THE CULTURAL ORDER OF THE ROAD

Wouldn't you love to bring de Tocqueville from the early nineteenth century, place him in the passenger seat along side Charles Kuralt and Bill Moyers, and listen to their observations as they travel from a rush hour Los Angeles freeway to the back roads of the American heartland? It was Moyers, in fact, who observed that "there's no mythical symbol more potent in the American psyche than the open road" (PBS "Ideas" series of September 1988, interview with Jessica Tuchman Matthews). Let's consider here the impacts of the automobile and the road on the American cultural order--and on the various subcultures spawned.