Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Automatic Transmission and Decline of Western Morals :: Exploratory Essays Research Papers

The Automatic Transmission and Decline of Western Morals When first struck with this notion, that the automatic transmission has caused the decline of Western morals, I was pumped-up and ready to go. I could've written the whole thing right then and there, sans research, sans forethought, sans plan. But then, what I thought to be the better angel of my nature kicked in and said that the responsible thing to do was to do research. Despite my future difficulties, I still think this to be the right course of action. What I wanted for the essay on automatic transmissions was automatic writing. The problems began to set in when it came time to actually do that research. I didn't wanna. Days stretched into weeks. Weeks into more weeks. The bloom was off the rose; the research just seemed like too much work-too much work on top of teaching, on top of domestic responsibilities. After many weeks, I realized that it was, in fact the automobile that I was at the time driving that influenced my attitude and created my lethargy. You see, due to a problem with my wife's car-an automatic-that made it difficult for her to drive, I was using it for my daily commute. After only a single week of driving her automatic-equipped car, I had lost all desire to do anything; I, like America, had become shiftless. The trend actually started before Oldsmobile marketed the first automatic in 1940 ("Stick Shifts" 4A). An ad for the 1939 model Chevrolet promises a "Perfected Vacuum Gear-Shift" that "does 80% of the work of shifting gears," beginning the trend to automobiles that were increasingly easier to operate (General Motors 31). This ad is echoed by rival Plymouth in the same issue of Time magazine: "Perfected Remote Control Shifting. . . with Auto-Mesh Transmission. Much Easier" (Chrysler 1). The implications are clear: even before the debauchery we associate with the 1960s, American values were beginning to crack; the idea that one should do things for oneself were beginning to be questioned by Madison Avenue, and, within a decade-and-a-half, by America itself. We don't, of course, associate the late 1930s with licentiousness, but our history-or our memories-deceive us. In the exact same issue of Time magazine that we find the telltale ads described above, we find a short report on the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939. What makes this fair,

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