It allows you to say things that sound very dramatic and get away with it. If you had characters in modern fiction say the same things as they're driving down the street in an Oldsmobile they'd sound ludicrous!
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I think it's important that people think about what they are doing and that includes what they are eating. I am 61 now and attitudes towards drinking and driving have changed radically since I was a student. People change their notion of what is responsible. They will increasingly ask about the carbon content of their food.