Leather from unique cows.
'This world is so insane that to be sane is simply another kind of madness,' said Pascal two or three hundred years ago. He was right then and here is clear evidence that he is still right.
Flipping through The New Yorker of October 5th, 2009. On page 21 a full-page ad for Range Rovers. The headline reads: ONE OF THE MOST CIVILIZED PLACES ON EARTH. The picture showed the driving seat of the car. In 1998 - the only year for which I could find the statistics I needed - 1,170,694 people on Earth were killed in traffic-related accidents. 38,848,625 were injured. Things are almost certainly a heck of a lot worse by now.
I did find some figures full of optimistic cheer from the U.S. for 2008. It seems that only 31,600 Americans got whacked. (About 10 times more than 9-11, you will note.) This, proclaimed the article, is a great improvement on 1972, when 54,000 bit the asphalt. Our roads are getting safer, exulted some suited buffoon. No, they are just getting less awful.
What the ad ought to say is, ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACES ON EARTH.
And that's not all. The smaller text of the ad reads thus:
The Range Rover Autobiography (the name of the beast, it seems) is all that is luxurious. Redesigned for you, by you. From the interior employing unique leather hides, trim and premium woods, these uniquely personalized Range Rovers take you wherever, whenever with a heightened ride quality and unprecedented performance. Finding the time to get far away just got a little easier.
To dissect such imbecile fatuity is, I agree, a waste of whatever brains we still possess. But.. unique leather hides? You mean each one only comes off one cow?
'Uniquely personalized' speaks for itself.
God knows what 'heightened ride quality' is. Sounds nice, though. Maybe we get killed in luxurious comfort.
To be sure, car advertising is often highly dubious. Pontiac used to promise 'DRIVING EXCITEMENT' when "driving excitement" is surely the last thing any sane person would want.
Which brings us back to Pascal. Time to unbuckle the safety belt and clamber out of the 'Autobiography' faintly relieved to still be in one piece.
NOTE: The Range Rover 'Autobiography' costs from $145,000 amd does 15 miles to the gallon.
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