Surprise, surprise: Hummer is a pariah

This post is very frivolous, but I really liked this story. Treehugger reports that famous bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and the Talking Heads, among other smaller indie rock and electronica bands, have declined to provide their music as a sound track to a Hummer ad. Bands would have received between $50,000-$180,000 for their song, and they still turned Hummer down. More good quotes from the band members in the Austin American-Stateman:
Washington D.C.'s Trans Am were offered $180,000 by Hummer for the song "Total Information Awareness."

"We figured it was almost like giving music to the Army, or Exxon," guitarist Philip Manley said.

They said no.

While I'm very wary of moralizing about energy issues (one of the main reasons I find Kunstler so insufferable), I have to admit that I'm happy to see some interest in shunning Hummers.

As I've said several times on my own site, people buy minivans because they needs the space, not because they're following a fad.  But in the US a large share of pickup trucks and SUV's (especially Hummers) are bought by people chasing a fashion.  There are some people who really do need pickups and SUV's (like my brother-in-law, who runs a construction company), but for the vast majority of drivers a car or minivan is fine.

Well, I guess it's time to dig out all my Talking Heads CD's and have a David Byrne overdose...

"Psycho Killer" would be a great theme song for the Hummer.
I agree. I was surprised to hear Gary Numan's "cars" in a car add once. It's not a song that makes you want to drive. Here in my car -- I feel safest of all -- I can lock all my doors --It's the only way to live -- In cars
louGrinzo said:
"Well, I guess it's time to dig out all my Talking Heads CD's and have a David Byrne overdose... "

The perfect place to start is "(Nothing But) Flowers" on the album "Naked"(1988)
... a nostalgic 'look back' to the age of oil...

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it's nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it

There was a shopping mall
Now it's all covered with flowers
you've got it, you've got it

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you've got it, you've got it

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I'd pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it's only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it's nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we'd start over
But I guess I was wrong

Once there were parking lots
Now it's a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it's all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
you got it, you got it

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it's turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don't leave me stranded here
I can't get used to this lifestyle

Wow.  I can't believe that's a real song.  I'll have to check it out.  
I have long loved this song, and since I became PO-aware, I have started to think that if I had one question left in the world that I could ask (or that proverbial "what famous person would you have dinner with" question), I would ask David Byrne why he wrote that song.

He lives in NYC. Maybe I'll run into him one day. If I do, I'll ask him if he knew about peak oil in 1988.

He must off known, I love this song.

My favourite PO track is "Big Business" its an extra on the "stop making sense" DVD

"Think you've had enough

stop talking
help us get ready

Big business
after the shakeup

Stop talking help us get ready"

me and a friend always refer to post peak as "the shakeup" now

"Life during wartime" is also quite apt. but probably more for the billy cottrells of this world

My favorite Revolution Sellout Ads were the ones for Phillips?? FlatPanel TV's, a couple years ago, which always wrapped up with the Beatles' 'Getting Better'.  I don't care if it was McCartney or Jackson who got the check, it was just sad.

I designed some of my own versions of those ads, one where African Kids in dustbowl villages are huddled excitedly around a shiny new Coke Machine, while the Bottling Company Upstream has dammed their river (cue music), and another where people are all driving Bradleys and Tanks down the highways to the mall, which is full of the same..

the song I enjoyed the most from Talking Heads was this -

The Big Country

I see the shapes,
I remember from maps.
I see the shoreline.
I see the whitecaps.
A baseball diamond, nice weather down there.
I see the school and the houses where the kids are.
Places to park by the fac'tries and buildings.
Restaunts and bar for later in the evening.
Then we come to the farmlands, and the undeveloped areas.
And I have learned how these things work together.
I see the parkway that passes through them all.
And I have learned how to look at these things and I say,


I wouldn't live there if you paid me.
I couldn't live like that, no siree!
I couldn't do the things the way those people do.
I couldn't live there if you paid me to.

I guess it's healthy, I guess the air is clean.
I guess those people have fun with their neighbors and friends.
Look at that kitchen and all of that food.
Look at them eat it' guess it tastes real good.

They grow it in the farmlands
And they take it to the stores
They put it in the car trunk
And they bring it back home
And I say ...


