Porsche Television Commerials: “For Something To Endure”

On January 6th, 2016 / By


“For Something To Endure”: A Porsche Television Commerial

The new year, typically, encourages us to reflect back on the recent past, while, concomitantly, attuning ourselves more closely to the immediate future. In other words, it provides us with the perfect opportunity to meditate upon the passage of time.

And so, I am reminded of an old, 80s-era commercial that features former Porsche head honcho Dr. Ferdinand Porsche:

The above television spot overflows with pseudo-philosophical musing after pseudo-philosophical musing. Take, for instance, the opening passage:

Time is the one of the few things man cannot influence. It gives each of us a beginning and an end, and this makes us question what comes in-between.

There are two distinct arguments that Dr. F proposes. First, he addresses humanity’s impotence as it relates the relentless march of Time. Basically, we all die, and no amount of wishful thinking or daydreaming about time-travel will change that fact. Secondly, he proposes a “carpe diem” outlook, in which our achievements function as the litmus test, as it were, for a life well-lived.

Porsche’s insistence on the “what comes in-between” reminds me of the famous Robert Herrick poem “To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time”:

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
    Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
    To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
    The higher he ‘s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
    And nearer he ‘s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
    When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
    Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
    And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
    You may for ever tarry.

While Porsche and Herrick both champion the “now” or the “what comes in-between,” their differences should be obvious: the businessman wanted to build the best car on earth, and the poet wanted virgins to start putting out. The big question, then, is what do you want to do with your Now, your “what comes in-between,” your 2016?

After Porsche’s meditation on time, he offers another insight about the longevity of a material/aesthetic object; one quote that the resonates with me is:

For something to endure, it must be unique; yet so universal, anyone can appreciate it.

In this passage, Porsche outlines what the creation of a “timeless” artifact requires: the fusing of the universal and the unique. No doubt, he believes that his automotive design/brand accomplishes this feat and will grant him “immortality,” so to speak.

But, similar to his claims of “carpe diem,” the universal-unique paradox is well trod territory for poets. In fact, yoking together these disparate agendas is the purpose of lyric poetry. In his expansive monograph The Idea of Lyric, scholar W.R. Johnson defines lyric poetry as an:

I-You poem, in which the poet addresses or pretends to address his thoughts and feelings to another person [with] universal emotions in a specific context.

Stated differently, the lyric poem (and, thus, poet) creates his individualized “story” that’s “compressed, [and] stylized,” but focused on “’sharing [his] emotions” in a manner in which a broad audience can empathize. Whether you call it the univerisal-unique or the general-specific, this paradox attempts to access a collective spirit, desire, or longing with the particular emotions, whims, or visions of a singular person.

While, perhaps, comparing Porsche and poetry may appear, at first blush, to be a bit ridiculous, the connections between the two are not frivolous. Both take common materials (metal, plastic, carbon fiber, and words) in order to produce an object (car and sentences) that becomes both beautiful and unnecessary (Porsche and poem) through an intense and heart-felt investment in aesthetics with the goal of creating something that approximates The Eternal.

Anyway, I hope your New Year has begun well, you’ve been able to reflect upon the previous year, and you’ve envisioned a new calendar year that brings you closer to immortality (or, at least, some good times).

If you’re less interested in creating aesthetic objects that strive for immortality and more interested in buying them, stop by Prestige Imports at 9201 West Colfax Avenue to check out our full inventory of Porsche and Audi brand vehicles. You can also schedule an appointment with someone in our Sales Department by calling (833) 825-5423.

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