Episode 14: The War on Cars Meets Car Talk

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For nearly thirty years, brothers Ray and Tom Magliozzi were the hosts of NPR’s “Car Talk” and the voices of American car culture. Famous for their distinctive Boston accents and infectious laughs, Click and Clack didn’t just diagnose engine troubles, they recognized that people’s personal relationships often revolved around their automobiles. In a War on Cars exclusive, Doug sits down with Ray Magliozzi to talk about car culture, the brothers’ surprising war on SUVs, and whether or not “Bike Talk” could even be half the phenomenon “Car Talk” was… and still is.

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SHOW NOTES:

Learn more about Car Talk

…and listen to “The Best of Car Talk.”

“Car Talk’s Tom Magliozzi: An Unlikely Environmental Advocate.” (ThinkProgress)

Tom and Ray’s “Live Large, Drive Smaller” anti-SUV campaign. (The New Yorker)

Tom and Ray’s 2007 letter to Congress in favor of higher fuel standards. (Car Talk)

Dispatches from Aaron’s years-long Twitter crusade to banish “Car Talk” from WNYC.

Twitter: @TheWarOnCars, Doug Gordon @BrooklynSpoke, Aaron Naparstek @Naparstek, Sarah Goodyear @buttermilk1 and producer Curtis Fox @curtisfox

Questions? Suggestions? Email us: thewaroncars@gmail.com.

 

Episode 13: Making the Bus Sexy Again

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What if you could get around quickly and reliably in a state-of-the-art vehicle that you didn’t have to drive, park, fuel, or insure? No, it’s not an Uber or a self-driving car… it’s the bus! In this episode, we talk to Cam Hardy of the Better Bus Coalition in Cincinnati, Ohio, about why buses are chronically unloved and underfunded. Plus, we look at attempts to make buses cool through the power of advertising, and hear the latest battle news from the global War on Cars.

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Episode 12: Propaganda Blitz

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Bring a snorkel. The Kia Telluride can’t actually do this.

On Super Bowl Sunday, a hundred million Americans gathered in front of their TVs and absorbed a fearsome barrage of automobile advertising. While most viewers munched on snacks, guzzled beer and focused on the game, our crack team of intelligence analysts were busy studying the car commercials. What do these multi-million-dollar productions say about car culture, the fantasy of driving versus the reality, and about America itself? To win The War on Cars we must understand the enemy.

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Episode 11: WCAR Talk Radio

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You’re listening to WCAR talk radio with Spoke and the Mad Dog. In this episode we take listener questions and comments, tackling everything from fixing the suburbs, tips for lonely bike advocates, why car-free days are one of the best tools for improving cities and how to make even the most sprawled-out metropolis in America better for people on two feet, two wheels or transit. Plus, can a War on Cars t-shirt get a person out of jury duty? Don’t touch that dial!

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Episode 10: Whoops! The Liberal Blind Spot for Cars

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When New York City mayor Bill de Blasio went on ABC’s “The View” to discuss universal health care, little did he know he’d be on the receiving end of an epic anti-bike-lane rant courtesy of Oscar-winner and daily car commuter Whoopi Goldberg. Whoopi’s fact-free diatribe exposed one of the biggest obstacles cities face as they try to modernize their transportation systems: The liberal blind spot for cars. In this special episode of The War on Cars, we discuss why it is that even the most liberal people in the most progressive cities are so often unable to see the problems wrought by automobiles, much less support alternative forms of transportation. Plus, as civilization faces a looming climate catastrophe, can the Green New Deal offer some hope or will Baby Boomer talk show hosts doom us all?

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Episode 9: Cars Versus Guns

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Which is more destructive? Cars or guns? A recent study showed that guns are now the second-leading killer of children in the U.S. But what does it say about our culture that the press seemed to gloss over the first? (Spoiler alert: It’s cars.) In this episode, we discuss the similarities between these two threats to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Plus, what can safe streets advocates learn from gun control advocates, and vice versa?

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Episode 8: Why So Serious? The Lighter Side of The War On Cars.

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Improv Everywhere’s Phone Booth Coworking.

The stakes are literally life and death, but can humor be an effective weapon in the war on cars? In this episode we talk to Charlie Todd, the founder of Improv Everywhere, about how using the city as a stage for elaborate comedy scenes can help people see public space in a new light. What’s the connection between turning parking spots into parks and unleashing hordes of pants-free people on the subway? Plus, how does a father of two become radicalized against automobiles?

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Episode 7: Nice Legs, Dude

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Why is driving a car seen as masculine and riding a bicycle seen as feminine? Is it even possible to look like an adult while riding an e-scooter? Our experience of moving through public space is deeply affected by our mode of transportation and our gender identity; the mode we choose affects not only how we are seen by others, but how we see ourselves. In this episode, we cover biking while female, taking the Metro in Mexico City and what The 40-Year-Old Virgin has to say about guys who bike.

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Episode 6: Quit Your Car: It’s Zero Percent About Transportation

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Alex Brook Lynn and her 1987 Cadillac DeVille

When is a car not a car? When it’s a source of solace and comfort, a curbside living room and a personal aesthetic statement. This episode is brought to you “live” from the interior of a 1987 Cadillac DeVille as we hear from Alex Brook Lynn, the producer of FAQ NYC, about why she escapes to her car for a little private time amidst the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. What would it take for Alex to quit her car?

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Episode 5: If E-Bikes Are the Future, Why Are They Illegal?

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From coast to coast, electric-bikes are having their moment. But a New York City Police Department crackdown on delivery cyclists who rely on e-bikes to do their jobs has some wondering if a double standard isn’t at play. At a time when big companies are jumping on the e-bike bandwagon, are the immigrant men who deliver food being unfairly punished? We discuss the murky laws surrounding e-bikes and what the future has in store with Helen Ho of the Biking Public Project.

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