Picture: Old Grave marker headstone (1891) behind old wooden church, Hornitos, Sierra Foothills, Mariposa County, California
I was brought up believing it’s not polite to dance on the grave of your enemy. Yet, I must admit that news last week had me wondering if I could get away with at least a little jig.
General Motors announced that they plan to discontinue the brand of socially elite uber-SUV’s known as the Hummer. The large, military-like vehicle had been based on an Army transport vehicle, but its size drew the ire of environmental groups like moths to a porch light. I have to count myself as one of the people that would see a suburbanite or city dweller driving a Hummer and quietly thought to myself, “Seriously, what the heck do they need a vehicle like that for?” In most cases, it seemed more like a huge, mobile, gas-guzzling badge of social chest puffing. (It’s more about the big gas-swallowing “excessiveness” of the beast. I don’t have any issues with those who chooses to drive a *small* fast Porsche or Lamborghini. In fact, if I could afford one…)
My personal feelings about the Hummer were typified in the summer of 2008, while photographing for my book, Backroads of the California Coast. I even posted a weblog about it back then. It was right at the height of gas prices spiking above $4.50 gallon. I was driving along the oceanfront at Corona Del Mar, when I saw a Hummer parked in front of a large house. Hanging from the front porch was a huge banner that read “Drill Now” aside the American flag. To me, it put a visual stamp on how I felt about America’s need and fascination with ‘big’ and ‘excessive’.
Picture: Hummer and banner at house reading “Drill Now” for more oil, Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, Orange County, California
I personally don’t begrudge anyone their choices of what they buy if they can afford it. But as a social status symbol, and as something that might be associated with how the rest of the world views America, I won’t be sorry to see the Hummer go.
Comment on this post:
Copyright info for using or linking to the pictures.