Tuesday, June 19, 2012

: The Relationship between a love affair with an automobile and repressed and unsatisfied sexuality


It seems so  simple: The Relationship between a love affair with an automobile and repressed and unsatisfied sexuality
It has been a crazy five weeks here in Germany teaching automobile history.  Today was a particularly stressful day involving an eight hour back and forth from Leipzig to Ingolstadt train ride.  So I h ad some time to catch up with reading downloaded at one time or another on my hard drive, and also time to think as  well. One essay I re-read with more care than before was Hyman Weiland, “The Psychological Significance of Hot Rods and Driving on Adolescent Males,” in Psychiatric Quarterly, supplement,  31, part 2 (1957), 161ff. Concurrently I had been lecturing on America’s Love Affair with the Automobile during the 1950s with an eye towards why the love affair emerged during the 1950s and withered after the 1960s.  It is a question that remains with us today, as the auto industry attempts to attract youthful buyers who seem more interested in Ipods than IROCs.
Anyway, Weiland’s article really connected with me.  Is the love affair with a car – washing, waxing, desiring, obsessing, fantasizing, nothing more than males with unresolved psychological conflicts and sexual inadequacies sublimating unfulfilled sex into thoughts and actions focused on a metal and plastic thing? Can one generalize that idea to extend to some other material goods?
The upshot of all of this is that one may argue that beginning in the 1960s, as American males became far more free sexually, they became less fixated on cars. Put another way, loving another person was preferred to the washing, waxing, and working on a car. And that is the dilemma facing auto makers today.

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