GM and Ralph Nader's revenge
These days, Ralph Nader is probably more well-known for supposedly getting George Bush elected rather than for what he did during the four decades before the 2000 election. (Whether or not that's a valid criticism, I remain agnostic -- though I'll paraphrase The Daily Show book America, which included something like, "Ralph Nader was second only to Al Gore in costing Al Gore the 2000 election.")
But last night, I watched "Ralph Nader: An Unreasonable Man" (trailer below) and learned a few interesting things about Nader's career, and the history of General Motors.
One of Nader's earliest quests was to improve car safety, with a 1959 article in The Nation called "The Safe Car You Can't Buy" and his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed. Here's the funny part: GM hired people to follow Nader, tap his phones, and try to catch him in morally questionable behavior. Since it didn't seem that Nader engaged in such activities, prostitutes were hired to pose as housewives in supermarkets and proposition Nader.
Unsubstantiated rumor? Sadly (and humorously) no. GM President James Roche was hauled in front of a Senate subcommittee and apologized to Nader, who eventually sued GM and won a few hundred thousand dollars.
Whether you like Nader or not, I think you'll like this movie. It's a bit of a hagiography, though it features plenty of Nader critics. You'll certainly learn a thing or two about the auto industry and political history.
(The video isn't showing up when I preview this post, so if you don't see it, watch it on YouTube.)