When the decade began, tech meant promise. It connected us in ways we could barely imagine. But somewhere along the way, it became an insidious part of our dating culture. What happened?
(VOICEOVER): In the Myth of the Machine, historian Lewis Mumford warned that computers would suck away our freedom and destroy life enhancing values. But by the 1970s, computers were embraced as symbols of individual expression and liberation. This was certified when Timothy Leary declared personal computers had become the new LSD and adopted the mantra, "Turn on, boot up, jack in." Personal computers were thought to be the true royal road to the future.
It could be said that this sentiment lasted well into the 2000s. At the beginning of the 2010s, technology meant promise. With the Internet, we had access to an infinite amount of information that could spread to every corner of the earth. Social media was fueling the Arab Spring. Google was testing self-driving cars. Apple introduced artificial intelligence with Siri. Instagram exploded onto the scene, spawning multiple subcultures. And everyone now had access to the revolutionary iPhone, the world's first advanced touch screen smartphone. However, in 2010, we weren't aware that the iPhone would alter the very fabric of society. Actually, we have no idea what was to come.
Two years later, in 2012, an iPhone app was created that made the swipe right a cultural phenomenon. You guessed it, Tinder. This was the first time in history people essentially had a singles catalog in their pocket. It radically changed the way we met people. By 2014, Tinder was registering about one billion swipes per day and matching more than 12 million people. Tinder expanded the reach of our social networks, facilitating interactions between people who might not have crossed paths otherwise. With so many people making connections like this, there became a cross pollination of social circles that didn't exist previously. With something spreading like wildfire through an area of our lives so important and so personal, how did people feel about it? Since I'm a part of the generation that helped fuel this dating app culture (the Millennials), I wanted to talk to a few of my good friends to find out.
Tinder first impressions
Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa. I'm 36 years old. I'm from Venezuela, from Valencia.
Isabelle: Hi, I'm Isabelle. I'm 30 years old and I'm from Montreal, Canada.
Telina: Hey, I'm Telina, 32 years old, and I'm originally from Sydney, Australia, but now I live in Whistler, B.C. (Canada).
Sara: Hey, I'm Sara. I am 29 years old and currently live in New York City.
Ashley: My name is Ashley and I'm 34 years old. I was born and raised in the Midwest, but I currently reside in Jalisco, Mexico.
Paulina: Hi I’m Paulina, I’m 31 years old and I’m from Guadalajara, Mexico.
Vanessa: Well, I started using dating apps in 2015, actually, after I broke up with my boyfriend. I was in Zurich, Switzerland. At the beginning, I think I wasn't ready for dating. I was with this breakup thing and and I remember, it gave me like a boost of confidence.
Isabelle: It's such an ego booster at the end of the day. It's so much fun being on Tinder, for instance, and knowing that for every five persons that you'll swipe right, you have two that it's a match. That's a that's a big ego booster. It's 40 percent of the population that likes you back.
Telina: So in the first first week of downloading this app, it was just like the hotline bling bling, like, "Bing, bing, bing, bing!" Tinder notifications were blowing up my phone and I was excited. I was happy. Better than that was this constant hit of endorphins. And they say endorphins make people happy. So it was very happy.
Dating app addiction
(VOICEOVER): I kept hearing the same phrase from all of my friends. It gave them confidence and a stream of endorphins to boot. This was a good thing, right? What was the harm in getting an ego boost? Well, it turns out a lot. Let me explain. The interface of a dating app is designed to trigger the same neurobiological mechanisms as a slot machine. With every right swipe, there's a moment of anticipation as we wait to find out if it's a match. When it is, there's an on-screen celebration giving us the feeling that we've won. This element of surprise creates a rush of dopamine that quickly fades, leaving us wanting more. Perhaps that's why users message back and forth with fewer than 10 percent of their matches. Like a casino, a swiping up isn't designed to help us win, it's designed to keep us playing so the house wins. In fact, Tinder boasts that users log in on average 11 times per day, spending up to 90 minutes per day swiping and have accumulated on average over 200 matches. However, for the vast majority of users, this has led to exactly zero relationships. According to a Pew Research Center report on online dating in 2020, 30 percent of U.S. adults have used a dating app or website, but only 12 percent found a committed relationship or marriage. And it's no surprise, after you hear Tinder's CEO say in a Time interview, "It doesn't even matter if you match because swiping is so fun." But is it? I wanted to find out what kind of impact the swiping phenomenon had on my generation. How did we feel about it and how was it changing our dating culture?
