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The Embargo Issue

Honk Honk Honk

My first car was a 1996 Geo Metro LSi. Then came the 2000 Ford Focus SE. I picked them because Consumer Reports told me to.
Κείμενο Lisa Carver

Photos By Keith Newell

Consumer Reports

reductio ad Hitlerum


Car Product Specialist

We’re looking at the new Nissan Leaf. From your phone you can start your car, you can preheat it or precool it, it’ll alert you if it’s off its charger.

Pretty much every new car has a computer now. What makes this car different is that its computer is hooked up to your phone?

Is there any way people could locate you, like how you can tell where and when someone made a phone call, and that information is stored?


Car Fluffer

Did you get this job because you love cars so much?

What do they call it, dusting the cars?

Have you seen any interesting messes on any cars?

Why, what happens?

How have the crowds been treating you, as a human being cleaning up after them?

Car Security

Why do they need so much security here? Do people get handsy with the cars?

Has anyone ever tried to argue with you instead of complying?

Is this job ever fun?

I haven’t been to New York for a while. I noticed security’s ramped up all over the city. The atmosphere is different. People look scared.

Three Car Amigos

How come you came to the expo?



What kind of cars do you come for?


Why Cadillac and Honda?



I was just talking to someone about a car you can partly operate from your phone. Would you like that? Would you feel like you were losing control, being overhandled by technology? Or would you feel like you were being served in luxury?


And what about you, the man of the group?


Chase Davis

Car Tuner

I was waiting around a long time to talk to you! I think if I wasn’t giving that guy before me the hairy eyeball the whole time, he would have stayed gnawing on your ear another two hours!

What are they so interested in?

OK. But why care about cars to begin with?

What do these cars you have here say?

How fast can it go?

Are those called suicide doors, the doors that open up?

How fast?

How much?

And after you rebuild them?

Car Lover

Something that no one at the expo was able to answer satisfactorily for me was: Why love cars?


So it’s more to get away than to get to.

With the Leaf—they had that car at the Expo—Nissan can track you. Where’s the freedom in that?

Nothing against electric cars. I’m just paranoid, electric or gas. Remember in Grease, the knives shot out of the bad guy’s car in the drag race? Ever seen anything like that in real life?


That’s too bad. With new cars, driving is a more passive experience, with the safety regulations and sensors that can tell when you’re tailing another car too closely and make the car brake itself. That’s sort of taking driving out of the driver’s hands.

Did you see that Woody Allen movie where people allowed more and more to be done for them, eventually even falling in love? So if their relationship wasn’t that exciting, they’d step into these pods and get infused with love hormones and feel good about their mate again.

There’s this medieval trope that a knight on a horse is mind over body—

Oh, look at you! “Yeah, me and that trope go way back.” But then the horse transformed into a car, and now the car is—

We’re becoming avatars in our own life.

Also if you’re taking on the Mob single-handedly and you WANT to crash into someone, it won’t let you!

Plus the new cars are harder to steal. The car will alert the owner and they’ll shut you down remotely. All my freedoms are being taken away! My freedom to crash, my freedom to steal!

not so enthusiastic

I can see that you are going to ignore all my illegal half-stated questions. Let’s play a game called What Kind of Car Does a ____ Drive?

Haha! Yeah, it’s the metal mullet! What kind of car does a stripper drive?


Soccer mom?

High school kid.

Drug dealer.

Federal agent.

Old money.

Nouveau riche.

Someone who never had a car.

Black guy.

Black woman.

Weight lifter.

What kind of a person won’t drive, not even the Nissan Cube?

Do members get to drive the motorcycles you have here?