There’s been a lot of talk recently about badgers and the need to carry out a mass cull to protect the nation’s cattle. Well, I’m very much an animal lover with only Bill Oddy, Kate Humble and Michaela Strachan appearing higher than me in the list of the world’s most animal friendly people. But when it comes to badgers, I’m with the farmers; let’s get shot of them. Allow me to explain.
Today I saw a rather nice silver BMW 120d with M-Sport styling kit. Clearly the owner had lovingly spent the morning washing and waxing his German chariot and to his credit, it looked rather good. But then to my horror, he’d had the nonsensical idea to stick M badges on the grille and boot. At precisely the moment I clocked the badges, my respect for the owner and his car diminished. Sorry, but using modern vocabulary, I’ll put your 1 Series down as a monumental fail.
But it got me thinking about the psychology behind this badge fakery tomfoolery. The question is, who are you trying to kid?
Think about it. When it comes to the subject of cars, you can pretty much split the audience in two. There’s those who know a thing or two about cars and there’s those that don’t. If you fall into the earlier category, you’ll look at a car with fake badging and immediately know that the owner is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. You’ll know this because unless you’re mistaken, it wasn’t possible to purchase a 1997 Vauxhall Corsa VXR. It also wasn’t possible to order a BMW M Compact. Or a Ford Capri 1.6 RS Laser. So sorry Mr Fake Badger, you’re not fooling us.
So perhaps the Badgers are hoping to impress their non-petrolhead friends and family? Maybe they hope that having an M/RS/R/S/VXR/VRS/Turbo/Injection/Type-R/GTi badge <delete as applicable> on their motor will propel them to greatness and get them promoted/saluted/acknowledged/employed/laid <delete as applicable>. Well sorry Badger, it won’t.
Check out the evidence. Here you are, a strapping young 18-year old lad, on your way to pick up a young lady for your first date. You pull up outside her house in your 1.2 litre Corsa Breeze. Being the gentleman, you’ve removed the copy of Nuts and empty pasty wrappers from the footwell – top marks for that. Unfortunately you’ve left the VXR badge on the back and have also failed to remove the VXR seatbelt pads and carpet mats. Big mistake Jake. You see, this is only going to go two ways. If the lovely Angelina has any knowledge of cars, she will immediately see through your fake VXR and have you marked as a bit of a wally. Not a good first impression. If on the other hand she doesn’t care for matters of the petrol variety, you’ll be forced into explaining what the badges and associated decorations mean. Not exactly scintillating conversation as you head down to Burger King.
I have a theory that these Badgers are not averse to carrying on their badge bodging into other elements of their life. Peer into the kitchen windows of many suburban homes and you’ll see a rather splendid looking SMEG refrigerator. But don’t be fooled, check the manufacturer plate around the back and you’ll see that it is actually a mere Beko. Oh dear.
Then there’s the curious tales of Lidl bodging. With the supermarket now charging for their carrier bags, some shoppers will gleefully fill up their Waitrose bags with Lidl goods before loading up the boat of their BMW M316 Compact. Class.
There are even tales of people decanting Tesco sparkling water into San Pellegrino bottles to serve at dinner parties. Come on people, is it worth it? Surely there aren’t enough hours in the day for such a faff? Cut it out.
Charles Caleb Colton once argued that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and who am I to disagree with an eccentric English cleric with a triple-barrelled name? Well I happen to think that had he been born a couple of hundred years later, he might have changed his tune. In fact, Colton’s diary reveals one of his little known quotes; “an M badge on a 316 is the lowest form of idiocy“. Colton, I salute you and your marvellously oversized quill.
So Badgers, cut out your fakery and we’ll call off the cull. You’ll feel better for it, we’ll respect you more for it and you can make a few quid for the badges on eBay. Then you might be able to treat yourself to a proper bottle of San Pellegrino. Cheers!
Original image courtesy of Rudolf Stricker, via Wikipedia. Subsequent retouching by my cat.