No strain of television commercial comes so close to equalling the low standards set by the American beer industry's insipid propaganda than do truck ads. American men, as portrayed in these 30 second ditties, are utter buffoons, simpletons who require only the basest of activities to keep them happily occupied for hours.
If one would believe the truck industry, no man could hope for more than an afternoon spent driving in mud. Not that I haven't enjoyed mud in my day, do not so presume for a moment. As a tot, I had no equal in the making of mud pies and in my adolescent years, I gleefully took part in a number of football games, apres le deluge. However, now that I am grown to be a man and have put away childish things (well, most of them), it takes more than the spinning of wheels in muck and mire to satisfy me. Call me picky, if you will, but there it is.
The men in truck ads like to hoot, often for no apparent reason. Inspired by nothing more than sliding in behind the wheel of a truck, they shout "Yee-ha!" and "Wa-hoo!" as they rumble off through the brush.
I've driven trucks. My father used to keep a truck at his place of business and often, on summer afternoons while working part-time for him, I had occasion to drive it. The only sound I can recall making was the occasional expletive, when forced to sit, while wearing short pants, on the vinyl seat made searingly hot by the relentless Oklahoma sun. "Yee-ha" and "Wa-hoo" were phrases that never once crossed my mind, of that I'm sure, even all these years later. I don't think I'd have forgotten having shouted, "Wa-hoo!" I believe that's something one is likely to remember.
The names of these vehicles tend to be a bit over-romanticized too, with handles like Range Rover and Pathfinder, but at least I can understand how those fit the image the truck manufacturers are pitching. But whose bright idea was it to name a truck "Jimmy" and why the hell would these oh-so-manly brutes be driving something called a Jimmy? What's next? A four-wheel drive Billy? A vehicle with extra towing power fondly dubbed The Stevie?
The one craving all the men who people these ads seem to share is the desire to drive somewhere other than the road. They seem to think it a testament to their manhood to be able to drive over a mountain rather than around it. However, I've done a fair amount of traveling around this great land myself and I didn't find many stretches of road where the terrain these men have such a craving to traverse wasn't fenced in. I suspect the average Joe, who doesn't have a few hundred acres he can call his own, is going to be hard-pressed to find his way off the road and into the not-so-open country. And even if he does manage to somehow escape the asphalt, I suspect he'll find the thrill in negotiating his way through crevasses, rocks, brush and ridges to be fleeting at best. I mean, you're not the Marboro Man, you bozo. You've got a wife, 2 kids and an enlarged prostate and you're driving a climate-controlled vehicle with a CD changer, surround sound and Corinthian leather seats. Get your candy ass back out on the interstate.
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