Knight Rider and the Men Who Love It

Fast cars, big explosions, secret agents, high tech gadgets, and half naked women all make the new version of Knight Rider a show for men. Wednesday marked the premier of the newly re-vamped NBC version of the old classic. With the exception of the half-naked women, much about the show was fun. It had the cheesy dialogue and the less than proficient acting at points (those elements seem standard for television these days), but the cooler, more high-tech KITT is what made the show.

The premiere episode, while not being particularly insightful or captivating, did make me think about man’s drive (no pun intended) toward the bigger, the better, the faster, and the cooler. Why is it that nearly every man is after the bigger, better, faster, and cooler thing? Why do we have that desire? I believe it is partly because God has made us that way. I know some will immediately default to the “Fall” and assume that this driving passion is a materialistic worldview implanted in us by our culture (perhaps even shows just like Knight Rider), and chalk it up to our sin nature. But I don’t think that answer recognizes the creation account.

In Genesis God creates the world and it is mostly rugged and untamed; yet he places man in the center of the Garden of Eden. Here, God tells Adam to keep the garden, tend it, cultivate it, and multiply over the face of the earth. Inherent within that command is the command for man to make the rest of the world look like Eden. There is, built into men, this desire to cultivate, create, and make things bigger, better, faster, and cooler. It is a God-given drive within men. It’s not that women don’t want cooler toys too. But for some reason we almost always associate those desires with men. It’s usually men who push for the bigger TV, the faster car, the coolest new gadgets and equipment. And that is partly because of this innate passion for those very elements of bigger, better, faster, cooler.

Since it’s obviously not for its dialogue, its plot development, its writing, or its acting, why will hundreds of young men tune in to watch Knight Rider this fall? Because it displays some cool toys and appeals to that desire for such elements. While it won’t win an Emmy, it will probably win some fans.

About Dave Dunham
  • http://nowheresville.us The Dane

    I feel like a bad man. I always hated Knight Rider as a kid and I can’t imagine even tuning in as an adult. I also stopped caring about bigger and faster in Juniour High.* I’m not devoted to fast cars any more than I am loose women.

    I like tech so long as it can do something for me (for instance, the Amazon Kindle is probably going to figure into my life at some point in the near future), but the only time I ever hopped on the early adoption tramway was Spring 1997 with the advent of DVD since that seemed a necessary risk to me as a cineaste.

    I kind of wonder if the kind of man you describe isn’t more a product of our cultural values than of something innate to malekind. I’m no anthropologist and with the rate of global shrinkage affecting cultural distinction (I hear traditional Italian culture will likely be entirely absorbed within a generation), it may be an impossible goal to chart, but intuitively, I’m less inclined to believe that the phenomenon you cite is more nature than it is nurture.
    ______________________

    *note: I am still all about cooler (hence my love of Italian motochinery!) and better is always a pleasant change – rare as it is.

    The Danes last blog post..20080924.OscarWilde

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  • Mink

    Fast cars, big explosions, secret agents, high tech gadgets, and even the half-naked women (who can still provide fashion tips, albeit sometimes along the lines of “what not to wear”) make Knight Rider a show for women, too! I’ve been a fan of Knight Rider since the “old” days when I’d turn on re-runs after school, fiddle with the antennas, and shush the siblings – because I had a crush on KITT, not David Hasselhoff. I plan to forgive the bad acting and corny writing (for at least a few episodes) to enjoy KITT’s even cooler automotive self.

    That said, I also think it would be cool if the human drive to cultivate and create, to “keep the garden, tend it, cultivate it, and multiply over the face of the earth….to make the rest of the world look like Eden” actually *were* applied to that mandate, rather than only to “push[ing] for the bigger TV, the faster car, the coolest new gadgets and equipment”. That’s what I think Christians, especially Christians in the U.S. (the land of Bigger-Faster-Newer = Better), can do differently in the world.

  • http://www.aaronhall.com Minnesota Attorney

    Some people miss the old Knight Rider. Of course, then you have to put up with David Hasselhoff. The old Knight Rider was good for its time. In fact, it was great for its time. But the standards have been raised. Also, the shows are different these days, appealing to different interests. You raised some good points.


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