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selfish Americans

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  • J.H. Crawford
    FYI: Yankee does not technically refer to all Americans but to those who come from the northeast part of the country. This minor error aside, this is
    Message 1 of 6 , May 2, 2005
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      FYI: "Yankee" does not technically refer to all Americans but
      to those who come from the northeast part of the country. This
      minor error aside, this is interesting if old news:


      Self-Centered and Naive, the Yankees' Attitude to their Cars Speaks Volumes

      Cristina Odone


      http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0501-25.htm

      Published on Sunday, May 1, 2005 by the Guardian Observer


      America is hopping mad. Not because of the political scandal gripping Washington over the alleged misdemeanours of one of its leading politicians, the Senate Majority Leader, Tom DeLay. And not because the latest economic stats show that American GDP has once again dipped. What's got the Americans' goat is the price of gasoline. Over the past year, a gallon of petrol has risen from $1.50 to $2.23 (about £1.20).

      The Bush administration is taking the matter seriously: this week the President promised to invest heavily in domestic oil exploration. Soon, he told his nation of petrol-guzzlers, the United States would be oil-independent. They would no longer be at the mercy of nasty foreigners and their unfair and exorbitant pricing.

      Dubya's words have yet to still the fears of middle America. As he knows all too well, to his fellow citizens the car is far more than a means of transport (though in this far-flung country it is often the only means of getting to the nearest bus stop or subway, let alone the nearest grocer's).

      It doesn't matter that the top two best-selling luxury cars are foreign (Lexus and BMW), as are the top two best-selling midsize sedans (Toyota Camry and Honda Accord). For Americans, the car retains the glorious aura inspired by Jack Kerouac's nostalgic prose and Henry Ford's unparalleled industry. It is your bulletin board on which to post stickers supporting your political party ('A democrat's an ass' accompanies a picture of the Democrats' symbol, the donkey); religion (countless fish, the symbol preferred by Evangelical Christians); your child's academic record ('Walt Whitman High School Honor Roll').

      It is your entertainment space - many new models, like the popular Toyota Scion T2B, sport rear windows that double as video screen. It serves as your kitchen (there are cup-n-sandwich trays that attach to the dashboard, for meals on the run). And it confirms your status: pick-ups are for the rednecks in the outback, hummers for wealthy and trendy young families, SUVs for soccer moms. The car also plays a crucial role in the rites of passage celebrated in American mythology: it's where high school kids first make out, it's what proud middle-class dads give their offspring on getting into college, it's what husbands give their trophy wives to parade in.

      Add to this the fact that the average American spends two-and-a-half hours at the wheel and you can see why - although I have been here in Washington DC for only a few days - groans about gasoline greet me at every gathering.

      This is not consumer dissatisfaction so much as moral outrage: the car, like the gun, is every American's inalienable right. No one, so far, has raised the small matter of global warming; no one has expressed concern about their lion's share of the world's gas consumption. Self-centred and naive, the Yankees' attitude to their car speaks volumes.

      © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005


      ------ ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
    • Mike Morin
      FYI: Yankee refers to WASPs in the northeast. People of various immigrant groups (and there are many) do not consider themselves Yankees. When I explained this
      Message 2 of 6 , May 2, 2005
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        FYI: Yankee refers to WASPs in the northeast. People of various immigrant
        groups (and there are many) do not consider themselves Yankees. When I
        explained this to my office mate (from Arkansas), he replied "Don't worry
        Mike, when I was in Australia, they called ME a Yankee.

        I tell people, I'm not a Yankee, I'm a Red Sock...

        ;-P

        MM

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
        To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, May 02, 2005 9:52 AM
        Subject: [carfree_cities] selfish Americans



        FYI: "Yankee" does not technically refer to all Americans but
        to those who come from the northeast part of the country. This
        minor error aside, this is interesting if old news:


        Self-Centered and Naive, the Yankees' Attitude to their Cars Speaks Volumes

        Cristina Odone


        http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0501-25.htm

        Published on Sunday, May 1, 2005 by the Guardian Observer


        America is hopping mad. Not because of the political scandal gripping
        Washington over the alleged misdemeanours of one of its leading politicians,
        the Senate Majority Leader, Tom DeLay. And not because the latest economic
        stats show that American GDP has once again dipped. What's got the
        Americans' goat is the price of gasoline. Over the past year, a gallon of
        petrol has risen from $1.50 to $2.23 (about £1.20).

