Jon Hodgman on "The Daily Show": "When did Americans stop wanting cars that can be spun in giant centrifuges or jumped through exploding barns? Jon, if Detroit fails, how will we stop our runaway cargo planes?"
He's referring to those ridiculous ads where heavy-duty pickup trucks speed through the desert, dodge spiked metal balls, balance on see-sawing ramps and skirt the rims of canyons. How many millions have American car makers spent producing and marketing steroidal pickups to Midwestern farm workers*, the vast majority of whom don't actually need a truck that can withstand having a boulder dropped into its bed from the top of a grain elevator?
Which reminds me: After the human race has killed itself off, when the aliens come and look into the reasons for our demise, I think they'll find it interesting that, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the reality of global warming and the need for a wise and exigent response became clear, not only did the leaders of the most powerful nation in the world fail to act but tens of millions of its citizens spent the bulk of their free time watching cars drive in circles.
*And gas station attendants, insurance salesmen, etc.