There are many people who are trying to live without a car. An entire town in Germany, for example. So why can't American popular culture get behind the idea? The only (mostly) likable, pro-bike character that comes to mind from the recent TV and movies is Michael Bluth on Arrested Development (his brother Gob, of course, rocked a Segway). Back in the '80s, we had Pee-Wee who seriously loved his bike, but he wasn't exactly cool. In fact, the general trend for Hollywood is to equate not having a car with being an outcast. Heck, there's even a (pretty much defunct) blog about the phenomenon, which came up with The Law of Bicycles in Popular Culture:
All adult characters shown riding a bicycle for utilitarian purposes in a creative work will be depicted as either perverts, losers, or both.
Clause A: This law applies only to works set in the years from 1970 onwards.
Clause B: This law applies consistently only to American works, though foreign examples may occur
.
Slate recently checked out the evolution of the car-less character in a new piece that starts with a look at Ben Stiller's character in Greenberg. Slate writes:
He's a needy and casually abusive schmuck, a socially awkward and obsessive crank. And if you need any more clues to the extent of his pathological loserdom, here's one: He doesn't drive.
We're fans of green cars, but we're also fans of getting out of the car. Maybe Stiller's character should look into Zipcar? Maybe we need characters who espouse the benefits of a car-free lifestyle (like, for example, the fact they they take cars off the road)? Maybe we need to evolve the role of the car in our life now that we have seriously green alternatives? Maybe you'd like to share a thought or two?

[Source: Bikes In Popular Culture, Slate via Treehugger | Image: andymangold - C.C. License 2.0]


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