Tuesday, September 25, 2007

What Does John "Cougar" Mellencamp Mean in that Chevy Commercial?

Maybe you have seen the Chevy commercial with John "Cougar" Mellencamp singing. One of the lines in the song is "the dream is still alive, some day it will come true."

First of all what is "the" dream? Is it the American dream? And what is that exactly? Is it the same for everyone? Does it mean a zero percent unemployemnt rate? We have never had that. In fact, as my students will learn later in the semester, the umeployment rate that is considered "full employment" is at least 4%, maybe even 5%. We have rarely been below 4%. There is always some unemployment because workers are switching jobs, some industries are in decline while others are on the rise, etc.

Is the dream a zero percent poverty rate? The first year the federal government calculated an official poverty rate was 1960. It was 22%. The lowest ever was around 11% in 1973. Right now it is around 12%. So going for a zero percent poverty rate is probably not a realistic goal, either.

Then there is the line where he sings "This country, it belongs to folks like me and you." Which folks is he talking about? 300 million people live in the USA. Does it belong to all of us? Or are there some people not included on the owners list? What does it mean for a country to belong to a group of people? If I am in that group can I just walk into anyone's house and say "hey, I am one of the owners of American, I can go wherever I want?"

How can a country belong to anyone? Is there a deed of ownership? I know what it means if a car belongs to me. I pay for it and get a title. What do I get if I "own" America? How do I know if I am one of the people who the country belongs to according to John "Cougar" Mellencamp?

But I guess I should not be surprised if a commercial with a rock star makes no sense.

1 comment:

champ said...

Commercials and Rock Stars, sounds as if you don't take them seriously. I take his sayings as a figure of speech in order to sell more cars. Albertsons also says "It's your store", but what is the chances of going into our store walking out with items not purchased? I believe all these media types are trying to deliver this certain abstract that's really not there.