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"We had such hopes." [Jun. 21st, 2007|03:06 pm]
criticism and analysis of advertisements



Image from Belvedere
, CORY YOUNG, Tulsa World, OK

This image was taken from autoblog.com

OKLAHOMA CENTENNIAL, Centennial Time Capsule Car Found Ruined

A brand-new shiny car buried half a century ago in a time capsule was revealed to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Oklahoma's statehood. They hoped to find a pristine, gold '57 Plymouth Belvedere. Instead they discovered a rust covered relic. The capsule had been infiltrated by water and the car was ruined, keys rusted in the ignition.

I have followed the coverage of this story closely in major news outlets and on blogs. It is generally presented as something as a fluff piece, which isn't really surprising. Except for the fact that this imagery, ought to raise bigger questions. As Aaron Donovan, writer for streetsblog.com, points out in his piece An Old Car Interred:

What was an asset in 1957 has become an enormous national liability. Fifty years ago, the oil fields of Oklahoma were awash with ever increasing amounts of oil and the United States produced more oil than any other nation in the world. We didn't have to import a drop. Nobody had ever heard of the terms global warming or climate change.

To my knowledge, none of the major news outlets has made this connection. But, perhaps the people and the images have made the connection. In the image above a yellow wreath serves as a memorial for the spot where the car was buried. It's odd to ascribe mourning to a material object like a car, but perhaps not so odd to do so when this once futuristic vehicle is a symbol for the American way of life. The yellow color reminds me of the yellow ribbons once ubiquitous
during gulf wars. Where have those ribbons gone? Have they been transferred to our failed hopes for a continuation of cities and lives organized around the car? In 1957 the United States was a leader in industry and technology globally without all of the complications of globalization.

On blogs focused on classic cars these images elicit tremendous longing for what once was based on the comments of the readers. The most moving image is that of the rusted car amid blazing colored lights "unveiled" to the public. Here we have our high expectations juxtaposed with the reality of raising gas prices and the increased danger and international conflict our insatiable hunger for fuel has brought home.

What do you see in these images?

[User Picture]From: rubyspirit
2008-02-03 04:56 pm (UTC)
I live in Oklahoma City and didn't hear about this. Tulsa probably didn't talk much about it because they were embarrassed what happened.

Good closing sentence ... "What sort of time capsule might we leave for the people of 2057? Here's an idea: A letter of apology wrapped in a Hummer."
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