All Your Motors, Generally, Are Belong to Us

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06/01/2009 4:53 PM |

As you may have heard, General Motors declared bankruptcy this morning. Under GM’s restructuring plan, the US government will assume a 60 percent ownership stake in the company; assuming that the courts and the creditors accept the plan included in the filing, this means that you — yes, you! — kinda sorta effectively own General Motors.

So, what do GM’s new owners think about this situation? I for one am hoping to join forces with fellow co-owner Daniel Henninger to form a powerful “this company’s full of losers and we’re pulling out of here to win unless we go back to building not-faggoty muscle cars like the Beach Boys sang about in their many songs about the internal combustion engine” voting bloc. But I’m only one man; to gauge the public sentiment, I polled a random sampling of average Americans who happen to work or write for The L Magazine.

Asked, “how do you feel about owning General Motors now?”, Disassociated Press correspondent Paul D’Agostino responded:

I now feel like the various things I might produce (say, ‘written documents’) will now lose upwards of 70% of their resale value (assuming they actually ‘sell’) as soon as they roll off the lot (or rather, ‘are printed out’). That notion makes for a potentially brighter horizon.

I also feel somewhat less unemployed, which raises a number of questions, including:

- Should I update my CV to include my new, passively attained ownership position? 
- Should I change my ‘work’ information on Facebook to reflect this?
- What are my job responsibilities, if any?
- Do I have any meetings this afternoon?
- Where the hell is my office, for crying out loud?
- And of course, to whom should I speak about ordering me a sandwich?

This tone of enthusiastic perplexity seemed to define the other respondents to my survey, as well, all of whom seemed to have vague, firm ideas about the direction the company should take. Film critic Benjamin Strong finds himself “wondering if, since I now own the company, Cadillac could please stop making those stupid Escalades and bring fin-tailed pink convertibles back into production”; similarly nostalgic is this magazine’s Associate Publisher Nick Burry, who “will be campaigning tire-lessly for the reintroduction of the Oldsmobile badge.” (Rim shot.)

An outlier in the survey, film critic Michael Joshua Rowin responds, pithily:

I would be much more excited to own General Mills.

Yes, well, I would be much more excited to own General Patton.

But that’s not all: under the plan, the governments of Canada and Ontario also received a 12 percent stake in General Motors. This means that L Mag Editor-in-chief and confirmed Canadian Jonny Diamond now owns, he calculates, based on population and proportion, more of GM than any of us. He reminisces:

I grew up in a GM town, with over 60 percent of the city employed there. The city’s catchphrase: “Oshawa: The City that ‘Moto’vates Canada.” That sign made me want to become an editor.

Indeed, it’s that kind of undiluted excitement and back-to-the-roots sentiment that seems to define the American populace’s attitude towards now effectively owning General Motors.

We-Own-General-Motors-Now Fever: Catch it!