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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: Hands Across the Sea

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  • Roy Preston
    ... Many thanks for this, Richard. I ve printed it out for later. And *excellent* stuff from Simon on this thread. I seem to have missed out on a couple of
    Message 1 of 15 , May 28, 2001
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      >Andre Gorz has written an excellent analysis

      Many thanks for this, Richard. I've printed it out for later. And
      *excellent* stuff from Simon on this thread. I seem to have missed out on a
      couple of replies to Simon though?

      Roy
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... I was thinking it was just me; has anybody seen these missing replies? Simon, can you check whether the stuff you re responding to is being addressed to
      Message 2 of 15 , May 28, 2001
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        >Many thanks for this, Richard. I've printed it out for later. And
        >*excellent* stuff from Simon on this thread. I seem to have missed out on a
        >couple of replies to Simon though?

        I was thinking it was just me; has anybody seen these missing
        replies? Simon, can you check whether the stuff you're responding
        to is being addressed to the list?

        Something seems wrong with the list server here.




        -- ### --

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
      • Roy Preston
        Richard posted a url to a piece called The Social Ideology of the Motorcar by André Gorz. I ve just read it and it s given me that amazing uplifting feeling
        Message 3 of 15 , May 29, 2001
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          Richard posted a url to a piece called 'The Social Ideology of the
          Motorcar' by André Gorz. I've just read it and it's given me that amazing
          uplifting feeling of wanting to *SHOUT* the message from the rooftops, ha
          ha ha. Honestly, it's one of the most compelling arguments in favour of a
          radical rethink on transportation and Cities I've read for some time
          (carfree aside of course;-).

          Why oh why can't we get this message across to our governments in the
          soundbites they treasure so much? I share Simon Baddeley's sentiments re
          the slow groundshift of opinion and the future, but I'm not prepared to
          wait! *Especially* after hearing about one of our political party's
          irresponsible policies on transport this morning -- more roads, cheaper
          fuel. . .

          God this is *so* frustrating!

          Roy P
        • Simon Baddeley
          You are learning fast. I am also delighted to hear that you lack energy to continue the debate. In the long run this is how all political campaigns are won ...
          Message 4 of 15 , May 29, 2001
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            You are learning fast. I am also delighted to hear that you lack energy to
            continue the debate. In the long run this is how all political campaigns are
            won ... by those who stick it out. We will.

            Simon

            ----- Original Message -----
            From: Lance K Green <lkgzzz@...>
            To: <Blind.Copy.Receiver@...>
            Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2001 12:55 PM
            Subject: Hands Across the Sea


            No, Simon, I cannot cope with 8 pages of anti-car twist this early in the
            morning or this late in the day. You are adept at finding an odd angle
            through which to peer through you crooked telescope.

            You blame cars for congestion, death and destruction, ill health,
            unsociable behaviour, and just about everything. Suppose someone invented
            a car that did not pollute (at all), used no fossil fuel, was completely
            safe, and so on. I believe that you would still be opposed to it. I may
            well be doing you an injustice; but I find the remarks of Christine
            Stewart, the former Canadian Environment Minister, on global warming
            interesting. She said that "...even if the science was all phoney..." she
            could see "...collateral social benefits..." from the policies. Ever
            since I was a child, I have heard dark, anti-car, murmurrings. The
            authors of such have recently become much cleverer at coming up with
            excuses for it all.

            I know that the above is no argument; but I have not the energy or the
            time to go head to head, point to point with you. I never intended that.
            If you are determined to debate with me, then could you make it one point
            at a time?

            LKG
          • Simon Baddeley
            Marinetti was the word I was looking for. Moses was the other name - NY Transport Commissioner. They were among the prophets and heroes of the car age in the
            Message 5 of 15 , Jun 2, 2001
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              Marinetti was the word I was looking for. Moses was the other name - NY
              Transport Commissioner. They were among the prophets and heroes of the car
              age in the West. Now? Who speaks up for the car and the car driver? It is
              not something that excites the intellectuals and the avante garde any more.
              These people are noticed by the majority but it is their creativity and
              excitement that drives ideas and technologies and eventually policies and
              public opinion. The car no longer enjoys great advocates.

              I note that the UK Road Freight organisation that used to lobby so
              successfully for more ands more roads has haemorrhaged staff and is now
              incorporated into the CBI.

