Amy Roe comes across as strangely conflicted in her article concerning the popularity of Hummers and other SUVs ["Endless Hummer," April 30, 2003]. She explores some of the obvious objections to these vehicles--wasteful, polluting, symbolically distasteful--yet in her summary of her feelings about them, she can't quite bring herself to say simply that it's wrong to own and drive them. Instead, she grants the SUV drivers a rationale for their self-indulgence that is absurdly exalted: "Americans have fought wars for the liberty to do, and even to drive, what we please. Every American has every right to hunker down in his or her respective Hummer." She follows this expression of belief in the "right" to Hummer use with a timid objection to exercising it: actually driving one "doesn't feel like freedom to me."
No, of course it doesn't. Driving an SUV doesn't feel like freedom or the exercise of fundamental rights, much less ones defended with the blood of patriots, because it has next to nothing to do with freedom and rights. According to any meaningful definition of the term, there is no "right"--whether it be natural, universal or Constitutional--to drive a particular kind of vehicle. All that Roe can possibly mean by "right" is "legally permissible." Driving a Hummer doesn't belong in the same rarefied realm as, say, freedom of political expression or the right to vote. Rather, it fits in that much larger category that we might label "Destructive things done within the law by those with too much money and too little regard for other people."
It may seem like a fantasy in the current political climate of outright hostility to environmental protection, but the idea of curtailing SUV use shouldn't be unthinkable--either legally or morally. Roe would have done a much better job of confronting the issues posed by SUVs if she had paid greater heed to her own feelings about them and resisted the lure of the philosophy, which seems to be everywhere ascendant these days, that if you can buy it or take it you have a right to it.
Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard
SPORT FUTILITY VEHICLE
What a scoop. Your cover story on Hummers and the folks that drive them ["Endless Hummer," April 30, 2003] certainly was effective in perpetuating the "evil SUV driver" argument that seems is very much in high fashion these days. Would our problems be any better if every Hummer--or take it further to include every guzzling SUV on the road--were replaced tomorrow by a Toyota Prius?
I don't think so. We still would have a dependence on foreign oil, emissions choking our atmosphere and sprawling cities that force so many of us to climb into our cars to get to work or grocery store.
So what, then, is the point, other than to once again point out the obvious fact that suburbanites and Blazers are driving SUVs and, when quoted, can fairly easily be mocked for their hypocrisy in balancing their environmental awareness and ownership of these vehicles. But what does this accomplish, other than to yet again preach to the choir and reinforce the fallacy that to drive a less-polluting car does anything at all to remedy the problems caused by an automobile culture?
Northwest Cornell Road
People purchase Hummers so their owners will have a place to sleep, post-Armageddon.
Southeast Pine Street
I find the self-righteous railings [about Hummers] of Chris Lynch, Jason Reynolds and their ilk hypocritical [Mailbox, WW, May 7, 2003]. One man's socially conscious environmentalist is another mans "uncaring F**K." I suppose to an Amazon Indian, the fact that Jason Reynolds wears clothes and buys his groceries in a store makes him an "uncaring F**K." Unless these hypocrites are naked, foraging for food, and living in a cave, they need to take their hypocrisy and class envy and peddle it elsewhere.
Southwest 5th Avenue
HERE'S MUD IN YOUR EYE
As the patron pig of the Alberta Street Pub, I must take issue with your reviewer's comments regarding the weird pig fetish which is evident on these premises [WW Drinker's Bible, April 30, 2003].
Now, I have been a pig for many years, and while I realize that your reviewer's early childhood experiences in the upper elevations of the Ozarks may and very probably did differ considerably from my own, I myself have never met a weird pig.
Do I dare hint at a possible unrequited teenage love affair between your reviewer and an unattainable porcine beauty, resulting in a loss of self-esteem and lifelong bitterness as a result? Perhaps, perhaps not.
If, on the other hoof, this comment was made from a genuine dislike of pigs, this is very piglitically incorrect and needs to be rooted out.
Pigs want what we all want: Respect, a little love and a whole lot of FOOD.
And while we're on the subject, what is this about dogs having their own parks? What about Pig Rights?
May your wallow never be mudless,
Vinnie the Pig
Alberta Street Public House
Northeast Alberta Street