I guess everyone has their triggers. Some folks really like animals or whatever--one of those abused pet commercials comes on--with the chewed-up tails, tattered ears, eyes blinded by cataracts, but somehow still able to broadcast a lifetime of abject, uninterrupted pain--and they totally lose it--and forget all about the totally awesome conversation we were just having about which Katy Perry music video is the very best. (Incidentally, it's still "Teenage Dream.")
Me? My soul is slowly being killed by plastic wheel covers.
|A compelling case to give up on life.|
Really, this design solution, if you could call it that, is the clear victor in today's marketplace; the overwhelming majority of cars sold today wear hubcaps at least this embarrassing as they leave the lot, and most will keep wearing them until the whole machine is mercifully recycled in a few years time.
My understanding is that most folks are at least vaguely aware that the cover itself is ornamental, so it seems odd that the specific design elements in common use are so readily accepted. Let's take it apart: the most ubiquitous design you'll see today is this: an sunburst of false spokes, arranged in a nauseating mockery of a mid-nineties alloy, with the cheap, stamped-steel wheel clearly visible behind, and let's not forget the fake lug bolts--which are really a nice touch considering the lug bolts are the one thing that probably should be covered--and the fact that the real ones are presumably at least partially viable behind the false ones for double-ugly. Think of the decorative spokes as knives driven deep into your eye-sockets, and the decorative bolts as salt and lemon packed into the wounds, just to make sure that it all really hurts. Some even have fake brake rotors peeking between the fake spokes, although thankfully, this has been confined to the lowest rung, dollar-tree, aftermarket segment and no actual auto-manufacturer (not even Hyundai) has engaged this particularly idiotic practice (as of yet).
Because, don't get me wrong, I'm not against facade being used here, so long as it reads and presents as facade. We used to do this as a matter of course, and it looked great: Partial wheel covers, veiling only the lug pattern and hub bearing, harmoniously nesting within the steel wheel, yielding a clean, simple look, while obfuscating none of the structure itself. Steel-on-steel; easy to manufacture, easy to clean: an elegant, timeless, and straightforward execution.
|I think I'm wet.|
When I bought my current car, it was wearing some pretty gross specimens, finished in that sparkly silver which looks nothing like any kind of metal. When I was a few blocks away from the prior owner's house, I pulled over and pried them off with my fingers. They looked new, so realistically, I probably could have listed them for like twenty bucks on ebay, but instead, I broke them all in half and threw them in a nearby dumpster. I guess it was worth twenty bucks to know they would never be on a car ever again.
|Caddy sans covers? Pretty badass, actually.|
|Oh, hell yes.|
And, yes, I do realize that I'm probably a little over-sensitive to false structure.
A lot of my job involves doing math to figure out where to hide real columns, so that an architect can put fake columns someplace that would never fucking have fucking columns in the first fucking place. Fucking. Considering that a typical wheel cover is just a polar array of anywhere from five to a dozen fake columns...well, it kind of makes sense that this bothers me more than it would most.
Of course, we're not just talking columns. Generally speaking, absolutely anything you can point to in the built world that expresses something of its material reality, be it the surface finish, an "exposed beam" or strut--all of that expression is complete falsehood, and usually as blatantly contrary to physical truth as these plastic hubcaps.
And don't get me started on faux-beams. It gets so much worse, guys.
|Fucking kill me.|
Anyway. Happy new year, everybody.