              It must be strange for you to read these views at a time when cars are
              spreading across the world with car ownership increasing steadily in UK and
              USA and across most of Europe let alone the third world.

              But rather as people who love steam-trains must travel to South Africa or
              India to enjoy those that remain (as projects still used by 1000s of people)
              you may have to go to China to really get that buzz associated with the car
              until about the 1970s here.

              Best wishes

              Simon
            • Simon Baddeley
              Destroy is strong, Lance, but - to borrow your language - it s the car and the truck that have done the destroying and sold this mayhem back to us as
              Message 6 of 15 , Jun 2, 2001
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                "Destroy" is strong, Lance, but - to borrow your language - it's the car and
                the truck that have done the destroying and sold this mayhem back to us as
                romantic myth - as the Western glorifies genocide (matched incidentally by
                countless stories of daring-do that celebrating European - especially
                British - colonialism).

                Oscar Wilde said "Every man destroys the thing he loves" but the thing you
                love has destroyed countless lives, wasted landscapes and recruited millions
                into a non-society of fragmented individuals fearful of one other.

                The car and its champions have succeeded brilliantly in avoiding awareness
                of its responsibility for swathes of collateral damage. As accountants would
                say this is a technology that is for ever externalising its cost to the rest
                of us. Your beloved car has turned our streets into deserts, fattened our
                children and by its proliferation created a landscape in which a visitor
                from another planet could easily assume the inhabitants of Earth are shiny
                metal boxes that live by ingesting and disgorging living beings while
                maiming and killing those they can't digest.

                I with many others want this unsustainable process to be tamed in sensible
                democratic ways. Gradually this is happening - thanks to the decency,
                intelligence and courage of a growing minority who see the damage being
                caused by this once liberating technology. Calling our varied perspectives
                and approaches disagreeable I could understand - since many of us have also
                been car dependent. Labelling them "perverse" sounds like the reproach a
                junkie directs at those trying to help wean him from his self-destructive
                dependency.

                Adversarial debate draws out the character of the person with whom you are
                debating - and v.v. You've confessed to supporting acts of destruction in
                defence of the car and implied that those who don't agree with you are
                "perverted" - a much stronger term than "perverse". After reading your
                emotional (rather than emotive) propositions, poignant verses,
                personalisation of a complex debate and appeals for sympathy, I remain as
                interested as ever in being exposed to a well argued case for the car.

                I think you are right to be sceptical of my "Best wishes".

                Your adversary and with respect for due process,

                Simon


                ----- Original Message -----
                From: Lance K Green <lkgzzz@...>
                To: <Blind.Copy.Receiver@...>
                Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2001 11:07 PM
                Subject: Hands Across the Sea


                <<Marinetti was the word I was looking for. Moses was the other name - NY
                Transport Commissioner. They were among the prophets and heroes of the
                car age in the West. Now? Who speaks up for the car and the car driver? It
                is not something that excites the intellectuals and the avante garde any
                more. These people are noticed by the majority but it is their creativity
                and excitement that drives ideas and technologies and eventually policies
                and public opinion. The car no longer enjoys great advocates.>>

                It never did.

                <<It must be strange for you to read these views at a time when cars are
                spreading across the world with car ownership increasing steadily in UK and
                USA and across most of Europe let alone the third world.>>

                "These views" inflict on me something close to physical pain. The thought
                that a body (no, many bodies) of intelligent and even influential people
                spend much of their time trying to destroy the motorcar restores my belief
                in the existence of evil. Why anyone should want to do that is just
                appalling and invokes another, more doubtful, concept - that of perversion.

                <<But rather as people who love steam-trains must travel to South Africa or
                India to enjoy those that remain (as projects still used by 1000s of
                people) you may have to go to China to really get that buzz associated with
                the car until about the 1970s here.>>

                And how are we to travel around without cars?

                <<Best wishes>>

                You cannot be serious.

                LKG
              • Simon Baddeley
                I d be glad if stopped suggesting that I know the things about which you want me to agree with you. If I did I d hardly be taking the positions I have in
                Message 7 of 15 , Jun 3, 2001
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                  I'd be glad if stopped suggesting that "I know" the things about which you
                  want me to agree with you. If I did I'd hardly be taking the positions I
                  have in this debate would I - unless of course I'm the perverted instrument
                  of evil that you suspect at work in campaigns against auto-dependency.

