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Feeding the fascination for cars

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Out the bus window I see an ad for a bank, showing an embarrassed man perched on a small bicycle, with the slogan “A lifetime of savings for this?” That afternoon during my beach walk I see two young men standing next to their bicycles, looking confident and cheerful, seemingly not the least bit embarrassed about their mode of transport. In an American movie about a 40-year-old virgin male, adulthood consists not only of having sex but of giving up his bicycle commuting and learning to drive a car. When I hear about how much people love their cars, I always wonder how much is innate and how much is encouraged by this sort of advertising and messaging—not just direct car ads but also the way cars and bicycles are portrayed in movies and in ads for other products.