Look, I’m sorry about this, I really am. I’m as guilty as anyone.
As soon as a car maker says it has reduced the number of buttons it uses on the dashboard of a new car, I’ve been front-row and centre, politely golf-clapping like everybody else, commending them on a job well done for cleaning up that dreadful car interior, so it looks much nicer.
Bravo. Well done, finally banishing those awful cabins that look like low-end stereos, with all that black plastic and diddy buttons strewn all over the place. Let’s have more of that cleaner look, the one that resembles a Swedish bedroom, with loads of light woods, soft fabrics and little bits of sun-flecked satin-finished metal. Bring on the warmth, the welcoming lightness. Ah, yes, the future.
Except, actually, sorry, don’t. Not to this extent, anyway. It’s not that I’ve changed my mind per se, it’s just that, well, it’s gone a bit too far. Car firms have become like a puppy that doesn’t know when a game isn’t amusing any more because much of my arm is now inside your mouth, bleeding.
The great button reduction programme has become a populist movement that needs an intellectual check. I think in contemporary cultural terms it’s called ‘jumping the shark’, although it sounds as ridiculous when applied to a car as it does when attributed to a television programme. But basically it means: don’t take all of the buttons away.