Sunday, February 27, 2005

Dialogues of the Toddlers: Why I'm Never Getting an SUV

by Tom Bozzo

Bathtime, this morning:

D: ...and I think they'll have treats at swimming today. [Last day of the session, they haul out special water toys.]
J: No swimming!
D: You love swimming, big guy.
J: Go in Daddy's car.
D: Sure, we'll go in Daddy's car.
J: Daddy's car is cool.
D: Did you say Daddy's car is cool?
J: Yeah.

Here's Daddy's car, sticking it to Ken Mehlman of the RNC. (*)

Here's a quick-but-trenchant analysis of the problem with SUVs, from my good friend Oscar:
As the baby boomers hit mid life, dominant culture became very concerned with their mid-life issues. Their tanklike family vans gave way to tanklike SUVs -- family vehicles disguised, through clever marketing, as mid-life-crisis sex machines.
And more (getting very meta, sorry):
Marginal Utility makes a trenchant report that the "what'll they think of next?" quality of SUV names has exceeded the absurdity threshold with the "Subaru Tribeca." I personally felt this had been acheived with Porsche's "Cayenne," which promised to open the world of herb and spice names to the SUV industry.
Actually, Porsche has a broader naming lameness problem, even if "Cayenne" is the pits. May I offer the first mid-life crisis and income sheltering joke about the forthcoming Cayman sports coupe (previously thought to be a hardtop Boxster)?


* Last fall, Mehlman was quoted as saying something to the effect that BMW drivers and gun owners, or maybe gun-owning BMW drivers, vote for Bush. (At least the last two are, admittedly, likely to be true in general.) In my increasingly upscale but still quite liberal neighborhood, there was actually a modest BMW drivers for Kerry/Edwards contingent last fall, though I imagine that we're somewhat less likely to be gun owners than the general population.
A graduate student I know just finished a social psych experiment in which he manipulated Tx subjects' sense of emasculation, e.g., by simply telling male subjects that their test scores matched a typically female pattern. He then asked subjects to choose what car they would like to buy (and other measures of tastes). Male subjects -- all undergraduates at an Ivy League instution -- in the Tx condition were far more likely to say they would buy an SUV than subjects in the control condition. This is one of those "well of course" findings (at least for a sociologist or market researcher), but it's still kind of cool.
This makes me feel old. All of my college classmates who needed vehicular reinforcement of their masculinity did so the old fashioned way, with overpowered two-door cars.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?