left biblioblography: WHEN DOES A CAR...?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

WHEN DOES A CAR...?

I get really, really irate when some commercial comes on, anthropomorphizing a non-organic object.

I see this commercial recently:

"When is a car....
   Not a car?
"When does a car become...
   a part of the family?
   more than a means to go between point A and point B?
   a co-conspirator?"
And so on, ad nauseum.

And it really gets up my nose some.

Try answering 'Never!' to any of the above inane questions.

Wake up! It's just a frickin' machine! It's only intrinsic value is transport. Nothing else. I can understand getting a little attached to it: it's human nature. We're such creatures of convenience: you, me, everyone. We like structure and consistency, routine is inherent in us. But the ongoing romance with an automobile is just so...it seems theistic in nature.

Mind you, I have a car. I drive it (as little as possible: I bought the thing in 1997, 45,000 odd miles, as of this date, I'm ALMOST turning it over at 100,000) to work. I don't 'cruise', nor do I approve of these idiots who four-wheel up and down in the mud (yeah, tell me that AIN'T thrashing the environment, then sell me the Brooklyn Bridge while you're at it), I think these 'Monster Truck' rallies are such a waste of money, space, time, and our dwindling oil supplies, and 'tricking out your wheels' is going to prove to be an utter waste of resources when the gas finally DOES run out (and it will, very soon).

And we're literally bombarded with personifying propaganda. The cars talk, they supposedly tell the world, 'This is where I'm at, hey baby!' (a ptarmigan in full plumage during mating season), dating all the way back from 'My Mother the Car', to 'Knight Ryder', we have this ridiculous attachment to a machine, so much so that it (in some cases) rules our bloody lives.

Not to mention, that it insulates us to a terrifying degree in our society. It does. Here's an anecdote from my long lost youth:

When I was 16, I would walk about two miles (all uphill, both ways! Hehehehe, no really, all flatland) to go play chess with a buddy of mine. Then, after 8 hours, I'd walk back. One day, I was pounding the pavement, when I saw this tableau:

Tall, lanky, long-haired shirtless adult male (early 20's) walking away from this crying woman. She follows him. He stops, smacks her, yells "STAY AWAY FROM ME!" Turns, tries to leave. She follows. He repeats prior action. This went on a few times. I kept walking (hey, I was a kid, what was I gonna do?).

My point here being, is if I'd driven by, I would've gotten only a brief glimpse of one minor detail. Probably the woman getting smacked. And that, in macrocosm, is essentially (IMO) what is going on with America today (at least one factor). We're being programmed (whether unwittingly or no) to make value judgments based on a quick glimpse, rather than getting the whole story. An ingrained response, that is broadly affecting how we view each other, our country, our world. We zip past something, and formulate from there.

And of course, Ramen help you if you try to criticize the 'romance', as it were. Remember the big hubbub about SUV's, some years back? A bunch of soccer moms got up in ARMS no less, protesting the ban. I recall some environmentalists protesting some 4-wheeler enthusiasts riding up and down the landscape. One of the protestees got violent, and hit a protester. And I don't think I need to get into the instances of road rage that go on. I mean, someone cuts you off, or hits your car, you're going to HARM someone over that? What are you, twelve years old or something?

I can understand if you have to take your kids to school, or go to work, but come on! It's still JUST A MACHINE. Or to paraphrase Neil Diamond, "But it don’t sing and dance,
And it don’t talk."

So let's get a clue, people. It's a CAR. It can't comfort you in the wee hours of the morning, when loneliness and desperation make you weep, it can't trot out a tune on a dance floor, can't return your affection, give you children, answer your questions: in short, it's a MACHINE. So try not to invest too much of the 'Disney Syndrome' into the bloody thing. And next time you yell out "Road trip!", do me a favor:
Walk down to your local library.

"When a civilization buries its dreams in smoke, asphalt and concrete, madness is the result."

And that's my nickel's worth. Spend it or flip it: it's your choice.

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21 comments:

udonman said...

sorry ra I have to yell go f your self on this one man I love my car I love to drive fast and take corners its a skill set that ive devloped its a talent I have I can see your point if youve never driven a race car youve never had the thrill of trying to beat the other 15 racers out of a tight corner to get the hole shot

another thing is to most of us in this country a car is an escape there is no public transportation around here there are no sidewalks in most of the midwest there are very few places to safely ride a bike for transportaion so cars are a part of every day life around here im lucky I only live nine blocks from work in the summer I ride my bike every day in the winter I have to drive we get this white shit called snow maybe if I had the luxory of the bart system and your nice weather year round a car wouldnt be such a big deal to me just maybe I can go one about this if you want I could go on about this for days if you want to but I wont

Stardust1954 said...

It's just a frickin' machine! It's only intrinsic value is transport. Nothing else.

We had a neighbor years ago who called cars "necessary evils." Living out in far southern burbs of Chicagoland, we unfortunately need a car to get from point A to point B. Even to get to the train or bus station, a car is required...unless one is very fit and in shape for a few mile hike.

