Thursday, March 16, 2006

CycleDog and Terrorism

When I wrote "This Just In..." a few days ago, I sent George an email describing why I felt it necessary to write the piece. Steve Martin said that comedy is not pretty, and in fact, the motivations behind comedy are sometimes very serious, often 'whistling in the dark' past some of the darker places in the human psyche.

Here's the text:

I wrote that because I am disturbed by the pervasive 'linkage' between terrorism and anything our present administration opposes, particularly when that supposed linkage is largely imaginary.

I object to the politicization of nearly every controversy when the conflicting viewpoints reflect personal ambition rather than objective reality or simple morality.

I object to the grasping materialism that attempts to use world events like terrorism, or painful family crises like Terri Schaivo's as a means to make more money.

I object to the consumerism that insists newer is better, though to be truthful, I am not immune to it. In a sense, I reflect my parent's generation, who grew up during the Great Depression, and had to learn to make do with whatever was available. It's easy for me to resist the temptation of a new car, but much harder to resist that of a new bike!

I won't go so far as to say that cyclists are anti-materialists or anti-consumers. The appeal of a shiny new Litespeed/Bianchi/Masi cannot be denied. But those of us who use bicycles as basic transportation are definitely viewed as odd. We do not conform, and non-conformity arouses suspicion and doubts. (Am I projecting? I hope not.) There's something 'wrong' about people who do not use cars.

I don't revel in non-conformity. I'm just a guy going back and forth to work on a bicycle. I write CycleDog partly to amuse readers, partly to educate readers, and partly for my own ego gratification. Besides, it's fun! One of my goals in advocacy is to make cycling for transportation so commonplace as to be unremarkable. CycleDog is part of that effort, as is the Oklahoma Bicycle Coalition, and our local advocacy group in Tulsa, as well as the Road1 classes offered here and in Oklahoma City.

I have no illusions that my choice to use a bicycle rather than a motor vehicle will have an appreciable effect on the environment, the economy, or our government's policies. But if others do likewise, whatever their reasons, we really can have a voice in local planning and policy. ("And if three people do it, we'll have a movement!" Arlo Guthrie in "Alice's Restaurant")

2 Comments:

Blogger George said...

Amen.

I can't tell you how tired I am of hearing our current administration using the term "War on Terror".

Consumerism?

I have 6 bikes and am always looking at new ones:-)

5:15 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

Terri who?

Does Cindy Sheehan ride around in a red VW microbus with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction?

10:40 AM  

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