Here's a perfect illustration of the iconography of freedom. Marilyn Monroe displays a picture of Abraham Lincoln, The Great Emancipator, in a sleek convertible with the open road beckoning.
As noted in my last post about Hollywood stars and their cars, automobiles represent freedom. You climb into a car and go whenever and wherever you want.
The car is modern man’s most potent path and symbol of liberty.
Contrast cars with trains.
Trains and subways are an expression of the collective. Individual identity is erased. You are at the mercy of a state run system that turns the citizen into a small cog manipulated by unmotivated, inefficient government bureaucrats.
That’s why Progressives-Liberals-Leftists are obsessed with high-speeed rail. The freedom of the road is repellent to statists who want to regulate/control diet, education, light bulbs, health care, your very geography.
Need I mention that Nazis just adored trains AKA cattle cars. And hey, the Italians boasted that Mussolini made the trains run on time.
At a certain point, one must acknowledge the convergence of philosophy between post-modern liberalism and iron-fist facism. Both ideologies assert the power of the state as the final arbiter of human affairs. Hence, the government replaces G-d and family as the center of man’s universe. It’s no surprise that the Nazi party’s formal title was The National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
Hollywood produced great stars who proudly posed with their autos, symbols of glamour, affluence, and freedom.
Rita Hayworth, b. Margarita Carmen Cansino, presents a distinctly unglamorous but fetching vision of the girl next door as she poses with her 1941 Lincoln Continental. When Hayworth first came to Hollywood she was painfully shy, could not look strangers in the eye and barely spoke above a whisper. Gossip columnist Louella Parsons confidently predicted that Hayworth would never make it in the movies.
Tasmanian-born Errol Flynn was expelled from school for fighting and seducing a school laundress. Flynn loved America, became a citizen and attempted to enlist at the start of World War II. An enlarged heart, malaria, reliance on morphine for chronic back pain, and venereal disease firmly classified him as 4-F. Known for his swashbuckler image and party-hard lifestyle, Flynn looks ready to cruise Sunset Strip in his seriously cool Auburn Speedster.
Robert Montgomery was born to privilege, but his father committed suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge leaving the family penniless. Montgomery was, no doubt, relieved to be able to afford this Cadillac Sport-Phaeton. An active Republican Montgomery was outspoken against Communist influence in Hollywood.
Jimmy Stewart was best when playing the everyman American. His 1938 Plymouth reflects this unpretentious personae. Stewart flew as a command pilot in a B-24 on numerous missions deep into Nazi-occupied Europe. Back in civilian life, he refused to publicize his heroic war record in order to garner publicity.
Director Josef von Sternberg, b. Jonas Sternberg, gave Marlene Dietrich this 1931 forest green Rolls Royce as a gift. Her chauffer, Briggs—perfect name—carried a set of revolvers to protect his famous employer. When Dietrich traveled to Europe, she sent her Rolls and Briggs in advance. David Niven notes in his excellent autobiography, “The Moon's a Balloon” that Dietrich supplied Briggs with a mink trimmed uniform, which, I suppose, qualifies Briggs as Hollywood's first metrosexual chauffer-bodyguard.