right, not even the crackle. I’ll know. Hell, there’s no e-bike on the market that could have made the trip.
    I’ve already pondered that if I was in a Etruck, my 2-3 week adventure would have to be 4 weeks plus, haha….. mostly sitting around waiting in boring parking lots vs seeing amazing vistas and gorges that our brave and bold pioneers went through, around every turn.

  4. Lying about climate change to ban cars….

    Opposing the Climate Inquisition

    climate realists such as the Heartland Institute and the other organizations dedicated to the promotion of providing sound policy founded in solid science, receive a negligible amount of funding compared to the vast amount of money invested in doomsaying climate research and climate-related political causes.

    Hundreds of articles posted at Climate Realism and dozens of brief informational “fact checks” posted at Climate at a Glance show the evidence — meaning measurable, recorded data — does not support assertions that climate change is making the world less livable, causing more severe or more frequent bouts of extreme weather, or has resulted in an increase in weather or temperature-related deaths. Indeed, the long-term trend data trends show the opposite is occurring.

    climate change liars resort to the tactics of dogmatists and authoritarians. When not just hurling names or using ad hominem attacks to discredit climate realists for daring to dispute “their truth” about climate change, they call for censorship, threaten careers, and even ATTENTION….propose imprisonment for skeptics.

    secured rights are thrown out the window every time government agents declare a “health emergency” (especially now that “health” has been redefined to include everything under the sun, including “climate change” and “systemic racism”).

    The health emergency is still in place…….liars say climate change is a health emergency……so people will be herded into 15 minute cities because of this…their cars will be banned……resistors will be imprisoned….

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”…like climate change…..

  5. This does somewhat remind me of vegetarians and their impossible burger sort of stupid shit. If meat is so bad, wrong, and undesirable, then why the fuck are you gonna make vegetables pretend to taste like it??

    If you want to eat vegetables, wouldn’t you want them to taste like what you’re eating?!

    If engines are so bad and wrong, then why emulate their sound?

    These people are brain damaged.

    • I don’t know about the impossible kind.

      In general I actually like veggie burgers, but I think of them as really their own thing that happens to resemble a real burger. I usually put somewhat different condiments on them too although mustard tomato & spinach do work nicely.

      I like real burgers too, and I don’t see anything wrong with them.

      I also don’t see anything wrong with roasting a carrot in soy sauce putting it in a bun & dressing it up like a hot dog. I’ve never done it personally but it sounds delicious.

      Eat what you like, and let me do the same.

      • I don’t care what you eat. I will continue to mock those that insist meat is bad yet continue to flavor and fashion vegetables to simulate meat. It’s stupid. But I never said that I wanted to stop anyone from doing stupid things. That’s mission impossible.

  6. Come on already. Let’s everyone just embrace the stupid and quit pretending! The speaker should be playing “Turkey and the Rye” like an ice cream truck! Or maybe something a little more classy like one of John William’s Star Wars pieces as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra! Empire March if you’re feeling evil or the hero piece for the rebel alliance award ceremony if you’re feeling magnificent today. Tie fighter roar would be a good second place.

  7. Can’t remember where I read it but someone posed the thought: notice how meat producers / eaters don’t spend any time trying to make meat into a facade of vegetables. It’s always the other way around.

    Same with eeeeveeeees.

    Why bother looking like a sedan, or a crossover, or a truck, whatever. Come up with your own personality & look. And for God’s sake, the canned sound of an engine revving is just stupid.

  8. Shows how much Ram thinks of their market demographic: pathetic rednecks who will jump at the opportunity to replace their flesh and blood live steed with a room temperature hobby horse ride! Up and down and around in the same old circle. Buy your ticket for the short ride and then plug in and recharge. Somehow I think this sound effects marketing balloon will pop – even Joe Sixpack can tell the difference between real flesh under his fingers and mushy latex. Hope it has an off switch.

    That said, there is a fascination about the new Tesla pick’em up. There seems to be a great deal of interest out there in the Cybertruck. As there is, indeed, in the entire Tesla line. No one wants to have these EVs shoved down their throats, but it is nice to have choices. I see where Elon dropped prices recently across the board, to the point where, for those who don’t need to travel on long road trips much, or who just want a close-in car that’s economical, a Tesla may make a lot of sense.

    I will know that Eric has truly passed through this Overton window when he posts his first Tesla road test here. I’m not holding my breath!

    • Hi Anon,

      I think interest in the Cybertruck is much hyped. And exaggerated. How is it useful, as a truck? Is it affordable, to more than a relative handful of affluent people who think EVs are “cool”? How does it make sense, as transportation, for people who cannot afford to spend twice-plus on a vehicle?

      As far as Tesla’s price dropping: It’s internal subsidization, a desperate ploy to keep sales up. Tesla can afford this because its stock is over-valued. It cannot last for long.

  9. To go from something awesome, like the Hellcat, to a golf cart has to be emasculating for everyone at Dodge.

    Who takes any pride putting in an electric motor vs an engine?

    “I used to make cool ass cars, now I make a giant kid’s toy”

    • Theres a meme showing a woman pinning a man to the fridge/chainlink fence or holding him as they kiss, basically saying “how men who love EV’s kiss their women” or something like that

  10. ‘Dodge claims the sound can reach 126 decibels, “making it as loud as a Hellcat-powered Dodge.”’ — eric

    Much as one can order a hellcat sex doll that screeches at 126 decibels, ‘Do me, do me … harder! harder!

    But ‘she’ too is merely an inanimate sound track … and the perfect passenger seat occupant for your shiny new Dodge EeeVee! 🙂

  11. I have ever diminishing connection to this world. For the first time I’m glad to be old simply because I won’t have to take it much longer.


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