Monday’s Headlines: ‘Car Culture LIV’ Edition
There was definitely some football played on Sunday, but our eyes were focused on the full excess of car culture that thundered across the screen. Here’s our tally:
- Commercials featuring a driver speeding without any social stigma (every one of them, but especially that Porsche ad with all the company employees chasing … another company employee).
- Commercials featuring a completely unrealistic technology that will be made obsolete when we ban street parking (Sonata with “smaht pahk”).
- Commercials featuring a beloved American celebrity shilling for an ugly SUV (John Legend and Chrissy Teigen for Genesis), for an electric Audi (the woman from “Frozen”), a muscle car (Idris Elba, OK he’s British, for an e-Mustang), a Toyota Highlander that will supposedly save you from life-or-death situations (Cobie Smulders, yes she’s Canadian), a tricked-out Jeep (Bill Murray, who we simply can’t hate even as he hawks a mid-life crisis assault car) or an electric Hummer (LeBron James — who only last week was an ambassador for cycling!).
- Commercials trying to get us to forget how bad cars are because now at least they won’t produce a byproduct out of their tailpipe that is toxic to life on this planet (EV Hummer, electric Mustang, e-tron Audi).
- Commercials trying to convince us that cars play a crucial role in helping a kid become an NFL star, where he will face certain concussive brain damage (Kia).
- And, of course, there was a “Fast and Furious” ad that made no sense at all.
We weren’t the only one’s focused on car ads. Brent Toderian tweeted out Tom Flood’s awesome anti-car bike ad.
The BEST ad you’ll see this #SuperBowlSunday, the one that should REALLY go viral, brought to you by the humble bicycle, great neighbourhoods for kids, & former car ad making guy @tomflood1. Watch & share as much as you can. #SuperBowl pic.twitter.com/Q2V4deNdLD
— Brent Toderian (@BrentToderian) February 3, 2020
And the Times even did a think piece on the new (and soon to be popular) electric Hummer, dubbed the “eco-beast.” Please New York Times. Don’t normalize this. Electric car, schmeletric car. They are still cars. Please. Just. Stop.
Until we banish the automobile, the most we can do is start the work week with a look back at the weekend’s non Super Bowl news:
- Several outlets did second-day stories on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway panel’s call for narrowing the triple cantilever to four lanes, from six. Streetsblog pointed out that the mayor doesn’t understand the basic laws of traffic. NY1 focused on how decrepit the roadway is. Gothamist played it straight, while amNY focused on the emergency repairs and weight restrictions that begin today.
- There was surprisingly little local coverage of Friday night’s protest against police brutality and over-policing in the subway, but the Guardian was on the case (Gothamist, too). The protest earned a reprehensible tweet from the sergeant’s union, which called the protests “useless members of society” and questioned why they weren’t “working” (which most people don’t do on a Friday night at 7 p.m.). Useful members of society express their First Amendment rights — and useful law enforcement officers defend that right, they don’t derogate it.
- The MTA is getting closer to finalizing its Bronx bus network redesign, but it’s still taking heat from riders in the Boogie Down. (News 12)
- Gothamist covered the killing of cyclist Pedro Lopez, and embedded our exclusive video.
- Another rich guy says that driverless cars will be better for cities. Gensler Co-Managing Principal Joseph Brancato seems like he has good intentions, but as Conor Oberst once sang, “If someone says they knows for certain, they’re selling something certainly.” (Inman)
- OMNY is expanding (but still does not offer unlimited rides yet). (NYDN)
- Revel scooter CEO Frank Reig talked to City & State about his company’s approach.
- The mayor of Paris is really eating Mayor de Blasio’s dejeuner when it comes to transforming her city into a place for people, not cars. She’ll make the City of Light “100 percent” cyclist friendly by 2024 (Intelligent Transport), which includes removing 72 percent of on-street car storage so there’s more public space for … the public! (Brent Toderian via Twitter)
- Who says Rep. Jerry Nadler doesn’t move fast? Sure, he couldn’t bring down Trump, but the Upper West Side lawmaker quickly pivoted to trying to bring down helicopters. (NY Post)
- Two items over the weekend made us sad for the society we created. First, Streetfilms auteur Clarence Eckerson went to the suburban hellscape of Long Island. Then, the increasingly poignant Ginia Bellafante reminded us in the Times how sad and lonely it is that some people have other people shop for them.
- Here’s a horrifying video of how garbage trucks treat kids — like garbage. (Yeshiva World News)
- And, finally, the Times is trying to cram mead down your throat. Don’t buy it. This is one of those classic Times “trend” pieces (looking at you, monocle trend story from 2014!) where the Paper of Record is wrong, just wrong.