[Book Review] At the same time that General Motors was a top news story last week, we happened upon an Avon paperback copy of J. Patrick Wright's book "On a clear day you can see General Motors"- and we snapped it up with a lightening like move that brought to mind the expression "gun fighter's reflexes."- It seemed likely that the 1979 book might yield up a great quotable sentence to use in one of the Saturday columns, but when we opened it up and began to skim, we realized that we had hit a gold mine for a source of many great quotes.
Unfortunately the Introduction clouded the prospect by revealing that the book was originally written by John Z. De Lorean himself . . . with some help from Wright. So how do you attribute quotes from this book? Are they John De Lorean quotes or do you give a quote about a board meeting at General Motors and attribute it to Mr. Wright?
The title of Chapter Four, "How Moral Men Make Immoral Decisions,"- alone, sparked hopes that it would provide the basis for a column with the topic being capitalism has gone out of control like a runaway truck on a long downhill road.
The money quote from all the great possibilities in Chapter Four would seem to be: "A fraud on the American economy, because I always had a vague suspicion that the annual model change may be good for the auto business in the short trem but that it wasn't good for the economy and the country."-
Hippies appreciated the fact that the "bug" didn't change much each year. The bug with the oval rear window, which was not split, was from 1955-57 (approximately). In the 58 model, the rear window became a bigger rectangle.
On second thought, maybe the best sentence in Chapter Four is: "It seemed to me, and still does, that the system of American business often produces wrong, immoral and irresponsible decisions, even though the personal morality of the people running the business is often above reproach."- The writer continues: "The system has a different morality as a group than the people do as individuals, which permits it to willfully produce ineffective or dangerous products, deal dictatorially and often unfairly with suppliers, pay bribes for business, abrogate the rights of employees by demanding blind loyalty to management or tamper with the democratic process of government through illegal political contributions."-
A different group morality? Mabye the Torture Truth Commission will want to explore this premise? Could it do for the Torture question what the "magic bullet"- theory did for the Warren Commission?
Since General Motors and their plight have been in the news recently, many of this site's regular readers and/or pundits may enjoy this book and find their own favorite of a juicy quote that is relevant in a "ripped from today's headlines"- kind of way.
We will note, at this point, that book reviewers are often given blanket permission to quote and since this is a book review (we urge the publisher to reprint this important book and then flood the zone with it), we have availed ourselves of that privilege. There are plenty of great quotes, you get the idea by now. There's no use overdoing the quoting bit. This book review is only thirty years late but we urge our listeners to take the "better late than never"- attitude to heart and make an effort to find, buy, (or borrow it from their local library) and read it!
Lately, it seems that all the pundits have taken to all commenting on the most recent news development and no one takes time to try to draw the public's attention to something which could help them learn about and then think about any one of these never ending divertissements, but we'll break ranks and run this column about General Motors even though last week's news is sooooo last week.
It's a good book. Read it even if you have to skip the commentators telling you what you should be thinking this week in reaction to the Iran election results. Be bold and audatious. Read "On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors"- and then think about the issues that John De Lorean was trying to draw to the public's attention thirty years ago.
Knowing what was going to happen to the General Motors official after the book was published gave this read a rather spooky feeling. If he was very moral then, how did he change between then and when he got caught on film? Could it be that he was a "payback"- victim because of this book? If you don't do your own thinking, then don't expect the wolfpack of conservative philosophy purveyors at Fox to figure it out for you because this week they have to guide the country through the Iran election crises.
Wait! Maybe, this columnist got the fact checking wrong? Did Fox commentators also draw your attention to this book recently?
If we ever learn how to say "Post in haste, proofread afterwards at leisure"- in Latin, this columnist will then have his very own (original) motto.
Muhammad Ali boasted: "Not only do I knock "-em out, I pick the round."- Does that describe the contemporary attitude in today's American business world? (What? You wanted, instead the John Dillinger quote about Ford cars?)
Now, the disk jocky will play the Beatles, Stones, Flying Lizards, Led Zeppelin, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Doors and the Smashing Pumpkins versions of "Money (That's What I Want)" and we will go out to our swimming pool filled with money and do the Scrooge McDuck routine. Have a "We hit the jackpot!"- type week.