Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Odds And Ends

A car in our work parking lot has a constellation of bumper stickers. And yes, I know; when there are a lot of them it's a sure sign that the owner is a radical of one stripe or another. Still, I couldn't resist looking...

One struck me in a number of ways--risky, wrong-headed, Yes. But mostly it was the kind of thing likely to backfire. I did a Google search and could not find the exact same image but the gist, if I may put it that way, is that if you drive a Hummer you likely have some physical shortcoming.

1. The first thing I thought of was the rejoinder: You, the owner of the sticker, know this because you have seen such vast acreage of these parts? You still invite intimate knowledge of men who own Hummers? Or are the figures so vast that a statistically relevant number of times, after you had "inspected" this part, you came to find out later that they owned a Hummer? There just isn't a way in which the owner of the sticker comes out looking good.

2. Or maybe it is to mean that they suppose it's true on logical grounds even if they have no empiric knowledge. So, manly men stereotypically engage in macho pursuits and so all owners of this kind of vehicle must be trying to seem manly. But if that is a stereotype, then most of the time it must be true (or at least largely thought true) since that is how such notions form. So, technically it is more likely that a guy drives a Hummer because he is macho and is attracted to macho things.

3. I'm just teasing the person in the above two items. I think the real aim is to demean or bully people who make different (wrong) car buying decisions. But the ugliness doesn't end there. What if a guy is not well-endowed? This is hardly something that he could control--you are born with the genes you get. To be proud or ashamed of that which you have no control over is irrational. To tease people over that which they cannot control is someplace between thoughtless and odious.

4. What is so bad about a Hummer? I have had many a left-wing acquaintance blurt-out how they hate them. But I have never heard anyone say the same thing about exotic sports cars. They both get about the same mileage--though the exotics are worse in the sense that they all need premium fuel. The Hummer may never go off road, but it can go on-road when it has snowed and they carry more than two people. They are ostensibly far more practical than sports cars and yet where's the hate for Porsche?

I think that while these "progressives" feel like they are enlightened and the targets of their scorn are Troglodytes: Their moral "superiority" is more akin to the Mrs. Grundys and mutaween of the world than anything approaching enlightenment.