Cadillac Culture: Iconographies of the Standstill

  • Camelia Elias (Foredragsholder)

    Aktivitet: Tale eller præsentationForedrag og mundtlige bidrag


    When asked about their knowledge of Cadillacs, however vast or limited, most people have the picture of the 1958 pink model conjured up in their heads. The purely decorative fins are meant to suggest that the car is speedy and swift and able to glide on the road with utmost ease; a true lean, mean, moving machine. Few can doubt that the reason why this particular car has become a cultural American icon has to do with its numerous and repeated representations in popular films, especially the ones featuring Elvis Presley. But the 50s Cadillac as represented in the media has little to do with its performative potential on the road. My paper will look at the way in which the car almost always is represented either as parked, on a pedestal, or half buried in the ground, which suggests a dialectics of the standstill: speed is good, but calculated or ‘deliberate' speed is better; progress is good, but calculated or ‘deliberate' conventionalism is better; and further, one is tempted to say, trust is good, but control is better. My paper will argue that while the 50s Cadillac embodies a lighter future, it also carries with it a heavy past. This is good news for the 50s men who, like in Chuck Berry's song, Maybellene, still have a chance to catch up with their run away liberated women simply because they insist on driving the ‘ton of lead' Cadillacs. I see the 50s Cadillac as a manifestation of bumped off gender roles and parked feminism.
    Periode1 nov. 2007
    BegivenhedstitelCadillac Culture: Iconographies of the Standstill
    PlaceringRoskilde Universitet, DanmarkVis på kort