Culture Rover

#125 - Digging a Hole to China

The odd new commercial for the Dodge Nitro shows the heavy SUV falling through the earth's core - from subway station in the States (so much for public transportation) through hell itself and back out onto the streets of an Asian city.

Unintentionally, the television spot seems to reveal economic anxieties in the United States about China's rising industrial power. The world is turning upside down, the ad hints. Is the U.S. still in the driver's seat after its journey through the inferno to the "other" side?

Not if Jane Dark has his say. Our pseudonymonic and Benjaminian Mr. Dark commented on U.S. anxieties about China last year in his thoughts about book reviews of a new biography of Mao Zedong. Dark argued that portrayals of "the world's most evil dictators," the latest addition to the list being Mao, tended to emerge not when they were committing horrible crimes, but rather just at the moment when their countries began to pose the gravest threat to United States international supremacy.

In other words, first comes Hitler, then comes Stalin, then comes Mao in the devil's role.

Could this be so? Dark's comments are as geared toward the poetic as they are toward the explicitly political, but they are intriguing nonetheless. See While History Was Sleeping.

And, wherever you are, please don't let that Dodge Nitro fall on your head while you are mulling all this over.

30 November 2006

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