Please gamble responsibly.
Best start with the facts. This is the cover composite from the November 2010 edition of Car magazine. It was, as we can discern, a busy month for the UK periodical. Big Georg Kacher was flown out to the United States (business class no doubt) for an exclusive ‘drive’ of Jaguar’s shapely CX-75 hybrid-supercar concept, while the fullest possible coverage was provided of the three conceptual offerings from the fevered imagination of Lotus’ then CEO, the much unmissed Dany Bahar.
Britskrieg ! screamed the headline, as stridently as a dive-bombing Stuka; a tortured and needless piece of bellicose verbiage which previously only the UK’s Red Top editors might have considered. Such language was not only rather inappropriate, but references such as an “all out sports car war” were really Infra Dignitatem for a once high-brow title such as the EMAP monthly. It would be interesting to establish whether they ran this cover outside the UK? But aside from matters of taste and sensitivity, there was a good deal more that was unfortunate about this word salad – namely, just about everything.
Far too much information, for a start; so much is going on in this single cover image, one struggles to make sense of it all. Yet as we now know, not one of these vehicles stumbled across the line into production. Jaguar’s CX-75 was probably the closest to realisation of any of the cover stars but foundered amid an evaporating business case. The Lotus revival was of course, an infamous piece of vaporware, and it is rather doubtful that Audi ever had any serious intention of productionising the Sport-Quattro concept.
Meanwhile, twelve years on, the contents of the issue fail the test of time in other ways too. The writing was forced, the opinions self-conscious; one senses an editor attempting to maintain qualities he didn’t necessarily understand or necessarily believe in as the title haemorrhaged relevance in a post-Top Gear landscape where everything was stated with a sneer and a knowing wink.
Not that we should dismiss any of this as being easy. Writing pithy headlines is something of an art, and as such, should be taken seriously, by those who enjoy them as much as by those who create them. I should know. I write a good deal of the headlines you see here and can attest to how much time and effort of mind is required*. It is after all, relatively easy to sit in judgement from afar. Mr. Editor MacNamara had a lot of plates to keep aloft in 2010, so spare a thought – at least one.
But if we take away the headlines and the vehicles so highlighted, what are we left with? Little else it would appear, but a hatful of hollow and dizzying selection of exclamation marks. I counted eight. This must be some kind of record.
*Opinions will differ as to the quality thereof.
An English teacher of my acquaintance used to decry the use of exclamation marks in her pupils’ writing. In her view, they were akin to laughing at one’s own jokes.