Car Bomb Humor: Beyond the Pale?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Car bombs are the poor man's nuclear weapon. The devastation unleashed by this relatively inexpensive explosive delivery system– to human life, political discourse and military strategy– is staggering, in both scope and scale. Car bombs are, in a word, horrific. So is it alright to joke about them? You may recall the UK viral ad that showed a car bomber blowing himself up in a VW Polo, which contained the blast ("Polo. Small but tough"). And now takes it a step further: "Toyota replaces Ford as world's #2 car-bomb manufacturer." The author jests that "Mulally then announced Ford had reworked its Explorer SUV to accomodate [sic] bombs and renamed it the 'Exploder'. [By changing only one letter, Ford was able to save money by re-using slightly modified Explorer nameplates.] But Iraqi insurgent analysts ridiculed the Exploder as just repackaged junk: 'Changing the 'R' to a 'D' – they think that's fooling anyone? That thing doesn't blow up any better than before.'" From there, "websmuggler" sails a LOT closer to the wind: "Meanwhile Toyota stunned the industry by announcing the first vehicle specifically DESIGNED as a car-bomb. Named the Toyota Blast, it features seats easily removed to accomodate [sic] more explosives, 35% more window area than competitors to assure more flying glass shards, a high-capacity gas tank designed to quickly rupture, and controls which arm and detonate the explosives with one touch of a button. Options include having the bombs pre-installed at the factory, with the customer's choice of TNT, napalm or nitroglycerine." Are you OK with this?

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • NICKNICK NICKNICK on Dec 19, 2007

    I'm OK with the idea, but not the execution. The whole "35% more window area" sounds a lot like the stupid Onionesque things I wrote in junior high. These kinds of jokes rarely work when expanded; they should have stayed as headlines. Toyota passing Ford as the #2 car bomb manufacturer is really quite funny. Adding details is not. As for being OK with it or being too sensitive...personally, I've had quite enough of all the professional victims suing the fun out of everything. Feelings get hurt; sometimes it's funny. That's just the way it is. As long as monkeys laugh at their own farts, I accept no responsibility for my taste in humor.

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Dec 19, 2007

    Fanatics always take themselves seriously. Survivors learn to laugh. Mel Brooks turned Hitler into a joke. The new frontier is Muslim humor.

  • Tech98 Tech98 on Dec 19, 2007

    No matter how bland, there's always someone primed primed to take offence at advertising in order to get attention, make themselves feel superior or because they have nothing better to do with their lives. I wouldn't try a car bomb spoof in Israel, where it would reach a number of people traumatised by real events of that nature, but in the US we need more intelligent, witty humor and less lowest-common-denominator corporate blandness. If you think it's funny, great; if you don't, shrug and move on. We could learn a lot from the British and especially the Aussies, who mercilessly parody and ridicule sacred cows.

  • Samir Syed Samir Syed on Dec 19, 2007

    It honestly can't be more offensive than those Chevy Silverado ads where "THIS IS OUR COUNTRY" was playing during pictures of some of the worst moments in U.S. history, can it? I was almost expecting to see Harriet Tubman in those ads.