The OTHER Culture War – Hummers

Years ago, I was alerted by the website FUH2 (NSFW) that posted photos of people giving the fingers to people driving H2s. It is also great fun to use in class. It is interesting that the Hummer triggered satirical websites as well. What was it about the Hummer that would generate so much hostility? The size? The militaristic look? This was nicely summarized by this (available on different media):

H2

To a certain extent, driving a Hummer screams macho arrogance, hence, the hostile reactions targeted specifically at over-masculine traits.

Today, we get the evidence whether such treatment was justified via Susan Madrak:

Well well, looks like the stereotype (and therefore the attempts at mass stigmatization) were accurate after all. The possession of a Hummer involved a certain type of behavior. Now, the question becomes one of chicken and egg. Is it self-selection (certain type of people – as the ones described in the article – are more likely to buy Hummers)? Or is it causation (once they’ve bought a Hummer, people behave in a certain fashion? Probably a combination of both.

Either way, driving a Hummer is like driving around in your very own gated community: people can’t see you (but they do see your monstrous gaz guzzlers, so, one does get the benefits of a status symbol that says that one does not care about the environment or the price of gas), but nor can the driver see the mere mortals (therefore no interaction) or the road signs (rules are for little people).

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