Wednesday, December 19, 2007

carelessness, Omnipotence

In my home town there have recently been several stories in the news on the topic of automobile drivers behaving badly. In some cases the bad behavior is the result of a momentary lack of attention. Truly, there are few motorists that would deliberately play bumper cars with people in wheel chairs.
But it is an observable phenomenon that drivers are transformed when they get behind the wheel.
Why do we allow the Automobile to rule? Some interesting listening on that topic:
Peter Norton speaks with Coy Barefoot about his article "Street Rivals: Jaywalking and the Invention of the Motor Age Street," published in the Journal of Technology and Culture. Norton discusses the transition from streets being pedestrian-oriented to becoming the domain of the motorcar, and whose interests were really being served. Norton is the author of a book called "Fighting Traffic, the Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City."

I have a part time volunteer job with the City picking up trash on the east side of town. The take averages about 20 gallons a week. This is a busy time of year. Diapers, happy meals, condom boxes, beer cans, cigarette packs, big gulps, candy wrappers, dead animals, lottery tickets.
Would love to know how many citations were issued in the City last year for littering. Time to do some remedial house-training with these kings of the road.

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Anonymous Buford T Pusser said...

Cool blog. During a search for John Racine I found your site. If this is a guy in his early 40's, former reporter and is a CEO-type now, Could you have him email He will know me as a Daily Egyptian/Sun photog with an acquaintance named Baby J. And I knew a guy who called himself Mookie. That should be enough hints. Thanks!

Anonymous amateriat said...

This one's a kick in the gut. As a cyclist (and occasionally as a pedestrian), I have to bear witness to the amazing transformation that takes place in people when climb into their glass-and-steel chariots of octane. I recently had to report a dead raccoon (yes, in Brooklyn) to the Parks Department. I can't necessarily chalk all of this up to a kind of motorized malice, but there's a degree of detachment that brings to mind the phrase "banality of evil."

That, and just too many damn cars.

- Barrett


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