This 50-year-old cartoon satirizing car culture still rings true today

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streetsblog-logo-02If aliens came to Earth, who would they assume is in control — people or cars? Cars, of course. That’s the premise of this 50-year-old animation dug up by Alex Ihnen at NextSTL.

It’s worth noting, says Ihnen, that the piece was made by Canadians:

It tells the story of aliens viewing earth and concluding that the automobile is the dominant species on the planet. It’s a biting commentary, and the culture that produced it is the same that prevented highways from decimating Vancouver, and other Canadian cities to the extent of their American counterparts. It’s hard to imagine an American equivalent, though even locally around the same time we were well [aware] of the negative impacts of the automobile [Mass Transit as a Regional Priority – St. Louis 1965].

Ihnen also posts this summary from the National Film Board of Canada:

This animated short proposes what many earthlings have long feared — that the automobile has inherited the planet. When life on Earth is portrayed as one long, unending conga-line of cars, a crew of extra-terrestrial visitors understandably assume they are the dominant race. While humans, on the other hand, are merely parasites. An Oscar® nominee, this film serves as an entertaining case study.

Make sure to watch til the end — the best satire is in the final minute.

[This article has been cross-posted from our partner, Streetsblog.]
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Angie Schmitt

Angie Schmitt

Reporter at StreetsBlog
Angie Schmitt is a newspaper reporter-turned planner/advocate who manages the Streetsblog Network from glamorous Cleveland, Ohio. She also writes about urban issues particular to the industrial Midwest at Rustwire.com.
Angie Schmitt

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