apocalypse now

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  • BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD BAD: This might be the most dreadful idea in American Business since… well… the idea of selling different telephone rings for 99 cents: “So safety experts, worried that hybrids pose a threat if pedestrians, children and others can’t hear them approaching, want automakers to supply some digitally enhanced vroom. Indeed, just as cellphones have ring tones, ‘car tones’ may not be far behind — an option for owners of electric vehicles to choose the sound their cars emit.” Oh, yeah, this is an old idea, it’s very popular in HELL. [NYT via Balloon Juice]

About the author

Jim Newell is Wonkette's beloved Capitol Hill Typing Demon. He joined Wonkette.com in 2007, left for some other dumb job in 2010, and proudly returned in 2012 as our "Senior Editor at Large." He lives in Washington and also writes for things such as The Guardian, the Manchester paper of liberals.

View all articles by Jim Newell


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  • user-of-owls

    After 10pm, though, you have to set your car to vibrate.

  • Terry

    You just KNOW that there will be cars playing the fight songs from sports teams, trucks with Confederate flags in the window playing Proud to Be an American, neo-hippies with Grateful Dead songs going, etc.

    Very very bad idea.

  • DangerousLiberal

    As an overweight, greying, 48 year old white man with two kids and a mortgage, I am torn between “Fight the Power” or “The Humpty Dance” as my car tone. Maybe Beyonce’s Put a Ring (tone) On It?

    Or, if I had a hybrid, and was a smug NPR listener, I’d just crank up All Things Considered, with enough bass to rattle the windows. That’ll do it.

  • Snarkalicious

    Of all the things that could turn me into a murderer. Do you really what to give this sort of functionality to the kind of ass-clown that buys trucknutz?

  • hobospacejunkie

    Sweet. For my first hybrid car my cartone is gonna be a Downfall/Untergang mashup. Look out motherfuckers, HERE COMES HITLER!

  • user-of-owls


    trucks with Confederate flags in the window playing Proud to Be an American

    Students, there is a logical fallacy in this statement. Can anyone tell me what it is?

  • JMP

    Other people’s annoying cell phones are bad enough – and this guy wants to make it louder and all over the streets? No. I can just imagine all the teenage girls blaring the latest Disney pop crap down the street. [re=434332]Terry[/re]: Though I wouldn’t worry about the rednecks; none of them would be caught dead driving a hybrid. Same for most sports fanatics. The hippies, though, would be a problem.

  • hobospacejunkie

    If you live near a highway would you prefer the soothing white noise of cars constantly zooming by or a cacophony of car tones sounding like a high school locker area between classes at 100 decibels?

    Bruce Barry was a workin’ man
    He used to load that Econoline

  • Sweet Baby Cheeses

    I think I will use a loop of sputtering Speed Buggy. ROOMAZOOMZOOM!

  • blossom

    so now peds will get hit while checking to see if it’s their phone that’s ringing.

  • Monsieur Grumpe

    60 Million cars all playing Born to Be Wild is my idea of Hell.

  • user-of-owls

    Whoever owns the rights to Electric Boogaloo is going to become very wealthy indeed.

  • SayItWithWookies

    Hey, don’t forget the deaf people. Along with the digitally-enhanced vroom, there should be some sort of flashing lights going at all times, too. Or hell, just make everybody drive a freaking ice cream truck, and we can all have that Casio version of “Pop Goes the Weasel” running through our heads all the time. What could possibly go wrong?

  • WestEdEd

    Can my “Car-tone” be a loop of Michael Steele saying “In the Hizzy”?

    And when my wife tries to paralell park, can it play “Yakety Sax?”

  • Min

    [re=434330]user-of-owls[/re]: Heh.

    But how are we going to idenitify the pedophiles, if everyone’s vehicles play music?

  • Gopherit

    We might as well get rid of all the hybrids anyway. The Saudis are going to choke off our oil supply if we start buying less:


  • Gorillionaire

    I can already sadly foresee that this will become yet another reason for me to stop watching The Simpsons.

  • bitchincamaro

    I’m going for the “giant sucking sound” that is America, down the sewer. Too harsh?

  • magic titty

    Are Americans so dumb they can’t just look both ways before heading into the street?


  • Scruffy_The_Janitor

    Dukes of Hazard theme for my civic hybrid baby!

