People are losing their fool heads over the new Cadillac commercial.  Watch it here really quick:

If you want a good laugh, go directly to the YouTube site and read the comments, or perhaps check this article out by Bustle:

Now, as if admitting that the writer has nothing of substance to say, she opens with a really big close up (and therefore having no possibility of being flattering) picture of the man, who admittedly has a mild creepiness to him.  I imagine this is why he played a bad guy in Justified.

Believe it or not, I’m not a fan of blind patriotism despite what you may think, especially after my last post.  But that has been replaced by this idea that simply hating on your country is a sufficient indicator of your intelligence and incorruptibility.  I’m not sure so much that we’re moving into a new era, or if it’s just easier to see what with the ease in a which many people can get a message out there.  But on the intellectual level, hating on a commercial such as this is the equivalent of jumping in with, “Yeah, but the book was better!” when someone compliments a movie.

If you’re denying that America is the greatest country on this planet then there are only 1 of 2 possible explanations:  1)  You simply don’t value the things that make our species great (art, science, general advancement of the species); or 2) You’re just insane.

As to 1):  I’m an American.  Odds are that I’m probably going to use more American cultural markers as a sign of my national and cultural superiority.  I suppose it’s possible to look at a country with a great welfare system, high quantity of leisure time, more (or less) religious influence, or more economic equality, and take that as a sign of that nation’s superiority.  But you’d be wrong.  At the end of the day, out there in the black is death, destruction, and the end of all mankind.  The culture that helps us survive it is the best culture.  Now if the 13th Imam is actually coming back, then I guess I’m wrong and Arab nations are the best.  But I think it’s safe to say that that’s probably not the case.  Additionally, it’s hard to call anything specifically an American cultural marker.  We’re probably the most diverse nation on the planet.

Now I’d like to hit on a few key thoughts in this person’s article:

“He goes on to note that other countries take August off. That also sounds nice, but it’s clear he thinks this is an insult.”

Yeah, because it IS an insult.  Work isn’t necessarily slaving away for “the man”.  It isn’t always the 9-5 at the factory or those mythical 80 hour weeks that everyone claims they have that they don’t.  Work can be your 9-5 then coming home and sitting on your computer typing out code for the next big iPhone app.  It can be playing your guitar instead of sitting on your ass in front of your television.  It could be making television.  It could be going to the gym and working out.  Work is production in this sense.  It’s making your atoms come together to create!  He points to this in the commercial by citing men who achieved greatness, not just laborers.

And herein is where the naysayers get lost.  They are the people who stunt growth.  They don’t understand that some people do more than work a 9-5.  Some people chase dreams.  There’s more to success than wearing your fingers to the bone.  Some of it is having the balls to chase a dream.  To take chances.  To decide to sell your silly possessions and put that money into a beat up race car to take to the county drag strip.  Maybe you’ll never make it.  Hell, you probably won’t.  But dammit, don’t try to tell me that only being born talented or with a silver spoon in the right country is my only hope.  History bears that false.

Intestinal fortitude isn’t everything.  Hard work isn’t everything.  There are no guarantees of a payoff.  But that’s why there’s valor in the risk.  There’s glory in taking chances.  Perhaps we should glory in the risk takers rather than trying to tear them down along the way.  The whole damn world is full of people who tell you you’re wrong from the day you fought your way out violently from inside your mother.  It’s a war out there people.  And the more you listen to the crybabies and the naysayers the further from success and survival you’ll be.

But there’s this hatred from those critics.  They don’t like you being cocky or taking credit when you succeed.  “You didn’t build that!  Somebody else made that happen!”

Why do they tell you this?  Because they don’t understand the mindset of winners, or warriors, or entrepreneurs, and ass kickers.  And when they see it, it throws their own weakness back into their face.  When you work a safe job with a steady paycheck as you are taught to do in school, you want to be rewarded.  And you are, with a modest roof and security.  But hard work on its own isn’t enough if you want more.  It needs a winner’s mindset.  It needs a refusal to fail.  But we are taught in school to be cogs in the machine.  To invest 10% of our money and maybe some day when we’re old and frail we can be comfortable.

Comfortable.  In the Corps we had a saying, “Complacency kills”.  It’ll kill you in peace just as quick as in war.  In complacency our body atrophies.  Our soul shrinks.  The safe job and steady paycheck is okay.  But if you aren’t chasing greatness.  If you aren’t seeking to produce, then, as in the commercial, take your August off, be happy, but don’t cry about why the other guy has a prettier wife, or scratch your head as to why your job at the factory isn’t causing people to line the streets of your home town to cheer for you after a moon landing.

“In the end, McDonough unplugs his hybrid Cadillac while saying, “You work hard, you create your own luck, and you’ve gotta believe anything is possible.” Ugh. Optimism is great, but along with everything else he says this commercial is more about promoting the grand idea of American capitalism — which, of course, has never, ever left a poor person behind — than it is about a car.”

Poor people get left behind in the American capitalist system.  It’s a cut throat world of risk and reward.  Fortune favors the brave.  Yeah, you gotta believe anything is possible, because when you don’t, you accept your station. You cannot grow past your own personal limitations.  In other words, even if you’re wrong (and you very often are) then you still have to believe it, because the alternative is suicide and complacent serfdom.  I’d rather be a belligerent serf than a someone somewhat better off who’s reached his limits.  I’ll always know there’s a hope for a better tomorrow.

“Wait, so he’s saying if I work hard and only take off two weeks, I can afford a mansion and a Cadillac. I’m in! I’ve gotta go tell everyone making $7.25 an hour that they shouldn’t want the minimum wage raised, they just need to work harder and they’ll have a new hybrid car too!”

You missed the message ma’am.  But the best way to show your superiority is to fall back on sarcasm and be offended for others.  It isn’t all about hard work.  If that were the case, then we’d seek employment based solely on hours, rather than pay scales.  It’s about using your head, working hard, and being bold.  It’s about laughing at naysayers in their smarmy faces and forging ahead anyways.  It’s about being willing to be a casualty if it gives you a chance at the brass ring.  Risk and reward.

But the message wasn’t about stuff.  That was just the backdrop.  But it’s expected that’s what you’d say if you’re a critic.  Goldwater stated in his book Conscience of a Conservative that “Liberals, on the other hand, — in the name of a concern for “human beings” — regard the satisfaction of economic wants as the dominant mission of society.”  You talk about telling the poor about how “they’ll have a new hybrid car too!”  The message wasn’t about being able to buy the stuff.  It was about being able to make the stuff.  He wasn’t saying that if you work hard you can buy the car.  He was saying that Cadillac was bold and created something awesome — a powerful, luxury hybrid.  Did he cite Ali, Wright, Gates, Paul for their wealth?  No!  They were cited for the fact that they accomplished great feats.  The marketing angle was that you were supposed to see yourself as an American badass, and that this car was a marvel befitting a kindred spirit.  But so has it always been with the capitalists and the socialists.  Capitalists are creators — socialists are consumers.

All this said, well, damn those are ugly cars.