The “C” Word

Posted by Pete Nofel on Jun 21st, 2010.

New - Chevy ImpalaYeah, I’m a codger — not yet by definition “old” since I don’t yell at kids to get off my lawn, but I’m getting codger qualified. I can tell because I like some things that have changed, but shouldn’t have, like the nickname of what was once America’s best-selling car. This all began soon after Our Beloved President was elected and General Motors became a client of the state.

My biggest objection was the take-over of General Motors by the federal government. Okay, Our Beloved President isn’t sitting at the head of the board of directors like Donald Trump on that goofy TV show, but when you take Uncle Sugar’s dough, you’re a vassal, no matter how much you protest. The great thing about GM is that it didn’t even have to change its initials when it went from General Motors to Government Motors.

I should offer some full disclosure here. My old man — requiescat in pace — worked for Ford. It was a golden time for automotive workers. He was able to retire after 30 years with financial and medical benefits that weren’t gold-plated, they were solid gold plated in platinum. I suspect that when he died, and his retiree benefits stopped, the price of each Ford dropped by $1.73. Growing up, I took part of his family benefits plan, so I’m more than a little invested in the health of the US auto industry.

That said, I admit that I was a patron of General Motors. My Blushing Bride and I leased or purchased Pontiacs for the past 12 or 15 years, that’s six of them. We bought our last one a couple of months before GM decided it was such a lousy car company that it needed public funds to keep going. The day I heard that GM became an adjunct to the federal government, I vowed to avoid GM. When I heard that GM had killed the Pontiac brand, General Motors was dead to me.

But, I have been tempted of late to perhaps give them another chance. Our dealership — who has treated me and My Blushing Bride extraordinarily well — may switch over to the Buick line after they had the Pontiac nameplate yanked out from under them. I suppose being a successful dealer doesn’t mean the company owes it anything. Just another example of how corporate-speak — “Our employees are our greatest asset” — isn’t worth the powder to blow it up.

What convinced me to never buy another GM product is the company’s latest decision to ghetto-ize the C word: Chevy.

According to corporate [and probably government] drones, “Chevy” is no longer an acceptable word that can be used by GM employees. Yeah, it carries so much negative baggage with it:

• “Had an old gold Chevy and a place of my own”
• “Drove my Chevy to the levee”
• “Out in the back seat of my ’60 Chevy”

I expect it now has the negative cachet in GM that the N-word and B-word have. The same corporate geniuses that drove the biggest, most success car company into the ground [in a Chevy, no doubt] has instituted “cuss-jars” for the use of “Chevy.” Say the C word, owe a quarter to the cuss jar, or perhaps as in Cool Hand Luke, spend a night in the box.

When the lease on our Pontiac GXP is up at the end of they year, I think I may visit a car dealer who has a franchise for the T-word automobiles.

Long live Our Beloved President.

- Pete Nofel -

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