Vanessa: The problem with the apps is it's like a lottery. I mean, the more you play, the more you increase your chances. But there's no guarantee. Your expectations have to be very low because there's everything. I mean, I dated for four years and many of the people that I dated, they didn't know what they wanted exactly. I think it's hard to be clear about what you want with someone that you just met. You are vulnerable for this person to just be having fun. I dated this other guy and he totally broke my heart. I mean, I remember it didn't feel any good. You never know the intentions of the other person because it's too easy to get into the apps. You know, Tinder is like fast food.
(VOICEOVER): Remember when I said Tinder had expanded the reach of our social networks, allowing people to meet who might not have met otherwise? Well, that could be a pro and a con. You see back in the day when meeting your dates through friends and family was the norm, daters had an incentive to be honest, upfront and nice to each other because you had mutual connections. Now we lost the third party connection resulting in ghosting, orbiting, bread-crumbing and benching each other. Furthermore, in one study, I found that 48 percent of online daters said they were only looking for fun, and 13 percent said they were simply looking for sex. It's no wonder so many people began suffering from dating app burnout. How could you possibly know if someone was seriously looking for a relationship? There was no incentive to be honest or upfront. And like Vanessa mentioned, it was way too easy to get into the apps. Aside from this dilemma, I found something else going on in the world of Tinder, and it didn't involve looking for love or relationships at all.
The “Tinder Games”
Telina: We would play the Tinder game. The game was just made up. Everyone is on Tinder and you put your phone in the middle of the table and you say 3,2,1 and you grab someone else's phone. So then you're now swiping and acting as if you're the owner of the phone. Then, we were out at some club and some guy comes up to me and he's like "Telina?" I was like, "Yeah, who are you?" and he said "We matched on Tinder" and I'm like, "I don't think so." And then my friends are like, cracking up, laughing because we know what's going on; we just played the Tinder game, but he was like, "Yeah, we were talking!" and I was like "Yeah, no, I don't think we were!" (Laughter)
(VOICEOVER): It wasn't only my generation that joined in on the game. Do you remember, Dawn, from the last episode? Even the baby boomers were joining in on the fun.
Dawn: Probably the funniest thing that has happened was I knew nothing about Tinder and I was in L.A. helping a friend with her business. She had an event. She was a high fashion photographer. And one evening she wanted me to go out with them at the end of a photoshoot to be the entertainer because I was fun and she wanted to be rehired by this campaign. So she asked me to come. And I remember I let those men that she had worked for –– it was Hugo Boss photoshoot so they were all in from Germany -- they were all wanting to do something fun. And so I allowed them to make me a Tinder account right there at the table. And then I let them go as far as to find a date for me that night in the restaurant that we were in. They had the waiter go find him and everything. And then I was like, no, I'm not really meeting him. But that was fun. We were, you know, probably two or three hours sitting at a table, drinking wine, having a great time, everybody laughing. And I never opened up that Tinder account ever again until the same girlfriend and I had gone to Italy and were the most boring people at night. We would just sit in our rooms and play the Tinder game with Italian guys, people we were never going to meet.
(VOICEOVER): It was clear that Tinder had gamified our dating culture and people seemed to be enjoying playing, for now. But I wanted to get an expert opinion on the matter.
Leslie: Hello, this is Leslie Wardman and I am the founder of Ambiance Matchmaking.
(VOICEOVER): I asked Leslie, what did she think about this gamification of Tinder and what would the long-term effects be?
Leslie: People's perception is everything. So if you do view it like it's a video game, "Swipe, swipe, no dodge this one, dodge that one!" like Asteroids or something, and the right guy pops up ten years later.
(VOICEOVER): But gaming aside, Leslie says that there was another even bigger issue at stake.
The paradox of choice
Leslie: Once upon a time, when you met somebody, before online dating, and if there was some, significant platform of something to build on, that was halfway substantial, you worked on it. If there was a problem, you came back to the table and you put effort into it because you realized that, significant others don't grow on trees. Well, these days, significant others kind of do (grow on trees) digitally. It's extracted anybody taking effort to work on the relationship. But then again, you can't just hold online dating responsible for all of this. You know, everybody has a mom and a dad, hopefully, and seeing how they play through their situations is going to have a big impact on you, more so than online dating.
