Gord Perks wriggles while car ads burn eye

Gord Perks, in his biweekly “Enviro” column for Toronto’s eye magazine, lays a big fat turd all over page 16. Is it worth reading? Only if you’re willing to watch a grown man squirm.

Me, I don’t get my kicks that way, but hey–the ALLDERBLOB has a job to do.

It appears Perks came under some heat as a result of what he wrote last time out (see below, at “nothing personal, but we can’t be friends”).

In that column, Perks went on at length about how the petroleum industry’s bad because it encourages car dependency and other unsustainable practices, without ‘fessing up to his own complicity in car culture.

But to readers of the ALLDERBLOB, there it was, in plain sight, leaving traces of ink across Perks’ column whenever you closed the magazine. A full-page ad for some car or other on the opposite side.

In other words, as we pointed out here (and in a letter to eye and Perks himself), Perks is hypocritical to condemn the very agency of his “free” speech.

We went further, of course: Perks, by virtue of his wife’s membership, benefits from all the rights and priviledges of membership in the Canadian Automobile Association, a screwy bunch of pavement fanatics if ever there was one.

So we were interested to see what Perks would have to say for himself today.

Excuse me while I wipe some of the froth off my lips and beard.

That’s better.

In today’s column, called “Car-culture contradictions,” Perks wants to have it both ways. The jerky motion of his prose is no doubt a result of his left hand writing a check to the CAA while his right dabbles the keyboard. Or vice versa. Or maybe he’s wiping something, himself.

He accepts at face value one of the first tenets of the gospel of the car ad, which states “the car is a necessary evil.” What he actually says, believe it or not, is “[the car is] as necessary as the air we breathe.”

Does he really believe this? What I think he means is “The car pays my salary, and that’s a good thing for everyone.”

Because I don’t think he really believes it. Because a few breathless paragraphs later [oh eye weekly! Oh for an editor!] he begins again: “There is nothing fore-ordained about car culture.”

But he wants us–or someone–[shurely not the car companies whose porn graces the pages just prior to his column?–ed]–to believe he believes it. Because a few paragraphs later he’s at it again: “Next time you look at a car, see both the necessary evil of today…” blah blah blah.

Huh? Was I saying something?

Oh yeah.

The point is, maybe something got through to Perks. Dare I hope, even my letter of two weeks ago?

Because today, on page 17, there’s no car ad to be seen. Is it possible, just possible, that Perks’s editor [ha!] woke up to the hypocrisy of placing car-porn cheek-by-jowl with a column that would kick straight up the goalposts of car culture?

Until Perks tells us himself though, we’ll assume it’s just a coincidence, and keep trying.

Because you can’t on the one hand decry society’s car dependency, and on the other take cash from the very industry (i.e. advertising) that promotes and stimulates that dependency. Not if you don’t want to be seen as a hypocrite.

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