This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

P.J. O'Rourke's Penis

      I have been following the controversy over the bike lanes in New York and the crackdown on cyclists which has followed. It seems that it has reached a point of national absurdity. Apparently the infamous NYC Bike Snob was invited to submit an article on the subject to the WSJ. His article was rejected in deference to regular contributor P.J. O'Rourke. O'Rourke, known for his satirical style, wrote an article which the Snob likened to rubbing his substantial schlong all over a subject he knows nothing about. I've got to admit the Snob's article was a more measured and well-versed piece of information than we normally expect from him. O'Rourke's article was inflammatory and based upon no factual information at all. The response from the Snob on his blog was equally inflammatory and being a humble amateur from the midwest, I am a little intimidated at seeing these two east coast professionals duking it out. Although it's not as exciting as watching King Kong and Godzilla dropping trou and facing off in Central Park, it's at least as newsworthy as the war between Home Depot and Lowe's (if Home Depot keeps it's labor costs down, who knows what the world will be like?).  Does one satirist attacking another work like a double negative? I guess that's another controversy, it can either negate the satiric effect or, as my Chaucer professor insisted, intensify it as the historical treatment of double negatives does. I'm totally intimidated and confused.
      On the other hand I learned a little from each article and the little mudslinging. The Snob is certainly right, O'Rourke knows nothing about cycling or bicycle lanes. If O'Rourke is a satirist (he ain't Mark Twain, never will be), judging by the comments following his article, he failed at that as well. Those who agree with his rant, took it literally, as did the bike riding public who are vilifying him. One would assume the Wall Street Journal screwed up on this choice, but I think his article illuminates the one public problem cyclists face every day-fear. Not our fear, the fear that non-cyclists have that their self-image is crumbling under the expense of it. Autos, especially by baby boomers and those older, are not purchased as transportation, they are a primary means of self-expression. They are a portable statement of social identification, and promoting cycling challenges that. O'Rourke's article consistently focuses on the appearance of cycling and likens it to childish, regressive behavior without manly "gravitas." His arguments are superficial, meaningless and stupid, but they do reflect the perception of the general public who simply can't imagine motivating about without an expensive bauble encapsulating them.
     The 8 passenger Suburban O'Rourke refers to is a pretty impressive phallus. I'm sure he admires it's length and girth reflecting in the shop windows as he sits in that great Manhattan parking lot while cyclists scurry past.

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