Sunday, May 01, 2005

Cars and Sex

Certainly, these two things have a historic relationship. However, today I'm dealing with them separately, so don't worry whether you've got your gilded Kleenex box in the rear window well.

Since childhood, I've been a fan of the great American automobile. Some of my family have had Cadillacs, as discriminating folks did, and I loved the Mustangs, Corvettes, and GTO's as much for their aggressive speed as their aesthetic authority. I haven't owned everything I've loved, but one of my most fondly remembered former autos was a 1972 Oldsmobile Regency 98 that I bought with my mom from a used car lot. It was metallic green and gigundous, with bald tires, a matching velveteen interior, power everything, and a 455 rocket under the hood. The gas mileage was tragic, but I could fit enough college-age cruisers inside to make serious fundraising efforts. Now, Olds is defunct, gone the way of the dodo.

The story of the last thirty-five years has been the rise of principally Japanese companies, many who assemble here, who have made make exceptionally reliable, cost efficient, and even fun cars. Over the years, like all the American brands, Cadillac struggled, but has recently resurged in style and performance, thanks largely to the Escalade. As a purist, I don't love it, but accept it as a necessary, reflexive spasm of any living auto concern. The EXT is truly a horror, the STS is bland, and I don't know what they think they're doing with the Deville.
However, the XLR? Sublime. Check it here (and the other models)

It is with nostalgic affection, broken pride, and sense of lost potential that I read this quote from Rick Wagoner, GM's CEO: "It's strange. When I joined GM 28 years ago, I did it because I love cars and trucks. I had no idea I'd wind up working as a health-care administrator."

The American auto industry was once an enterprise that provided great transportation to the masses while employing and creating ancillary employment for hundreds of thousands. It became a corrupted company store that sold its worst, stifled competition, and suffered for it. But thus enfeebled, Detroit now indebts itself to provide incomparable levels of employee wages and benefits while the employee count falls, related businesses fail, and its core mission is abandoned. George Will shares his side of the story in Townhall.

Onto Sex, but briefly, because it is only the current upside-down irrational culture that makes the latest data news at all. Men and woman have different organs, different chemistries, different levels of muscle mass and sensual acuity. Now it's proposed that our brains may differ. Well, DUH, if I may say so.

Facts like these are only a problem for reactionaries who accept the common, zero-sum assumption that noting what's different between people is de facto condemnation. This fallacy is pernicious and prevalent, but I don't believe it. I resist it. Loudly. Biology and circumstances mean we're involuntarily different. What's novel there? Free will means we'll also choose to differ from each other. No big deal either.
Normal humans don't, by default, oppress anyone by simply existing as we are.
Scientific American has fascinating, if not completely unexpected, brain data here:

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