I say, I wouldn't live there if you paid me.
I couldn't live like that, no siree!
I couldn't do the things the way those people do.
I wouldn't live there if you paid me to.

I'm tired of looking out the windows of the airplane
I'm tired of travelling, I want to be somewhere.
It's not even worth talking
About those people down there.

Goo Goo Ga Ga Ga
Goo Goo Ga Ga Ga


Peak Oil and Kunstler's suburbia hatred in one song.

I actually posted excerpts from this article at Kunstler's site a few days ago.

What was most interesting about it was how it actually shows a number of people not buying into certain current American myths - and this group ranges pretty wide, with music over decades. Strange how it becomes interesting news to get an occasional reminder that principle is still part of being a person.

And Byrne has his own radio station at -

We don't really need the mass media, which is why I wonder so many people care about the MSM - notice that this article, spreading through the Net, is not really MSM in the traditional sense - though it is very good journalism. Read about Byrne's experiences, and you might notice that the MSM is part of the problem in a number of ways, some quite concrete. There are certain inherent virtues in not using corporate sources except as completely untrusted information sources requiring thought and cross-referencing.

I disagree.

People buy monster-vans because energy prices are so cheap and that they figure than once in a while they'll need the space!  Hell I've got a mid 40's (eternally) single neighbour looking to buy a SUV because one a year he MIGHT want to move some larger items that don't fit into his, current, full-sized car!  This is the same moron who complains about having to cut his grass and yet he fertilizes it etc etc!!  Note - he DOES NOT go outside of his house!!

Several friends (even Green Party supporters!) just bought a pollution spewing minivan because they had a 2nd child.  Heck, if we had a third we'd still be in a car!
But that's our beliefs expressing themselves.  Few people think about the pollution they're making, the conseques of their actions, or even think about what they need vs what they want.
Basically I see very very VERY little proof that people can moderate their wants or desires and that's the basis of destructive capitalism!  Check this out:

My family went vegetarian for, in order of importance:
1) the environment
2) health
3) animal welfare

but I've recently gone vegan because of #2.
Curiously enough if peak oil hit in force I would have no quams about eating some small quantity of animal products - as long as they're free range and not from modern "farms".

One interesting interview as with Dr. Davis Suzuki when they were filling in a big city hospital during a smog day.  He said that the people coming in were kids and elderly being brought my middle-age people driving SUVs.  They would all do anything to help their family members in distress - but NONE of them saw the link between their pollution spewing road hogs and the injury done to their family members  :<

I think some people need vans.  My boss has a wife, three little kids, an elderly mother, and two dogs in his household, and driving a minivan is probably a better option than taking two cars, which is what they'd do otherwise.  The days when you could throw the kids in the back of a station wagon or pickup truck are long gone.  

But a lot of people don't need them.  I have a friend who bought minivans because she had four kids.  The kids are grown and gone now, but she still buys minivans.  She likes to sit up high, so she can see over the other traffic.

I find it odd that Dr McDougall equates "passionate" with "obsessive" and "compulsive". I don't agree with that wording (you can certainly be passionate about moderation), but the general point remains.

I find it is very difficult for even very rational people to completely see the connections between their actions and their situation (to be fair I probably couldn't claim to be perfect in this regard either). My sister who doesn't (or can't or won't) see the connection between or irony of the long line of SUVs waiting to pick up children at her kids' school and the American flags and yellow ribbons on the bumpers. Thinking wholistically, let alone globally, is difficult.

Praetzel, I was enjoying your post even before you totally surprised me with your Dr. McDougall link. Congratulations on going vegan.  I've been enjoying that road for about 10 years now.  As the saying goes, there's no such thing as a meat-eating environmentalist :).  McDougall is one of my favorite (science-based) nutrition authors exactly because he doesn't accept the mantra of "moderation."  As the recent landmark book "The China Study" elucidates so well, even small amounts of animal products raise disease risk.  The American Heart Association's "heart-healthy" diet is a classic example of the failure of moderation.  Studies reveal that even when patients follow this protocol, their arteries still worsen, and they still die (though not quite as quickly).  As you probably know now, this is the kind of typically ineffective nutritional remedy offered by "modern" science, despite direct invervention studies proving that atherosclerosis is totally reversible.  A fascinating fact is that as we stumble along the "bumby plateau" of peak oil   (or even slide sharply down the curve) - a huge number of people will be forced away from massively inefficient, disease-inducing animal foods and into health-sustaining plants.  Millions of decadent and obese Americans will regain vibrant health, reconnecting with their own bodies, despite economic turmoil.  And hopefully the tremendous amounts of grain, etc., we're feeding to food animals will be redirected to human mouths, while cutting out the suffering of billions of sentient creatures at the same time.  It's a staggering and strange web we weave, indeed.    
Why is Kunstler so insufferable to you?