  • Doglessliberal

    I think we need them all to make a clopclopclop sound like a horse and buggy. Then maybe they can add scent to the exhaust, and the streets can smell like old London.

  • Johnny Zhivago

    This is a no brainer, the NHTA should MANDATE that hybrids all emit a loud 60 hz buzz. The buzz should increase slightly in pitch and volume with greater speed. A loud chirping, similar to an alarm clock should sound when the vehicle is set to reverse.

    As an additional safety/warning device, Hybrids should also contain a poweful, built in Van de Graf generator to make the pedestrians hair rise.

  • freakishlystrong

    I’m buying stock in I-Fart NOW.

  • Formerly Preferred

    [re=434335]Snarkalicious[/re]: In fairness, I think the kind of ass-clown that buys a Prius is very different from the kind of ass-clown that buys trucknutz. Except, perhaps, ironically.

  • blinky_twinkie

    “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” man!! Now with added cowbell.

  • RoscoePColtraine

    Anybody know if the “Magic Flute” Overture is available as a car-tone? Prius owners love them some Mozart. Crank dat shit up, baby!

  • geminisunmars

    Neighbors and dogs and cats and beasts in the forest are always sneaking up on me. Now I gotta worry about cars too.

    [re=434343]JMP[/re]: I’m going with Jefferson Airplane, alternating with Little Douch Coup.

  • norbizness

    Won’t SOMEBODY think of the STUPID CHILDREN?!

  • Suds McKenzie

    Just like Stuka dive bombers

  • user-of-owls

    …pedestrians, children and others…

    Others?? Armadillos? Possum? Fucking ‘Safety Experts’?


    [re=434347]Sweet Baby Cheeses[/re]: Any Mel Blanc auto sound from Speed Buggy to Jack Benny’s Maxwell is fine by me.

  • magic titty

    [re=434371]user-of-owls[/re]: blacks?

  • geminisunmars

    [re=434341]user-of-owls[/re]: Is it cause the truck is a Datsun?


    Is it not obvious. Ice cream truck jingles for everyone. That will solve the children in the street issue, toot sweet!

  • Way Cool Larry

    MC Steele is now the “cow on the tracks” of health care reform!

    This should be fun to watch.

  • Lascauxcaveman

    [re=434360]Doglessliberal[/re]: [re=434364]Formerly Preferred[/re]: [re=434361]Johnny Zhivago[/re]:
    So many boxes to check on the options list when ordering my new Prius Chevy Volt!


    Wookie beat me to the ice cream truck idea, but I still say its the fast path to childless streets.

  • TJBeck

    Mine will sound like panda sex.

  • SmutBoffin

    This is just like when they made a rule that digital cameras hadda have some kinda ‘click’ noise to indicate a pic had been snapped. Perverts everywhere were up in arms, I guess.

    My “hybrid soundtrack” would be All men play on 10 by Manowar.

  • Servo

    Bob Seger tones are grounds for a few home-run swings of a bat onto the offending Prius.

  • geminisunmars

    [re=434371]user-of-owls[/re]: paraplegics.

  • magic titty

    [re=434341]user-of-owls[/re]: Confederacy…American…

    anywho… [re=434332]Terry[/re]: Don’t they do this already…with the radio??

  • Monsieur Grumpe

    I have seen the future and it’s a very bad movie.

  • proudgrampa

    [re=434333]DangerousLiberal[/re]: The guitar intro to Sweet Child o’ Mine by Guns and Roses. THAT would be AWESOME!

  • dijetlo

    I want the little cardboard tube they put on the German Stuka bombers, because I’m a Democrat golfer so ipso facto, a Nazi.

  • SmutBoffin

    [re=434384]Servo[/re]: Seconded!

  • Flanders

    [re=434341]user-of-owls[/re]: The Confederate Flags are a great band, what are you talking about?

  • spalding

    I know it’s horrible to think about, but that is why sleighs had bells, they make no noise.

  • freakishlystrong

    The Benney Hill theme song would be annoying, and fun!

  • V572625694

    Prius: The Silent Killer.

  • twowheeljunkie

    I thought it was the driver’s responsibility to avoid pedestrians. And has any body ever heard of a horn.

  • Jim89048

    Now I have this overwhelming urge to replace the diesel engine in my truck with a hybrid motor, and add a diesel engine cartone.