(VOICEOVER): I asked a lot of my friends what their thoughts were on this culture of swapping out your significant other when problems popped up and they admitted either they had personally done this or they knew friends who were doing it on a continual basis.
Isabelle: Honestly, I find that dating apps has changed so much the dating world, because, for instance, if I have an argument with Rodrigo (my boyfriend), my first reaction will not be, "Well, you can go back on a dating app and find someone else." Of course not. But a lot of my friends, like when they're starting dating, instead of figuring it out and sorting out their argument, they’re just like, "Yeah, next." I find that relationships are so important and it's as though people now are not valuing those relationships. I think that there's pros and cons to dating apps, that it's changing people's mentalities and way of doing.
(VOICEOVER): This phenomenon is so strong in our dating culture, we did our very first podcast episode on the topic titled The Paradox of Choice. For those that remember, my guests Denver was talking about this very thing.
Denver: A lot of people have this issue and I've checked myself a few times, but there's this 'illusion of choice.' If there's one thing about this person that doesn't really kind of work, I'll think ,"Oh I could definitely find the perfect person," which doesn't actually exist. And the other thing that I found these days is that people don't work at relationships that much. It's a massive shame because you're just missing out. It's just like a constant merry-go-round. Maybe there should be a dating app called Merry-Go-Round. (Laughter)
The bright side of dating apps and social media
(VOICEOVER): This was obviously an issue. But on the flip side, just like personal computers had brought creative expression and liberation to people in the 70s, dating apps brought liberation to the dating sphere in the 2010s. Singles could break out of their narrow social circles, allowing them to meet people from other places and cultures and be exposed to a variety of men and women before settling down. It even helped to integrate the country. Interracial marriage had two major spikes over the last 20 years. Once, right after match.com launched in 1995 and again in 2014, two years after Tinder made its debut. And for those online daters that learned to jump off the merry-go-round, well, it turns out they may have longer, happier marriages. Researchers from the University of Chicago conducted a study of 19,000 participants and found that their rate of marital break ups for those who met their spouse online was 25 percent lower than for those who met offline. The researchers suggested that a greater pool of potential spouses might give users more options and allow them to be more selective.
Ashley: The man that I'm with now, we had actually matched on three separate dating apps, and it was actually Tinder where we started communicating and we ended up meeting in person and, you know, five years later, here we are!
(VOICEOVER): And dating apps weren’t the only way of connecting people. Social media also played a role. Facebook, for example, was reconnecting long-lost loves and making it easier to find “the one that got away,” giving old flames second chances and rekindling childhood crushes.
Paulina: So, I met my husband when I was 14 years old. We were both tennis players and we were from different cities. So we saw each other in a tournament and kind of just made contact. I was a kid and he already was 17-18 years old, so I was just dreaming to get to know him. But then more than 10 years after that, we find each other on Facebook. We started liking pictures of each other, following the lifestyle of each other, the thoughts, the interests, and it was just like that for about 2 years. I had a boyfriend and I broke up, and I believe he saw all of that in my profile. I remember telling my mom something like, “I could just marry this guy tomorrow!” And funny, few weeks later, he finally made contact through a Facebook message, and we were living in different cities so we planned to see each other in Mexico City for a weekend. It was just pure attraction, we spent the whole weekend together, having lunch, dinner, walking in the city and talking. Next weekend he flew to my hometown, met my parents, and stayed for weeks. Then I flew to his place, and we were already talking about living together and kind of planning how this was going to work for us. A month and a half later after that Mexico City weekend, we took a trip together to the beach and he proposed to me in the airport. I just felt that was the way it supposed to be, I never hesitated or had second thoughts. Even though everybody was thinking this is way too quick. But I was in love with him since I was a 14 year-old girl, and life made us wait around 12 years to be together. We’ve been married for 5 years now, with my husband.
Hookup culture and superficiality
(VOICEOVER): Honestly, I was happy to find this glimpse of good news. But for every sliver of hope I got about online dating, it was always eclipsed by something bigger and darker.