        The Bush administration is taking the matter seriously: this week the
        President promised to invest heavily in domestic oil exploration. Soon, he
        told his nation of petrol-guzzlers, the United States would be
        oil-independent. They would no longer be at the mercy of nasty foreigners
        and their unfair and exorbitant pricing.

        Dubya's words have yet to still the fears of middle America. As he knows all
        too well, to his fellow citizens the car is far more than a means of
        transport (though in this far-flung country it is often the only means of
        getting to the nearest bus stop or subway, let alone the nearest grocer's).

        It doesn't matter that the top two best-selling luxury cars are foreign
        (Lexus and BMW), as are the top two best-selling midsize sedans (Toyota
        Camry and Honda Accord). For Americans, the car retains the glorious aura
        inspired by Jack Kerouac's nostalgic prose and Henry Ford's unparalleled
        industry. It is your bulletin board on which to post stickers supporting
        your political party ('A democrat's an ass' accompanies a picture of the
        Democrats' symbol, the donkey); religion (countless fish, the symbol
        preferred by Evangelical Christians); your child's academic record ('Walt
        Whitman High School Honor Roll').

        It is your entertainment space - many new models, like the popular Toyota
        Scion T2B, sport rear windows that double as video screen. It serves as your
        kitchen (there are cup-n-sandwich trays that attach to the dashboard, for
        meals on the run). And it confirms your status: pick-ups are for the
        rednecks in the outback, hummers for wealthy and trendy young families, SUVs
        for soccer moms. The car also plays a crucial role in the rites of passage
        celebrated in American mythology: it's where high school kids first make
        out, it's what proud middle-class dads give their offspring on getting into
        college, it's what husbands give their trophy wives to parade in.

        Add to this the fact that the average American spends two-and-a-half hours
        at the wheel and you can see why - although I have been here in Washington
        DC for only a few days - groans about gasoline greet me at every gathering.

        This is not consumer dissatisfaction so much as moral outrage: the car, like
        the gun, is every American's inalienable right. No one, so far, has raised
        the small matter of global warming; no one has expressed concern about their
        lion's share of the world's gas consumption. Self-centred and naive, the
        Yankees' attitude to their car speaks volumes.

        © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005


        ------ ### -----
        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com



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      • Andrew Hitchcock
        ... Being a recent high school graduate from a suburban high school, it is sad how much truth is found in this statement. Younger high school students look
        Message 3 of 6 , May 2, 2005
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          > The car also plays a crucial role in the rites of
          > passage celebrated in American mythology: it's where high school kids
          > first make out, it's what proud middle-class dads give their offspring on
          > getting into college, it's what husbands give their trophy wives to parade
          > in.
          >

          Being a recent high school graduate from a suburban high school, it is sad
          how much truth is found in this statement. Younger high school students
          look forward to turning 16 so they can finally learn to drive and increase
          their mobility. Getting a drivers license or car is probably the biggest
          event in most teenagers high school career. My suburb was fairly affluent,
          so most people had cars, but they were then angered because there were not
          enough places around the school to park. The farthest house in the school
          district from the high school was only five miles away, yet very few got
          to school under their own power. Most opted for school bus, car, or
          carpool.

          Most teenagers I met viewed getting a car as the start of their
          independence. When I reached this age, however, my animosity for cars and
          driving began. I did, unfortunately, drive for a few years, but this
          reinforced my belief that I was shackled to the car. It was hard to get
          anywhere without the car, since my neighborhood had minimal public
          transit, and the distances were so large. Half way through senior year I
          finally got fed up and vowed to bike ride whenever possible. I tested the
          time to high school... 45 minutes. Well, I wasn't sure exactly the best
          route, so that'll probably come down. And it did. By the end it was only
          15 minutes to bike, which is maybe five minutes longer than if I had taken
          the car and parked close, or about the same time it would have taken if I
          had to park farther away. Instead of a car for graduation, like I'm sure
          many people got, I made it perfectly clear that I didn't want one.
          Instead, I asked for a bike and actually got it before graduating, to make
          my daily commute nicer.

