Tom Purcell, of MensNewsDaily, writes about a new book called High and Mighty: SUVs, the World’s Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way, by Keith bradsher. Er, the title speaks for itself, both in the manic sense as well as politically. Purcell zeroes in on an empty-headed quote from the book that describes people who drive SUVs: “They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills. Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors or communities.”
Then Purcell responds, “I don’t think I could ever draw so many conclusions about a fellow based on the kind of vehicle he drives.” Well, I’d like to add to Purcell’s rejection of that assessment, in turn, by assessing the pansies that persistently go out of their way to badger SUV owners.
My first thought, as would be expected of any rational person, is: OK, if you don’t like SUVs, why bother with them? Why not move on to something you do like, and therefore mind your own business?
But folks who can’t drop this issue are small-minded, Woody Allen-like neurotics that can’t leave big-minded people alone. The SUV Haters are typically wimpy, high-strung, shallow, nervous types. They are entirely self-infatuated in order to overcome their obsessive insecurities. They never cease to worry about what everyone else is doing, and they let us know that. They claim some oddball, sensitivity-based, moral high ground in terms of vehicle choice, yet insist on reminding us constantly of this, as if they must internally legitimize their own choices.
The SUV Haters insist on bugging everyone else in order to rise above their own boredom. They are to SUV owners what the nagging housewife is to the hen-pecked hubby. They look for everyone else’s faults because they have lost track of all their own. They see criticism where there is none, and their defense against recognizing their own self-criticism is to sermonize over the trivial habits of others.
The SUV Haters love the fact that they drive small cars, but that’s not all. That would be too rational and not nearly confrontational enough. Instead, they hate the fact that others make the free choice to drive big cars, vans, or trucks. They want to restrict the choices of others because they are too boorish to make their own splash in the world. But they pretend that’s not the case, and insist that they don’t like SUVs only because they are too big, boxy, and ugly.
The SUV Haters are likely the impractical types that have prissy “for looks only” furniture in the house that is too darn uncomfortable to sit or lay on. But hey, it looks good! They hate John Wayne and the Marlboro Man, but they love Rob Reiner’s All in the Family character, Mike Stivic.
And when they go to restaurants, they are too picky to find anything they like on the menu, and complain constantly about it. It’s not uncommon to stop at three or four restaurants with these types, looking at the menus, and taking a half-hour to finally choose one that rises to meet their high-maintenance demands. But the SUV Haters pick at their meals because they are too persnickety and too self-conscious to eat in front of others. They prefer to go home and eat like pigs from chop suey cans or Chinese restaurant carry-outs.
The SUV Haters typically find themselves driving cars that are suitable to their anti-SUV personalities. For instance, a Plymouth Neon owner might say “Gosh, I love to do the macarena!” (And it’s probably one of those lime-green Neons, too.) Someone who owns a Geo Metro will have four cats named Libby, Nocturnal, Ju-Ju, and Tummy. And the Metro owner is likely on Prozak, too. And if you ask him why, he’ll say “just because.” How about Ford Festiva owners? They leave their closet light on at night, collect postage stamps, and spend their Saturdays in the public park with metal detectors. And they are likely to be frail-looking vegetarians with skin color that matches that which most of us endure when we have the flu. And Ford Escorts are another anti-SUV statement. These owners will likely say (about every social problem in society), “But we gotta do something to help!” They typically belong to MADD and obnoxious anti-drug groups because they think they have a responsibility to interfere in others’ lives because only they know best.
Then there’s the Pontiac Sunfire and its unique possessors. Those folks watch Friends and ER, and when they see the Platters, the Coasters, or the Temptations in concert, they are convinced they are seeing the original band members.
Remember the Geo Storm craze? It was basically a cute, teenage chick car, however, some men found reasons to buy them. This was the ultimate anti-SUV statement for men: buy a chick car and spit at the world! Better yet, be an over-40 male with a yellow Geo Storm. These guys listened to NPR religiously, drank decaffeinated coffee because caffeine "made them nervous", and they proudly wore bumper stickers that said “Mean People Suck” or "Democrats Care."
SUV Haters tend toward all kinds of bizarre, pathetic behaviors, including buying Sierra Club memberships; letting lame telemarketers give them the entire speech on why they are getting a free trip to the Bahamas; lecturing their neighbors on the evils of not recycling; thinking the gothic clothes look is "normal"; and most of all, they think they are morally elevated with their decision to be socially responsible non-SUV owners. They are obsessed with that fact, and they will let you know it.
SUV owners, on the other hand, are more likely to own huggable dogs as vs. creepy cats. Plus, they tend toward having huge, comfy Lazy-Boys, whether it "looks good" in the family room or not; keeping frozen White Castle hamburgers in the freezer; working out at Powerhouse or Gold’s Gym as vs. Bally’s; and they prefer Mel Gibson movies to the latest Tim Robbins-Susan Sarandon "Hollywood Cares" project. And SUV owners always tend toward ignoring government watering bans and "ozone awareness days." And they are never obsessed with non-SUV owners. The truth is they could care less what others do or what others drive.
Where’s the evidence for all of this, you say? I’ll produce the empirical evidence whenever author Keith bradsher does so as well. Ken is a New York Times reporter, by the way, and the former Detroit Bureau Chief, i.e. Socially Responsible "Big Three Watcher" and Left-Wing Lifestyle Propagandist.
Meanwhile, for those don’t like the SUV lifestyle and attitude, the glorious free market gives them the choice of remaining the meek, little milquetoasts that they are.
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a paleolibertarian freelance writer, graduate student in Austrian Economics, and a business professional from Michigan. Her first book is currently in the works. See her Mises Institute archive for more online articles, and check out her website, along with her blog.