Matthew Modine: Cars Are Like Cigarettes, They Give You Pep Cancer!


How'm I getting home from here?

Via the increasingly indispensable Big Hollywood comes a link to a Huffington Post post by actor and self-identified "self-propulsion and self-motivation" zealot Matthew Modine. As much as I admire Modine as an actor (and I do!), what a limousine liberal to the max! Or, more precisely, a limousine cyclist. Snippets:

We must look at the movies and songs that celebrated the automobile with a new consciousness and awareness. We must look at the automobile as a cigarette—a cancer stick—a nail in our collective coffin. The sexy lifestyle that the tobacco industry sold to us contains the same advertising lies and poison which the automobile industry sold and continues to sell to the world. Look at the ads for automobiles and you'll begin to recognize the lies. You'll see open roads with happy smiling drivers. Ask yourself, When was the last time I was NOT stuck in traffic?

Can everyone who started smoking Newports because they thought they'd become Alive with Pleasure! please signal aye via their vocoder box? The last dupes in the tobacco game must have been the folks that Ronald Reagan sent Chesterfields to at Christmas time.

But by all means, let's exhume the corpses of Jack Kerouac and Dinah Shore and Gary Numan (who may not be technically dead in anything other than a career sense) and put them on trial for making cars sexy! Tawny Kitaen, you stand accused of not simply destroying the clearcoat finish on a half-dozen vehicles in that Whitesnake video but of raising demand for automobiles and CO2 destroying hairspray for a good chunk of the 1980s! 

The last time I wasn't stuck in traffic? Uh, that would be this morning, when I drove to my son's high school to talk to a student group about "Free Minds and Free Markets." The school is only about a mile or two away from my house in Oxford, Ohio, but I did drive because I was handing out copies of Reason magazine to a group of idea-hungry kids. And it was a good thing I did, since when I got there the school was in "lockdown" mode as the local police swept through the building with drug-sniffing dogs (they drove there too). So I drove back home and worked until Officers McGruff et al finished their business and I was allowed to enter the school, but that's a different appalling story, for a different time…

The point is, dear Matthew, that not everyone in America lives in Los Angeles where a) you can actually bike year-round without freezing and/or getting caught in the rain (pace Rupert Holmes); and b) traffic is genuinely horrible all the livelong day and night. Some of us rubes still live a good chunk of time in parts of the country where driving and parking is not the horror show it is in the Big Orange or whatever LA is calling itself these days. And by the way, the next time you need an ambulance, call a rickshaw.

Modine goes on to suggest bailing out the Big Three but only if they agree to make "non-combustion engines" and light-rail systems up the wazoo (and those light-rail systems should have bike carriers on them, natch). The post perfectly captures the moralizing smugitude of the leisured class, so if it has been a while since you fully imbibed a head-up-his-ass Hollywood solipsist, read the whole thing here.

And then go watch Birdy or Vision Quest or Weeds (2007 season) but avoid Sex and Lies in Sin City: The Ted Binion Scandal, which is really only for Ted Binion completists.

Belated Hat Tip: Solanum