Saturday, June 7, 2014

Class / No Class: A Rant

Watchtower tells me that, if I want to appreciate the precise handling of my Mustang, I need to drive a pickup truck.  I've never driven a pickup, that I recall.  And I certainly don't intend to start now.  Doubtless a pickup drives like a small U-Haul van, which I have driven.  Or, more to the point here, a Chevy Tahoe.

I watched some of the D-Day celebrations on TV.  France hosted the observance at the eastern end of the invasion beaches, at Ouistreham.  It had a more pan-European flavor than the observance at the American Cemetery in Colleville.  I've visited the American Cemetery and it's very moving.  But the Brits and the Canadians and the French Resistance fought in Normandy too.  Ouistreham is near Pegasus Bridge, which was taken and held by British paratroopers, at considerable cost, on D-Day.  Even the Germans got a shout out yesterday for having endured their own Nazis (Angela Merkel was there).

At Ouistreham all the dignitaries, save two, arrived in Citroen C 6's.  Vladimir Putin looked distinctly uncomfortable.  Not because he was in a C 6, I assume, but because he was sticking his head into the mouths of the lions of constitutional democracy.  Evidently a C 6 was good enough for Europe's political elite, or the heads of state didn't want the expense and aggravation of schlepping their own limos to the Normandy coast.

The exceptions were Queen Elizabeth & Prince Phillip, who arrived in a single Land Rover, and President Obama, who arrived in a phalanx of Chevy Tahoes with flashing strobe lights.  Maybe the Brits were making a commercial point.  The logistics of shipping one Land Rover across the English Channel are not great, in any event.  Obama's convoy was embarrassing.

The only thing that could have made it more "Here come the Americans!" would have been loudspeakers on the Tahoes blaring Stars & Stripes Forever.  Yes, the "Leader of the Free World" may require extra security arrangements.  But do we have to be so obnoxious about it?  I've been watching variations on this theme, at various summits, for decades.  It reminds me of the Empress Nympho sedan chair scene in History of the World, Part I.

Above and below: the Citroen C 6, a classy-looking, roomy, aerodynamic, Executive Express with a 3 liter V-6.
And it has the supple, quiet, ride for which Citroen has been world-famous for decades.  This is the kind of limo
that any sensible head-of-state needs.  Maybe, if he drives himself, an Autobahn-burner would be better.
But if there's a chauffeur in front, the C 6 is comfortable and adequate. 

The Chevy Tahoe: the engineering brilliance and subtlety of a steam locomotive.  I didn't look up the specifications
because I already know what I need to.  They're a pain the the ass to see around in any traffic situation.  They're
always driven too slow, or too fast.   Add strobe lights and Men In Black: viola!  Ummurican comin'!

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