I really don't see the reason so many here don't like him.

He strikes me as being spot on in his comments.

We will have to make alternate arrangements.

he does come off as a little blunt.
So what? That's a good thing. Somebody out there has to tell the truth and be rude about it in order to try to wake up people who are asleep and living in a fantasy world. Style? He's got it.

Here at TOD, the story contributors and commenters present the "hard cold facts" but that doesn't actually get through to most people. A proselytizer like Kuntsler (like Paul of Tarsus) is just what we need. The analogy breaks down a bit because peak oil is not a religion and there's no Kingdom to look forward to. Instead, it is a geological, geopolitical reality but every reality-based movement that goes against the grain needs a fire-breathing prophet or two. Who do you want to listen to--one of Colin Campbell's boring but accurate lectures on the subject of peak oil or Jim Kunstler who gives you a sense of what's really at stake here?

I'm glad he's around and saying what he's saying.

some days i realy wish there was a way to convey tone of voice with text.
i did not mean to make it sound like i did not like Kuntsler. all i wanted to do was point out that he speaks rather bluntly, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it.
There's something about schadenfreude that's unpleasant.  Kunstler is smart enough to propose solutions, but he'd rather not.
I like Kunstler.  My only beef with him is the name of his blog and other occasionally crude language.  I can't send my parents to read his blog, nor show the The End of Suburbia.  
Dope-smokin' hippies. These bands don't even exist anymore. $180,000. That's chump change. Who's going to sell out the revolution for that? How much did Led Zep get for the Cadillac Ads?

These days any real bands would jump at the opportunity of this exposure and would probably be offered alot more. These bands have the advantages of senility and low bribes to influence their moral stance.

Hugo, make sure to read the Austin newspaper article linked above. Several small, upcoming bands were offered a significant chunk of money (what undiscovered band wouldn't like $50,000?), and even they turned it down.
I did. I was refering to the Pumpkins and Heads. As far as those smaller, unheard of bands - for every one of them who have the fortitude to turn down 50 grand there are twenty who would do it for 10. Hummer isn't having a problem making ads or even good ones. Their problem is selling those ugly, underpowered, stupid, yellow bullet-magnets.

Here is an article in the New Republic by Lawrence F. Kaplan on Hummers. He also wrote a lengthy piece in the same issue making an excellent case for staying in Iraq for any of you left-wingers who can take it. Unfortunely you will have to pay for that one or visit your local library.

Why Hummers are Unpatriotic. Reckless driving.

The link I provided reverts to a preview of article. Just put title and author into Google and I think the second or third link goes around paywall to whole article. Hey! maybe I can do that for Iraq one, too.

Uh-Huh ...

Clearly buddy above is experiencing some difficulty understanding the significance of bands - however many - turning down $50K+ when they're sleeping 5 to a van.

hey Hugo does this impress you?

"But these days doesn't everyone cave in? Nope. Doors drummer John Densmore was once, against his better judgement, talked into letting Pirelli tyres use Riders On The Storm. Having seen the result, he's held out against every subsequent offer. Apple offering $4m? Cadillac SUVs offering $15m? He's told them to f*** off."

this link below is a good article on who'se sold out and who hasn't and for how much..

I like it. Well said.
Another pop-culture data point:

Hollywood words of the year

Placing third on the list was "petronoia," a phrase inspired by the film "Syriana" and meaning an irrational fear of the collapse of the oil industry followed by global economic crisis.

But what do you call it when it's a rational fear?  

