Monday, January 4, 2010

Calling for Style Fascists. NY Times Op-Ed Guest Columnist Ten for the Next Ten by Bono

This is pretty witty.... I am not a "car" person nor am I a major Bono fan. When friends start talking about whatever Mercedes class, xyx edition whatever car, and all that, I have no idea. But....I do like a sexy ride in the sense of a smart and interesting design. I think the Prius could have been a lot sexier, instead of reminding me of a hand-held vacuum. Maybe I am a car person in the sense that a muscle car or a boxy vintage car really strikes my fancy. The romanticized idea of the great American road trip. This is what lead me to my choice in a Mini. But I digress. Any op-ed that wishes for a style fascist gets a gold star by me.

Return of the Automobile as a Sexual Object

How is it that the country that made us all fall in love with the automobile has failed, with only a few exceptions, to produce a single family sedan with the style and humor and grace of the cars produced in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s? Put aside the question of whether those models were male (as in longer, lower and wider, Dr. Freud) or female (as in fender skirts, curvy belt lines and, of course, headlights). Either way, they all had sex appeal. (In Ireland in the ’70s, it was the E-Type Jag that made sense of puberty.) Today, however, we have the mundanity of our marriage to the minivan and the S.U.V. and long-term relationships with midsize cars that are, forgive me, a little heavy in the rear cargo hold.

Are aerodynamics to blame? Economics? Or that most American of inventions, design by committee? It hurts me to say this about democracy (and I know because my band is one), but rarely does majority rule produce something of beauty.

That’s why the Obama administration — while it still holds the keys to the big automakers — ought to put some style fascists into the mix: the genius of Marc Newson ... Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive from Apple ... Frank Gehry, the architect, and Jeff Koons, the artist. Put the great industrial designers in the front seat, right along with sound financial stewardship ... the greener, the cleaner, the meaner on fossil fuels, the sexier for me. Check out the Tesla or the Fisker Karma car, designed by the same team that gave the world the Aston Martin.

Read the rest here

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