The following television commercial says a lot about American car culture and why so few people care that about 40,000 of our fellow citizens die in car crashes each year. Again, that’s about one 9/11 per month or two jumbo jets per week.
This one is just too easy. Everything I’m about to say is stating the obvious. But the obvious apparently needs to be stated.
1. The man is driving backwards in a parking lot while talking to a pedestrian.
2. The man is doubly distracted because he attempts to show the pedestrian his underwear.
3. A crash occurs. It was the predictable result of the behavior, so it cannot be called an accident.
4. No one cares! In fact, the main characters find it totally hilarious. The driver is chagrined but in no way reacts as if this weren’t a completely normal occurrence. The bystanders, at least, are properly startled.
5. The parking attendant is far more concerned with the entertainment value of the crash than with the safety of other bystanders. The last thing we hear him say is “awesome.” He should have said “irresponsible dumbshit.”
So, is it the case that I don’t have a sense of humor? Certainly not. I chuckled the first time I saw this commercial. But I should not have. None of us should.
This commercial demonstrates the cavalier attitude too many of us have about operating a big, dangerous machine around other human beings. We drive as if our tender convenience is the most important freaking thing in the entire world. Everyone else? Well, they are simply objects in our way.
And all those traffic deaths? Well, that’s the price of personal freedom (just as long as someone else pays it).