Oooh. Good catch. And I'm sure Stephen Gaghan would concur with your question.

Just fear.

At least the real Hummer has those cool top-driven wheels, with no axles and axle pumpkins to hang up. When they came out I thought it made sense for off-road driving, not that I ever did that. But what exactly is the point of the H2?
Hummer vs Sentra:

A few weeks ago, on the 11 o'clock news, the scene of an accident in Portland Oregon where a Hummer rear-ended a Nissan sedan set off my alarm bells. The Sentra had stalled and stopped on the narrow shoulder of the curving ramp between I-205 north and I-84 east. The Sentra was completely demolished, crushed on every side and top, probably rolled between the ramp's concrete abutment wall and the Hummer. The Hummer? Not a scratch! Not a fucking scratch! The two passengers in the Sentra died. They were on a cell phone to their son at the moment of the crash.

My first thought was whether the Hummer driver had at high speed cut the corner of the ramp into the shoulder. Now I wonder if maniacal (music noise?) was playing on the stereo.  


The more people drive Hummers the faster oil will go to $200. The faster it goes there the more will be left for the essential needs for our kids.

If they want to make a favor to the society, then take the 180 grand, buy 60 Hummers and Hum around with them :)

Syntax error... just 6 Hummers of course, guess I overdid with putting 0-s here and there :)
Remember Tiananmen Square. Remember that lone Chinese guy standing up against the tanks?

Well, how about we all start standing up to the Hummers that invade our cities and villages?

This guy is totally right!:

SUV offensiveness taken to a new level. Since when have the children of the post-Vietnam War era wanted to identify with the military? The Hummer not only acknowledges the war-as-energy-policy paradigm, it makes it palatable by commodifying military aesthetics as a luxury status symbol. Hummer sells fantasies of ruling the road. And the world. Cue post-apocalypse fantasy of picking up the groceries in an armored tank; though where in this fantasy the milk is supposed to come from, let alone the gas, has been left out of the script.

And then, there is always their sociopathic Superbowl commericial.

Sorry Folks, but it all boils down to a couple of stickers:

SUVs & Hummers>>>> "Nuke their Ass--I want Gas!"

Bicycles>>>>>>>>>> "No Thanks--I like Empty Tanks!"

Detritovores vs Biosolars: how will the collapse of the 'humanimal ecosystem' play out?

Here is a sad story from CNN:

According to the UNHCR office in Aden, Yemen, a boat sailing from
Somalia forced all 137 passengers, three of them Ethiopians, into
deep waters off the Yemeni coast, before turning around and heading
back to Somalia.

Smuggling wolfpacks, just profiting wildly from the one-way strategy of secretly hoping to drown the hapless deer huddled on their boats' decks.  "Lifeboats?--We don't need no stinking lifeboats!  We need profits to rapidly grow this cruise industry!"

Storm drops dark brown snow in Colo.

FRISCO, Colo. (AP) -- Snow that some residents described as dark as chocolate brown was reported across parts of Colorado Thursday, a result of a wind storm in northern Arizona that kicked up dust that fell with the snow overnight, officials said.
"It's pretty much statewide," said Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. "We've had reports from the San Juans, Winter Park ... all over."

Greene said it's not unusual to see plumes of reddish dust from the desert Southwest drop on the Rocky Mountains in the spring. (Related Weather Guys blog post:Don't eat that brown snow.)

Exceptionally dry conditions in northern Arizona contributed to the dust, Greene said
My comments:

Now 133 days without rain in Phx.  Everything is dusty and dry except the tourist golf courses, the lavish winter lawns of the rich enclaves, and the endless gulping of countless toilets.  Car wash industry is booming as idiots
desperately seek the high gleam polish on their 'chrome penis'.  Local Milgov unconcerned, still approving permits so square miles daily get paved with asphalt, concrete, and McMansions.  Millions of burning streetlights, porch lights, yard accent lighting, illuminated billboards, and store signage angrily glare all night long as if the
setting sun is a criminal act.  New vehicles by the trainload arriving daily to add that much more congestion to the Clusterfuck.  Maternity wards full of newborns for future deaths.  Area casinos packed as everybody believes you can get rich effortlessly. TV talking heads drone on about the latest wildfire.

