“WOOOOO!” go the cheers. “YEAHHHHHHH!!!!” a man yells. They scream. They holler. But worst of all, they clap. And they clap for—and this is true—a fucking Volkswagen Jetta.
Here is a tip to “reporters” and “journalists” covering press conferences at the auto shows, or really for everyone in general: do not clap. It’s bad, and dumb.
We clap for accomplishments, things that contribute to beauty and the human condition. We clap for a piece of music well-played, a well-delivered speech with thoughtful ideas, a sports team winning a sports championship.
We don’t clap for new, iterative generations of already-existing cars.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta will be a fine auto. The sort of person who would buy one will be very happy with it. It will get them where they need to go, with the room they require for their things, and will transport them in a manner that makes them feel accomplished, yet reasonable. The automotive equivalent of a nice sandwich you’ve made for yourself, yet brought to work in a brown paper bag so you can eat it at your desk.
Maybe I’m being too harsh. Lots of people work hard on these cars, you say, so they deserve a little appreciation for their efforts.
Do they, though, from reporters covering these events? To that I say, nah.
Because the Jetta, and other vehicles that also received applause lines in the past 48 hours such as the Chevrolet Silverado and Mercedes G-Class, aren’t really doing anything good. They’re just doing what car companies do. They are just the results of what employees of car companies do. They build new cars.
They are not groundbreaking, they are not revolutionary. They do not dispense marijuana to people as they go by. They don’t emit nothing but clean water for people living in Flint.
Beyond all that, for “reporters” who are more or less trying to cover an industry and a product at least somewhat objectively and fairly, clapping for the automakers and the cars looks extremely bad. These people are not your friends, reporters. They don’t need your cheerleading because they posted a five percent sales gain in 2017. (Granted, some people clapping work at the company itself; I suppose clapping is fine then, but it should be banned among reporters.)
Speaking of: stop congratulating the brands.
Though North American Car Of The Year awards are entirely inconsequential awards handed out every year by automotive writers who think they mean something. Other people think they should tweet at the brands, thinking the brands deserve congratulations. Let us pause and recall that most automotive awards are given by publications to their own advertisers, and that said awards mean next to nothing to the car-buying public.
The brands don’t care about you. They don’t care about your congratulations. They don’t have deep-seated, meaningful relationships with you. They want to sell more cars to better please their shareholders. That’s it.
They don’t deserve your applause, and they definitely do not deserve your congratulations.
Stop fucking clapping.