Fordimentalists Torch Chevy Dealership
Fordimentalists Torch Chevy Dealership
In the hands of The Onion* this would be fantastic...or at least puntastic.
RUTLEDGE, TN. Numerous great schisms threaten to tear apart America, but none is greater than the one that erupted this week in Grainger County, TN. No, it's not the abortion debate, nor the enduring skirmishes based born of the racial and class divide in this country. This danger stems from the long-simmering and now not-so-cold war between Ford and Chevy owners that threatens to shake our country to its very foundation.
The rivalry seemed like harmless Waffle House banter until a local Chevy dealership took it one step too far. Edde Chevy of Rutledge began offering window decals standard with all new or used Chevy car or truck purchases. The decals pictured a cartoon character known as Calvin urinating on the universally recognizable (and to some, sacred) Ford Motor Company logo. To add insult to blasphemy, Calvin is impishly smiling all the while.
Blasphemy or Free Speech?
Angry Fordimentalists responded by hurling Molotov cocktails at the dealership and burning effigies of Rick Wagoner, Chevy parent company GM's CEO. An incensed Randy Kilby, proudly sporting his sleeveless "Ford Mustang: American Thoroughbred" shirt and a "Pony Power" trucker hat, explained the need for Chevy owners to challenge such effrontery, "I'll tell ya why I'm throwing this rock - and note the choice of rock, its mineral composition is analogous to that of the Cambrian bedrock of Henry Ford's Springwells Township, Michigan - I am throwing this rock because that Chevy dealer is not simply defiling a corporate logo, but perpetrating a very real violence against a way of life and a sacred value system that is embodied by said logo. To you, it is perceived as merely an oval inscribed with the word 'Ford', to us it is a densely-packed, polysemic symbol which we Ford-owners as a people can deploy in a seemingly infinite number of modalities in order to inhabit and project our complexly stratified identities...Oh, and Silverados are for queers!"
It long seemed that our society provided socially acceptable outlets for the animosity both sides feel for one another. Just as our desires to (re)enact all modern wars from WWII to Operation Iraqi Freedom have been sublimated to digital role-playing, Xbox allowed us all to act out fantasies to ram the fuck out of a Ford with our Chevy or vice versa. It seems that this was not enough to stem the tide of consumer-tribal warfare. As federal troops do their best to contain the unrest, fears are mounting that violence may spill over into the Coke-Pepsi civil war and might even arouse the soporific Nyquil-Robitussin disputes.
Etc. Etc. I should leave satire in the hands of professionals.
Am I being a bit glib about the whole Mohammed cartoon controversy? Of course. People have died, and will continue to die in the larger conflict between Middle East and West. Not to mention the fact that W. et. al. seem intent on bankrupting America in the name of whatever the hell they're fighting in the name of.
I know all the culturally relative arguments about how these incidents are simply indicative of the divide between Middle East and West regarding notions of freedom and the Sacred. How could I not know these? I'm an American liberal who studied anthropology. I live for cultural relativism. It tastes exotic and it helps me tell myself that it's OK to sleep at night. So why be glib? Well, because this whole thing is fucking crazy. Although, on the bright side, Salman Rushdie could probably hold a pig roast in Mecca and not get a second look. Also, the fact that an Iranian Newspaper is holding a Holocaust cartoon contest, now that's just childish. In any case, any incident that renders Denmark controversial is inherently absurd.
We don't need no vand; let the moderfucker burn.
So, what to do? Damned if I know. I've probably come off as a xenophobic Westerner stereotyping Muslim extremism. That doesn't fly with me. Just as valuing American troops and the role of the military in general when trying to maintain a security and democracy is very much commensurate with opposing a misguided and deceitful war, pointing out that killings in response to a series drawings is at no way at odds with my usual politics. In line with that, no one should condemn the Holocaust cartoon contest. Yeah, it's a little third grade for my taste, but I think we should just give Hamshahri a chuck on the shoulder and tell them "Well played!"
*Coincidentally, though not the least bit surprisingly, after I completed this entry I found that The Onion had in fact addressed this very topic, and in Tennessee no less.