Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The Automobile #1

MAJOR AMBERSON: So your devilish machines are going to ruin all your old friends, eh, Gene? Do you really think they’ll change the face of the land?
EUGENE MORGAN: They’re already doing it and they can’t be stopped. Automobiles are...
GEORGE AMBERSON MINIVER: Automobiles are useless nuisance.
MAJOR AMBERSON: What did you say, George?
GEORGE AMBERSON MINIVER: I said automobiles are a useless nuisance. Never’ll amount to anything but a nuisance. They had no business to be invented.
MAJOR AMBERSON: Of course you forget that Mr. Morgan makes them and also did his share in inventing them. If you weren’t so thoughtless, he might think you rather offensive.
EUGENE MORGAN: I’m not sure George is wrong about automobiles. For all their speed forward they may be a step backward in civilization. It may be that they won’t add to the beauty of the world or the life of men’s souls. I’m not sure. But automobiles have come, and almost all outward things are going to be different. They’re going to alter war and they’re going to alter peace. I think man’s minds will be changed in subtle ways because of the automobile. And it may be that George is right. It may be that in ten or twenty years from now, if we can see the inward changes in men by that time, I shouldn’t be able to defend the gasoline engine but would have to agree with George that automobiles had no business to be invented.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) d. Orson Welles book. Booth Tarkington