Sara: I first got Tinder in like 2014. And I just remember all of the swiping, like you know, pretty average guys and then really beautiful guys. I felt like there was some kind of algorithm that would assess your attractiveness and then try to find guys within that range, because I remember, I swept through some of my friend's accounts and they would have a totally different pick of guys. I just felt like most of the conversations went straight to "Hey want to grab a drink?" and kind of like this hookup mentality. I didn't really get into that. I wanted to tell you though, I had a really bizarre experience actually on Tinder. Once I matched with this guy. And it was so bizarre because we went to this little place in Chicago called El Jefe and he had ordered like six shots of tequila when I got to the table and was already so drunk. I told him I wanted to grab a bite to eat, and that place didn't have food so he said he knew of a place. Well that place that he knew was around the corner and it was a nightclub. So we end up in this nightclub. It just got really out of hand. And he was really drunk. I think he was like 11 shots in now. I went on several other dates and a majority of them were very similar to that one where the guys were really party mentality and not really into a relationship or even really getting to know who I was as a person. It was always about, you know, hanky-panky and that's not what I was after at that time.
(VOICEOVER): Oh, yes. We've all heard this. Dating apps, specifically Tinder, create a hookup mentality. And that was true. But there was something else happening simultaneously just below the surface. Online dating had begun a culture of superficiality. In fact, one study sites that 71 percent of online daters said photos were very important, which seems reasonable. But photos were ranked much, much higher when compared with other values that make someone more compatible, like hobbies and interests, which only ranked at 36 percent, followed by religion at 25 percent, politics at 14 percent or even type of relationship someone wants at 63 percent. Meaning being attractive was more important than actually wanting a relationship. It could be said that this type of shallowness began driving our dating culture back in the 2000s, when HOTorNOT became an overnight viral hit by letting people upload pictures of themselves so total strangers could rate their attractiveness on a scale of one to 10. Twenty years later, HOTorNOT's DNA is embedded into almost every major platform that defines how we interact online today.
Tinder’s desirability score, the privacy paradox, and scammers
French journalist Judith Duportail was on Tinder looking for love when one day she read an article about how Tinder users have a "desirability score" to rate their attractiveness and match them with people on a similar level. If someone very attractive likes you, you gain points. If someone not very attractive rejects you, you lose points. As Judith puts it, everything unique about you, the sound of your voice, your humor, the fact that you have dogs, that doesn't matter anymore. Judith was furious and wanted to find out what her score was, so she called Tinder. Tinder told her it was their intellectual property and she could never get her score. But she did find out something else. After six months of emails and calls, they offered all of the personal data they had on file for Judith and it was over 800 pages! The files had all of Judith's personal details; age and education, but also all of her Tinder swipes and personal conversations, along with all of her Facebook likes and her Instagram posts. Basically, all of your apps are talking about you behind your back all of the time. But guess what? Judith still caught herself deleting the app out of anger, but then re-downloading it when she felt lonely. This is called the privacy paradox. We all say we value privacy, but everything we do online seems to contradict that. However, for those that insisted on clinging on to their privacy, there was another option. Again, I called on Leslie.
Leslie: I mean, I'm picturing a little kid someday say, "Mommy, what's privacy?" Privacy is nonexistent. This conversation is probably in a tube under the ocean heading to Antarctica right now. It's nonexistent! Yeah. I don't care if you think your online dating site is private. It's not. That information is going somewhere. I mean, with a matchmaker, you don't have to worry about. It's secure. But online dating, digital stuff. It's another story.
(VOICEOVER): Privacy wasn't the only issue. Do you remember in the last episode when I said the FTC reported that people lost $33 million dollars to romance scams in 2015? Well, that number rose to $201 million dollars in 2019.
Leslie: I do see online dating companies struggling right now to make themselves be better and safer platforms. I mean, it's just been so irresponsible. I just can't believe that so many fake profiles are allowed to go on to these companies and stay there and extort millions and millions of dollars out of innocent love seekers.
The evolution of professional matchmaking
(VOICEOVER): So with all of the pitfalls that come along with online dating, what are the alternatives?
Vanessa: If you are serious about looking for a partner, I would rather go to a matchmaking company because then you at least know that you're meeting someone with the same expectations as you, because in the end, it took me a lot of dates, I have to say. I mean, you don't immediately think, oh, I should go to a professional agency, you know, a matchmaking company. You think it will take you too much effort, not only money, but time, which it doesn't. I mean, if you think how much money I spent on dates through the years with Tinder and Bumble… If you're serious and you know what you want, you can invest that money wisely in a matchmaking company instead of spending energy because energy is also money.
