Posts Tagged ‘Jalopnik’

As a sort of spiritual foll0w-up to my most-viewed post, Jalopnik has posted their ranking of the top ten most sexist car ads. Two of the entries from the previous list made the cut. Also included were things like this:

Women and Cadillac

The ad states:

One of the special delights which ladies find in Cadillac ownership is the pleasure of being a passenger. First of all, there is the sheer physical luxury of riding in a new Cadillac. The car is wondrously spacious and comfortable – and perfectly proportioned for complete freedom of movement. Then there is the enchanting interior beauty…the marvellous convenience of it’s appointments…the great smoothness of ride…and the marvellous quietness of operation. We invite you to visit your local dealer soon…with the man of the house – and spend an hour in the passenger seat of a 1959 Cadillac. We know you will agree that it is the world’s nicest place to sit.

See also: Previous posts about sexism and cars related to Volkswagen’s Beetle, female mechanics, and sexist Kia ads.

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Like most professors, I am aware of some of the common stereotypes that exist about us – tweed jackets, elbow patches, and bow ties come to mind – but I was still interested to see what the readers of the auto enthusiast site Jalopnik thought we drove. Some of the answers were more surprising than others. Their list of the ten perfect professors’ cars (click on the link for pictures and brief descriptions if you are a stereotypical professor who doesn’t care about cars):

10. Chevy Volt

9. MG Roadsters

8. DeLorean DMC-12

7. Subaru Outback

6. Rover P6

5. Audi R8

4. Volkswagen TDi Wagon

3. Audi A4 Avant

2. Volvo Wagon

1. Nissan Leaf


I do not currently know any professors who drive a car on the list, though if the Prius had been included that would have changed things quite a bit. When I was an undergrad, though, my mentor did show up to our lunch meeting one day driving a new Volvo station wagon. Shortly after that he got married and had a child, so it is hard to nail down the independent variable there…

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These CIA videos that were posted on Facebook for some reason explain how stalking was done in a pre-digital age. As Jalopnik states:

The key seems to be, of course, don’t let the mark see you. According to the CIA way, the best way to accomplish that is to work in a team, in this case of three cars. There’s lots of map-reading involved, extrapolating most likely exit routes of your target, and constant radio communication between the pursuing cars.

The good news is today we have many advantages, since almost all of us owns a small handheld device with both a constantly-updating map and a 2-way radio. The trick is convincing several stalker-minded friends to help you out, but I guess that’s what Craigslist is for. Even with nice, creepy dedicated stalker pals and 21st-century equipment, there’s still some fundamental rules to effective, undetectable car following, and it’s great we have such resources available, especially if you’re just working with what you learned from watching Jack Nicholson smash that taillight in Chinatown.

Kids these days have it so easy.

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Along the lines of my Sexism sells post from a few years ago, Automotive site Jalopnik recently posted about the difficulties they face when looking for images of women working on cars. As Matt Hardigree notes:

Every bad stereotype about cars is present when searching for something as simple as “woman mechanic” in the various stock photo services we typically use. Most of the photos aren’t even of mechanics who also happen to have two X chromosomes, but photos of women standing next to male mechanics trying to affect a confused pose.

As inaccurate as the photos of the women who can’t use tools are the photos of women who seem to use them only as sex objects. These women are typically sweaty, covered in grease, and somehow replacing a transmission while wearing only high heels, cutoffs and a skimpy top.

Check out the gallery for the seven types of images they identified. Here are a few examples:

A sweaty woman mechanic with tools

Conspicuously clean woman mechanic in a sundress and heels

A woman mechanic who wants to kill herself with jumper cables

And finally…

A normal woman mechanic working on a normal car normally

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The Society Pages and Jalopnik recently discussed a casting call for the Acura Super Bowl commercial (with Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno). For the role of African American Car Dealer the “role details” stipulated that the actor should be: “Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark. Will work with a MAJOR COMEDIAN.” I think that Jalopnik has the most interesting commentary on this one, stating:

If you’re wondering why this might be outrageous to some, step back for a moment and look at the inverse of a casting request looking for “Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark.” You’d get “Ugly looking, mean. Dark.”

