January 2, 2014

Jerry Seinfeld disapproving of roadside memorials...

...in the latest episode of "Comedians in Cars, Getting Coffee:

"Must we all get bummed every day, back and forth to work? It sometimes doesn't work out."

(Go to 6:00 to see just the segment where, driving in a ludicrously unsafe car, they encounter a "Ghost Bike"-type memorial.)

ADDED: I am quoting Jerry's disapproval with approval. Click on my "roadside memorials" link to see my long-time opposition to these things.

42 comments:

St. George said...

Perhaps his limo driver should devise an alternate route.

Alex said...

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the greatest comics of all time. How dare you.

Ann Althouse said...

Sorry about the bad link. Fixed.

Ann Althouse said...

Halfway through, Louis CK tells a story about running his boat aground, and there an animation at that point. It's really nicely done. We laughed a lot.

Ann Althouse said...

I disapprove of roadside memorials too (as you'll see if you click my tag).

I am quoting Seinfeld's disapproval with approval.

Michael K said...

If you go to Normandy, you will see a memorial every few hundred yards to US soldiers, mostly army engineers, killed at that spot. I approve of those memorials and it does speak to the alleged ingratitude of the French. They have built beautiful museums in Normandy.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you go to Normandy, you will see a memorial every few hundred yards to US soldiers, mostly army engineers, killed at that spot."

These are memorials to soldiers killed in war, and they are permanent, dignified monuments. The local people are expressing their gratitude for the sacrifice that was made for them.

My objection is to the ramshackle concoctions that commemorate bike and car accidents. These are random events which were in no way great acts of courage or sacrifice done to for the benefit of the people who will be seeing the monuments.

Alex said...

Ann - it's part of the dumbing down of America. Being killed in an accident is suddenly equivalent to dying as a solider in a war.

SteveR said...

In New Mexico, its definitely a Catholic thing. And of course something more recent. Its as if you're giving them a boost into Heaven, a modern day dispensation.

Vittorio Jano IV said...

IIRC, the FIAT Jolly is a modified version of the FIAT 500 that removed some superfluous safety features of the 500, e.g., roof, doors, non-wicker seats, etc. In 2008 Jerry Seinfeld was driving a 500 and was involved in a single vehicle accident when the car's brakes failed and the emergency (nka parking) brake also failed.

Larry J said...

These are random events which were in no way great acts of courage or sacrifice done to for the benefit of the people who will be seeing the monuments.

No, but they can serve as a warning. There's one at an intersection that I cross regularily with 5 crosses. I don't know the story (or stories) but that is a pretty dangerous intersection.

Larry J said...

These are random events which were in no way great acts of courage or sacrifice done to for the benefit of the people who will be seeing the monuments.

No, but they can serve as a warning. There's one at an intersection that I cross regularily with 5 crosses. I don't know the story (or stories) but that is a pretty dangerous intersection.

Carol said...

I like the roadside crosses, but not when there are old dirty plastic flowers hanging on them.

Carol said...

What's up with that anyway.

jacksonjay said...


Please, tell me, is this as good as it gets? Hilarious!

Strelnikov said...

I agree 100%. These "memorials" are mawkish efforts to publicize what should be private grief.

In the not to distant past there was a case where a mom drove her care into a lake with three kids in it and tried to blame carjackers. Even after the truth was know, myriads of idiots took there kids there to, as one father put it, "reflect" among the teddy bears, flowers, crosses, etc. On what? The fact that the one person in the world you trust most might suddenly kill you?

Larry J said...

Driving across Colorado a couple years ago, I saw where the state had erected permanent signs to mark where fatal accidents had taken place. It did look better than the homemade memorials and still warned of dangerous places. Some were on very dark stretches of highway where drivers may have fallen sleep or been driving drunk. Others were near dangerous intersections.

Strelnikov said...

Also, I sometimes stop and blow them apart with a 12g I keep in the car for emergencies. Like shooting bullshit memorials.

Michael K said...

Many states have banned such memorials as distractions. I agree that dangerous spots could be marker with formal monuments. Maybe a Darwin profile could be added.

St. George said...

Even if one disapproves of these memorials, it is in bad taste to make a joke out of another person's grief.

Ann Althouse said...

"Even if one disapproves of these memorials, it is in bad taste to make a joke out of another person's grief."

If you disrespect the public by putting something junky in the public space, you can't turn around and say respect me. Make a choice. You can't have everything.

And Seinfeld made a joke (basically just an observation) about the monument itself. He in no way said anything about the feelings of the friends and family. He said: must you inflict this on everyone else, making our environment sad, day after day.

If everyone with a death in the family could impose grieving on everyone else, life would be unbearably dreary.

My father once took the position that since death is the most significant thing that can happen to a person and people are always dying, the newspaper should be full of nothing but stories of all the deaths.

I found that a very annoying position to take, but I was too young to do a good job of arguing against it.

Mary Martha said...

I can't stand the bedraggled teddy bears, plastic flowers and balloons one sometimes sees.

I don't mind a sign with a reminder to not drive drunk (as there is near my home in memorial for a family killed by a drunk driver.

The ghost bikes by themselves don't bother me if they are just the ghost bike painted white. They serve as a reminder for people to be careful when cycling and for drivers to keep an eye out for bikes.