We keep all of our vehicles until they die...not just "ready" to die...but when they have to be towed off the road and taken to the auto graveyard. After paying thousands for a vehicle, my husband wants to make sure he squeezes every cent he can out of them. We do drive a lot...our 2001 van has nearly 100,000 miles on it, our 93 van has nearly 200,000 and my husbands 95 Mitsubishi has 235,000! And when we got married my mother said he was going to be like his father and buy a new car every year....she was SO wrong. :) It's a challenge for him to see how long he can keep them running.

udonman said...

stardust I do the same with my car usaully when my cars die I take them to upullit so the parts canbe put to use in other cars your in the midwest so you know the car culture out here cars are a necessary evil at least once your in chicago youve got access to a mass transit sytem that consist of more then a few east west busses on only a couple of routes omaha sucks as far as that is concerned they dont even have bus sevice to the airport here

udonman said...

sorry to double post but so i dont take over your comments section I posted my rebuttul on my main blog
www.udonman.blogspot.com

if it seemed like I came off a little harsh on you at first ra I appoligize

see yah Tony

Krystalline Apostate said...

stardust:
We had a neighbor years ago who called cars "necessary evils."
Exactly my point.
Living out in far southern burbs of Chicagoland, we unfortunately need a car to get from point A to point B.
Certainly. I can see that. But stop & think about it: our lives are structured around automobiles.
Try walking in the rain in a town that's not built around foot traffic, for 1.
Our lives are so deeply entwined in the car, we give it far too much value, IMHO.
udonman:
if it seemed like I came off a little harsh on you at first ra I appoligize
S'alright. We can't agree on every damn thing under the sun.

udonman said...

Ra thanks for reading my post.

When I first read your post I dont know why I took it personaly maybe because I grew up in the car culture.

I have driven just about every type of car out there so any insult to the car world is like an insulting me and your right its just a machine but to car lovers its much much more.

Its my property its like my own private island it can console you just from the fact that you can isolate your self in it and think and not worry about the outside world lock the doors roll up the windows turn off the radio and relax and think about whats going on in your life.

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
When I first read your post I dont know why I took it personaly maybe because I grew up in the car culture. Hey, so did I. The US IS a car culture.
Maybe I should do a post about discrimination against non-drivers. It IS out there. I ran into a BUTTLOAD of discrimination.
It seems like you're not a real person, unless you drive.
Its my property its like my own private island it can console you just from the fact that you can isolate your self in it and think and not worry about the outside world lock the doors roll up the windows turn off the radio and relax and think about whats going on in your life.
Oh, sure, that's fine. My point is that people retreat so far into it, it's almost introversion. It insulates us to a degree that's frightening on occasion.

udonman said...

When I first read your post I dont know why I took it personaly maybe because I grew up in the car culture. Hey, so did I. The US IS a car culture.
Maybe I should do a post about discrimination against non-drivers. It IS out there. I ran into a BUTTLOAD of discrimination.
It seems like you're not a real person, unless you drive.


maybe you should


it's almost introversion. It insulates us to a degree that's frightening on occasion.

no its comforting on occasion especialy when your raised in a culture of self reliance you help your self you keep your problems to your self

well maybe I should do a post on how we midwesterners cope and solve our problems such as depression and the such

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
no its comforting on occasion especialy when your raised in a culture of self reliance you help your self you keep your problems to your self
Yes, but people do indeed get carried away, in many things.
We are such creatures of extremes, sometimes.

udonman said...

creatures of extremes well yeah thats true but its just how people are raised here in the midwest be tough suck it up all that shit but in turn we will help someone and not ask questions why they need help its a strange dicotomy for sure but thats part of the reason every one around here that I know likes having there own car because its there space there own enviroment like I said there own island of themselves.

Maybe it comes down to the fact that to people like me cars arent just transportion they are life and thats what the company that made that ad is trying to play off of.

You said you dont drive well you live in a city that you dont have to drive in lucky you wish I did maybe Id have a differnt outlook on cars then I do.

Tony

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
You said you dont drive well you live in a city that you dont have to drive in lucky you wish I did maybe Id have a differnt outlook on cars then I do.
I do drive, actually. I just don't drive for fun.
But I live right next to a Safeway, & my bank's a stone's throw away. So I walk. But I have to drive to work. & if I go out for the occasional visit to my old sifu in Oakland, I take the BART.
I'm very familiar w/the car culture: I've always been somewhat of an observer, rather than participant.
In your circumstances, a car is essential: in mine, not so much. You probably don't have mass transit: the S.F bay area is great in that respect. & I've seen people come out, get in their car, & drive 20 feet to get to the store, where they buy stuff they could've easily carried back.
I'm more of an advocate of responsibility.
Unless someone says something, no 1 will think about it.

udonman said...

oh thats cool sorry about that I thought you said you didnt drive but I reread that you have a car.

and about the car culture you cant really observe it you have to be a part of it.

