Sunday, June 08, 2008

60 years ago...

The average U.S. citizen completely ignores the regularity with which the automobile kills him, maims him, embroils him with the law and provides mobile shelter for rakes intent on seducing his daughters. He takes it into his garage as fondly as an Arab leading a prize mare into his tent. He woos it with Simoniz, Prestone, Ethyl and rich lubricants -- and goes broke trading it in on something flashier an hour after he has made the last payment on the old one.

By last week, this peculiar state of mind had not only sucked thousands of American oil wells dry, stripped the rubber groves of Malaya, produced the world's most inhuman industry and its most recalcitrant labor union, but had filled U.S. streets with so many automobiles that it was almost impossible to drive one. In some big cities, vast traffic jams never really got untangled from dawn to midnight; the bray of horns, the stink of exhaust fumes, and the crunch of crumpling metal eddied up from them as insistently as the vaporous roar of Niagara.


"The Last Traffic Jam", Time Magazine, Monday, Dec. 15, 1947

[via Kottke.org]

2 comments:

Karl McCracken said...

Nice - plus ├ža change, etc!

An Inconvenient Truth said...

my lifetime...dominated by this monster....what many of our towns and cities would be like if they were used in the way originally conceived by their designers and architects...better get on with the campaign work, then.