Someone suggested that rather than ghost bikes there should be bike racks installed in memorial. Nice or xyxlists but doesn't remind drivers of the danger of not keeping an eye out for bikes.

Michael said...

Riding at night in the mountains in Costa Rica, forty years ago, the driver turned off the headlights as we approached every curve. Why are you doing that!? So i can see the headlights of the oncoming cars, to see if there are any coming. Are you the only person to do this!?
No, everybody does it.

At every curve in the mountains there are memorial crosses. Plural.

Big Mike said...

These are random events which were in no way great acts of courage or sacrifice done to for the benefit of the people who will be seeing the monuments.

I understand the impulse, and I regard the memorials as harmless at worst, but possibly also a warning that the particular stretch of highway may hold a hidden danger.

SteveR said...

If cyclists were in anyway impacted by the reminders of the death or other cyclists, then I would expect to see some evidence. I would think that police enforcement of basic traffic laws on libertine bike riders would be more effective. Which is a silly and unnecessary thing, natural selection works.

Birches said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tim in vermont said...

"My father once took the position that since death is the most significant thing that can happen to a person and people are always dying, the newspaper should be full of nothing but stories of all the deaths."

I guess that counts as a "dad joke" and a pretty good one.

http://en-us.reddit.com/r/dadjokes/

donald said...

If you have a problem with grieving person moralizing someone they loved or whatever, that's a you problem.

Bob Boyd said...

Rather than a roadside sign, how do you feel about painting a little bicycle on the driver's side door just below the window for every bicycle accident a driver is...uh...involved in?
I think it would put a much more positive spin on the whole hitting a cyclist with a car business.

mrs. e said...

"If you disrespect the public by putting something junky in the public space, you can't turn around and say respect me. "

Actually, I think you can. I can give the originators of these displays (beautiful or junky) the space to grieve or remember and move on, literally and figuratively.

donald said...

If you have a problem with grieving person moralizing someone they loved or whatever, that's a you problem.

EDH said...

What ever happened to the good old fashioned chalk outline?

St. George said...

Anyway....

Here is a Charles Addams cartoon depicting that of which we speak.

It's about the sixth image from the top. Ghastly.

Clare King said...

The ghost bike and the roadside memorials on sharp curves aren't as much about memorializing a random event. They are about asking drivers to be aware.

The ghost bikes in particular are about reminding drivers that tragedy can happen if you drive without caution for the smaller, lighter, more vulnerable users of the road.

There's nothing trivial or tacky about that.

rcommal said...

Well, I don't know. I suspect that Jerry has always had precisely zero problem in bumming other people out. He's got a problem with being bummed out? Oh, please. Screw 'im.

rcommal said...

Mr. "It's About Nothing" is now bothered by some thing or another (conveniently, what he finds bothersome).

Hmmmm......

SOJO said...

They're okay. They are usually spontaneous. It reminds me of kids I knew that died in high school.

I find the guys selling roses or oranges, or jumping up and down dressed in a stupid costumer waving a cheesy advertisement far more depressing in a long term way.

In a coldly logical way, they also work as a very precise accident "black spot" warning.

Dad said...

"...my long-time opposition to these things."
Wow, what courage it must require to take a stand against "these things."

Cranks are everywhere.

I tried to think of something more petty against which to take a stand. I couldn't.

Fen said...

There's a road side memorial on the way to the metro. Been there for at least years now. Always well-maintained, fresh flowers, etc.

I've never seen the person who maintains its, but I often wonder who they are and who they lost. I marvel that they have taken such deliberate care of the site for so many years. And I wonder what the story behind their loss is.


"I tried to think of something more petty against which to take a stand. I couldn't."

Nailed it.

Fen said...

"Even if one disapproves of these memorials, it is in bad taste to make a joke out of another person's grief."

Althouse: If you disrespect the public by putting something junky in the public space, you can't turn around and say respect me. Make a choice. You can't have everything.

We can assume that when Althouse goes to the public cemetary, she disrespects gravesites that don't live up to her fashion standards...

Jeff McCabe said...

I wonder what the reaction of the hospitals in wichita and Springfield will be when I erect my memorials to my mother and father in their respective rooms.

peter said...

I was at the memorial that installed the ghost bike for the young man that was killed, back in 2006. I didn't know him, but as a fellow cyclist it touched me deeply.
His name was Eric Ng. He had graduated from NYU and was a New York City Teaching Fellow. He was teaching math in Brooklyn. He was 22 years old.
He was brutally hit by a drunk driver. I say brutally, because Eric was riding on an enclosed (that is, protected) bicycle path. The murderer had turned on to this path 23 blocks north and was going so fast that parts of Eric's bike and shoe were knocked across the highway. The driver, was so drunk that besides driving through markers and sign posts for more than a mile, he was dragging along part of the concrete buffer that guards the bike path from cars.
So Eric didn't fight at Normandy, but his life was taken in a war against cyclists and pedestrians that's been going on in this country for 100 years.
You can not quantify what makes one death more important than another. But the fact that this kid was dedicating his life to teaching and helping inner city kids should count for something.
Your pronouncement of the tackiness of a memorial is sickening. What ivory tower did you fall out of? Seinfeld has shown his obliviousness to what real people go through, in other episodes of his show. I gather he was just trying to make a joke. But it obviously wasn't. and that's what editing is for.