come on, Dr. Faustus, let’s buy a car!

We talk fondly about having a Fit. We have friends who talk about their Odysseys. We’ve had a family Accord. I think back to my old Escort and remember my uncle’s Wrangler and my dad’s and my brother’s Mustangs.

On the road the other day, I saw a Kia Soul. It was hard enough just to imagine a marketing department okaying this name, thinking it would work to have people talking about their Soul and meaning their car, that I went to the Kia website just to make sure. And sure enough. There it was. Along with links for building your own Soul, looking up Soul specifications and checking out Soul awards and available accessories.

And that’s just the beginning. What do you think you would do when it came time to sell your Soul? And that raises significant questions about buying a Soul … especially a used Soul—someone else’s Soul. Do you wonder how much a Soul goes for? I’d have to say, whatever the price, it’s indicative of a severe depreciation in the expression “I would sell my Soul for that.”

And you say to the mechanic: “My Soul needs a tune-up,” and to the gas station attendant, “Fill up my Soul, would you please?” The middle school car pool driver laments, “A Soul-full sound used to mean so much more to me than just loud.” And depreciation goes off the scale when you realize to name someone Soul-less is simply to say they’re without their car.

Part of marketing is the secondary devaluing of what’s truly important in the primary effort to ascribe some of its importance to something so much less so.

Part of our response ability in a capitalist society is to strive always to identify and hold on to what’s truly important.


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