Warren Brown's Love for Jetta TDI Dares Speak Its Name

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
warren browns love for jetta tdi dares speak its name

Stephan Wilkinson reckons I should leave Washington Post car critic Warren Brown alone. While I respect the former Car and Driver editor and occasional TTAC contributor’s opinions on what constitutes a suitable target for our editorial ire, Brown’s ode to the Jetta TDI deserves special attention. Not because it’s another example of the nominal critic’s abject inability to maul a P.O.S. (e.g. Chevy Aveo) or his ongoing support for spending your tax dollars on Motown’s incompetence. No, this example of Brown’s writing is notable for its 17th century rhetorical style and sexual subtext. “An undergraduate theology professor once advised me to avoid expressing love for inanimate objects. His argument was that non-living things, including those with motors and engines, lack souls. Things without souls are incapable of loving or being loved, he said. I finished his course with a B-, mostly because I consumed inordinate amounts of time in papers and classroom discussions trying to prove him wrong. That professor is long gone from the halls of Xavier University of Louisiana, as am I. But with your forbearance, dear reader, I wish to continue the argument. Consider the turbo-diesel-powered, 2009 Volkswagen Jetta sedan. I hereby stipulate that it is an inanimate object in the generic sense of the term, normally incapable of movement or direction without human input, worthless without fuel or battery. Yet, I submit to you that it is quite capable of engendering human affection akin to love.” Oy vey.

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  • Chuckgoolsbee Chuckgoolsbee on Oct 04, 2008

    I'm with Mr. Brown on this one. Sir William Lyons, founder of Jaguar, once said, "The car is the closest thing we will ever create to something that is alive." Inanimate objects may not be able to love you back, but there is no reason to withhold affection for them when they earn it. I love my old E-type Jaguar for its beauty, style, and performance that was light years ahead of its time. I love that old Jag for the smiles it brings to me, and many others that see it, touch it, and drive it. I love how it breaks down social barriers and makes friends out of strangers every time I stop for gas, or a bite to eat while driving it. I love my VW Jetta TDI for providing me with 127,000 miles (and counting) of reliable running, and an average of 50 MPG on fuel I make myself out in my barn ... literally out of garbage. (Name another car for sale in the USA that can do that for you!) Two very different types of love, but deep affection nonetheless. Besides Mr. Farago, what is it that drives you to wax rhapsodic about your Boxster, besides love? Don't hate the love, embrace it! --chuck http://chuck.goolsbee.org

  • David C. Holzman David C. Holzman on Oct 04, 2008

    It's inevitable that just like Pres Bush, even Warren Brown will make sense once in a blue moon. Besides my car, I love my bicycle (not nearly as much as the car), my old mechanical typewriter (which now serves as a decoration in the living room), Massachusetts, Utah, the solar system, mathematical order, really good espresso... None of this in quite the same way I love certain people and a certain canine that belongs to my ex girlfriend, but love, nonetheless.

  • FDBurke FDBurke on Jul 19, 2009

    Yikes. I think - think - that might be a bit over the top.