Monday, April 13, 2009

American Scooterist: Issue # 54/55 Scooting to the Beat

Somehow, I got the latest issue of American Scooterist today. My dues for Vespa Club of America must have expired two years ago, and I never changed my address with them when you changed coasts.
Not that I'm complaining.
If like me, you are interested in the history of American counter-culture, the Beats, and scooters, you owe it to yourself to get a copy of this issue.
Proving there is nothing new under the sun, this issue gets deep into the history of scooters as a gentle rebellion against the prevalence of American car-culture. Just check out this paragraph:

For the Beats, the automobile and automobile culture - that great destroyer of urban life - had become the most potent symbol of American consumerism and alienation. As Kerouac expressed it: "Whither goest thou, America, in thy shiny car in the night?" For many young bohemians, the natural progression from this line of reasoning often led to the purchase of a scooter and investing it with larger political overtones. Like beards, European scooters had eccentric and mildly subversive connotations that often signified that one was already well-advanced on the pathway to an alternative conception of reality.

Heady stuff.

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