On Commercials: The Cadillac ELR (Electric Car)

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So during the Olympics, at least initially, I wasn’t paying attention to commercials.  Then I saw a few interesting posts on this Caddy commercial, and well what can I say, I decided I should watch.

Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe. They take August off. Off.
We’re crazy, driven hard-working believers. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever.”

And after watching this commercial, I really thought it was quite perfect.  It wrapped up American values, American attitude, and American smugness succinctly.  With a side of American exceptionalism.  Genius.  The Ad Agency should get 10 gold stars.  Definitely the best commercial I have seen in a while, and it really sums up the aspirations of the the American Dream.

We have the hero, who works hard and pulls himself up by his boot straps to be successful.  And you know he is successful, because he has lots of stuff!  A McMansion! A $75K car! A pool!  And he works really hard, only taking 2 weeks of vacation a year and barely has time to greet his family before dashing off to work. But he is happy!  Because he’s got all the important stuff covered.

And clearly he has the sort of job you can come and go when you please. It doesn’t look like he is enduring any long morning commute at peak. Probably a senior-level white collar job.  A job that is really popular for people who look like him:

  • 70% of corporate board members are white males
  • 70% of corporate executive team members are white males

[Source: Corporate Diversity Report]

Work hard, create your own luck and believe anything is possible.  That’s the American Way.

But don’t forget to be born into the right family.  According to this new study on ancestry and “luck” covered in thy NYT last week, social mobility is controlled by your ancestors.  A lot further back than we thought.

To a striking extent, your overall life chances can be predicted not just from your parents’ status but also from your great-great-great-grandparents’. The recent study suggests that 10 percent of variation in income can be predicted based on your parents’ earnings. In contrast, my colleagues and I estimate that 50 to 60 percent of variation in overall status is determined by your lineage. The fortunes of high-status families inexorably fall, and those of low-status families rise, toward the average — what social scientists call “regression to the mean” — but the process can take 10 to 15 generations (300 to 450 years), much longer than most social scientists have estimated in the past.

I wonder how many more generations I have to go until anything is possible and I get one of those ELR’s?  Never mind, I’d much rather take August off and stroll to the cafe. N’est ce Pas?

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