But Mr. Brooks, Saabs* are Ugly Too
Over in the NYT’s columnists who blog section, Gail Collins and David Brooks had a conversation about whether or not those who can afford to should spend to help speed along our economic recovery (or to at least retard our economic decline). Brooks’ comments on the type of cars that Obama administration officials drive make me want to chuck a shoe at Brooks’ head:
Gail, recently I’ve become greatly disturbed by the cars that are owned by the top officials in the Obama administration. These are people who have been making serious change for many years as president of Harvard and that sort of thing. And yet according to published reports, they tend to drive 1995 Honda Civics and 1994 Ford Tauruses. In other words, they own the kind of cars that are the subject of a hundred “Car Talk” episodes because they only go into reverse when the radio is set on AM.
In my view, anybody making enough money to afford it should be driving an understated semi-luxury vehicle, like an Audi, Acura or an Infiniti. To drive less shows a lack of appreciation for the finer things in life, a lack of sensual acuteness, a certain inner drabness.
I find a couple of things about this particularly funny. First, notably, Brooks doesn’t recommend that these people purchase American cars, even though it has already drawn the ire of the press that many of them do not drive American. Second, I think Brooks is singling out Larry Summers as someone with “inner drabness,” since he’s the top official with mid-90s model cars (while Tim Geithner has a next-to-new Acura, which fits in with Brooks’ desire). I don’t think that a car, however, makes the man, except in the case of Robert Novak, whose black Corvette is in line with his inner douchery.
*Saabs, which used to be favored by the HLS faculty, are exactly the type of pretentious, but not really, crap semi-luxury cars to which Brooks refers. The Prius has since subplanted them in this circle, hence Saab’s bankruptcy.