My vote for word of the year (and, unfortunately, for the 20th and 21st centuries)


The world we live in is built for cars, so it just makes sense to drive. So get with the program, already. (“Zoom Zoom,” No Money Down, welcome to a lifetime of debt.)

That is the essence of “Motonormativity,” a term employed by Ian Walker, an enviromental psychology professor at the Swansea University in Wales and the lead author of a paper published last year.

As Walker, who is also an extreme distance cyclist who holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest bicycle ride across Europe, explains in a recent episode of the War on Cars podcast, motonormativity is simply a reiteration of the 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume’s hoary old “is-ought problem.” The idea is that because something “is,” that’s how it “ought” to be. (A fallacy that neatly encapsulates the worldview of many conservatives.) If you’re hearing an echo of the term “heteronormativity,” it’s deliberate, according to Walker. Just as those who choose to walk, ride, or roll rather than drive are forced to navigate a world built for the convenience of drivers, non-binary people are forced to fit into the categories of a heteronormative world. Here’s a link to the paper:

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