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Key Points of “As He Himself Put It”

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Summary of “Cars and Culture: Songs of the Open Road” by Jack DeWitt

The article by DeWitt presents a discussion on the emergence and rise of songs about the power and beauty of cars. Americans have for a long time been involved in the production and release of such songs. According to the author, the most notable old car songs were “On an Automobile Honeymoon” in 1903, “Take Me out for a Joy Ride” and “In My Merry Oldsmobile” among others. Many other songs with different themes were encountered in the subsequent years, indicating that people were more concerned with the aesthetic value of cars in addition to the purpose for which they were made.

In his analysis, DeWitt bases his argument on the themes of American car songs that mostly emphasize joy and pleasures that a specific ride offered. He states that “cars are less about transportation in the public imagination and more about excitement, sex and pleasure” (DeWitt 38). The author also asserts that the culture of a nation is defined by their practices including what they sing. Celebration of cars and the emergence of many songs on certain favorite models show that the primary role of cars has shifted. The American population focuses more on the pleasures and excitement that they receive from using a particular car.

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