Decline Watch: America’s roads are so bad you need a German car to drive on them
Here’s another entry from the world of advertising. This time it’s a new ad for the Audi A6, via Jalopnik: 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 ...
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
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy Twitter: @joshuakeating