Arrived: Lincoln Continental (2016)

welcome

What is it to arrive?

Arrival is a tremendous possibility, wondering who might arrive. In 2016 we were reminded of what alien contact might mean by the movie Arrival. (And what about the Messiah or the Messenger or the Awake One?)

There is also the other sense of it, looking in the mirror: have I arrived? Has everything come to me that facilitates and felicitates me? Do I even dare to think about what my own arrival would consist of?

The film actor Matthew McConaughey, suitable icon of personal success, has been exploring his own arrival for the last couple of years in Lincoln Continentals. Not only in the car: there’s a very nice room, very nice clothes and cuff links, on one occasion an ecstatic backward fall into a swimming pool at night.

I think the pool plunge is a clue that you can’t be in your normal environment or remain your normal self when you’ve arrived. There has to be a transfiguration. (Unfortunately, disgraceful behavior often ensues.)

The ad for the 2017 Continental shows McConaughey in several possibly heavenly transfigurations.

He splits between one self in the front seat and one self in the back (the self that’s impressed and the self that’s impressive). He has a shimmering nimbus around his head silhouette. He seems to be off the surface of the earth and into the clouds, at the border between earth’s atmosphere and space.

Compare this 1995 Saab “Find Your Own Road” ad, using animation (unusual in a car ad, but what did Saab have to lose?) to move you to that place where your worries are over:

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About Steve Smith

Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies and Director of Film Studies at Millsaps College
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