Rudi Volti, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Pitzer College
Thursday, April 5th, 4:15 PM, 2007
Snacks provided; discussion to follow.
In the popular mind, Southern California, with Los Angeles as its epicenter, is the region of the US most associated with the automobile, both its joys and its discontents. From the Beach Boys paean to "fun, fun, fun until her daddy takes the T-Bird away" to smog and freeways choked with gas guzzling SUV's, LA and its surrounds have been the very embodiment of car culture, a model for the rest of the country to either emulate or avoid. And yet Southern California originally had a thriving public transportation system of trolleys and trains, whose imprint can still be seen in the general urban/suburban shape of the region. According to legend, a giant cartel of General Motors, Firestone Tire and Rubber, and Standard Oil worked to destroy the system (a legend simplified and retold in the novel and movie Who Killed Roger Rabbit?). In his talk, Rudi Volti, Professor of Sociology Emeritus at Pitzer College and author of Cars and Culture: The Life Story of a Technology (Westport , Connecticut : Greenwood , 2004) will discuss the truths and falsehoods behind the Southland's love and hate for - and dependence on - cars and freeways, as well as recent efforts to make Southern California less automobile-dependent.