          Most of my peers would spend a great deal of time talking about cars...
          much of that time about how theirs broke, or their latest accidents. The
          most alienating thing about teenage culture, in my opinion, was
          'cruising'. I tagged along a few times with my friends when they went
          'cruising', but I must say I couldn't really see the allure. Most of the
          time this consisted of either driving around with no destination, or
          leaning on cars hanging out in parking lots. Parking lots! I can't find
          anything worthwhile in this activity, yet it was a huge part of many of my
          colleagues lives at that point.

          Someone we need to move the American (suburban?) idea of right-of-passage
          away from the automobile. If we can do this, hopefully we can raise a
          whole generation that isn't married to their car. Better public transit
          would help tremendously, but that isn't feasible in most suburbs (chicken
          and egg). If pre-teens and younger teens are able to be mobile without a
          car (using bikes and/or public transit), then getting a car wouldn't be as
          such a big deal. Perhaps someone here should write a teen movie set in a
          city with transit and where none of the teens have cars :)

          Hopefully I didn't wander too much off topic. Coming from a suburban high
          school (where I still have some ties), I can see first hand how bad
          teenagers are car obsessed.

          Andrew
        • Todd Edelman
          Andrew and others, Remember something that happened in the USA about the same time as the (finally!) reduction in teenage smoking were the big legal
          Message 4 of 6 , May 3, 2005
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            Andrew and others,

            Remember something that happened in the USA about the
            same time as the (finally!) reduction in teenage
            smoking were the big legal settlements on Big Tobacco.

            In addition, for at least 30 years schools etc were
            trying to get kids to stop (starting) smoking, and so
            something finally worked.

            Related to this (I think), I have long thought that
            something like safe streets for children are as much a
            human rights issue as anything else, but havent seen
            much discussion about this.

            Back to the legal settlement, one thing it paid for is
            the setting up of the American Legacy Foundation
            <www.americanlegacy.org> with its main public product
            <www.thetruth.com>

            Check out The Truth website. If we can do something
            like this for "carfree", we would be, as some
            teenagers say or used to say, "stylin'"!

            Okay, what I will actually do is make it part of the
            On the Train project proposal....

            (We could also do a parody of (or take inspiration
            from ) the - as I understand it - completely
            ineffective Nancy Reagan-endorsed Partnership for a
            Drug-Free America
            <http://campaigns.drugfreeamerica.org> "This is your
            brain, this is your brain on drugs" campaign from the
            1980s : "This is your car... this is your car without
            energy"...)

            see: <http://medialit.med.sc.edu/25grea17.jpg>

            This is an image from the TV commercial. A whole egg
            is supposed to be your brain, the fried egg is your
            brain "on drugs". Too sensational, over-simplified,
            too easy to make fun of...