(VOICEOVER): Though matchmaking is one of the oldest industries in existence, it didn't catch fire like dating apps because it wasn't as easy as clicking a button. It attracted those who were willing to invest time and money into finding a serious partnership and kept out those who weren't. Equally important, matchmaking firms act essentially as law firms, keeping the clients information completely confidential. Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker, combined with the Netflix show Indian Matchmaker, began to intertwine matchmaking into our daily pop culture, bringing it to the forefront of people's minds and therefore normalizing it. I wanted to talk to someone who had a front row seat to this evolution of professional matchmaking. So once again, I called on Leslie Wardman, the founder of Ambiance Matchmaking. Keep in mind, she's been professional matchmaking since the 1990s.
Taylor: How have you seen matchmaking evolve and become more popular over the last 20 years?
Leslie: Good question. At first, it just was a shocker. Like if you told somebody that you were a matchmaker, you know, jaws would drop and then immediately there'd be like a thousand questions to the point where I just start telling people I design emojis or something when I went out because it was just too time consuming. But now, you know, it's slightly intriguing to people, but they've seen it on TV and a lot of their friends have tried it. So, yeah, it's definitely become mainstream.
Taylor: Yeah. Let's talk about pop culture. How have some of these shows influenced the industry as far as like Bravo's Millionaire Matchmaker and now on Netflix, the Indian Matchmaker?
Leslie: Patti from Millionaire Matchmaker definitely helped set the stage for making matchmaking mainstream. I thought it was going to end matchmaking because I just didn't think it was very becoming, as far as a reflection on matchmaking, the reality of it. But you know, no drama, no TV. I totally get that. And Indian matchmaker, that's pretty much off the press as of this very moment. It's upped the numbers big time as far as Indian singles reaching out to us; Indian singles that have migrated from their land in India and come to live in the States. They are wanting our assistance. Mind you, we had our foot in the Indian singles door before the show came out because we've been matching people from there for quite some time anyway. Matchmaking has been huge forever in India, but they have had some big problems in their culture. I mean, it's no longer mom and dad are able to find your match and all the traditional ways that they've gone about it seem to be dissolving and rearranging themselves. We'll see how that plays out over time. So, people are reaching out to us and it's been good. People are feeling happy with us because we are so familiar with the landscape.
Taylor: And how has online dating affected the matchmaking industry?
Leslie: Online dating has affected the matchmaking industry positively. People just start to investigate and they're like, "What? I have to put all my photos and information out there for anybody and everybody to see? I don't think so!" I mean, a lot of women think about doing that, and they might even try it for a week and they try going to sleep at night and imagine some guy hankering over their pictures, you know, God knows where or who. So, yeah, the whole thought for a lot of people is very unsettling. And then there's a lot of people that do go on with an open heart and mind and immediately get bit by scammers and the dark side of people trying to extort money out of innocent people just trying to find love. As horrific as all of that is, they're like, "OK, forget this, I'm out of here," and they venture over to matchmaking, a much safer platform. And then there's the time aspect of it. I mean, goodness, you can get carpal tunnel syndrome just swiping, trying to get through to somebody that you think is on your level. And people don't know how to go about it and what questions to ask. It's like throwing a baby in the ocean or something because you just don't know what's going on. I talked to a very mature, successful person recently, and their second marriage failed. I asked, "Well, why did you marry her?" and he said "Well, she was rich and had a rocking body!" You have to apply more, you know, things that are really substantial.
Leslie: For the first time in history, the majority of the population are single. And by that, I mean not married.
(VOICEOVER): Remember how we were talking about the paradox of choice? Well, this was driving the vast majority of the American population toward being single. And now for the first time since 1976, then number of singles outnumber married people. We have so many options that it's easy to find the flaws with each one, because in the back of our minds, we know there's a stream of alternatives right in our pocket. But Leslie thinks that could be changing.
Leslie: So, you know, in Generation Y and X tradition could be gaining notoriety because I mean, our environment is so unstable right now. I mean, where is there any stability? So give me some stability in my relationship. Give me marriage. I want to know that when I come home at the end of the day, I'm walking into a house where I have stability. And marriage might help contribute to that.
