Now That’s What I Call A Hybrid Vehicle!


I am very busy with work this week.  That’s good for me, but I’m afraid it’s not so good for the blog.  In other words, this post will be a quickie. 

There is a psychological phenomenon called selective perception.  This occurs when an observer chooses to filter out or focus attention on a given stimuli (consciously or unconsciously).  For example, if you buy a green Toyota, you may suddenly start to notice lots of green Toyotas on the road.  They were always out there, but now you are more aware of them, because you selectively focus on them. 

On July 11th, Martha (Jennings) Copeland, a friend I’ve known since 7th Grade, e-mailed me the following item: 

Wienermobile Loses Its Spiritual Driver: Oscar G. Mayer Dies at Age 95 


I hadn’t thought about the Wienermobile in years.  However, since I received that e-mail, it was “on my radar,” and I’ve suddenly been noticing other stories about it. 

First, PETA made a questionable political statement:

Group Says Unhealthy Advertising Gimmick Should Be Put to Rest

Then Oscar Mayer previewed a downsized version of the vehicle:

The New Prototype Wienermobile Built On The Mini Cooper S Frame

Next came a wreck from reckless driving:

Wienermobile crashes into home in Wisconsin


And finally (so far), the tale of an outlaw in the Aloha state:

Wienermobile in the doghouse with Hawaii’s Outdoor Circle

So… coincidence or selective perception?  The answer might be a second psychological phenomenon: pattern recognition.  The mind’s detection of underlying patterns in events is both a key element of learning and the jumping off point for the development of theories… including conspiracy theories.  Humans are expert pattern recognizers; unfortunately, this can sometimes lead them to find patterns that aren’t actually there. 

In an earlier post (The Varieties of Sarcastic Experience, 07/16/09), I described my failed attempt to construct a gender-based theory of sarcasm.  Having learned my lesson (having recognized a disconcerting pattern?), I’ll leave it to others to divine any secret meaning behind the wienermobile’s sudden high profile. 

So… what can we learn from this? 

  • No one can resist making puns about a hot dog hot rod.
  • Mike can almost, but not quite, resist making childish phallic references regarding this topic:  Frankly, trying to penetrate the meaning of the wienermobile’s exposure would be quite a boner – it’s hard and you’re likely to get the shaft or become the tool of groups of which you wouldn’t want to be a member. 

[Insert your own bun joke here.]



2 Responses to “Now That’s What I Call A Hybrid Vehicle!”

  1. 1 ted

    It could be a conspiracy.

    How do we know that it was really Oscar Mayer that died? Rather suspicious that they held a closed-bun funeral, wouldn’t you say?

    • Conan O’Brien suggests a very interesting possibility for selective perception and pattern recognition regarding the wienermobile (8 minutes 48 seconds into the show):

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