            - Todd


            --- Andrew Hitchcock <mail@...> wrote:
            > > The car also plays a crucial role in the rites of
            > > passage celebrated in American mythology: it's
            > where high school kids
            > > first make out, it's what proud middle-class dads
            > give their offspring on
            > > getting into college, it's what husbands give
            > their trophy wives to parade
            > > in.
            > >
            >
            > Being a recent high school graduate from a suburban
            > high school, it is sad
            > how much truth is found in this statement. Younger
            > high school students
            > look forward to turning 16 so they can finally learn
            > to drive and increase
            > their mobility. Getting a drivers license or car is
            > probably the biggest
            > event in most teenagers high school career. My
            > suburb was fairly affluent,
            > so most people had cars, but they were then angered
            > because there were not
            > enough places around the school to park. The
            > farthest house in the school
            > district from the high school was only five miles
            > away, yet very few got
            > to school under their own power. Most opted for
            > school bus, car, or
            > carpool.
            >
            > Most teenagers I met viewed getting a car as the
            > start of their
            > independence. When I reached this age, however, my
            > animosity for cars and
            > driving began. I did, unfortunately, drive for a few
            > years, but this
            > reinforced my belief that I was shackled to the car.
            > It was hard to get
            > anywhere without the car, since my neighborhood had
            > minimal public
            > transit, and the distances were so large. Half way
            > through senior year I
            > finally got fed up and vowed to bike ride whenever
            > possible. I tested the
            > time to high school... 45 minutes. Well, I wasn't
            > sure exactly the best
            > route, so that'll probably come down. And it did. By
            > the end it was only
            > 15 minutes to bike, which is maybe five minutes
            > longer than if I had taken
            > the car and parked close, or about the same time it
            > would have taken if I
            > had to park farther away. Instead of a car for
            > graduation, like I'm sure
            > many people got, I made it perfectly clear that I
            > didn't want one.
            > Instead, I asked for a bike and actually got it
            > before graduating, to make
            > my daily commute nicer.
            >
            > Most of my peers would spend a great deal of time
            > talking about cars...
            > much of that time about how theirs broke, or their
            > latest accidents. The
            > most alienating thing about teenage culture, in my
            > opinion, was
            > 'cruising'. I tagged along a few times with my
            > friends when they went
            > 'cruising', but I must say I couldn't really see the
            > allure. Most of the
            > time this consisted of either driving around with no
            > destination, or
            > leaning on cars hanging out in parking lots. Parking
            > lots! I can't find
            > anything worthwhile in this activity, yet it was a
            > huge part of many of my
            > colleagues lives at that point.
            >
            > Someone we need to move the American (suburban?)
            > idea of right-of-passage
            > away from the automobile. If we can do this,
            > hopefully we can raise a
            > whole generation that isn't married to their car.
            > Better public transit
            > would help tremendously, but that isn't feasible in
            > most suburbs (chicken
            > and egg). If pre-teens and younger teens are able to
            > be mobile without a
            > car (using bikes and/or public transit), then
            > getting a car wouldn't be as
            > such a big deal. Perhaps someone here should write a
            > teen movie set in a
            > city with transit and where none of the teens have
            > cars :)
            >
            > Hopefully I didn't wander too much off topic. Coming
            > from a suburban high
            > school (where I still have some ties), I can see
            > first hand how bad
            > teenagers are car obsessed.
            >
            > Andrew
            >
            >
            >
            > To Post a message, send it to:
            > carfree_cities@...
            > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
            > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
            > Group address:
            > http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >

            Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
          • Andrew Hitchcock
            Well, I don t remember the egg/brain commercial when it ran (it may have been before my time), but I have heard it made fun of a lot and it is pretty famous.
            Message 5 of 6 , May 3, 2005
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              Well, I don't remember the egg/brain commercial when it ran (it may have
              been before my time), but I have heard it made fun of a lot and it is
              pretty famous.

              As a non-smoker I find the Truth ads kind of obnoxious, but some of them
              are pretty clever (putting a number of 'dead bodies' outside a tobacco
              company that is equal to the number killed daily by tobacco). I think
              something like that but for cars would be neat. If we could find some
              damning car statistics and make commercials based on those, that would get
              our point across well. Maybe have one where a car is racing a bicycle to a
              destination, and bicycle wins (doesn't haven't to find parking and such,
              can slip through traffic easily).

