What About Us Brain-dead Slobs?


My automobile registration renewal notice came yesterday.

"Marge vs. the Monorail" was a terrific episode of The Simpsons featuring homages to The Flintstones and The Music Man, plus the memorable Monorail Song. Watching it has never failed to elicit a few laughs. But day by day, that episode has become a little less funny as life in Seattle has imitated art.

Last year, voters passed a referendum to fund a new genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car monorail line through the city. The plan was a pundit's wet dream, the butt of many jokes and amused editorials. Then it passed. And suddenly nobody's laughing. Fighting about the route and the location of new monorail stations, yes. Laughing? Not so much.

On The Simpsons, the project was funded from a massive fine paid by energy baron Monty Burns. In Seattle, none of the local gazillionaires are stepping up to the plate. Instead, the plan will be funded by an annual auto tax. Which brings me back to that $165 renewal notice. Less than $30 of that is for the actual license renewal. $34 is for a local transit tax. And $98 is for the construction of the freaking monorail. The last time I paid that much for a monorail, there was a fairy tale castle at one end and a geodesic sphere at the other. I know retro is in but if we're going to resurrect 1960s visions of the future, my vote goes to personal jet packs. Now that's something for which I'd gladly pay a hundred greenbacks.


The Seattle Monorail is about the wealthier people buying themselves a toy, whilst convincing themselves they're doing something socially progressive.

Oh. And:

"The ring came off my pudding can!"

Monthly Archives