                  You are in love with the car. I'm not. As a wise parent knows it's no good
                  arguing with a besotted child. It may be easier for you to maintain your
                  romantic attachment to this wastrel technology because, as you told me early
                  on, you no longer yourself drive. This separation from the object of your
                  affection helps sustain the allure of the car in a way that would become
                  increasingly difficult to anyone who tries to drive one from A to B these
                  days - especially in cities.

                  By the way Edward Platt has just published a rather good book called
                  "Leadville: a biography of the A40" (Picador 2000). The Sunday Telegraph
                  calls it "brilliant". Craig Brown in the Mail on Sunday describes it as
                  "compelling", Tim Lott of the Times says its "riveting", The Sunday Times'
                  John Carey says it should be read by "every thinking motorist", Claire
                  Colvin of the Sunday express praises the way it moves "from the richly comic
                  to the near tragic." It's a journalistic sometimes literary account of the
                  story of Western Avenue - a main thoroughfare in and out of London - from
                  its exhilarating and popular construction in the 1920s to its partial
                  demolition 70 years later amid the broken dreams of the suburbia it helped
                  both create and partially destroy. More than anything else Platt's book
                  tells a tale of "our all-consuming love affair with the motor car." It is
                  not people like me who are destroying the romantic dream of the car it is
                  the car itself which has over and over again filled and eventually blocked
                  the spaces created to satisfy its owners' need for asphalt.

                  One person on this list has asked me if you are real, Lance. Are you sure
                  you are not an alternative version of me using another email address to
                  enable me to develop my thinking about the problems of auto-dependency? This
                  can't be the case because I could produce so many better arguments on behalf
                  of the car.

                  Simon


                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: Lance K Green <lkgzzz@...>
                  To: Simon Baddeley <s.j.baddeley@...>
                  Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2001 11:42 AM
                  Subject: Hands Across the Sea


                  <<"Destroy" is strong, Lance, but - to borrow your language - it's the car
                  and the truck that have done the destroying and sold this mayhem back to us
                  as romantic myth - as the Western glorifies genocide (matched incidentally
                  by countless stories of daring-do that celebrating European - especially
                  British - colonialism).>>

                  That is complete nonsense. The car has brought joy and freedom to the
                  world. Glorious freedom to zoom, to trundle, to sigh, to enjoy... Most
                  things go stale. I even occasionally get fed up with the computer, but
                  driving, never.

                  <<Oscar Wilde said "Every man destroys the thing he loves" but the thing
                  you love has destroyed countless lives...>>

                  You know very well that the car has saved more lives than the National
                  Health Service. I should say that the car has preserved life more than any
                  invention save the telephone.

                  <<...wasted landscapes and recruited millions into a non-society of
                  fragmented individuals fearful of one other.>>

                  Preserving us the better from anti-biotic resistant bacteria and emerging
                  viruses. On buses drunk louts terrorise other passengers and surly
                  drivers. But, in one's car, one listens contentedly to one's choice of
                  music or talk; or one keeps up dated on the Test Match. Cars are
                  culturally uplifting as one takes in the radio and admires the superb
                  detail design in the modern motor.

                  <<Your beloved car has turned our streets into deserts, fattened our
                  children and by its proliferation created a landscape in which a visitor
                  from another planet could easily assume the inhabitants of Earth are shiny
                  metal boxes that live by ingesting and disgorging living beings while
                  maiming and killing those they can't digest.>>

                  I hope you'll feel better soon.

                  <<I with many others want this unsustainable process...>>

                  It is not in the least unsustainable. I have heard that oft repeated cry
                  (in one form or another) since the fifties.

                  <<Adversarial debate draws out the character of the person with whom you
                  are debating - and v.v. You've confessed to supporting acts of destruction
                  in defence of the car and implied that those who don't agree with you are
                  "perverted" - a much stronger term than "perverse".>>

                  That is a gross distortion.

                  LKG
                • Roy Preston
                  Simon. This thread is one of the best exchanges I have read on this list. The following response addressing one of your most pertinent points says it all for
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jun 3, 2001
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                    Simon. This thread is one of the best exchanges I have read on this list.
                    The following response addressing one of your most pertinent points says it
                    all for me:

                    <<Your beloved car has turned our streets into deserts. . .
                    maiming and killing those they can't digest.>>
                    >
                    >I hope you'll feel better soon.

                    Roy P
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