America to the Automobile: “It’s Over”


In honor of this year’s New York International Auto Show, which officially begins tomorrow, we present this very special announcement:

Ms. America to Announce “The End of the Affair” at the NY Auto Show

**Saturday, March 22**
10:30 a.m.
Jacob Javits Center 

After 100 years, Lady Liberty, the perennial Ms. America, is finally ending her
“spectacularly combustible love affair” with the automobile

New York, NY —  All things must come to an end, and so apparently it now is for America’s love affair with the automobile. Swept off her feet more than 100 years ago with promises of freedom, comfort and status, Ms. America has now had a change of heart. “The oil addiction, the misguided foreign affairs, the skyrocketing bills… it’s just gotten to be too much,” said Lady Liberty in a recent statement.
Lady Liberty will formally announce her break up — and her big plans for the future — at the NY International Auto Show on Friday, March 21st at 10:30 a.m. Reverend Billy will be present to both annul her current “dysfunctional” marriage, and will also be on hand to wed Ms. Liberty to not one but three suitors who have been vying for her affection for the past several decades: Walking, Bicycling and Mass Transit.
“I’m just ready for a change,” says Lady Liberty, "and frankly, this relationship has just gotten to be much more work than it’s worth. My health, liberty and freedom have suffered greatly, and now I hope that my new relationships will finally give me security and happiness.”

CARtoon by Andy Singer, who recently paid a visit to the Minneapolis & St. Paul International Auto Show, along with "Roadkill Bill" Ken Avidor.

  • fdr

    3 in a bed? Is that Ms. Liberty or Mrs. McGreevey?

  • Mark

    I saw it written and I saw it say
    Peak oil is on its way
    None of you stand so tall
    Peak oil gonna get you all
    And it’s peak oil
    Yeah, peak oil
    Peak peak peak peak peak peak oil

    (With apologies to Nick Drake)

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    to wed Ms. Liberty to not one but three suitors who have been vying for her affection for the past several decades: Walking, Bicycling and Mass Transit.

    Ooh, ferries are going to be pissed.

  • mvrtec

    what A preacher or priest condoning Adultry?
    Besides, It is not Peak Oil, that Americans are buying now, It is American Oil, that is why it is so expensive.

  • Regarding the personal transportation device–oops, I mean automobile–it is as Mark Twain wrote, “Reports of my death are greatly exagerated.” The turnstiles will spin at the auto show and the crowds will be thicker around the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X than around the Mitsubishis MiEV. And even those looking at gas/diesel-electric hybrids or the Smart fourtwo aren’t ready to exchange personal transport for the whims of mass transit.

  • MoFo

    CarBuzzard – well, duh. Clearly people who think cars are powerful, cool and sexy (i.e. those who bother to go to a car show) are going to look at powerful, cool & sexy cars. And I think the volume of such enthusiasts attending the car show probably has very little connection to any greater social trend at this point.

  • mg

    Hey, I’m a transit nut and I love car shows, mostly because I am also an industrial design enthusiast.

    The truth is, personal automobiles are going to be a part of the transportation mix for a long time to come, so they might as well be efficient and attractive. The point is really to make transit fast, reliable, and safe; to reclaim unnecessary street space for green space and pedestrian use; to make cities supremely bike and ped friendly ; to switch the streetscape away from accommodation of motor vehicles and towards mixed uses; overall, to give people a fantastic alternative to cars, and to shift attitudes about transportation.

  • Regarding external “whims” and the personal auto’s purported lack of subjugation to them, what a massive cultural self-deception that has been for the past hundred years. Ever hear of traffic? When you can’t advance, because there is another car in that space, your freedom is just as limited as when waiting for the next train. The predictability of mass transit in New York far exceeds that of driving in all but the most rural areas, winning the day in practical terms. Not even an in-wheel electric motor (interesting concept!) can bypass the congestion that has become a distressing, depressing part nearly all American motorists’ lives. It really is over/ending, and there’s nothing Mitsu flacks or fans can do about it. Call us when you have an efficient and compact antigravity device.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Call us when you have an efficient and compact antigravity device.