Eventually, the brown snow coming down in Colorado will be
plentifully sourced by the avalanche of emissions from the Gulag Crematoria.

Please read Matt Savinar's LATOC updates please.

OR, please return to your shopping extravaganza...Nothing more to see here, remain calm, just move along.

Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

RIght on, Bob.

Great post.

I particularly like the idea of a "shit" storm.

Thxs Cherenkov,

Please don't accept any free Milgov offers of a luxury weekend cruise for your family.  My favorite Dieoff song was composed by Harry Chapin called "Remember when the Music":

And I feel that something's coming, and it's not just in the wind.
It's more than just tomorrow, it's more than where we've been,
It offers me a promise, it's telling me "Begin",
I know we're needing something worth believing in.

Remember when the music
Came from wooden boxes strung with silver wire
And as we sang the words, it would set our minds on fire,
For we believed in things, and so we'd sing.
My comments: I think this song says it all.  Can Humanity overcome its infinity of Thermo-Gene delusions, then find the simple moral beliefs to welcome the biosolar path back?
My heart aches when I hear this song cause I know we're all needing something worth believing in.

My mind constantly goes back to that horrific CNN post:

It tears me up to think of an innocent gasping first breaths cold, helpless, and naked in the putrifing darkness, half buried in the filth, as the hordes of rats scramble to fight and feast over the tender pink flesh.

The word "mankind" should be forever stricken from our vocabulary.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

There was a story about someone putting stickers on big SUVs that said "I am changing the environment - ask me how".

I wouldn't want to get caught doing this though.
There's a website for everything
This, too, is a great website. Very Funny. Here is a link to Karen De Coster's awful website. It would be great if after everybody read this page they emailed Karen a picture from along with a few choice words about her disgusting philosophy. She is, after all, inviting you to do just that.

The quote she attributes(by omission) to Keith Bradsher is actually that of the French psychological-marketing genius who advises Detroit. What is so sad is that she obviously knows this.

"I Hate SUV Haters"

I flick people in Hummers off when they are coming in the other direction. Yeah, I drive a car too, and I realize that is the real problem and not just the latest development in gas guzzlers just when I was reviling SUVs. I'm not better than them, but it just gets to me.
Something I'd like to see is local enforcement of weight limits. In Boulder, the legal limit for vehicles parked on city streets without a permit is 6,000 pounds -- as it is in a lot of places. These laws were passed back in the ... uhh ... gas-sipping 50s to keep costs down on street maintenance. Why aren't they enforced?
Because police don't carry scales.
If it's by GVW, all they have to do is note the model.
We have these damned Hummers here in Aberdeen now.
The general consensus is: dont let them into traffic, cut them up and extend no normal road user courtesy.
(Probably owned by Directional Drillers geologist could afford them...) And are they UGLY or what?

Not quite like the French yet. They go around Paris letting the tyres on SUV's down.

Some very fine posters on this site:

Or just google 'the propaganda remix'
The posters are simply brilliant.

These are great. I wonder if you can get full-size prints of these. This guy's hatemail had me laughing all afternoon. Thank you.
Being from Europe might think you're scaring the hummers with all your "extend no normal road user courtesy" or your "let air out" shenanigans. But you're mistaken, you see, because hummers are from Los Angeles, and they won't know the difference between that and normal traffic. :)
Check it out.
I take umbrage when bands or their morals are derided.

First of all, Cadillac went with Zep 'cause the Doors refused.
Second, I believe Trans Am is still around. (you can hear the sounds the DC Metro transit system on Futureworld)
And what's with the hippy slag? Are you being facetious?
Are you so Richy Rich that $180,000 is chump change to you? Serious? That's hot.

Finally, who watches TV anyways?


I am a dictator who controls 3% of world oil production. Money means nothing to me.

There was a time when Rock'n'Roll was about not selling out. Remember Hendrix, Morrison, Cobain? Thank God they all died young so they wouldn't be tempted in their old age. True rock stars, true talent. These days it's all about cashing in while the going is good. No wonder most music sucks. I'm still waiting for the next Phish tour to hit South America.

