So GM is evidently preparing the needle to euthanize the Hummer. Hearing the news, Matthew DeBord — recently seen offering neo-Althousian fashion tips to David Petraeus and giving a shit about Kirk Cameron — feels a certain numbness in his groin and writes this apparent non-parody for the Post:
GM desperately needs an obnoxious, attention-grabbing brand to keep from turning into a dreary shadow of its former self. And America needs the Hummer to remind us of what has always made our automobiles stand out, from the tailfin 1950s to the muscle car 1960s and ’70s: swagger. Americans don’t just drive their cars — they proclaim something about themselves by driving them.
It takes a certain kind of man — it’s almost always the owner of a Y chromosome — to take a gander at the Hummer, in all its broad, burly, paramilitary gas-guzzling glory, and see himself behind the wheel, striking fear and loathing in the hearts of ecologically sensitive motorists.
Yes, it takes a certain kind of man to own a Hummer. Like my old chiropractor, for example, an insufferable jagoff who used one of Bush’s abominable tax incentives to purchase an H2 as his company vehicle. From our brief conversations, I correctly surmised that he was a religious loon who trusted that Jesus would be returning soon enough to bail us out of whatever ecological catastrophe we’d made for ourselves. And so from 2004 onward, he could be seen driving around Juneau — a landlocked city with very limited number of roads — sporting yellow ribbon magnets and flying “Support the Troops” banners at Independence Day parades. It goes without saying that I’d allow my spine to spool up into a grotesque hump before returning it to his care.
But to return to DeBord’s article, I’d simply draw attention to the obnoxious assumption — from which his endorsement of the Humvee springs — that American national identity somehow requires a feedsack of lies strapped to its muzzle.
And here is where its symbolic fortitude is most threatened: For American life to work, the illusion of endless abundance must be maintained. Sure, we must adapt to a future of less-abundant natural resources. Our vehicles will need to become radically more efficient. But we require vestiges of the old dream to sustain our national optimism, which in turn nourishes our national character.
That’s just too fucking stupid for words. The illusion of endless abundance has been sustained long enough, I’d say; indeed, the illusion of endless abundance has never played the slightest part in nudging people away from the baleful habits that the illusion of endless abundance encourages. If
pathetic, compensatory masculine fantasy American “national character” requires the sort of expensive, assembly-line coddling that only the continued production of the Hummer can deliver, I’d suggest the death of national character is not worth mourning.
Fifty years from now, our grandchildren won’t be nostalgic for these vehicles; they’ll be asking us why were weren’t dumping Karo syrup into their gas tanks.