Monday, January 07, 2008
While driving in and around Ottawa this weekend, I drove past a couple of Hummers. I could feel my blood pressure rise and my teeth grind. There is just something about those vehicles that puts me over the edge. "Why is that?", I asked aloud, receiving looks of resignation from my wife and youngest daughter as my pathological dislike of Hummers is widely known. To their relief I went over the arguments in my mind, with only the odd snort or snarl to acknowledge that my thought process was continuing.
The Hummer. It is a big, grotesque, ugly, overweight gas guzzler. It is the anti-hybrid. A vehicle born from the womb of the military industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned about in 1960. It is everything that is wrong with the North American car industry, and by extension the United States of America. You know, 'Whats good for GM is good for ....'.
Countries can be defined by the vehicle they produce or hold up as an icon:
England- the Mini or the Jaguar. Overpriced, yet classy and prestigious.
Japan- Honda Civic. High quality, mid priced, and dependable in the long term.
Germany- Mercedes Benz. Expensive, well made and a status symbol.
Sweden- Volvo. Safe, expensive, reliable, and did I say safe?
South Korea- Hyundai. Compact, inexpensive, yet reasonable as far as operating reliability goes,
Russia- Lada. Cheap, low tech, proletarian.
East Europe- Yugo. See above.
Brazil- Volkswagon Bugs. Not sure if they still make them here. Cheap, reliable, accessible, and fun.
Canada- we will take credit for the minivan. We make a lot of them here and we sure drive enough of them. Roomy, good for camping, mid priced, family friendly.
Now the U.S.- The Hummer. A Jeep on steroids. Hugely over priced. Ridiculous operating costs. Butt ugly. Gargantuan. In fact it doesn't appear to be that roomy. Even though it takes up a lane and a half of a city street, not to mention two parking spots. Can't see over it. Can't see around it.
It is the ultimate 'Look at me and what a big raging ass I am and I don't give a damn what you think because I got mine buddy.' kind of vehicle. Its the kind of vehicle that people with more money than brains lust after.
The Hummer is like US foreign policy; intrusive, domineering, wasteful, over tech, and in the end a failure. It is no surprise that this vehicle was originally built for the army. It may work on the battlefield, but why apply it to a civilian environment?
I believe that if all Hummers [with or without their owners] disappeared into a black hole tomorrow, the world would be a better place.
Thanks, I needed to get that off my chest.