'pull over to your other right'.
Ah well. - revenge of the SUV jockeys- they can get to work in all weathers: We got blizzards in Aberdeenshire, so they can go to work. I can choose to dig out my Nissan or stay in bed...
"In Defense of Gas-Guzzling" by Karen De Coster

"Contrary to Sierra Club dribble, drivers cannot save money on gas; only an individual driver can."

How profound.  I wonder if the intellectuals in the pro-SUV movement have advanced their thinking at all since June 2001, when that article was published.

"...intellectuals in the pro-SUV movement..."

Hahaha! Your sascasm hit that one right on the head, my friend. I don't know how that kind of thinking can advance. Don't you love how she tries to wrap the whole thing in some kind of profound economic argument? What cracks me up though is how she is so annoyed and so serious and her writing is sooo bad. It's like a 5th grader's best work.

Yeah, that was very funny FB! I think we should get them banned in NYC. I bet it would pass the City Council easily...
Yeah, but it would lead to a huge lawsuit. Just look at California's legal troubles just trying to enforce its air standards. (Short story: California imposes new standards, Bush administration sues so GM and Ford don't look bad.)

There is a long precedent for laws banning vehicles over certain weight. Go with that. And maybe roaming teams of vigilantes armed with baseball bats attacking hummers. That too.

There is a sense in which I think this whole thread is off base. Don't get me wrong: I hate Hummers, but not for the waste mostly. Not that they aren't humongously wasteful. It's the military symbolism -- I always imagine them with a machine gun on top and side rockets or something like that.

BUT, in reality, the Hummer people are no worse than the rest of us. ALL (well, almost all) of us in the US are so extravagant in our use of resources, as a society, that it just doesn't begin to touch the problem that we exercise personal virtue. It cannot just be a matter of personal virtue -- it has to be mandatory, a matter of law. But that won't work until people know the issue. And they don't. They don't know energy situation, they don't know that we, 5pct of the world, consume 25pct of the oil, etc. We are trained from infancy to consume, taught that it's silly to suffer even the slightest inconvenience or discomfort when more stuff, some product, will solve the problem. And indeed, it is silly unless there is a countervailing concern.

It's only when we get our minds around the fact that it's not going to continue working that it will change. And this really won't happen bigtime until it starts to stop working.

Much as I love feeling superior to the owner of the Hummer on my block, in the back of my mind is the family in Africa or Latin America that would have an improved standard of living if they could only get their hands on what I throw away. What do they think of me? Well, I suppose this too is useless.

When there's a movement, when people know, when the gov't is telling them we've got to change, when there are laws enforcing those changes, then I won't look down -- I'll ask the police to enforce the law. Oops! The Hummer owner is a cop.

BUT, in reality, the Hummer people are no worse than the rest of us.

Maybe. But they will still be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

Hummers contain a mix of meanings.  The original design, of course, derives from the military but have you noticed just how much they look like a baby Brinks armored car?  That's why I call them mini-brinks.  The combination is psychologically powerful.  They say of the owner, "I can kick your ass and I need an armored vehicle for all my booty."
Hello LJR,

Perhaps this image might help, "Cover me Honey! We off to 7/11 for beer!":


The elite enclave of the Scottsdale suburb of Phx just loves renting .50 cal time in the 'FREE FIRE ZONE'.  Just detritovorus maximus doing their thing.  Bicycling is for the proles.

Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

try this, from 2003's E3:

Come on. Even if you don't refer to the energy wasting machine that a Hummer is, there are lots of reasons that any "regular" American should know that Hummers are just wrong. Take that example of the Nissan Sentra, for example. These vehicles are dangerous, plain and simple (if not inherently, then because people don't know how to drive them). They are excessive in every way, and just because "we are trained from infancy to consume", these people are NOT absolved for their bad behavior. It's like saying a drunk driver is not responsible for causing a terrible traffic accident. And there has been plenty of information out there from all sides excoriating these vehicles--if that weren't true, we wouldn't have websites like

So no, davebygolly, these people DO NOT get off that easily.  They're choosing to be ignorant, and that's not acceptable.

Right on, Yank!  Great post, great comment.  A free people must be held accountable for their actions.
Gasoline is not going to get "too expensive" for Americans until things are really tight.  What is it, with our current  cost structure $100 per barrel translates into $3.86 a gallon gasolline (using current world oil prices and local California gasoline prices to establish the ratio).