              Andrew

              > Andrew and others,
              >
              > Remember something that happened in the USA about the
              > same time as the (finally!) reduction in teenage
              > smoking were the big legal settlements on Big Tobacco.
              >
              > In addition, for at least 30 years schools etc were
              > trying to get kids to stop (starting) smoking, and so
              > something finally worked.
              >
              > Related to this (I think), I have long thought that
              > something like safe streets for children are as much a
              > human rights issue as anything else, but havent seen
              > much discussion about this.
              >
              > Back to the legal settlement, one thing it paid for is
              > the setting up of the American Legacy Foundation
              > <www.americanlegacy.org> with its main public product
              > <www.thetruth.com>
              >
              > Check out The Truth website. If we can do something
              > like this for "carfree", we would be, as some
              > teenagers say or used to say, "stylin'"!
              >
              > Okay, what I will actually do is make it part of the
              > On the Train project proposal....
              >
              > (We could also do a parody of (or take inspiration
              > from ) the - as I understand it - completely
              > ineffective Nancy Reagan-endorsed Partnership for a
              > Drug-Free America
              > <http://campaigns.drugfreeamerica.org> "This is your
              > brain, this is your brain on drugs" campaign from the
              > 1980s : "This is your car... this is your car without
              > energy"...)
              >
              > see: <http://medialit.med.sc.edu/25grea17.jpg>
              >
              > This is an image from the TV commercial. A whole egg
              > is supposed to be your brain, the fried egg is your
              > brain "on drugs". Too sensational, over-simplified,
              > too easy to make fun of...
              >
              > - Todd
              >
              >
              > --- Andrew Hitchcock <mail@...> wrote:
              >> > The car also plays a crucial role in the rites of
              >> > passage celebrated in American mythology: it's
              >> where high school kids
              >> > first make out, it's what proud middle-class dads
              >> give their offspring on
              >> > getting into college, it's what husbands give
              >> their trophy wives to parade
              >> > in.
              >> >
              >>
              >> Being a recent high school graduate from a suburban
              >> high school, it is sad
              >> how much truth is found in this statement. Younger
              >> high school students
              >> look forward to turning 16 so they can finally learn
              >> to drive and increase
              >> their mobility. Getting a drivers license or car is
              >> probably the biggest
              >> event in most teenagers high school career. My
              >> suburb was fairly affluent,
              >> so most people had cars, but they were then angered
              >> because there were not
              >> enough places around the school to park. The
              >> farthest house in the school
              >> district from the high school was only five miles
              >> away, yet very few got
              >> to school under their own power. Most opted for
              >> school bus, car, or
              >> carpool.
              >>
              >> Most teenagers I met viewed getting a car as the
              >> start of their
              >> independence. When I reached this age, however, my
              >> animosity for cars and
              >> driving began. I did, unfortunately, drive for a few
              >> years, but this
              >> reinforced my belief that I was shackled to the car.
              >> It was hard to get
              >> anywhere without the car, since my neighborhood had
              >> minimal public
              >> transit, and the distances were so large. Half way
              >> through senior year I
              >> finally got fed up and vowed to bike ride whenever
              >> possible. I tested the
              >> time to high school... 45 minutes. Well, I wasn't
              >> sure exactly the best
              >> route, so that'll probably come down. And it did. By
              >> the end it was only
              >> 15 minutes to bike, which is maybe five minutes
              >> longer than if I had taken
              >> the car and parked close, or about the same time it
              >> would have taken if I
              >> had to park farther away. Instead of a car for
              >> graduation, like I'm sure
              >> many people got, I made it perfectly clear that I
              >> didn't want one.
              >> Instead, I asked for a bike and actually got it
              >> before graduating, to make
              >> my daily commute nicer.
              >>
              >> Most of my peers would spend a great deal of time
              >> talking about cars...
              >> much of that time about how theirs broke, or their
              >> latest accidents. The
              >> most alienating thing about teenage culture, in my
              >> opinion, was
              >> 'cruising'. I tagged along a few times with my
              >> friends when they went
              >> 'cruising', but I must say I couldn't really see the
              >> allure. Most of the
              >> time this consisted of either driving around with no
              >> destination, or
              >> leaning on cars hanging out in parking lots. Parking
              >> lots! I can't find
              >> anything worthwhile in this activity, yet it was a
              >> huge part of many of my
              >> colleagues lives at that point.
              >>
              >> Someone we need to move the American (suburban?)
              >> idea of right-of-passage
              >> away from the automobile. If we can do this,
              >> hopefully we can raise a
              >> whole generation that isn't married to their car.
              >> Better public transit
              >> would help tremendously, but that isn't feasible in
              >> most suburbs (chicken
              >> and egg). If pre-teens and younger teens are able to
              >> be mobile without a
              >> car (using bikes and/or public transit), then
              >> getting a car wouldn't be as
              >> such a big deal. Perhaps someone here should write a
              >> teen movie set in a
              >> city with transit and where none of the teens have
              >> cars :)
              >>
              >> Hopefully I didn't wander too much off topic. Coming
              >> from a suburban high
              >> school (where I still have some ties), I can see
              >> first hand how bad
              >> teenagers are car obsessed.
              >>
              >> Andrew
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >> To Post a message, send it to:
              >> carfree_cities@...
              >> To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              >> carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
              >> Group address:
              >> http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
              >> Yahoo! Groups Links
              >>
              >>
              >> carfree_cities-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >
              > Send instant messages to your online friends http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
              >
              >
              > To Post a message, send it to: carfree_cities@...
              > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              > carfree_cities-unsubscribe@...
              > Group address: http://www.egroups.com/group/carfree_cities/
              > Yahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Todd Edelman
              Hi, If people who know everything about adverts, all that it takes... from strategizing and conception to getting stuff placed, and you can help in a concrete
              Message 6 of 6 , May 3, 2005
              • 0 Attachment
                Hi,

