Thursday, November 20, 2008

GKC on Cocktails / The Future of Hot Rods

I inherited from my grandfather, the Rev. William J. Jones, a hardcover book of G. K. Chesterton's (1932) entitled:



In it is an essay entitled, The Cowardice of Cocktails and Other Things, which contains these words:
Cocktails are perhaps the only practical product of Prohibition. They are certainly, I should imagine, the only part of Prohibition in which America will really succeed in setting a Great Example to the world ...

It was necessary that the sort of drink should be one that could be gulped down quickly; it was necessary that it should be very strong for its size; and it was natural that it should be made a sort of separate science of luxury in itself.
I hope Chesterton is correct (and he usually is) in saying that the prohibition of something results in a more potent variety of it being produced. I will leave you to draw the obvious analogies in the area of politics, where I hope that a shrinking Conservative movement will have more kick to it than this very watered-down variety of Conservatism we've all been given to drink lately.

As I say, I will leave that for you to ponder, because I have weightier matters on my mind. I mean hot rods! As with Prohibition, government constraints on auto manufacturers (I know, I work for one) have forced them more and more to produce bland, overly-safe, overly-quiet, transportation appliances ... the very opposite thing of what a hot rod has always been. As the new, draconian CAFE standards come into effect there will be, to the minds of many, no new cars worth owning or driving.

And this is where the Old School (a.k.a., Ol' Skool) rodder will begin to shine. Because the need for hot rods, the glory of hot rods ... these are things that will not be denied. If Chesterton's cocktail theory is accurate, increasing government restrictions will only make the fires of automotive love burn hotter in the hearts of customizers and hot rod fabricators. And I believe that you can already see this happening. Behold, the impractical, loud, danger-defying creature that is Aaron Grote's Atomic Punk.

As if a 1959 Plymouth Savoy wasn't badass enough to start with, Aaron totally reshaped this beast, giving it a bubble top and a 392 Chrysler Hemi engine. This is to me a thing of such beauty that I can scarcely describe the effect it has on me. God being our Helper, my son and I will work to carry on this cocktailization of the automobile.