- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating is associate editor at Foreign Policy and the editor of the Passport blog. He has worked as a researcher, editorial assistant, and deputy Web editor since joining the FP staff in 2007. In addition to being featured in Foreign Policy, his writing has been published by the Washington Post, Newsweek International, Radio Prague, the Center for Defense Information, and Romania's Adevarul newspaper. He has appeared as a commentator on CNN International, C-Span, ABC News, Al Jazeera, NPR, BBC radio, and others. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he studied comparative politics at Oberlin College.
Voiceover: The road is not exactly a place of intelligence. Across the nation, over 100,000 miles of highways and bridges are in disrepair. Add to that, countless distractions every mile, millions of ill-equipped vehicles, half-a-million cubic yards of debris, and the 38 million drivers who couldn’t pass the drivers’ exam today… even if road signs actually did make sense.
This is why we engineered a car that analyzes real-time information, reads your handwriting, and makes 2,000 decisions every second.
The new Audi A6 is here. The road is now an intelligent place.
Good lord. Not only is a car commercial — traditionally the domain of brash, fist-pumping Americana or at least salt-of-the-earth populism — built around the downbeat topic of America’s crumbling infrastructure, but it’s a commercial for a German car! The message seems to be, America’s roads are so bad, it’s no longer safe to drive American cars on them. The post-apocalyptic hell-scape we call a highway system is only navigable in a high-end European luxury sedan. (As a side-note, I’m not really sure how a car that can read your handwriting is supposed to help you avoid distraction, but this isn’t really my area of expertise.)
Addendum: Continuing with the car theme, one of my coworkers nominated Heinz’s new Dip & Squeeze ketchup packet, made for less messy ketchup consumption while driving, as a sign of decline. But I see it as a sign that America’s boundless ingenuity is still alive. Rating: 5