                If people who know everything about adverts, all that
                it takes... from strategizing and conception to
                getting stuff placed, and you can help in a concrete
                way, please contact me OFF LIST at

                traintowardsthefuture@...

                Thanks,
                Todd Edelman,
                WCN


                --- Andrew Hitchcock <mail@...>
                wrote:

                > Well, I don't remember the egg/brain commercial when
                > it ran (it may have
                > been before my time), but I have heard it made fun
                > of a lot and it is
                > pretty famous.
                >
                > As a non-smoker I find the Truth ads kind of
                > obnoxious, but some of them
                > are pretty clever (putting a number of 'dead bodies'
                > outside a tobacco
                > company that is equal to the number killed daily by
                > tobacco). I think
                > something like that but for cars would be neat. If
                > we could find some
                > damning car statistics and make commercials based on
                > those, that would get
                > our point across well. Maybe have one where a car is
                > racing a bicycle to a
                > destination, and bicycle wins (doesn't haven't to
                > find parking and such,
                > can slip through traffic easily).
                >
                > Andrew
                >
                > > Andrew and others,
                > >
                > > Remember something that happened in the USA about
                > the
                > > same time as the (finally!) reduction in teenage
                > > smoking were the big legal settlements on Big
                > Tobacco.
                > >
                > > In addition, for at least 30 years schools etc
                > were
                > > trying to get kids to stop (starting) smoking, and
                > so
                > > something finally worked.
                > >
                > > Related to this (I think), I have long thought
                > that
                > > something like safe streets for children are as
                > much a
                > > human rights issue as anything else, but havent
                > seen
                > > much discussion about this.
                > >
                > > Back to the legal settlement, one thing it paid
                > for is
                > > the setting up of the American Legacy Foundation
                > > <www.americanlegacy.org> with its main public
                > product
                > > <www.thetruth.com>
                > >
                > > Check out The Truth website. If we can do
                > something
                > > like this for "carfree", we would be, as some
                > > teenagers say or used to say, "stylin'"!
                > >
                > > Okay, what I will actually do is make it part of
                > the
                > > On the Train project proposal....
                > >
                > > (We could also do a parody of (or take inspiration
                > > from ) the - as I understand it - completely
                > > ineffective Nancy Reagan-endorsed Partnership for
                > a
                > > Drug-Free America
                > > <http://campaigns.drugfreeamerica.org> "This is
                > your
                > > brain, this is your brain on drugs" campaign from
                > the
                > > 1980s : "This is your car... this is your car
                > without
                > > energy"...)
                > >
                > > see: <http://medialit.med.sc.edu/25grea17.jpg>
                > >
                > > This is an image from the TV commercial. A whole
                > egg
                > > is supposed to be your brain, the fried egg is
                > your
                > > brain "on drugs". Too sensational,
                > over-simplified,
                > > too easy to make fun of...
                > >
                > > - Todd
                > >
                > >
                > > --- Andrew Hitchcock <mail@...>
                > wrote:
                > >> > The car also plays a crucial role in the rites
                > of
                > >> > passage celebrated in American mythology: it's
                > >> where high school kids
                > >> > first make out, it's what proud middle-class
                > dads
                > >> give their offspring on
                > >> > getting into college, it's what husbands give
                > >> their trophy wives to parade
                > >> > in.
                > >> >
                > >>
                > >> Being a recent high school graduate from a
                > suburban
                > >> high school, it is sad
                > >> how much truth is found in this statement.
                > Younger
                > >> high school students
                > >> look forward to turning 16 so they can finally
                > learn
