August 23: Richard Hatch wins a Pontiac Aztek on “Survivor” on this date in 2000

23 August 2013

The march of time reveals the embarrassments of previous decades to the ridicule of the present. Just like we made fun of hippies and lava lamps and yuppies, we are almost far enough removed from the year 2000 to look back and ask the age-old question: "What the hell?" Like today's anniversary of the date when Richard Hatch briefly became the most famous person in America for winning a Pontiac Aztek -- a car he'd later go to jail for.

I was at the Detroit auto show in 2000 where this horror scene of marketing took place for the Aztek's unveiling; the paid-for crowd of faux hipsters would be the first and last time anyone ever made a public clamor for the Aztek. Hatch famously bragged about not paying taxes on the $1 million he won on the first season of "Survivor," nor on the Aztek then valued at $27,000, and eventually spent 51 months in prison. It's a far higher price than anyone else ever paid for the worst car Pontiac ever built. When your ad agency only shoots a car through a fish-eye lens, something's broken bad:

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