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May 21, 2003

RANT #187: Consumer
Summary: The unfathomable world of SUVs.
Full Text:

There are a few things that I don't understand about the world, and that I probably never will. Neuroscience is beyond me, and I don't know that I'll ever be able to fathom what riding on the "crest" of a light wave would be like, or why anyone would bring their embarrassing personal case to Judge Mathis. The most baffling question of all of these, though, the one that makes my head spin like a Gravitron, is: Why SUVs?

A quick tour around my (admittedly yuppie) neighborhood would reveal a veritable herd of these monstrosities. They're like gigantic shining Power Wheels, glistening hunks of metal so enormous you'd imagine they're just curled-up, sleeping Autobots. I have scars all over my body testifying to their remarkable ability to crush bikes in motion. They're expensive, not all that safe (though getting safer), and spew an obscene amount of pollution (you might as well just go for a stroll in the woods and take pot shots at spotted owls, or charter a space shuttle so you can spray up your hair right at the ozone layer).

The trouble is, these facts just provide evidence of my confusion, they don't answer the question. I feel that to adequately defend a standpoint you have to understand the other side; in this case I'm at a total loss. Why would people buy these things? Does anyone have any suggestions? Have I entirely missed the point?

Is it for the children? My parents had two rambunctious kids, and, at the risk of sounding like an old-timer, we were perfectly happy in our little car. In fact, we were happy in the old two-door. Is it just another example of our obsession with size, a sort of vehicular locker-room comparison? Is it because soccer moms like to show how much bling they got?

If anyone has any suggestions about why a granola-eating yuppy would drive around in what is essentially a gigantic hand flipping the bird, please leave notes of enlightenment. I'll be out back adjusting my new biking armor.

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