The Astonishing Blunder

I found the following quote a few days ago, in a mystery novel written by John D. MacDonald in 1965…it was as refreshing as it was surprising to see it, especially in a story set in Florida.

“In some remote year historians will record that Twentieth Century America attempted the astonishing blunder of changing its culture to fit automobiles instead of people, putting a skin of concrete and asphalt over millions of acres of arable land, rotting the hearts of their cities, so encouraging the proliferation of murderous, high-speed junk….”

Nice to know that the entire country wasn’t oblivious back in the days of land yachts and muscle cars. I wonder what readers thought when they encountered this passage, which is rather wedged into the story, to tell the truth. It certainly was out of step with the times—as much as the times were out of step with reality….

From “Bright Orange for the Shroud.”

About Rick Risemberg

Rick was born in Argentina but grew up in Los Angeles, and has lived most of his life in Hollywood. He also spent several months living in Montmartre, in Paris, France, one of the most delightful as well as effective human scale communities anywhere, and now resides in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles, a high-density and eminently walkable neighborhood where nearly his every need is within a twenty-minute stroll of the apartment. He maintains the Bicycle Fixation Webzine and Urban Ecology Forum; you may see them You may visit portfolios of his writing, photography, and web design work at