IF we have overindulged in anything these past several days, it is
neither holiday ham nor American football; it is Top 10 lists. We have
been stuffed full of them. Even in these self-restrained pages, it has
been impossible to avoid the end-of-the-decade accountings of the 10
best such-and-suches and the 10 worst fill-in-the-blanks.
And so, in the spirit of rock star excess, I offer yet another.
The main difference, if it matters, is that this list looks forward, not
backward. So here, then, are 10 ideas that might make the next 10 years
more interesting, healthy or civil. Some are trivial, some fundamental.
They have little in common with one another except that I am seized by
each, and moved by its potential to change our world.
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.
Full story @ NY Times