Thursday, June 16, 2005

At last

The BBC has finally discovered something about America that it likes. Is it individualism? Economic liberalism? Baseball? Nah. It's yellow school buses!

Surprisingly, this didn't come up in the BBC coverage.


Blogger crankyankee said...

I was reminded immediately of the ever-more-relevant "Nashville" by Robert Altman which featured Geraldine Chaplin as the character "Opal from the BBC".

In one scene Opal is wandering around a school bus parking lot on a quiet Sunday morning and speaking into a tape recorder:

The buses!
The buses are empty....
and look almost menacing... threatening,
as so many yellow dragons watching me....
with their hollow vacant eyes.
I wonder how many little black and white children have yellow nightmares,
their own special brand of fear for the yellow peril.
....I can't have... I can't start....
Damn it, it's got to be more positive.
No, more negative. Start again.
Yellow is the color of caution.
Yellow is the color of cowardice.
Yellow is the color of sunshine.
And yet i see very little sunshine in the lives of all the little black and white children.
I see their lives, rather, as a study in grayness, a mixture of black and....
Oh, Christ, no. That's fascist.
Yellow, yellow, yellow.
Yellow fever.

Other quotes from "Opal from the BBC" you might enjoy:

I have a theory about political assassination. You see, I believe Madame Pearl and all those people here in this country who carry guns are the real assassins. Because you see, they stimulate other people - who are perhaps innocent - and who eventually are the ones that pull the trigger.


Must have been dreaming....
In my empire life is sweet!
I was there for a about a year on a kibbutz.
I was feeling very romantic about that kid of socialism at the time.
I thought I'd like to have a bash at it.

3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? They didn't comment on the lack of seat belts, a gross safety violation?

Must have been an error.


12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? They didn't comment on the lack of seat belts, a gross safety violation?

Must have been an error.


12:49 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

It's interesting how the school buses were characterized. The media here complains every time there's a school bus accident that they don't have restraints. There have been a few cases where school buses have rolled off a mountain road, down a revine. The newscasters describe how, since they don't have safety belts, the children were tossed around inside like rag dolls, and one can imagine the poor little fellows breaking their necks as they hit the ceiling. But it is true that it's rare to hear about serious school bus accidents. So the statement that they have an exemplary safety record is probably accurate. I may be wrong, but I think regular buses that travel long distances, like Greyhound, or our local metro area RTD shuttle system, have safety belts in them.

Probably the reason for the appeal of our school buses to the BBC is that they're uniform, and they're a form of public transport, though interestingly not nationally funded.

I remember years ago hearing about how while the yellow color of the school buses was chosen for visibility, the color was chosen by committee (ie. the decision was based on compromise rather than sound judgement or science), or something, and they're actually less visible at night than fire engines, which are colored red. Some study had suggested that school buses would be more visible in variable light conditions if they were colored like fire engines.

12:15 AM  
Blogger mamapajamas said...

I've seen fire engines from time to time that were colored a very pale but florescent chartreuse. Those were the most "visible" vehicles I've ever seen, the slight tinge of florescent green making them a step more blinding than "glacier" white.

6:03 AM  

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