If you are worried about PO or GW, prices aren't going to do it.

So you need a social movement, in combination with those price trends.  Hummers as poster child just help drive that social movement.  They don't have to be any more "fair" than a poster with a Ferrari or a Expidition on it.  As long as they work ...

Again, it just strikes me as the way human societies "problem solve."  Pick your effigy.

Well, another reason the price of gas isn't waking people up yet, is that we're all (mostly) A) Tied into a credit mentality/habit, and  B)more and more accustomed to living our lives in really serious debt.  There are so many of us who suffer the expenses of keeping up with some image of a 'Middle-Class Life' that we are trying to live up to, but are allowed to pay no attention to the Big-Red-Number behind the curtain.

  My wife is smart and helped me get us out of that position, but we have friends with 15-60K in school and other debts, and then just general life expenses that gradually pile on more and more.. all with the insane Interest Percentages and LateFee rates that keep it from ever getting fixed.  It's not just China that's keeping this Country afloat with their business, but its a population that thinks this must be the way Mom and Pop did it, too, and so struggle on through this Debtor's Prison of a society.

Sounds more like the reverse, you're keeping China afloat, but I can see in the big picture it is a 2-way street.. + interest.
Davebygolly, our nation is awash in military symbolism these days.  It's everywhere.  People actually belive the president is their "Commander in Chief", when they are not even in the military.  They may be soon.

And look at the styling of the Hummer, and those new Chrysler full-size cars, with their short, small windows (to provide a feeling of security/protection).  There is plenty to be afraid of, but the threat is not what they want us to be afraid of.

Hello Twilight,

Maybe this is what we should be afraid of:

This was the fastest responding organization to get feet on the ground in Nawlins during Katrina, fully authorized to use lethal force.  Go figure!

Bob Shaw in Phx,AZ  Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

P.S. I feel pretty bad. No long after I posted this, I go out to meet my wife -- but the whole block is filled up with emergency vehicles. Two buildings down from me is where the action is. The police officer who owns the Hummer was found dead, natural causes it appears, in his apartment. He had recently come back from Iraq. I didn't know him. But from a few different people I hear he was a really good guy, and was planning to work with one of the board members in our condo on some community stuff. I'd rather get kicked in the groin than kicked in my prejudices. (I don't mean against cops - I got over that long ago - I mean Hummer owners.)
In reading these posts I definitely get a sense of deja vu, back to circa 1973 - 1974.

For those of us old enough to recall, the period of roughly the auto model years 1966 through 1971 (give or take a year or two at either end depending on how much of a definitional stickler one might be) could be characterized as the Muscle Car Era. Young people, like myself, were attracted to such ground-thumpers as the Pontiac GTO, Chevelle SS, Plymouth Road Runner, Dodge Charger, Shelby Mustangs, etc. Neck-snapping acceleration was everything. (Regardless of how fast some of these modern high-tech peformance cars may be, there is nothing that quit feels like the kick in the seat of the pants from a high-performance, high-torque big-block V8 letting loose).

 Well, the party came to a crashing close immediately after the first Arab Oil Embargo. I happened to have a 1970 Camaro at the time with a 350 ci V8 and 4-speed Hurst shifter. It was a quick car, but not nearly as way out as many of the real full-blown muscle cars. Once gas lines set in, I felt really stupid with this car having marginal interior space and which got 14 -15 mpg, IF I drove it nice (but what was the point in even having a car like that if you had to drive it 'nice')?

In very quite order, what was once cool, overnight became very uncool. There was a time when it was hard to give muscle cars away (I should have taken advantage of it, as nice specimens are now commanding high five-figure prices, but who woulda thunk it).

So, I see the same sort of thing beginning to take place today, but with SUVs
rather than muscle cars. It's gradually becoming uncool, or worse yet, out of style to be driving a humongous SUV. You can see it on the smug faces of those who drive Toyota Prius hybrids. The thing that will kill the SUV will not be their horrendous gas mileage, but rather their going out of style.  

Human vanity does have some useful purposes after all.

