“I thought it handled great…”

The news that Toyota has overtaken GM as the world’s top seller of automobiles is touching off an emotional response in Detroit.

On message boards, some voiced support for Detroit by criticizing Toyota.

“Toyota takes their profits and invests it in their country, not ours,” a post on the Detroit Free Press Web site said. The author, who used the screen name Americanmade, added, “Wake Up America and Buy American!”

Others showed their support for the Japanese company. “Nice Job Toyota! Your cars are great! Too bad we can’t say that about the Big 3,” said one reader in a posting on the Detroit News Web site Tuesday, signed by R.C. of Kalamazoo, Mich.

This seems like as good a time as any to bring up memories of the economic nationalism that fueled the backlash against Japanese automakers in the 1980s. Since I am too lazy to make a substantive argument right now, here’s a clip from the 1986 film Gung Ho that feels appropriate for the moment.

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