Skip to comments.Are SUV drivers are the new GOPers?
Posted on 09/27/2002 10:53:22 AM PDT by TonyRo76
Boy, do I feel sorry for SUV drivers these days.
Consider a new book by a New York Times reporter Keith Barsher, former Detroit bureau chief. In "High and Mighty: SUVs, the World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They Got That Way," Barsher not only attacks SUVs but vilifies those who drive them. To wit:
"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."
Now I consider myself a fair observer of my fellow man, but I don't think I could ever draw so many conclusions about a fellow based on the kind of vehicle he drives. To understand the origin of this name calling, however, it's worth learning about the origin of the SUV.
The SUV was originally developed for military use during WWII. After the war, it made a modest transition to the American market, where outdoors enthusiasts bought the four-wheel-drive "utility" vehicles to trek out into the wilderness.
Then a few things happened. In 1975 Congress began mandating improved fuel efficiency in cars. Automakers were forced to make cars smaller and lighter, and Americans were forced to end their love affair with the massive, tail-finned hunks of steel that still make many a man's heart race.
Well, in the 1980's, Detroit got clever. There was one classification of vehicles, "light trucks," that wasn't bound by strict fuel requirements. So in 1983, Detroit found a way to give us the size and space we were pining for, while maintaining half-decent fuel efficiency. It was called the minivan.
But there was soon another problem. By the 1990's, families were so embarrassed driving around in these dork-mobiles, Detroit needed to come up with another brainstorm. And, boy, did they deliver. They satisfied our lust for steel with a line of massive, testosterone-crazed gas guzzlers that got our hearts racing again. That was the beginning of the SUV boom, and today such light trucks account for half of the vehicles on the road.
Which is one reason the SUV has become a symbol of everything people love and hate about America.
See, SUV drivers praise the size and solidness of their vehicles, which makes them feel safe. But safety advocates say their high bumpers and heavy weight are no match for the smaller, lighter cars the government has forced the rest of us to drive, and that they rollover easily anyway.
Environmentalists say that SUVs waste gas and pollute way more than cars do, which is true, but others argue that the humans-are-causing-global-warming concept is based on junk science and that in a free country people should be allowed to drive any SUV they dang well please.
That brings us to the personal attacks. In addition to laying out a number safety and environmental arguments against the SUV, some of which do hold merit, Basher displays an open contempt for people who drive SUVs. This is further demonstrated in a Times piece he wrote in June of 2000.
He reported that an auto industry study demonstrated a psychological difference between those who drive SUVs (bad) and those who drive minivans (not as bad). And what is the difference?
Well, minivan drivers are more "other-oriented." They're more likely than SUV drivers to take part in conversations with their friends, attend family gatherings, read, do volunteer work, and participate in church functions. Minivan drivers are less likely to balk at being parents. They want to be in control in terms of safety, being able to park and maneuver in traffic, being able to get elderly people in and out.
But SUV drivers? They're more self-oriented. They drive faster, consider themselves better drivers than average motorists and show less courtesy on the road. They also hold a greater fear of violence and crime, which automakers exploit by designing masculine, assertive SUVs. That's why, says one psychologist, SUVs have "vertical slats across their grills to give the appearance of teeth and flared wheel wells meant to resemble bulging muscles."
Anyhow, that's the interesting origin of the SUV debate in a nutshell. The SUV phenomenon agitates so many different activist and advocate groups at once that it would have to get personal sooner or later. That's why I feel sorry for SUV drivers. They're being made out to be so self-centered and heartless.
Geez, you'd think they're some kind of Republicans.
Give me a good full size conversion van anyday.
Well I can't agree with that statement I know alot of Democreeps who work in Manhattan who drive SUV's and have for years. Its a nice thought though.
You can always spot them in the mall parking lots, what with those black caped robes and torches.
Actually, I have a co-worker who's the biggest socialist, envirokook-treehugger you'd care to meet. Apparetnly unaware of her own hypocrisy, she drives a Grand Cherokee. To make matters worse, it's her husband who has to ride the bus to work! Guess we know who wears the pants in that couple...
The length of the hood is inversly proportional to the manhood of the driver.
There are A LOT of my high school...ummm...sweethearts who would strongly disagree.
Well..maybe not strongly, but you get the idea.
Wow! I think you need a HUMMER!! ;-)
If everyone else thought this way, freedom would be alot more prevalent today.
Great point about gun-control; I find that SUV-bashers and gun-grabbers are often the same people.
I'm not a huge fan of SUV's -- I drive a Triumph Spitfire and am seriously thinking of tucking a .45 behind the right seat so I can kneecap the next jerkoff in a Tahoe who tries to change lanes over me --
But I really hate the canard about American cars and trucks causing worldwide environmental devastation. To quote "Underground Fires Menace Land and Climate," (Andrew Revkin, New York Times):
"In China's rich northern coal belt, hundreds of underground fires are burning upward of 200 million tons of coal each year, about 20 percent of the nation's annual production. The fires produce nearly as much carbon dioxide, the main gas linked to global warming, as is emitted each year by all the cars and small trucks in the United States."
Here are some links. Share 'em with your friends.
But, conservatives don't need to be SUV-owners to be dumped on by my HS daughter's Government teacher. (The teacher says conservatives want poor people to starve, rather than get welfare...etc. ). He thinks the kids in the class who are conservative are that way only because their parents' brainwashed them.
