I wish this were parody…
I was just perusing news stories about Dodge recently when I ran across a rant about a “viral” Dodge commercial which glamourizes drivers being called predators. The author, Kea Wilson of StreetsBlog USA, is referring to a Dodge commercial from 2015 which highlighted the Hellcats and Viper. But it absolutely is leading to road fatalities, or so the argument goes.
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I’ve embedded the Dodge commercial to refresh your memory, but honestly it’s pretty innocuous. Nothing in it shows a Mustang running down an innocent group of pedestrians or even suggests such a thing is positive. It just portrays some professional drivers on closed courses while a narrator talks about how “there are no more monsters to fear, and so we have to build our own.”
Apparently, Wilson has the discernment of a preschooler who can’t tell when something isn’t literal. In the article, Wilson refers to a muscle car as a “2.5-ton assault car with shiny red paint job (sic) menacing the lens…”. Yep, the argument is that Dodge is basically selling cars on the premise that customers will use them to murder other people.
If you roll your eyes too much, they might stick that way or you could get a bac headache. But Wilson just barrels ahead, talking about how many people died in car crashes in 2021. Somehow those are Dodge’s fault because back in 2015 it released a commercial? Oh, no, it’s the brand’s fault because it has a “long history of commercials that openly promote the deadliest driving behaviors.” I haven’t seen a single Dodge commercial even depicting distracted driving, so that’s funny.
Even if a commercial does portray bad behaviors, does that mean we’re all blank slates and will absolutely be made to mimic what we see? Or are we individuals with the ability to differentiate between good and poor behavior, then make decisions and face the consequences which come along with them?
This argument is lazy since Wilson can’t honestly draw a direct connection between Dodge advertisements and the increase in road fatalities in recent years because there is none. Wilson also thinks Dodge is a subsidiary of FCA, so that shows just how much homework was done.
Instead of all this pearl clutching about an almost 7-year-old Dodge commercial, why isn’t Wilson concerned about a career criminal running over children and adults participating in a Christmas parade? Scanning the site, I found just a single reference to the intentional slaughter in Waukesha, Wisconsin, which the site argues was preventable “if leaders had been more aggressive in their efforts to prevent drivers from using cars as weapons.” No mention of bail reform and the general failure of the justice system to keep someone who was a violent, repeat offender off the streets was made. That, right there, tells me all I need to know about the source of this rant directed at Dodge and its fans. The cars are supposedly the problem, not people and their choices.
In case you’re not familiar with StreetsBlog, which I absolutely wasn’t, it’s basically an anti-car website. As the About Us section clearly states: “Streetsblog is a daily news site that connects people to information about how to reduce dependence on cars and improve conditions for walking, biking, and transit. Since 2006, our reporters have broken important stories about efforts to prevent pedestrian injuries and deaths, build out bicycle networks, and make transit more useful.” We have nothing against walking, cycling, etc. and do those things, but the anti-car slant is quite frankly lazy and tired. Blame the users, not the actual vehicles, but we know it’s more convenient to go after objects.
Check out Wilson’s laughable article here.