    Oh god no, Doc! Can you imagine the carnage if everyone had their own personal anti-grav vehicles?

  • Cars are the new tobacco.

  • Evan

    Dang it Jon, you are on it!

    Yeah, I ride a bike as my primary means of transportation. I also think the Evo and the WRX are neat. But what I’m really interested in is the new Jetta Tdi wagon. One drive in a direct injection turbodiesel that gets double the mileage of a clumsy gas motor and I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

    All the car magazines constantly write about these super cool fast cars that hardly anybody buys. But if you look close enough, even the car magazines see what’s on the horizon. Climate change or not, the price of gas will continue to go up. We can plan for it now, or we can suffer later.

  • Angus, I think I remember you saying that to someone else. 🙂 But I’m not waving off the current, intractable problems of the automobile form with some lazy vision of the future; I’m saying auto companies can get lost (from cities at least) until my lazy vision comes to pass. I forgot to mention that my imaginary device somehow has a safety rate similar to that of bicycles on the greenway. In this nutty future if a product regularly kills users or bystanders it gets taken off the market (!!!).

  • wanderlust

    The psychological impact of cars versus actual driving is completely illogical. Just watch tv and see how many ads show cars in a positive way – only ads for cars, car insurance, and drive-thru restaurants depict driving. And car ads are either on some rural road or magically floating over the city or there’s no other cars on the road… Ads for any other product, if set outdoors, will be in a walkable, bike-friendly setting. Obviously they know what doesn’t sell (traffic, real driving conditions) and what does!

  • Mitch

    Re 13: it’s true. Most car commercials I’ve seen recently gloss over the fact that cars or SUVs or mini-vans have wheels. Instead, they describe their virtues as family rooms (with lots of storage) or entertainment centers.

    And then there’s that Cadillac ad that promises to “turn you on.” Interesting; cars have always doubled as bedrooms, but in the commerical, the driver is alone. Draw whatever conclusions you wish.

  • Wow. What a cultural shift! If this can get some serious political muscle behind it in several major cities, we could see some real changes.

    If you’re looking for a more technical view of the car-mpg scam: Chevrolet’s greenwashing

  • Johnnyb

    I like tobacco fine, but tobacco never caused the problems that cars have. No one ever went to war to secure the tobacco supply. No one ever tore down historic buildings to make room for smokers. Same cannot be said about cars.

    For years people have been crying about how main street is dying, now with the aid of google earth, the reason for the death and decay of mainstreet America is obvious, CARS and the roads, parking lots, strip malls and flith that come with them.

    I think of myself as a rightwinger, but I hate cars. I have always hated cars. As a child I hated my mother’s driving, as an adult I learned to hate everyone’s driving. I hate throwing my money away on insurance, gasoline, repairs and maintainance. My car is paid for, but if it wasn’t I would hate making a car payment every month.

    Raise taxes on gas! Add 5 bucks to the current $3 bucks a gallon, lets see how much Americans really love their cars. But cars are out symbol of freedom! Boo hoo! Funny how our symbol of freedom allows the government to take away our basic right of transportation on a whim.

    God I hate cars.

  • “Funny how our symbol of freedom allows the government to take away our basic right of transportation on a whim.”

    That is the linchpin for the counter-automobile politics that are coming to life, indifferent to traditional left/right-isms. When you are driving, you are in a police state. And not just de facto: the supreme court has energetically discovered motor vehicle exceptions to assorted rights in a century-long campaign that leaves drivers and passengers with little more than constitutional toilet paper. Given the lethal (or just crippling) violence that automobiles perpetually enable, that’s not entirely unreasonable. But if you don’t like living in a police state you’d better live somewhere that doesn’t require multiple car trips every day.

  • Dr Anjan Chatterjee, India

    No that can’t be true. American love their cars. Its their second home. They have been spending so much time within their cars. How can they say good bye to cars?
    We Indians too are falling in love with cars since the 1980’s on a large scale.
    The policy makers have to find ways out to enable the car and man/woman continue to be in love.Thats not very tough.
    Also the car maker lobbies work overtime so that their sales do not take any beating anywhere in the better off markets!

  • Don’t you hate showing up for a party just as it’s ending?


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