Thursday, February 21, 2008

Being eaten by the wolf

I have an idea to write a series of articles on Active Transportation for the local newspaper here in Orillia. If they think it's a good idea, I'm proposing to do the following:
a) How we got here - a quick history of why North American cities ended up becoming dependent upon the automobile.
b) What's the problem? - a survey of the various problems associated with cities and automobiles, i.e. the diabetes and obesity problems stemming from inactivity, the loss of farmland due to suburban sprawl, air pollution and climate change, and rising gas prices making automobile dependence risky anyway.
c) What's the solution? - A statement about active transportation providing a sustainable way forward for urban planning.

To this end, I'm going through a bunch of material on these issues, and I'm currently taking a look at a book called Auto Mania. And guess what I found!

I more or less consider automobile dependence to be a con job pulled by Henry Ford and GM and Standard Oil etc on North Americans, and isn't it awesome that after successfully selling everyone in North America a car, they started a campaign like the one above to convince people that one car isn't enough - you need TWO CARS to be a real North American family?

What you see above is an ad by the J. Walter Thompson advertising company, patting themselves on the back for the way THEY CREATED the idea that a family needs two cars. If you can't read the text in the poster, it uses phrases like "housewives are left virtually prisoners in their own homes" to describe women at home after their husbands have driven off in the car.

[Housewives] stand and watch Dad go, taking with him their link with the outside world - the family car. In millions of other households, however, Mother is not cut off from civilization when Dad departs. For the family has a second car in the garage.

Wow. Would I ever like to punch the guy who wrote that gibberish in the nose.

If any high level advertising dudes stumble upon my blog, my wish is that you'd turn your efforts to groups like this and try to rectify the damage you've done to the world with the automobile hoax.

The modern Little Red Riding Hood, reared on singing commercials, has no objection to being eaten by the wolf.

- Marshall McLuhan, Canadian communications theorist.
quote found on this page.


Snakebite said...

If you do write the articles, please forward the file you create onto me. I'd like to see what I can do to get them in the local paper here as well. I've got a couple of connections and though that won't assure publication, it does increase the likelyhood.

Smudgemo said...

I'd just like to be in line to throw the second punch. I'm all about the violence.