The following is a guest post from Starts & Fits’s resident image critic and bubble watcher, Futurebird.
I was jogging down Delancey Street this evening when I saw this poster near a parking garage. I stopped and stared at it for a long moment mesmerized by this enormous, presumably expensive, yet childish house-car perched impossibly on a mountain peak. Trapped with no safe way to back out or drive forward. Would it fall forward or slide back? Could it snap in two? I imagined the image idling under a clear blue sky and found more horror than comedy in the thought of people moving frantically inside. Somehow this image resonated deep deep in my subconscious. That’s good advertising. The appeal or power of an image is dependent on the image’s ability to resonate—not only on the literal level, I have described, but at a deeper level where our greatest desires and fear reside.
Then I read the text. Robin Williams in a film about an RV? Hell no. That sounds like a tramatic movigoing expereince. Another bad “family movie” about what we’ve been taught to picture as the typical American family. Love will save the day. Love is all you need. Not gas. Or, god forbid money and an economy that actually manufactures something besides bad movies.
Nonetheless as I ran home I contemplated the image further. I had seen that image some place before. …
Ah— So perhaps this poster is a metaphor for the American Empire, for the real esate bubble and it’s inevitable collapse—for the present precarious state of our luxurious gas guzzling civilization.
I used to think that the jet plane was the ideal symbol of the American Empire— (a fragile egg supported by air carrying immense wealth powered by the most energy packed fuel ever burned) but now I feel that the RV is the real symbol. As both a gas guzzler and a home, it encapsulates the highway-focused way of life and the real estate economy in one delicious icon. It also captures the domesticity—perhaps the inhabitants of this home with wheels are not panicked at all. Perhaps they are seated at a little table serving pancakes from a hot griddle, watching television, oblivious to the danger and natural beauty around them. Yes! This is America.
The only question that remains is if the creators of the movie’s ad campaign consciously picked an image with such a dark subtext for what presumably is a comedy.
Or of this is just a coincidence?