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"JUDGE DOOM", JANE JACOBS, AND GRAND RAPIDS NOSTALGIA
JANUARY 24, 2006 8:26 PM

I have been learning the art of intalio print making. This includes, but is not limited to; drypoint, etching, aquatint.

One of the plates I have been working on is of Alfred P. Sloan Jr., quite possibly one of the persons most responsible for the United States being a nation of automobiles.


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Alfred P Sloan was the president of Genreal Motors (1923) and became chair of the board in 1937. Sloan was involved in the General Motors streetcar conspiracy, in which he along with Firestone and Standard Oil, were responsible for the derailing of virtually every streetcar system in the United States, and then forced cities/companies to buy/use busses to replace the trains.

Between the ages of about 7 and 11, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was my most watched movie. Little did I know that the content and inspiration for the movie would be associated with my interests today. Sloan was fictionalized in the character of "Judge Doom," and the movie was based on the General Motors streetcar conspiracy.

There cannot be a villain without a hero,right?

I have also been working on a drypoint of Jane Jacobs, author of The Death and Life of Great American Cities.


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Jacobs strongly opposed Robert Moses and others, who sided with people such as Alfred P Sloan Jr. She has been an inspiration to many contemporary progressive urban planners, specifically planners interested in mending the destruction caused by the Urban Renewal movement of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

A classmate of mine, Joanna de Walle, has been working on a really great etching based on a postcard of the corner of Monroe Center and Division. She was nice enough to trade me one of my prints for this:


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that's crazy that you're talking about jane jacobs. i just read nature of economies. serendipity.

sally | January 25, 2006 12:44 AM

i love your prints. and this story is really interesting too.

nina | January 25, 2006 9:18 AM

I loved Roger Rabbit. It's crazy that it's based on this guy. Makes sense. And makes me angry (at him).

kevin | January 25, 2006 9:54 AM

I know about Moses building highways and GM buying up the rail companies, etc... but I don't really understand how who framed roger rabbit is based on all of this?

Can I get a Roger rabbit refresher?

Anthony | January 25, 2006 10:56 AM

Oh, and there is a really great video/documentary about the conspiracy that the GVSU sociology dept. has. You should check it out. It gives me hope that public transit is not inherently doomed if we support it.

Anthony | January 25, 2006 10:59 AM

What's up Ben?

Michael | January 29, 2006 3:39 PM

uh, not much is up. who are you?

ben | January 29, 2006 4:31 PM

Hello C4WTO

I live in portland OR. Recently a local alt weekly in pdx mentioned Alfred P Sloan in connection w/ GM who "bought up streetcar lines everywhere, dismantled them, literally burning them, to make people need cars..." Immediately I thought of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, I remeber Christopher Lloyd's character, who mentioned just such a strategy. so today i went on line and eureka! I found your blog which validates what I was thinking. Anyway I'm quite interested in how actual, yet marginallized, historical narratives end up encrypted in various fictional productions. If you could share w/ me any of the sources you encountered which signalled to you that GM's streetcar conspiracy gave inspiration to the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" I'd appreciate it.

jason coyne | March 8, 2007 4:02 PM

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