Polar Bears, Sports Cars, The Purist & Evolution
And, … 2012 didn’t result in total annihilation of the human race. Now what? Where do I begin? This un-apocalyptical outcome led me on a profound quest for signs and answers of our future. I was determined to find the truth. Any part of it. Over the last weekend through sheer determination of seeking enlightenment, I watched one of those the-polar-bears-are-dying-and-it’s-all-our-fault documentary. Polar Bears, A Summers Odyssey. Well, in all honesty, I was fueled by a motionless bolster hugging boredom. Gazing aimlessly as the star of the documentary, a 3 year old adolescent polar bear fittingly called ‘ice-bear’ began his magical journey which I perceived towards a slow, but sure death.
Warning, this post contains a fair amount of spoilers. So, if you’re planning to catch Ice Bear & his epically proportioned death defying journey, I’ed suggest coming back after.
To my surprise, this wasn’t just the usual polar bear documentary. Yes, yes, the polar bears are still in grave danger and it’s still, sort of, our bloody fault. But 20 minutes into the documentary I found myself sitting up straight, leaned forward, eyes wide open, giving my upmost attention to the narrative unfolding about Ice Bear. You see, Ice bear is one of the 2000 polar bears on the south west side of Hudson’s Bay, Canada. Every year during summer when the ice starts to melt the polar bears embark on an astonishing 500km swim heading south to the mainland for food. This feat is accomplished without landmarks for guide, some bears without food, or sleep, traveling night after night, 10 grueling days straight, only oriented by the sun during day & the stars at night as compass. Shame on you Apple. I’ed suggest hiring Hudson’s Bay polar bears for summer internship.
What really shocked me was the evolution, or should I say de-evolution of these polar bears. At one point, Ice Bear is found scaling a 200metre step cliff where thick billed murres pick for colonies to keep from predators approaching. Even in their wildest feathered nightmare the birds would have never expected a rock climbing polar bear. Further into the documentary, a family of polar bears have a feast on wild berries. Yes, wild berries. Polar bear were never know to have a sweet tooth. They are the worlds largest carnivore. They make mince meat out of little cute seal puppies for breakfast. But brown bears, now, that’s a different story. Polar bears evolved from brown bear about 120,000 years ago adapting to colder temperatures. They often live off their fat reserves when the season gets warmer. Some older males fast throughout summer, in a zombie like state called ‘walking hibernation’. But with the recent climate change, and 2012 recording the longest summer on records for the Hudson’s Bay polar bears, Ice Bear & some others seem to suggest aggressive de-evolution into its brown bear roots being the key to survival.
Baffled yet astonished by these facts, Ice Bear’s behavior led me to a startling similarity with the evolution of sports cars. Throughout the years, sports cars have gained weight, became numb, detached, yet safer, faster & poised with the ability to attack corners as if it were running on a scaletrix track. Utter effortlessness. Most cars now comes with its own version of HAL, dictating a drivers every move. Try turning off the ESP on the MK6 Golf GTi, I swear each time it says, “Im sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that”. Yet, it’s a car you can live with, everyday, throughout the year. It’ll do the corners, the speed, the mileage, the Tesco shopping, the kids, the track days & some. Yet, never 100% on either. Then again, the modern day enthusiast wouldn’t mind. The 2012 911 (991) is so capable that every single negative aspects of the previous generations have been completely ironed out. It’s impossible to believe that it’s still rear engined. Why even bother leaving the engine over the rear ends then? Oh, yes. Heritage. But at the account of character? Again, the modern day enthusiast wouldn’t be bothered by such trivial matters. Even the acclaimed RenaultSport Clio is set to digitize itself with trick suspension, double clutch & interchangeable exhaust notes through it’s speakers. The horror. I wouldn’t completely blame the manufactures, because just like the brown bear, they evolved to adapt. To survive. Even though I desperately try to stew a conspiracy theory, it would seem just like nature takes it course, the sports car evolved accordingly to the market & demand. The electronic aids era was an inevitable evolution for the sports cars. Modern day enthusiast though ‘un-pure’ still command the largest percentage of purchase.
Then, there lies another endangered species. They are called, the Purist. The purist I would like to believe are a noble group. Their numbers dwindle in correlation to the evolution of the sports cars. Purist seldom purchase modern sports cars, & that’s just because there isn’t much choice these days. I wouldn’t dare call myself one, maybe halfway there. But in recent times, I have come to understand their plight. They fight hard over debates stretching terabytes online for manufactures to change its course of sports cars. And like the preaching environmentalist who predict the eventual demise of polar bears, their voices are heard long & far into the reaches of cyberspace.
There is a shimmering glimpse of hope though. Ice Bear braved its journey towards salvation by looking inwards, within its genes. 2012 ushered in a unison of cheers & thumbs up for the back to basic sports car, the Toyobaru. Toyota/Subaru it would seem took a page right out of Ice Bear’s playbook. Of course, some might argue that the Toyobaru may not be perfect, but Toyota/Subaru’s determination to bring back key features of a communicative, affordable sports car is celebrated. A whole new young breed of purist could spawn from the initiative. Toyota’s venture back into history of a simple, honest sport car created a chain reaction with other manufactures promising to bring its best game for the future. A new lightweight MX-5, The Alfa Romeo 4C, The RX-7 and even the Honda S2000. If we look back a couple of years ago, when Nissan launched its brand new GT-R, It sent shockwaves throughout the industry as it trampled over abled supercars. Often leaving them behind with the stench of burnt rubber. This left most supercars manufactures running back to the drawing board, eager to unleash it’s own version of a tricked-out, electronically aided, cornering alchemist of a supercar.
Regardless, nature will evolve, Ice bear might survive or perish, and so is the case for the sports car. But all signs point to a bright future. Even if it means looking back into the past for answers & solutions. This evolution will unfold as natural as nature itself. Slowly coaxing & cultivating a new generation of enthusiast, leaving time to reveal all its wonders. In the meantime, just like the purist & the environmentalist, we do our best to keep things in check.