At this time of year, what with the snow blanketing most of Europe and North America, with family getting Christmas lights up and Hanukah candles burning slowly, I am transported back to a simpler time, when emissions were something that came from my dad after he had a hunk of barely cooked, bloody, red meat and greasy fries to go with it.
Back then, gas prices weren’t hovering at the poverty-inducing $5/gallon level like when I filled up this evening (note to reader: I live in a semi-Socialist hell). And manhood wasn’t maintained or even enhanced with a little blue pill from a drug company. I think of the time before that wonderfully cursed invention, the Internet.
Automotively speaking, I think of a time when my dad drove big American coupes and sedans with carburetors that could suck a bird in, and later on, fuel injected ones that spewed out decayed dinosaur particles with reckless abandon--which I am paying for now with the advent of unstable weather, small cars, and hybrid and electric cars like the ugly yet significant 2011 Chevy Volt and 2010 Toyota Prius.
We drove in unreliable, rear-wheel-drive beasts that were a blast to hammer down a highway.
And that made me go hunting for some vintage video on YouTube. I found a gem I’d like to present to you, for the Dodge Charger 500. But before I do, let me say this: The brand and this particular vehicle have remained remarkably steady in its desire to link a man’s manhood with the bullishness of the car.
It’s a really simple message: Drive this car, and you will be a man, or at least maintain your manhood. See what I mean ...
1970 Dodge Charger 500
What can you say about our milquetoast main actor Elliot that hasn’t already been thought once you watch this commercial. Sissy? Loser? Sure, but he’s got that car, the 500!
And see how the women are drawn to him like kitchen magnets to a domestic refrigerator.
Now, if you can get past Elliot’s bizarre facial expressions (maybe it’s a nervous twitch?), you can see the car in all it’s Paleolithic glory, wide, large and in charge. And of course the extremely sexist message at the end of the commercial.
Yes, it’s a product of its time, but it's really great American commercial making. And the focus of the commercial only serves to underscore that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
2010 Dodge Charger
The message here is pretty clear. It’s 40 years later, and men have become sissies, emasculated, nullified and reduced to holding our wives' lip balms.
Is this equality? Maybe. Is it payback for years of acting like Elliot of the 70’s Charger fame? Possibly. Does it suck having to put the toilet seat down and watch chick flicks so the wife is happy? You bet.
But there is still salvation, a rolling man cave, with gobs of torque and horsepower that shows your disregard for the environment and simultaneously how you won’t The Man (or The Woman) keep your spirit down. It’s called Hemi therapy. And it’s a really well done commercial.