American epitaph: "More is more"

The cultural relevance of 64-ounce sodas and Ford Expeditions.

Published July 7, 2008 1:38PM (EDT)

A radio ad for the AM-PM chain of convenience stores:

A woman is criticizing her husband for the excessive indulgence of his 64-ounce soda. He scoffs. "Too much soda? That's like saying someone can have too much money! Or too many private jets!"

An announcer finishes off the commercial: "More is MORE!"

Former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, quoted in the New York Times on Sunday, in "American Energy Policy, Asleep at the Spigot."

While in office, Mr. Gingrich battled efforts to modulate demand through tools like increased gas taxes and tighter fuel standards, and he argues that voters won't support such measures even now.

"They will work if you coerce the entire system and if you pretend the American people are Japanese and Europeans," Mr. Gingrich says. "Our culture favors driving long distances in powerful vehicles and the car as a social expression."

I think Gingrich may have a point. I'm not sure it's even possible to say "more is more" in Japanese.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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Energy Globalization How The World Works Newt Gingrich