Pickups on Mars: Ford, “This is the Ford F-150” (2012)


Surprised by the high prices of pickup trucks, my dad reminisced the other day that a pickup used to be the simplest and cheapest vehicle you could buy. I think I remember how this was still true in the 1960s. I remember also the popularity of Nissan and Toyota’s “light trucks” in the 1970s.

Where are those simple pickups now? Well, single-cab pickups still exist. I saw one in the Wal-Mart parking lot, a white Ford Ranger that looked pretty new. If you can get one without power steering and air conditioning and a sound system, though, that I don’t know.

The normative pickup now is a comparatively huge, powerful, multifunctional beast that makes me think of an interplanetary exploration rig, heavily armed with nature-taming tools and ingeniously furnished with all possible comforts of home.

Are we already living on Mars? Is that why we seal ourselves up in these heavy rolling work-and-sleep stations? Is it Mars, not Earth, that we see in the background in ads like these?

“This is the future!” they tell us. Good deal! We don’t need a rocket ship to get to a dead planet good only for mining!

Here’s another one with that telltale bleak look:

About Steve Smith

Emeritus Professor of Philosophy & Religious Studies at Millsaps College
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