Jalopnik also comments on Acura’s apology, noting that the apology does not actually admit that anybody did anything wrong:

Acura Statement RE: Casting Call
We apologize to anyone offended by the language on the casting sheet used in the selection of actors for one of our commercials.

We sought to cast an African-American in a prominent role in the commercial, and we made our selection based on the fact that he was the most talented actor.

The casting sheet was only now brought to our attention.  We are taking appropriate measures to ensure that such language is not used again in association with any work performed on behalf of our brand.

Anyone in there hear an apology for favoring a light-skinned black actor? Not us.

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Who hasn’t wanted to tell students that they can do whatever they want… and then blow them up when they choose to do something dumb?  From what I can tell, the makers of this video are either college professors, middle managers, or the people that Michael Crichton wrote about in State of Fear:

Via: Jalopnik

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Steve Wozniak has had some trouble with his Toyota Prius.  Given the recent recalls, the fact that somebody might have a problem with a Toyota is not particularly surprising.    Like any concerned consumer, Wozniak tried to solve his problem through normal channels, stating:

The NHTSA online reporting form doesn’t fit my case. It asks things like the date of an accident. On the phone they refer me to a second number. At that number they need my VIN and mileage before they’ll listen. The person on the phone sounds like a typical very low paid clerk who can ask specific questions to type things into a database, and have no interest in the urgency and connection of my problem to the crashes/deaths/recalls/halted sales. In fact, they make it clear that they are just taking data and not doing anything themselves to remedy a safety issue. That’s the government.

Toyota is difficult too, but after some phone calls I managed to express some of my situation. Unfortunately my iPhone dropped the calls twice and I never got a reference number but they may have some sort of ticket open.

It’s been 2 months trying to have all the data and freedom, trying to get to someone high enough up to give this some attention. You can’t easily find phone numbers to companies online. I’d give anything to have had the phone number of Toyota’s legal department. They’ll see that I stated my discovery in writing 2 months ago but a local dealer couldn’t understand the significance of it and sort of thought my wife was nuts.

And that is where things would have stayed, with Wozniak slogging through the Toyota bureaucracy trying to get somebody to listen to him.  Except he’s Steve Wozniak, a.k.a. the Woz, co-founder of Apple.  He mentioned his Prius at a talk he was giving, somebody let somebody else know, Gizmodo reported on it, the higher-ups at Toyota were informed, and have agreed to take a look at Wozniak’s car.  The author of the Gizmodo report states:

What I find amazing is that someone—being Steve Wozniak or John Doe—is having these problems, and nobody in the company is doing anything about it, pronto. It may not be deadly, as the Woz puts it, but two months to get a response from a car company on an issue that affects the safety of their cars is inexcusable.

Maybe the solution to all of the world’s problems is to make sure that famous people also experience those problems so that the parties involved will make an effort to solve them.  For some problems this should be pretty easy – famous people eat food and drive cars – but I guess that we’re stuck with poverty and poor health care.

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I’ve talked about sex and sales in the past and today I came across the blog of an anonymous auto show model via her post at Jalopnik.  Of course, auto shows aren’t the only place where “booth babes” are on display.  Other notable industries that employ them include video games and consumer electronics, though given the history of car magazines that feature scantily-clad models, the auto industry may have a deeper connection to them than others.  A highlight from the Jalopnik post:

Despite our appearance (which is dictated head-to-toe by the marketing department of the manufacturer we represent, including wardrobe, hair and makeup) most of us are not just there to be your eye candy. We have extensive training from the very engineers that design these vehicles. We have piles upon piles of confidential and public industry information we spend months studying before we take a single step onto the show floor. If we don’t know the answer to your question it isn’t because we’re dumb, as you too often imply, it is because there is not an answer available to us.

Also, because we’re not dumb, we know that one of the reasons we’re there is exactly because we’re attractive and direct your attention to whatever we’re standing next to. I don’t object to being a sex symbol. I object to objectification. When you ask me, even in jest, “Do you come with the car?”, do you know what you are implying? Let me fill you in: that I am nothing more than an accessory to be bought, like 20-inch rims or a stereo upgrade. It’s not cute, it’s degrading.

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