                > >> to drive and increase
                > >> their mobility. Getting a drivers license or car
                > is
                > >> probably the biggest
                > >> event in most teenagers high school career. My
                > >> suburb was fairly affluent,
                > >> so most people had cars, but they were then
                > angered
                > >> because there were not
                > >> enough places around the school to park. The
                > >> farthest house in the school
                > >> district from the high school was only five miles
                > >> away, yet very few got
                > >> to school under their own power. Most opted for
                > >> school bus, car, or
                > >> carpool.
                > >>
                > >> Most teenagers I met viewed getting a car as the
                > >> start of their
                > >> independence. When I reached this age, however,
                > my
                > >> animosity for cars and
                > >> driving began. I did, unfortunately, drive for a
                > few
                > >> years, but this
                > >> reinforced my belief that I was shackled to the
                > car.
                > >> It was hard to get
                > >> anywhere without the car, since my neighborhood
                > had
                > >> minimal public
                > >> transit, and the distances were so large. Half
                > way
                > >> through senior year I
                > >> finally got fed up and vowed to bike ride
                > whenever
                > >> possible. I tested the
                > >> time to high school... 45 minutes. Well, I wasn't
                > >> sure exactly the best
                > >> route, so that'll probably come down. And it did.
                > By
                > >> the end it was only
                > >> 15 minutes to bike, which is maybe five minutes
                > >> longer than if I had taken
                > >> the car and parked close, or about the same time
                > it
                > >> would have taken if I
                > >> had to park farther away. Instead of a car for
                > >> graduation, like I'm sure
                > >> many people got, I made it perfectly clear that I
                > >> didn't want one.
                > >> Instead, I asked for a bike and actually got it
                > >> before graduating, to make
                > >> my daily commute nicer.
                > >>
                > >> Most of my peers would spend a great deal of time
                > >> talking about cars...
                > >> much of that time about how theirs broke, or
                > their
                > >> latest accidents. The
                > >> most alienating thing about teenage culture, in
                > my
                > >> opinion, was
                > >> 'cruising'. I tagged along a few times with my
                > >> friends when they went
                > >> 'cruising', but I must say I couldn't really see
                > the
                > >> allure. Most of the
                > >> time this consisted of either driving around with
                > no
                > >> destination, or
                > >> leaning on cars hanging out in parking lots.
                > Parking
                > >> lots! I can't find
                > >> anything worthwhile in this activity, yet it was
                > a
                > >> huge part of many of my
                > >> colleagues lives at that point.
                > >>
                > >> Someone we need to move the American (suburban?)
                > >> idea of right-of-passage
                > >> away from the automobile. If we can do this,
                > >> hopefully we can raise a
                > >> whole generation that isn't married to their car.
                > >> Better public transit
                > >> would help tremendously, but that isn't feasible
                > in
                > >> most suburbs (chicken
                > >> and egg). If pre-teens and younger teens are able
                > to
                > >> be mobile without a
                > >> car (using bikes and/or public transit), then
                > >> getting a car wouldn't be as
                > >> such a big deal. Perhaps someone here should
                > write a
                > >> teen movie set in a
                > >> city with transit and where none of the teens
                > have
                > >> cars :)
                > >>
                > >> Hopefully I didn't wander too much off topic.
                > Coming
                > >> from a suburban high
                > >> school (where I still have some ties), I can see
                > >> first hand how bad
                > >> teenagers are car obsessed.
                > >>
                > >> Andrew
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
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                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
                > >>
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