Detroit — Can’t fit enough go-green lecturing in the pages of the New York Times from Thomas Friedman — he of the 10,000-square-foot mansion and globetrotting carbon footprint? The paper of record has tapped international do-gooder Bono (a.k.a., Paul Hewson) — the jet-setting U2 rocker whose world tour just left a Madonna-dwarfing, 65,000-ton carbon footprint — to lecture us on car design.
Since this drivel appeared on the Sunday Times op-ed page, we’ll take it seriously.
“How is it that the country that made us all fall in love with the automobile has failed, with only a few exceptions, to produce a single family sedan with the style and humor and grace of the cars produced in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s?” he laments. That’s Item #1 of his ten ideas, humbly touted as having the “potential to change our world.”
As a student of green (see Item #3 which proposes “an equal right to pollute” — a sort of personal carbon cap), Bono seems ignorant of the fact that the green diktats he embraces are precisely what killed off style, grace, and humor.
Thanks to draconian mpg laws begun in the 1970s, manufacturers have increasingly designed cars as aerodynamic soap bars, reducing their drag-coefficient and raising their fuel efficiency (the exception being boxy SUVs, born of CAFE’s truck loophole and which Bono also resents). That template has been taken to the extreme with egg-shaped hybrid cars so beloved by green celebs like Bono.
The Irish Obamaphile then concludes with this incredible graph: “It hurts me to say this about democracy, but rarely does majority rule produce something of beauty. That’s why the Obama administration — while it still holds the keys to the big automakers — ought to put some style fascists into the mix: Steve Jobs, Frank Gehry, Jeff Koons. Put the great industrial designers in the front seat, right along with sound financial stewardship . . . the greener, the cleaner, the meaner on fossil fuels, the sexier for me. Check out the Tesla or the Fisker Karma car, designed by the same team that gave the world the Aston Martin.”
Forget the irony of the ultimate beneficiary of personal liberty — a rock singer — embracing anything fascist. No matter the designer, Mr. Hewson, the government’s already “fascist” rules are so strict that he will have no choice but to pen cars that look like Priuses. Unless, of course, their customers are spoiled, rich rock stars who can afford $80,000 electric Aston Martins by Fisker.