I've seen people come out, get in their car, & drive 20 feet to get to the store, where they buy stuff they could've easily carried back.


guilty but for my defense there was already five inches of snow on the ground and more was comming down the carts didnt like the snow and slush.

Krystalline Apostate said...

udonman:
and about the car culture you cant really observe it you have to be a part of it.
Maybe so, but it lends a different perspective, 1 that most people aren't aware of.
guilty but for my defense there was already five inches of snow on the ground and more was comming down the carts didnt like the snow and slush.
Hey, sometimes you GOTTA drive. I'm cool w/that.
The examples I cite are in sunny CA, w/nary a cloud in the sky.

udonman said...

oh I know I was just being my usaul smartass self is all.

and Ive seen it down in tucson people can lazy.

karen said...

Okay, you caught me, RA.
I get emotionally involved with my cars.
We tend to keep 'em till they die, or are at least about to. They hauled my children all over --watched them go from infant seats to drivers themselves. They did-in part- become a part of the family. Some of them even had names. There was Honey, Blue Louie, and Van-go.
I got a new van last July, and I was actually depressed about giving my old one up. Wouldn't let myself enjoy the new car cos I felt guilty about "abandoning" the old one--just because it was about to throw an axle on me any minute and wasn't "worth fixing"!
Hell, it was only 10 years old.

Yeah-they're only machines. But they're machines we're dependant on.
Too much so, I guess your point was. I agree.
But there's no mass transit here either. I grew up on the bus and trolley system in PGH. cos my mom didn't drive. Ah, diesel fumes! What memories.

BTW-what the heck is the handicapped symbol for by the sign-in word-verification? I clicked on it to check it out and it just erased the jumble of letters I had typed, causing me to have to retype them. That's not very friendly!

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
We tend to keep 'em till they die, or are at least about to. They hauled my children all over --watched them go from infant seats to drivers themselves. They did-in part- become a part of the family. Some of them even had names. There was Honey, Blue Louie, and Van-go.
Hey we had an old Delta Royale 88 we nicked 'Big Blue.' My ma tells this story about how they sold it, they drove by the buyers (in Oregon), & she was almost heart-broken at how it was being treated.
I used to love that old commercial where a lamp is tossed out in the rain, its head hanging low, guy comes on, says, "You feel sorry for the lamp! YOU'RE CRAZY! It's just a lamp! It has no feelings!"
Too much so, I guess your point was. I agree.
Exactly.
It's nice to have you back, BTW. I was startin' to get a tad worried 'bout ya.
BTW-what the heck is the handicapped symbol for by the sign-in word-verification?
Beats the hell outta me. I'll check it out, but don't expect too much.

udonman said...

karen I just tried the little hanicap symbol and it only turned on active x controls so I have no clue either wtf it is.

karen said...

ra
she was almost heart-broken at how it was being treated.
I know. I almost cried when they told me my old van wouldn't even be stripped for parts-just hauled to the crusher! I wanted to throw myself across the hood and Yell "NO! I'll take her back!" I think they're still laughing at me.

It's nice to have you back, BTW. I was startin' to get a tad worried 'bout ya.
Thanks Hon. I've been living back-to-back-to-back episodes of Life Sucks lately. But it'll be O-O-O-Tay, Buttwheat. One way or another.

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
I almost cried when they told me my old van wouldn't even be stripped for parts-just hauled to the crusher! I wanted to throw myself across the hood and Yell "NO! I'll take her back!" I think they're still laughing at me.
Not to marginalize, dear, but it was only a car. You may want to read some Ellison. He has some interesting short stories that revolve around gods, such as the god of violence (Whimper of Whipped Dogs), Car gods (Ernest & the Machine God), etc.
I've been living back-to-back-to-back episodes of Life Sucks lately.
I have too, but recently things have changed for the better.
These things run in cycles, it seems. As 1 gets older, it seems the cycles get longer.

karen said...

RA
"Not to marginalize, dear, but it was only a car."
i think it's not so much that I worship the car, but I have it so long, it becomes an extension of me.
But not to worry, I'm over it. :)

"I have too, but recently things have changed for the better.
These things run in cycles, it seems. As 1 gets older, it seems the cycles get longer."

Glad to hear you're on the upswing.
Longer cycles with age, huh? Great. When's the peak cycle coming back? I've been in the valley cycle while now.Every now and then, there's a tease...a little light of good happens by and acts as a stepstool for me to stand on and peak out over the rim of the valley. Then something else comes along and kicks that damn stool out from under my feet.

Ahhhhh...yeah. Ignore my bitchin'. I just need a lazy sunny day. And a danish.

Krystalline Apostate said...

karen:
Longer cycles with age, huh?
Well, this last valley was 2 yrs. fer me.
Then something else comes along and kicks that damn stool out from under my feet.
Ah, there's the trick of it. You need to keep your eyes out for the stool-kicker.
There are discernible patterns, w/in ourselves or in others.
You strike me as being very self-aware, so I think you know what I mean.
Gremlins come in all shapes & sizes. & I don't mean the supranormal ones. Those don't exist.