I headed over to Wegman's today on my $7,000 cargo bike to see if there
were any Presidents Day sales on soy based meat. While browsing the
aisles, Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" started playing on the supermarket
sound system. I got so upset I almost put down the case of LaCroix I had
in my arms and left. This song needs to stop being played in public.
Why? Well, the car culture is waaay too strong in this one.
Let's set aside the fact that the song is literally encouraging reckless driving. I mean, it's called FAST CAR. And let's also set aside that the song is about heartbreak and keeping hope alive in the face of despair.
Let's get down to the real nitty gritty.
"I want a ticket to anywhere."
If she lived in a 15 minute city, she wouldn't be clinging to a cager driving a death machine to get out.
"Won't have to drive too far, Just 'cross the border and into the city."
Hey lady, if it's not that far, you should be taking public transportation and saving the environment.
"So I remember when we were driving, driving in your car, Speed so fast it felt like I was drunk, City lights lay out before us"
That's how fast your loser boyfriend was driving around and you didn't bail? City lights mean there was probably a bus you could have taken home at least.
"You got a fast car, We go cruising, entertain ourselves"
OH. MY. GOD. Driving for entertainment? Burning fossil fuels to get your jollies?
"We'll move out of the shelter, Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs"
Now this is where it really goes off the rails. We amateur urbanists all know that poor people don't drive or own cars. And the writer has dreams of living in the suburbs, the worst possible place for anyone to live! You belong in an inner city housing project, honey.
I know Ms. Chapman is a respected folk singer and that it's black history month and we need to listen to black voices and all, but she gets my white transportation activist ire up. Tomorrow I am going to call the Master of Urban Planning Department at Hunter College and see if any of the students there would like to focus their thesis on how car culture in songs detroys cities.