QOTD: Worried About Expressing Yourself?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd worried about expressing yourself

Last week’s Tesla Cybertruck introduction is still dominating discourse, and in classic Tesla fashion, it’s doing so in a truly annoying way. Following a sketchy tug-of-war with a downslope-pointed, rear-drive F-150 intended to show the cockroach-shaped Cybertruck’s brawn, Ford has demanded a do-over on a (literal) level playing field.

Again, it’s annoying.

While “polarized” doesn’t begin to describe the reaction to Cybertruck, one comment about the retro-futuristic EV caught my eye. It was a reason why someone might not consider the vehicle, and it has nothing to do with power, price, or build quality.

The auto writer in question, despite loving the avant-garde wedge design, voiced concerns on social media about the vehicle being potentially unsafe for pedestrians (valid), too large (also valid, but perhaps less so in this segment), and “maybe deeply anti-social.”

That last criticism took me aback. Anti-social? Is this something people think about when spending tens of thousands of dollars on a vehicle for themselves — that the vehicle might make unpleasant waves in society?

Scrolling through the dictionary, one discovers that anti-social means “contrary to the laws and customs of society” and/or “antagonistic to sociable instincts or practices.”

Can we no longer go our own way? Must we now worry about offending the sensibilities of a bunch of randos we’ve never met? Listen, while Tesla still needs to answer a long list of unanswered questions before I’d give Cybertruck a go, its overall appearance, like that of any vehicle, needs to appeal to just one person: myself.

I can see how some vehicles could be anti-social in a way — take Hummer’s road-hogging H1 and even H2. Lambos strike me as both impractical and visually unappealing, and have since the 1980s. To numerous environmentalists, every full-size pickup that drives by is the equivalent of a black-coated man walking up to them on the street and making a throat-cutting motion with his right hand. The threats never cease!

The great thing about having access to a broad range of consumer goods from across the globe is that we can pick and choose what suits us, what stimulates that special feeling, what makes us — the individual us — feel good.

A buddy of mine drives a Scion xB and an Isuzu VehiCROSS because he likes oddball cars. His desire to be offbeat comes with a side effect of being noticed, and that’s alright with him. Where would we be as a society if we couldn’t express ourselves through the vehicles we buy?

Visually jarring? Bring it on.

What’s your take on this, B&B? When thinking of purchasing a vehicle, have you ever taken into consideration society’s reaction to your potential purchase? Did it matter one iota?

[Image: Tesla]

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3 of 132 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Nov 27, 2019

    The car mag writer Brett Berk sums this up very well. "All Cars are Drag". I had this experience over and over when I was with the classic car club of manhattan. Drive my 08 beater truck to the club. Pick up Aston Martin/911 GT3/Nissan GT-R. Now, I'm the same moron who drove there in my dented truck, but the attitude of other drivers changed quite a bit. Many of the cars had loud exhausts, to the point I used Bose Airplane headphones for the GT4....a loud car attracts attention, and gives you a 15 mph perceived speed increase on local roads...everyone thinks you are doing 45 plus, even if the speedo is just below 30. My current car is a four door sedan, in a duller color, with no badges. I have learned over time that the best way to go is stealth-Q ship. I have a switchable exhaust, which we call "doochebag mode"...I only turn it on when passing the WRX with fart cans, but otherwise leave it in quiet. I would have a flashy car for fun, but it would be a second car, and I'd know I was being showy between the endless boring grey/gray/white/gray minivans.... All Cars Are Drag.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Nov 27, 2019

    You have to be ready for the tail gaters, the wanna race guys, and especially the passive aggressive who will block you, when you drive a bright orange Porsche GT....it is actually the other drivers who either act out or lose their minds with envy/annoyance/jealousy that pose a greater hazard....

  • Bullnuke Well, production cuts may be due to transport-to-market issues. The MV Fremantle Highway is in a Rotterdam shipyard undergoing repairs from the last shipment of VW products (along with BMW and others) and to adequately fireproof it. The word in the shipping community is that insurance necessary for ships moving EVs is under serious review.
  • Frank Wait until the gov't subsidies end, you aint seen nothing yet. Ive been "on the floor" when they pulled them for fuel efficient vehicles back during/after the recession and the sales of those cars stopped dead in their tracks
  • Vulpine The issue is really stupidly simple; both names can be taken the wrong way by those who enjoy abusing language. Implying a certain piece of anatomy is a sign of juvenile idiocy which is what triggered the original name-change. The problem was not caused by the company but rather by those who continuously ridiculed the original name for the purpose of VERY low-brow humor.
  • Sgeffe There's someone around where I live who has a recent WRX-STi, but the few times I've been behind this guy, he's always driving right at the underposted arbitrary numbers that some politician pulled out of their backside and slapped on a sign! With no gendarmes or schoolkids present! Haven't been behind this driver on the freeway, but my guess is that he does the left lane police thing with the best of 'em!What's the point of buying such a vehicle if you're never going to exceed a speed limit? (And I've pondered that whilst in line in the left lane at 63mph behind a couple of Accord V6s, as well as an AMG E-Klasse!)
  • Mebgardner I'm not the market for a malleable Tuner / Track model, so I dont know: If you are considering a purchase of one of these, do you consider the Insurance Cost Of Ownership aspect? Or just screw it, I'm gonna buy it no matter.The WRX is at the top of the Insurance Cost pole for tuner models, is why I ask.