"Everybody needs a car".
- Going back to the roots.
Did you know that two publications appeared in the same year?
The dramatised version of "The Wind in the Willows" (1929) by A.A.Milne
where Toad is first mesmerised by the car that nearly kills him and then
becomes a car thief and the most famous of all literary speedophiles. "Poop,
"The Life of the Automobile" (1929) by Ilya Ehrenburg (out again - UK
publisher Serpent's Tail £7.99, though first reprinted in 1976) which, in a
Guardian Review of Aug 28 2000 by Nicholas Lezard (came across it by chance
the other day):
"prefigures the concerns and techniques of Ballard and Burroughs, 30 to 40
years before they got into their stride. It's modernism but without, say
Marinetti's bull-shit fascism, the worship of the machine that is actually
an act of self-denying despair."
"Everybody needs a car"
"Ehrenburg's book is the first great introduction to the dehumanising
effects of industry, of power and velocity. Its scope is vast, ambitious;
its characters include Henry Ford, André Citröen, Zaharoff (arms dealer,
kept WW1 going), Henry Deterding (Dutch oil magnate, immensely big cheese in
his day); but also the workers at their factories, the people whose lives
are not so much destroyed as rendered absurd by the demands of money and
Ehrenburg also describes the growing parasitism of the first world on the
third - and the only difference as Lezard points out is that we no longer
refer to "coolies" as we plunder pre-industrial economies for their labour,
expertise and raw materials.