The Irascible ProfessorSM

Irreverent Commentary on the State of Education in America Today

by Dr. Mark H. Shapiro
The car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man...  ...Marshal McLuhan, Understanding Media.
Commentary of the Day - Dec. 14, 1999: Is There a Hyundai in Your Future?:
The selling of the university never stops.  A few weeks ago the Irascible Professor received a lovely brochure from our University Advancement Office touting the special Cal State Fullerton - Hyundai partnership program.  Under this program faculty and staff members here at Krispy Kreme U can lease any one of Hyundai's four models "at a deeply discounted monthly payment through the university's payroll deduction program."  We are informed that more than 95 faculty and staff members have availed themselves of this program in the past year, and that this is a wonderful opportunity to lease a car at a very attractive lease rate.

Now the IP doesn't have any particular gripe with Hyundai Motor America, or with Pepsi, or with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, or with any of the other vendors that seem to have taken over our campus.  It's just the creeping tackiness of it all that bothers him.  As automobiles go, Hyundai's reputation isn't exactly the best.  They started out about a decade ago with some automobiles that were rated flat out "unacceptable" by Consumers Reports because of safety concerns.  In the interim they seem to have improved.  The styling is better and reliability seems to be at least average.  However, many motor magazines still rate them as relatively crude in comparison to their Japanese counterparts.  Perhaps a telling feature is the fact that Hyundai advertises itself as having "America's Best Warranty".  Automobile manufacturers usually hype their warranties only when their products have problems.

The IP is a bit amused that Hyundai's brochure touts their Tiburon model as "a great case against mass transit".  So much for Krispy Kreme U's sense of social responsibility!

In any case, the IP is sure that this "partnership" between University Advancement and Hyundai probably brings in a few shekels that go to good purposes.  And, some of our lowest paid employees probably do benefit from the program, but couldn't we at least find a car with a bit more character to hawk?  Maybe one of those cute new Volkswagon bugs.  Oh well, at least they aren't trying to sell us Mitsubishis.


The Irascible Professor invites your comments.
©1999 Dr. Mark H. Shapiro - All rights reserved.