Voice of Da, #4, Spring 1997
Encased in metal the driver is propelled effortlessly through space,too fast to really see the details of the territory passed through, insulatedfrom the weather and the odors of the world. Not that it's usually anygreat loss most likely there's nothing to smell but the stench of exhaust.In a car, you can be packed with thousands of others in a massive trafficjam, with no possibility of communicating with your neighbors, other thanthe idiot blare of the horn. And of course, as the driver's mind is erodedaway by the monotony of the view, her health ruined by sucking carbon monoxidefumes, and her environment paved over and poisoned, she receives the satisfactionof knowing she is contributing to the massive profits of huge multinationalcorporations. If you get the idea I could go on in this vein for some time,you're right.
Almost every problem in society is made far, far worse by our dependenceon the automobile. The fucking things are unbelievably expensive to produceand maintain (the manufacture of ONE car requires 100,000 gallons of water...whilewe're asked to turn the faucet off while we brush our teeth!). This meansthat the auto-dependent worker must work more than the internal combustion-freecitizen to maintain the same standard of living. Of course, this also makescars, and inevitably their drivers, inviting targets for violent criminals,who also find them convenient for getaways and high-speed chases. Whenwas the last time you heard about a "bike-by shooting"? Do youthink Richard Allen Davis could have smuggled Polly Klaas, bound and gagged,onto a bus? Cars kill more animals than vivisectionists do, and more humansthan drugs and alcohol (the combination of intoxicants and cars accountsfor tens of thousands of deaths each year, but I get pissed when groupslike MADD harp on and on about how evil drink drivers are, but apparentlydon't care about the other tens of thousands of people who get killed eachyear by sober drivers!). Cars kill three times as many South Africans aspolitical violence does.
Auto advertising represents the brainwashing techniques of the corporatemedia at their most insidious the purchase of a death monster is promisedto provide the fortunate consumer with strength, masculinity/femininity,freedom, and of course lots and lots of sex. Attachment to the productsof a particular corporation is shown as a quasi-religious tradition bindingfamilies together across the generations. Upscale models demonstrate yourstatus, economy brands your thrift.
Getting behind the wheel of Satan's chariot seems to bring out the worstin people...men, in particular, who may ordinarily be perfectly mellowchaps, turn into snarling warrior archetypes when they hit the gas, cursinga blue streak when someone cuts them off and forces them to slow down slightly,and waiting at red lights as patiently as though they were having teethdrilled. It appears to me that driving must be an unpleasantly stressfulexperience that no doubt subtracts years from your life. Of course, thisJekyll-to-Hyde act, while only annoying to those who have had the bad judgmentto submit to the role of passenger, is life-threatening to bicyclists,pedestrians, wandering children and deliberate malice on the part of thecar-aimer than by the simple spacing out and failing to pay attention that'sentirely natural after a few hours of focusing on the median strip.
Well, enough whining. The defensive among you are probably mentallycompiling a list of reasons you couldn't possibly exist without your car...toget to work (a problem that doesn't come up for us carless, as we don'tapply for jobs we can't get to, which is admittedly kind of a pain theass when looking for work, but the time, money, and stress saved in thelong run is well worth it), or maybe for recreation (sitting in trafficain't my idea of fun!). In my neighborhood. a recent move to widen a streetto make it safe for bicyclists, eliminating a median strip, was ferventlyopposed by local churches, who claimed attendance would plummet and soulswould be endangered if that median strip wasn't available tor their flockto park illegally in! Why don't they just pray to Jeezus to send a winged,flaming chariot to ferry them and their Jello salad to Sunday services,or, failing that, find a church closer to home?
Maybe you need a van to haul all your band's equipment around in? Well.OK, there I must admit I'm unable to come up with a practical alternative[ Bugtussel once transported their equipment frow studio to show via shoppingcarts ed. ]...although I once heard of a guy who got thrown out of a reggaehand for sticking to his anti-car principles and insisting that the bandtour by ox- cart. Still, only a small percentage of auto trips are motivatedby the legitimate need to haul heavy objects.
The bottom line is that we'd all he better off if there was less drivinggoing on. Think about ways you can lessen your personal dependence on deathmonsters... if you really feel you have to drive, please remember thatno matter how much the corporate ad agencies try to make driving seem likesomething God intended to be a fundamental part of everybody’s life, it’sactually an extraordinary responsibility that every time you turn the key,you're taking your life and the lives of others into your hands. Obey allrules of the road. When you cruise through a red light and smear some seven-year-oldjaywalker all over your grille. I guarantee that whatever appointment youwere in such a damn hurry to keep won't seem all that fucking important!
Look before you open your door...suddenly flinging it open is a goodway to seriously injure a hapless biker. And please, please, don't tryto impress me by sticking politically correct bumper stickers on your corporate-producedfossil fuel-guzzling, poison-belching death machine! That "No Bloodfor Oil" sticker on your car only marks you as an idiot and a hypocrite.With that in mind, we introduce the "Kill Your Automobile" stickerfor your TV set... despite the fears expressed by trendy bumper stickers,my television has yet to brainwash me, but cars have seriously injuredme in the past and no doubt will again.
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