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Ben Franklin's bifocals July 27, 2006

Wheels Coming Off

humvee Sacramento Bee 7/21/06 Hummer wheels story humvee

This article in the paper provides something like the perfect metaphor for much of what is wrong with our country. The huge popularity of these military wannabe vehicles should come as no surprise. The Hummer conjures images of war and aggression, guaranteed to boost the testosterone level of any red-blooded American male (or female). That these overweight, oversized, inappropriate urban assault vehicles are without any redeeming social value further appeals to the seemingly insatiable public appetite for pornography.

The very impracticality of these behemoths only serves to make them more desirable as symbols of wealth and conspicuous consumption. Forget that they guzzle mass quantities of gas made from foreign oil. Anyone who can afford to purchase one of these adult toys can afford to fill its oversize belly, even at a price of more than three dollars per gallon. As I sit in my armored truck and drive uptown, I say to all you lesser creatures: "Get the hell out of my way, or I will crush you like one of those monster trucks. monster truck crushing cars My kids are safe inside even as I put yours at risk." Powerful stuff until the wheels fall off in a Carl's Jr. drive-through, exposing the nude emperor behind the wheel.

jeep with lights in the rain Contrast the Hummer with the humble jeep, which became popular with a small segment of the US public following World War II. The jeep was a low cost, no-frills, practical vehicle suitable for off-road and farm use. It was open, tough, simple to maintain, and became a workhorse on many ranches and farms. When you took your jeep to town, the only statement you were making was that you valued its toughness and practicality. The wheels of the Jeep hardly ever fell off, although they were known to take their toll on your knuckles because of those damn hubs. There were no Carl's Jrs. and no drive-throughs back in those days, and obesity had yet to become a national epidemic.

civilian jeep

William's Whimsical Words:

We knew that the wheels were coming off our culture; we just didn't know when.

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