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Posts Tagged ‘consequences’

I’ve driven Saturns since shortly after they rolled off the assembly line in Tennessee. The cars did what I wanted them to do, the brand idea was great [for a while], and I didn’t have to argue with the dealership [Just imagine what it’s like when a traditional car salesman clashes with a feminist rhetorician. For 20 years of not having to deal with that sort of garbage, I am still grateful].

But THIS: this is awful.

Saturn LogoI was angry enough when GM killed the brand, but letting people die because it would be too much trouble to admit a problem? There should be some kind of warning stamp, perhaps with the image of the ill-fated Space Shuttle mission of 1986 on it, or even just the words “Challenger, go with throttle up“, that engineers can use as a last mark of dissent, or as a first sign of THIS COULD BE BIG TROUBLE. Or maybe the stamp here: http://geekystamps.weebly.com/

When my car lost power last summer, I was very lucky. Those were moments of panic, but I still had a sense of what I could do to control the car, and my momentum was such that I had time to take those actions.

But luck shouldn’t have been necessary.  Luck shouldn’t be why I’m alive and they are not. (I like being alive, but that is not the point of this particular musing…) (I guess it could be said that I’m alive because I am old enough to know how to drive a car without power steering and power brakes…?)

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Sometimes it’s exhausting trying to establish who was right, or at what point someone was starting to be wrong.  Without checking history books [and typically checking several, preferably from different publishers] even establishing what happened in a well-publicized event can be tricky.

RememberTheMaineNCThe ship, USS Maine, exploded and sank.  The circumstances were such that some combination of patriotism and opportunism transformed the event into a catalyst for the Spanish-American War, laid the groundwork for Domino Theory, and any number of sword-shaking calamities.  What do I remember from High School US History? What can I see now that was missing from those books, meant for a Northern audience, and taught by a skeptical Italian?

Or maybe the truth is different again from all of the stories in official print.  I don’t know how many of these plaques there were [although I suspect there was one created for every extant US state of the time period], and I don’t know what it meant for a conquered region of the South to mourn this loss so soon after the end of the Civil War.

“Soon” means so many different things, as does the phrase “…too soon?” we use these days to mark a tasteless joke made at the expense of still-injured parties.  30 years ago for me, vs 30 years past for them, vs…..

[Now I’ve got music from the show Tintypes in my head — one song ends with the Teddy Roosevelt character shouting “Remember the Maine!”, although the song I love best is “Fifty-Fifty”, with Lynne Thigpen‘s strong alto anchoring the harmony]

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