Monday, March 1, 2010

Good riddance to the symbolic middle finger of the highways!

A friend gave me a ride in his Hummer a few years back. It was an uncomfortable ride. Bumpy, inconvenient console controls and not much in the way of creature comforts.  As a world-class combat photographer back on the streets of Detroit after months in Iraq,  he needed a big vehicle for all his gear. Plus, he had a certain image to keep up. Still, I expected more from the vehicle.

I met another guy from West Bloomfield who owned a Hummer as sort of a collector’s item. He made a compelling case that it was about the social connections he made in some Hummer collector’s club, driving the car on weekends and at meetups, garaging it for a more practical vehicle during the workweek.

They had their reasons for Hummer ownership.

Then there’s the woman met on Florida’s Sanibel Island in January. The maximum speed on the island is 35 mph. There is not a single hill. She needed a Hummer for reasons that are best paraphrased as “Because f--k you, that’s why!”  

The things have always grated on me in a way that oversize McMansions and other forms of conspicous consumption never have. I’ve always felt like Hummers were a symbolic middle finger to those who strive to make careful decisions about their role as stewards of the planet their children will inherit. There are other ways to stick up that middle finger (maybe my 35,000 miles/year driving for one?), but none quite so blatant and intentionally in-your-face as the Hummer.

So, along with the New York Times, I say good riddance to the Hummer:



1 comment:

  1. I had to laugh at the reference to Hummers on Sanibel. I've always felt the same way about them. I believe they are definitely just what you said. Some of us are busy recycling and driving hybrids, they are .... doing what to help our environment?