YES! That's the kind I'm looking at too :) Plus, since I already drive a Dodge, the brand-loyalty incentives are pretty sweet.
Especially like how they incorporated the classic 7-slat grille of the Jeep with its traditional round headlights, but in a fresh overall design!
"They tend to be people who are insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood."
Let's see, I have been happily married to the same woman for 35 years. I have had a successful and fulfilling career and make a nice income. My wife also had a successful career from which she retired two years ago, only to embark on her "second career" as housekeeper, gardener, golfer, dog trainer, musician and community activist. Our son, whom we love dearly, is a bright, well-educated PhD who who works for one of America's most successful corporations. (His politics are a little liberal for my taste, but he's still young.) I do confess to being a little proud of my family, but "vain and insecure"? I don't think so.
"They often lack confidence in their driving skills."
As those who know cars might figure out from my screen name, I also own and regularly drive a blue ("blau" in German) Porsche 911 (a 1995, which is known in the Porsche world as a model 993). While I don't drive it competitively, I can assure you that is not due to any lack of confidence in my driving skills. If anything, my wife wishes I was a little less confident in my driving skills. ("Why must you always go so fast?")
"Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors or communities."
Well, my wife is on the board of our community association and publishes its newsletter. We are members of a golf club. We regularly attend and support the local symphony. My wife is active in the local garden club. I attend political functions and am active in professional societies. We travel, often with good friends. Frankly, there are times when I wish we could be a little more self-absorbed and withdrawn. ("Hey dear, let's just stay home this Saturday night, and watch a movie, OK?")
I wonder how he profiles people who drive Honda Civics. Well, I won't get started on that one.
We really like it. Generally the route is, home to Longview, TX then Amarillo then Farmington, NM, then Salt Lake. We have found a couple of favorite places to stay and eat.
Got that right! Their tolerance is surprisingly lacking whenever anyone questions their earth-worshipping, Marxist dogma.
Yeah, to the eco-nazis...
Godless Mother Earth GOOD!
What these b*stards never seem capable of explaining is how we went from ice age to greenhouse and back to ice age, volcanoes, dinosuars becoming extinct, etc...all millions of years before there were ever any Americans driving our cars and trucks.
Funny - I thought they just kept the mud off the sides of the vehicle when driving over-size tires.
Oh gosh...lots of those on the road around here. Of course, they build 'em right up the road at the Honda plant in Marysville, OH.
Exactly! They say a car makes many personal statements. And if there's any statement I have for the whiney, control-freak environazis out there, it would be a raised middle finger.
Saving our children from the ravages of fossil fuel pollution by taking care of fossil fuels today...
As for gas usage, there is not a big difference between my SUV, the Saturn sedan, and the Subaru wagon I had. Maybe 2 mpg.
Those Buicks looked like a big tooth filled grin with a cigar in each corner of the "mouth".
And of course, a desert is really no place for a Geo Metro ;)
Look, If I saw Osama on the road, I have full confidence I could both floor the gas, adjust my CD stereo, and steer my 5,400 lb. 2003 Ford Expedetion right into his heathen face while I am placing an order for a pizza on my cell phone. Look dipstick NY-boy, I pull a 25 Foot trailer with my 03 Expedetion. Lack of confidence is not an option. SUVs here in SoCal are often driven by careful, caring women, often with their children riding.
What a irrelevant girly-man schmuck New York Times (and the editor) reporter Keith Barsher is. Typical knee-jerk envirowacky PC idiot waste of ink and trees. Proof again of the profound irrelevance of the New York Times, I dont know anybody who actually reads or quotes the New York Times
Geez! What worthless, self indulgent observations. That's a lot of info to read from a choice in automobiles. Does anyone think whoever wrote this quote just got royally dumped by an SUV driving, hunky, macho, cad?? Possibly dumped for a female personal fitness trainer at his gym, a woman who is 15 years younger that her, with tight abdominals and a bustline enuineered by our freinds at NASA??? Man-o-Man, the freak that wrote that about SUV drivers has some serious personal issues.
I drive a Saab, I wonder what the analysis would be for me?
"[Saab drivers] tend to be people who gleefully commit several of the seven deadly sins a day. They break commandments regularly, and mock those that obey them, insisting that God can't possiblty have his eye on everyone all the time.
"Saab drivers are also very vain, buffing their distinctive Saab grille daily so as it always looks handsome. They make poor spouses - he is likely to be picking up cheap floozies at the local "In & Out Burger" - 'Hey, wan't a ride in my Saab, babe?' - and he is frequently nervous about getting caught by this wife walking out of cheap hotel rooms.
"The typical Saab owner is uncomfortable about parenthood, figuring he has likely fathered dozens of children accross the fruited plain. They have a mispalced confidence in their driving skills, whimsically running Honda and VW tin cans off the road. Often they are overheard saying "I pity the fool that crashes into my Saab 9-3!! I'll walk away, there won't be anything left of them!!!" and toasting their wine coolers to the thought!
"Above all, they are apt to be self-centered and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbors or communities. They don't remember their neighbor's names, but they do remember selected women's measurements (Dolly??? Oh!!! 34C-23-34!!!). They forget anniversaries and come home with lipstick on their collars, and smelling of cheap perfume. Don't make the mistake I made - don't marry a Saab driver!!! I mean, these facts became clear in my very scientific study...."
Somebody stop the world, I want to get off!