Rage focuses the mind

Four out of five moviegoers last weekend went to see “Spider-Man 3,” which is pretty convincing proof that despite all the blather about fragmented, niche marketing driving the American media, Americans are as capable as ever of acting as a mass audience.

During the summer, when such behemoths like “Spidey3” block out the sun, some movie fans might be wondering just exactly all this escapist entertainment is trying to escape from.

Well, here’s one example: If you subscribe to the theory that a little rage makes the blood run faster, check out the new-on-DVD film “Who Killed the Electric Car?,” an astounding documentary that offers a disturbing contrast between capitalism the way it is espoused in this country and how it’s really practiced.

The film tells the story of the EV-1, a GM-manufactured electric car that offered for lease only in California in limited numbers in the late 1990s. The car was completely battery-powered and those who drove them, many of them celebrities, spoke of them in rapturous terms. A few years later, GM not only dumped the EV-1 program, it recalled all of them it had leased and then destroyed them. The EV-1 is now extinct, except for one prototype on display at a museum in Dearborn, Mich. Just before the film was released last summer, the Smithsonian took down its exhibit on the EV-1.

The film never really addresses why GM made such a radical move, but its speculations dovetail with the widely held belief that the kind of crony capitalism dominant in America right now is designed to protect profits of entrenched interests, even if it violates the capitalist principles of competition and consumer demand.

I hear you, I don’t need another thing to be cheesed off about either. But with gas pushing toward $4 a gallon and global warming moving quickly to reality, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” makes for a balanced diet alongside “Spider-Man 3.”

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5 thoughts on “Rage focuses the mind

  1. Probably the most significant cultural problem we have in our country today: “The concept that what’s good for General Motors is good for America”

    Americans have bought into the idea wholesale. I say, get rid of the insurance companies acting as middle man for our American health – our health should not be run by corporations.

    Get rid of the continued connections of higher education with big business, as we see more and more how Universities are now geared to research and corporate values focused on Applied Sciences, whereas the Arts and Humanities are regularly short-shifted.

    I say reign in the sweet-heart deals our American military has with these huge corporations that waste billions (or lose billions) of our taxpayer money. That when Eisenhower warned all of us of the “Military Industrial Complex”, he wasn’t kidding one bit.

    One way to define a fascist country is when corporations hi-jack a governent, when corporate values become more important than the values needed for each individual citizen. Where quality of life and saving the planet is more important than making billions of dollars profits in gas revenues for a relatively few Americans who control 80% of the stock market.

  2. The “bottom line” baby maximize profits, lok at the petrolium companies, Bush and the boys have handed them unheard of profits. We are free to start businesses and if your lucky you’ll cut into some big guy’s profits and they will ether buy you out or put you out, that is the american way. The electric car has never been a pure threat to GM”s or any of the others bottom line. So they are more than happy to let it just doddle along. As we are seeing there may be a profit in hybrid and possably pure electric so we are seeing interest by the big guy’s, game on!
    Gary J.

  3. I’ve seen “Who killed the electric car” and really loved it but it is not clear to me and I am actively researching and maybe you can help too how exactly we could supply the needs of electric cars batteries in the first place.
    Off topic for a sec here, you were great last Sat. at the service…
    Thanks.
    Story Time.

  4. Is it really a surprise that the plot of “Tucker, A Man And His Dream” would be played out in modern day America? Not when you have neo-con chimpanzees running the show in Washington. Hiya Wally, hope all is well since our San Juan Bautista days. đŸ˜‰

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