The most Arian-looking “American” man I’ve seen outside of Rolfe in The Sound of Music stands militant in front of his gorgeous backyard pool, says:
“Why do we work so hard? For this? (looking at his pool) For STUFF?
Other countries: they work, they stroll home, they stop by the café, they take August off! (pause) OFF!
Why aren’t WE like that? (I ask myself that everyday by the way with a slightly different inflection)
He goes on… now in his enormous house…
Because WE’RE crazy-driven, hard-working believers, that’s why! Those other countries think we’re nuts. (pause) Whatever. (Don’t you love when someone responds by saying, ‘whatever’, as if to say – ‘I couldn’t care less about you’? Because I am sure we want countries to all think Americans are a bunch of uncaring jerks).
Were the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali?
Were we nuts when we landed on the moon? (Ignores wife who passes him in his hallway) That’s right – WE went up there, and you know what we got? BORED!
So we left.
Got a car up there, left the key in it… do you know why? Because we’re the only ones going back up there, that’s why.
But I digress. It’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck, you gotta believe anything is possible. (The only line in this commercial I agree with, but loses its meaning amid the context).
As for all of the stuff? That’s the upside of only taking 2 weeks off in August.
This Cadillac Pool commercial has invaded our lives (during the SuperBowl, during the Olympics, during the Academy Awards), and after little Mr Smug and Arrogant ‘American’ utters, ‘Isn’t it so?’ in French (by the way, the French would be disgusted that you even used their language), an expletive comes out of my mouth EVERYTIME aimed at the TV, the man, Cadillac, and the ad agency responsible for putting this dribble on air!
We went to the moon and got BORED??? BORED??? Are you serious? (and by the way, if we got so ‘bored’, why are we going back?)
The depiction of Americans in this advertisement is that we are all high-strung lunatics that don’t enjoy life’s moments, but rather life’s STUFF, and other countries who do practice experiencing the small things in life, aren’t as ‘GOOD’ as WE are. What real American would dare even think about taking a leisurely stroll home from work, or a couple extra weeks in August to ponder what life has to offer?
Is that REALLY better – that approach to life you depict? Apparently this man hasn’t experienced much of LIFE, because I can tell you – if he ever did turn his robot head off for a few minutes to really think about what it might be like to take his children to Disneyland and experience the simple gift of the joy in their faces… but wait, he can’t. He’s too busy working so he can get more stuff… stuff he will never truly enjoy.
Ever lived in Europe Mr Arrogant (I have so many other names for you… but I digress)? I have. I lived in a small town in Italy. I lived in Spain for some time. What would it be like for Americans if the majority of us allowed ourselves to work to LIVE (I mean – really LIVE and experience the wonders of life), instead of live to work (as our current culture seems to have it)? This is what the majority of people do in Europe, and there is a peace of mind, and joy, and content that comes along with it.
What would it be like if after work was over each night in America, we met up with our friends in the town center and laughed and enjoyed each other’s company? What a concept! Would you rather trade your luxury car with the extra special GPS, Radiant Silver paint, and leather seating for a chance to do that each night?
I will never forget moving back to the US from Italy in my 20s. I had such an amazing peace about me after having lived abroad for some time, and flying over the Atlantic en route home, there was one moment in time in which the World Trade Center of New York City appeared into my window’s view, and for some reason an incredible stress took over my body. It was one of those moments I will never forget. And that was in the 1990s when things were only just starting to pick up speed!
It is absolutely fine to be ‘crazy-driven’. In fact it’s great. I am certainly someone who would be placed into that category. And I happen to like some of my stuff. Do I always appreciate it? No I do not. I need to step back and think about that. How about you?
And are there millions of Americans that work their tails off everyday as truck drivers, teachers, policemen, farmers, shop keepers, waiters, janitors, gardeners, and more – some with 2 and 3 jobs (and I sure know some who always keep a smile on their faces doing it), who just work to keep food on the table and provide opportunities for their children – not to buy more STUFF, and certainly not to get appreciated? Millions of them.
So it is highly possible…no, it is absolutely the case that this commercial may be the most obnoxious and arrogant generalization of Americans that I have ever seen. And frankly, it’s an embarrassment to me, as an American, that this is how Cadillac (often known as a symbol of the American Dream) would choose to depict what it is to be an American in such a way – no soul, no heart – just a desire for more STUFF. I am disgusted every time the commercial airs.
If this is the case, we really better all step ourselves back as a culture and rethink our values, because we are going to hell in a hand basket* fast.
*Going to hell in a hand basket: situation headed for disaster inescapably