I did this playing with Gran Turismo 4 Photomode. A source for great ads spoofs:

Since learning about Peak Oil, I've been seeing a lot of concepts, philosophies, social conditions, economic conditions, etc. at their peak. Hummers seem to be Peak Opulence. Paris Hilton also comes to mind as a symbol for a peak in a lot of things.
Its really hard not to be a little bedazzled by the whole H2 phenomenon.   The dubs, the bush bars (people embowellers), the high-gloss paint.  

Well, although I agree Tom Friedman is an apologist for an overly doctrinaire free trade policy, I think he really is starting to get it on energy. Here's his column for March 1,2oo6: (And if anyone wants to tell me how to divide posts above and below the fold, I would love to learn.)

I am sure one reason President Bush suddenly chose to build his State of the Union address around ending our oil addiction and moving toward a renewable-energy future was because his private polling told him the same thing. But Mr. Bush simply occupied this ground rhetorically -- before Democrats could get there -- without actually offering a real solution.
The only real solution is raising our gasoline tax, which is a paltry 18.4 cents a gallon and has not been increased since 1993. Only by bringing the total price of gasoline into the $3.50-to-$4-per-gallon range -- and keeping it there -- will large numbers of Americans demand plug-in hybrid cars that run on biofuels like ethanol. When large numbers of Americans do that, U.S. automakers will move quickly down the innovation curve.
"Impossible," campaign consultants say. "A gasoline tax is political suicide." No, it all depends on how you frame it.
The poll, reported yesterday, found that 60 percent of those polled, including one-third of Republicans, disapproved of how Mr. Bush is handling our energy crisis. Only 27 percent approved. Most want real action -- now. In the poll, 87 percent said Washington should require car manufacturers to produce more efficient cars.
Of course, when asked simply whether they'd favor a gasoline tax, 85 percent said no and only 12 percent said yes. But when the gas tax was framed as part of a national strategy to achieve energy security and climate security, pollsters got a very different answer. When the tax was presented as reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil, 55 percent favored it and 37 percent said no. And when asked about a gas tax that would help reduce global warming, even more respondents supported it -- with 59 percent in favor and 34 percent opposed.
And that is without a single Democrat or Republican leading on this issue! Imagine if someone actually led?
Many Americans now understand: the Energy Question is the big strategic issue of our time, overtaking 9/11 and the war on terrorism. If a leader from either party would correctly frame the issue -- that a gas tax is the single most important geostrategic move we could make today -- a solid majority would support it.
Taking on this issue is the only hope the Bush team has for producing a legacy out of its remaining years. And it is the Democrats' only hope for taking on the Republicans with a big idea -- rather than relying on G.O.P. scandals to win.
Sadly, both sides fear the other will smear them if they run on this issue. O.K., say you're running for Congress and you propose a gas tax, but your opponent denounces you as a wimpy, tree-hugging girlie-man, a tax-and-spender. What do you say back?
I'd say: "Oh, really? I guess you think it is smart, tough and patriotic for us to be financing both sides in the war on terrorism -- the U.S. military with our tax dollars, and Al Qaeda, Iran and various hostile Islamist charities with our energy purchases. Now how patriotic is that? I guess you haven't noticed that today's global economic playing field has been leveled and that three billion new players from India, China and Russia have walked onto the field, buying new cars, homes and refrigerators. So if we don't break our addiction to crude oil, we're going to heat up this planet so much faster -- enough to melt the North Pole and make Katrina look like a summer breeze. Now how smart is that? I guess you don't realize that because of this climate change and the rising cost of crude, green technologies are going to be the industry of the 21st century, and a gasoline tax is the surest way to make certain that our industries innovate faster and dominate innovation in green cars, homes and appliances.
"Finally, I guess you haven't noticed that the wave of democratization that seemed unstoppable after the fall of the Berlin Wall has run into a black counterwave of petro-authoritarianism. This black wave of oil-financed autocrats -- Venezuela, Russia, Iran, Nigeria, Burma, Saudi Arabia -- has all the money in the world now to turn back the democratic tide. And you think doing nothing to reverse that is patriotic? Shame on you, you unpatriotic wimp. Green is the new red, white and blue, pal. What color are you?"