How A Rolls Royce

Fucks With Your Brain

by Christopher Kippenberger

It’s hard to tell if the car turns you into an asshole, or if it just brings out the asshole in you. At first, the vibe is pretty easy. Man! This Rolls Royce is nice. This is the Wraith, the Black Edition (you spend good five figures to get blackedout trim), probably at a cost of around $350,000. I didn’t check if there was an options list in the glovebox. I was distracted. The leather is really nice, and you have to press a button right by there to close the suicide doors. Well, you don’t have to press the button to close the door. You could reach out and close it yourself, but you don’t.

You don’t want to be seen closing your own door in a Rolls Royce. You feel the eyes on you. People passing by. You want them to see you angrily yelling on your phone while stepping inside, too busy to close your door yourself. You care. Again, you start out thinking that this Rolls Royce is so nice, but then everything else in your life starts to look shitty. Every place you go to starts to look cheap, and you start to feel unsatisfied with everything you have. You’re driving down the highway and you’re like “This view would be a lot better if that Volkswagen wasn’t in it.” The Spirit of Ecstasy lady looks disappointed. Half of your brain wants to destroy these people. You wonder why you don’t live in Switzerland already. All the blue leather reflects back on you. You wonder why you didn’t work harder, why you weren’t firmer on your last call; why you settled.

From the outside, a Rolls Royce is a made it kind of car. It’s top echelon. Everyone inside should be satisfied. I wasn’t. I became one of those petulant, sullen rich kids, a Kardashian or a Trump, out to destroy the rest of humanity over all the things I didn’t have—even though I had everything. Other cars weren’t good enough for me. I deserved better. I would rather die than make this drive in an Audi, I thought to myself, hitting the door button again, my feet press firmly into the thick, plush carpet. People look at you differently in the Rolls, especially in the punk, fuckyou parts of Berlin we were driving through. A bicyclist crossed an intersection at thesame time we did. A normal looking guy, flat clothes, maybe an engineer given the part of town we were in. Biking is efficient. Biking is a social good. Biking is superior to driving. In any other car, the biker wouldn’t have even considered slowing down. We crossed paths and his face looked like he had seen a tiger on the other side of a field. A moment of hesitation, looking into the Wraith’s eyes. The Wraith’s leather, the V12 power, the smooth ride, the sound system, the little carshaped icon to close the trunk looks like a RollsRoyce — these do absolutely nothing for you in comparison to the unholy satisfaction you get when your car stares down some middle class engineer. Make no mistake, it is fucked up. For three days, I only ever once looked back in the car. What’s behind you, in a deep way, is not important. But when I did I noted the logo of the car. An infinity symbol with aline under it. It’s a challenge staring back at you.You don’t know if the car is turning you into a real pissboy, or if your inner pissboy is only getting his moment to shine. Thoughts like this become very important when you’re slicing through traffic in a RollsRoyce.

You don’t like when things get in your way, like traffic lights, or slow cars that don’t hit the gas the moment the light changes. You hit the horn.

You feel like the horn beams directly into the brain of the driver in front of you. It’s loud. You wish it were louder.

The Post-Luxury Consumer

© Studio Kippenberger 2016–2018

Taken as a whole, How a Rolls-Royce Fucks with Your Brain is a treatise on consumption, narrative, self-determination, perseverance, and commitment.

Text: Raphael Orlove