  • Voyou Charmant

    Mine would play “Oh Yeah” by Yello.

  • Prommie

    Make me your nazi car-noise czar, and I will decree that all cars shall make the sound of the vehicles in The Jetsons.

  • Servo

    More useless mandates demanded by insurance companies. Wait until you see the future of headrests thanks to expensive whiplash claims.

  • Norbert

    La Cucaracha, obviously.

    Either that or mandate LRAD sonic weaponry.

  • One Yield Regular

    A continuous audio loop of: “‘Scuse me! Pardon me! Lady with a baby! Coming through! Lady with a baby!”

  • deecaffeinated

    Oh, please, as if kids go outside anymore!

  • Johnny Zhivago

    There’s almost never a good ending for a cow on the tracks…

  • chalkgirl

    Why don’t they just get rid of mufflers? Mufflers are so wimpy.

  • Carrie_Okie

    Tapeloop of Pacino-isms should do it.

  • Mad Brahms

    I do research in India, where custom car horns are everywhere and you can’t walk down the street without hearing a tone-deaf pneumatic-powered version of the theme song from the latest bad action movie. They’re entertaining most of the time, actually, but every once in a while two or more cars with horns tuned differently will honk at once and you’ll swear the gates of hell are opening.

    Now imagine this is a constant noise rather than a horn, and that there are dozens of them at once. Mmm! I think deafness is preferable.

    Also, John Cage is probably wetting himself over the idea of recording this right now.

  • Min

    Dibs on the old Batman theme!

  • slappypaddy

    [re=434358]magic titty[/re]: darwinian selection can take care of those. and whatever the hell happened to horns and rolling down the window? you know, “beep-beep, get the fuck outta the way, you moron!” it made america great.

  • user-of-owls

    [re=434378]Way Cool Larry[/re]: [re=434432]Johnny Zhivago[/re]: Oh heavens, this has layers of hilarity that cry out for a resurrection post:


    I implore you, if you read only one thing related to Michael Steele as a cow on the tracks, you MUST read this earlier Wonkette post.

  • facehead

    [re=434330]user-of-owls[/re]: Ha!

    But seriously folks, I’ve driven a hybrid, and the fucking thing was so quiet I had a hard time figuring out if it was on or not. These mutant mute vehicles will destroy us all.

  • queeraselvis v 2.0

    [re=434446]Min[/re]: Wicked Witch theme from the Wizard of Oz pour moi! That, or anything by Abba.

  • glamourdammerung

    I was not aware that running folks over at blazing speeds of 20-30 miles per hour was an issue.

  • Judas Peckerwood

    I love that my hybrid makes it easier for me to smush unsuspecting pedestrians. Less sporting, perhaps, but definitely more effective.

  • Servo

    The Macarena = apocalyptic road rage

  • mardam422

    How did Fred Flintstone solve this problem?

  • Zadig

    There’s actually a very good reason why this sort of thing won’t develop, and it’s a safety one. In addition to being the most obnoxious thing in history, car tones could drown out the sounds of various emergency vehicle sirens. The government should ban car tones, for being dumb, and they have a fantastic excuse to do so.

  • Formerly Preferred

    I hope that NHTSA mandates a sound something like Speed Buggy:


  • Lionel Hutz Esq.

    [re=434341]user-of-owls[/re]: They already do that?

    [re=434371]user-of-owls[/re]: Trig?

  • Snarkalicious

    [re=434364]Formerly Preferred[/re]: Sorry to be a dick, but I find that to be amazingly short-sighted.

  • Vartan84

    Oh my ****. As I read aout this I felt the world suddenly fall apart.
    Seriously? How about finding an alternative solution to this annoying problem- by googling “Bub Rubb and Lil Sis”.

  • TGY

    Hook it up to your damned iPod, obvs. Slim Whitman, ‘Indian Love Call’ for the win! Against Martians, anyway.

  • katrina

    “Always Look On The Bright Side of Life”
    (with the verse that contains “Just Before You Draw Your Terminal Breath”).

  • Tito Puente

    “The whistles go woo-wooo!”

  • LowerdPeninsula

    They should blast a 113 Hz sound for three seconds, and then blast a 136 Hz for another three seconds, a la the Tripods in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds.

  • Zack Morris

    Mine will go “STOP RIGHT THERE!” Thump.