As you may have discerned from the title of today’s post, I have a need to vent via satire, observations about life, and just a hint of very dark comedy. I suppose the best place to begin is with the proverbial straw that broke the camels back, an item mentioned in previous posts.
In my office the front counter is a glass topped showcase filled with a wide array of Route 66 and automotive displays that run the gamut from a nifty vintage Cozy Dog pop up given to me by Bob Waldmire to an owners manual for a ’53 Chevy truck, a 1926 Kelly Blue Book, an original strip map for the Dixie Highway, and a 1939 service station calendar from Winslow, Arizona that has a Route 66 shield and address. Among the items that seems to attract the most attention is a little paper back book published in 1959 by Good Housekeeping, and sponsored by Phillips 66 Petroleum Company entitled Handbook for the Woman Driver.
Well, even though I change the display on a somewhat regular basis this item always remains as I find the response it generates to be quite fascinating. At this juncture I should note that the content is quite unoffensive – how to change a tire, check the oil, what to be aware of when purchasing a used car, things to watch for at service stations when traveling alone, etc.
Obviously the book sparks a lot of good old fashioned, largely politically incorrect, joking and ribbing. However, in recent years, as the straight jacket that is politically correct thought tightens on American society, I have noticed that more and more people are taking offense to the book.
Obviously they are unaware of the old adage that one should not judge a book by its cover. Of course, to do so would require thinking instead of regurgitating, or not being so thin skinned that there is an honest risk of fatal paper cuts from one ply toilet paper.
In modern America where the Bill of Rights has been simplified to a right to not be offended, I can only imagine what would happen if I displayed a copy of the Green Book for the Negro Motorist or an advertisement for the 1903 Jaxon, a vehicle so easy to drive, “a child or women could operate it.”
History is far to important to have the subject constrained by the confines of the prevailing acceptable thoughts of the day. I may find gravity restrictive to my freedom of movement, and can proclaim it my right not to be restrained by it but there is a distinct risk of death or severe injury when I choose to exercise that proclaimed right, even if there is someone in government crazy enough to agree with me.
A nation or society that restricts the teaching of history, or even worse, trims it to fit what is deemed acceptable is no different than the individual that steps boldly from the observation deck of the former Sears Tower in Chicago. That individual may proclaim his right to be free from the constraints of gravity, and the legal system may be in agreement, but the results will always be catastrophic.
I may be fearful of the number 13 or 666, or may be bothered by the number 1492 because of its association with the dawn of American genocide but they can not be cast aside as a result of this. Try building a house or designing an automobile or calculating the distance to Mars by using only the numbers that please you and make you happy. I assure you, the results will be less than perfect.
This afternoons rant was sparked by an other wise pleasant young lady who was so incensed by the aforementioned book, she demanded the name of the companies owner so a formal complaint could be filed. She was so angered by the book there was serious concern of a stroke or seizure.
Now, where would an obviously intelligent young lady in her mid 20’s learn such high minded intolerance? What future does this women have when she has no way of knowing if this is the best of times, or the worst of times? You can adapt to blindness and fix poor vision with corrective lenses but how do fix a field of vision so narrow that you can look down a pop bottle with both eyes?
Okay, thank you for letting me vent. Next up, a return to our regularly scheduled programming.