Abstruse Allusion

July 17, 2016
Posted by Jay Livingston

(A bit of pedantry, and you could find all this out from the Internet. But I couldn’t resist, and besides, what the hell, it’s my blog.)

The letters the Times published today were all about the Tesla.

How many people, I wondered, recognized the reference in the headline? It’s from the title of a 1964 novel, Drive, He Said, by Jeremy Larner. In 1970 it was made into a movie directed by Jack Nicholson. It’s about campus sports, sex, and politics. It has nothing to do with driving.

The title comes from a Robert Creeley poem, which serves as the epigraph for the novel. The poem too, I suspect, is not really about driving.

I Know a Man
By Robert Creeley

As I sd to my  
friend, because I am  
always talking,—John, I

sd, which was not his  
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for  
christ’s sake, look  
out where yr going.

Which brings us full circle back to the Tesla. Can you say those last lines to a self-driving car?

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