Taylor: I think that with the whole pandemic especially, we'll have the most divorces and the most engagements and the most babies because it makes you realize who you're with. And I think for some, the insecurity will make them latch on to their partner.
Leslie: And that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you look at just the word of insecurity, it almost makes it seem like a bad thing. But I've seen plenty of great relationships get bred out of… let's not call it insecurity, because to me, that's like the biggest voodoo word when it comes to relationships. Let's call it just instability, like they are wanting stability.
Taylor: Yeah, I'd say most of my friends from from Generation Y, they have varying opinions on marriage and children. But yeah, I'd say commitment is important to them. They are seeking that that stability. However, I have noticed about half of my friends are torn on whether to have children or not.
Leslie: Well, let me ask you something. Why is it that half of your friends do not want children?
Taylor: Oh, well, I think the number one reason is because of the state of the world. They just worry not only for themselves, but if they were to have children, you know, what would happen? I mean, everything that's going on just with violence and war and climate change.
Leslie: Yeah, but you know something? I'm sitting here thinking and I know it's pretty intense right now for sure, but that mindset has been around since caveman days. I mean, seriously, should I get pregnant? What if a T-Rex comes along, you know, or World War 2? I mean, my dad built a bomb shelter in our house and stuff, so.
Taylor: Yeah, yeah. Actually, that's a good point. And I think the second reason would be, again, at least in my social circle, we're rethinking the way we want to design our lives, and that includes asking ourselves, do we really want marriage and children? And that answer varies a lot among my friends. And some just don't see it as a part of the bigger picture, whether they rather focus on their career or they think it's just too much of a financial burden or they simply have other life plans. You know, it also may be because we have less influence from our family. I know a lot of my friends don't live near their families anymore and maybe aren't as close with them. And so they don't feel that pressure from them or from or from society. It's becoming more normalized to not have children and also to not marry. So we I think we're more free to do what we want now. Yeah, I think we’re the first generation that’s starting to make up our minds about everything; not just family but also about religion. I mean, so much has changed with my generation specifically, the millennials. All of my friends now, they do not side with any sort of religion, they’re all spiritual, which is the first time that has happened; in your generation (the baby boomers), that didn’t happen.
Leslie: Right, that just happened in the last 20 years. When people came into my office and I asked them about religion, and slowly but very surely, we added on the ‘spiritual, not religious’ checkbox and before you knew it, within a 10 year period, 90 percent of people were making that check. One of my biggest regrets in raising my children is that I did not accept frontrow tickets to see MC Hammer, instead we went to Church that day. (Laughter).
Taylor: And what would you say are the major differences between online dating and using a professional matchmaking service?
Leslie: Online dating is like a parallel universe compared to matchmaking. Matchmaking is reality. You're talking to real people and you're getting real information. I even go as far as to factor in how well does this person know himself? You know, because a lot of times, I have to read in between the lines of what they're telling me to get the real information. So everything is real. And then, in the back of my mind, in the corner of my mind, when I picture online dating, I picture all these like fiber optic tubes and all of this information. Like a futuristic movie depicting people chatting, you know, just a bunch of chatter and useless chatter and people getting tired of being chatted up and fake profiles chatting. It's just a weird world that you really don't want to be in. And it makes me sad because there are people on there that are really wanting the truth and to find somebody. If you can weed through the fake profiles and weed through the unnecessary chatter and find somebody, my hat is off to you. You deserve an award, or you're lucky.
(VOICEOVER): While dating apps have become pervasive in our culture, they’re also very new. While they may have hijacked and altered one of our oldest, basic instincts as human beings, it’s important to remember, we’re likely very early in their evolution. Swiping and jumping on and off the merry-go-round may continue to stay relevant for some, but most of us will mature and moderate in response to our natural need for a real, genuine connection.
Dawn: I really liked technology. I've always loved technology. So, I can't imagine living without it, but at the same time, I can see why it's so overwhelming. A lot of times we don't get human to human contact nearly as much as we should. I wish I could probably take all my information that I have now about dating and who you choose, and you could go back to the more innocent time.
(VOICEOVER): Now that you have the full picture. Let me ask you, is technology a symbol of individual expression and liberation, or was Lewis Mumford, right? Has it sucked away our freedom and destroyed life enhancing values? I'll let you decide.