And I'm a Geek. As such, I am sometimes the subject of derision among my peers because I still have a certain amount of affection for COBOL: COmmon Business Oriented Language (a programming language), even though I now use more 'modern' tools such as Oracle, Pro*C, SQL, SQR, DSL and similar uppity Geek things.
And I'm a shooter who competes with an STI "Race Gun in Open Division, even though I harbor a deep and abiding love for the 1911A1 (A.K.A. "The Geek11A1".)
I thought I was finally moving into the 21st Century when I turned in my Jeep Larado for a 1998 Ford Explorer, two years ago. It had a working cruise control, air conditioning that actually worked, power windows, remote alarm/door-lock, power seats, and the muffler didn't go BRAAAAAK every time I started 'er up.
So you can imagine my chagrin when I discovered that I had only adopted another Dinosaur.
This was made clear to me when I read the SFGATE article Remember the dinosaur known as the SUV?
Twenty years. That's about how long these ridiculous beasts stomped the Earth without peer or predator or even much coherent justification, giving soccer moms and frat dudes alike a false and often dangerous sense of security and capability, when all the beasts really offered was horrible mileage and appalling handling and fiery rollover deaths, mixed with aesthetics straight from the caveman-with-a-sledgehammer school of design. Ah, we loved them well.Wait a minute. If I'm not mistaken, what they did was to take the Ford F150 pickup and put on a modular body which enclosed the cargo area.
... I believe it was Ford MoCo that fired the opening salvo that shocked both itself and the world when it (sort of) invented the first mass-market SUV back in 1990 merely by tacking some extra seats and a few hunks of cheap leather and soft shocks onto a lug-nut pickup truck. It painted it a pretty color and called it an Explorer and sold about 50 million in a week.
Result? An enclosed pickup, in which you could carry 'stuff' that wouldn't get wet in the rain, and in which you could lock up your 'stuff' so the goblins couldn't get at it.
Understand that I was none to proud about buying a "Damned Ol' Ford" (DOF); I had owned two Fords before. One was a 1969 Maverick, for which I paid $1,999 ["The last New Car You'll Ever Buy For Under Two Thousand Dollars", and wasn't that prophetic?], new. The other was a 1980-something Brown Ford four-door for which I paid one thousand dollars, used.
I courted SWMBO in that ugly brown Ford, and I paid $11 for a tank of gasoline. Fond Ford Memories, here. Gasoline at $1.14/gallon is a thing of the past, but I still have SWMBO and memories of SWMBO in the front seat when ... well, never mind.
But now I have a black 10-year-old explorer, which holds all my 'stuff' when I go to weekend USPSA matches and runs like a top with a minimum of maintenance, and this San Francisco Wuss had the unmitigated Gall to tell me what an anachronism I am?
I've owned a couple of Corvairs, and got great mileage from them.
The last car I owned before I bought the Jeep was a 1986 Mazda 626 which got about the same mileage that the Jeep got.
I had a Porsche which got great mileage, but repairs ... even normal annual maintenance ... started out at $500 and shot quickly UP.
And this Yahoo has the nerve to tell me that I made a bad choice in buying a SUV? I've spent more money on cars that got much better mileage. This guy doesn't have any connection with people who don't spend most of their auto-time pushing their underpowered rice-burners up Telegraph Hill.
But really, who didn't see the SUV's collapse coming a mile away? Who didn't note the beginning of the end when, five years ago, the world's worst consumer vehicle ever took its place as the poster child for all that went wrong with the condescending American ethos, the oil-sucking war-drunk Bush-mauled mind-set? [Ed: Emphasis Added]That's where this guy really loses me.
The phrase "Condescending American ethos" relegates the choice of transportation to a "moral element". Translation: "You arrogant American cowboy, you buy a SUV just to show your superiority but you are so provincial that you don't even realize how badly your buying habits reflect on the Left Coast angst in the view of the Eurocentral Community!"
This guy wants me to give up my Explorer, which hauls my guns and my bitter self to the matches every weekend, because he thinks it makes HIM guilty by association in the eyes of his effete feminist Euro-weenie pals.
I've got a message for Mark Morford: I've got the response to your Dick Cheney Hate-fest right here, pal.
YOU try hauling a hundred pounds (and 10 cubic feet) of range bags, lunch, guns,ammo, sun-block, folding chairs, water, rain gear and other accoutrements for two to in a fuel-efficient rice-burner to a pistol match where you're on your feet for six hours, and you'll decide that you need more hauling capacity, too.
This ho-dad even badmouths Soccer Moms, because they need to haul kids and supplies to the local schoolyard for their matches. I thought that Soccer Moms were sacrosanct to Effete Liberals.
(Notice how I managed to work in the word "effete" TWICE in this article? That's because I'm on my best behavior. This is, after all, notionally a Family-Safe Blog.
Here's the Death Knell:
It's not completely their fault. Big Auto knows that big, graceless, overpowered vehicles are a cornerstone of the all-American identity. Even with President Obama's imminent new environmental policies, thoughtful, permanent change is going to take a while.Note to San Francisco: the Presidential Election hasn't been held yet. I know y'all really like Obama-Rama, and you're really big on Environmental Issues (such as the policies you're imposed upon us which prevented us from drilling for American oil, making us dependent on Foreign Oil supplies; encouraging farmers to turn productive food-source acreage into a source of Ethanol, causing a world-wide food crisis; environmental policies which have shut down most American oil refineries and preventing the building of new refineries, no matter that they can be built without the tax surcharge on 'improvements' which prevented the Evil Oil Corporations from making existing refineries "eco-friendly", and shutting down almost ALL nuclear power plants, making the generation of electricity dependent on coal-fired power plants.)
You and your buddies couldn't' possibly be responsible for the dependence on foreign power sources and pollution of the environment, because your intentions are high and your hearts are pure.
The solution to America's Energy problems are obviously to get rid of the Sports Utility Vehicle, and it's only RIGHT that Americans are required to pay four dollars for a gallon of gasoline, because it will 'force (us) to consider alternate energy sources'.
Yeah, right. I recall reading articles in SFGATE ten years ago stating that when gasoline reached two dollars a gallon, it would be economically feasible to mine Shale Oil in Alaska.
Now we're at twice that devoutly-to-be-wished economic precipice, and your people still won't give us a break.
The obscene article listing how wrong we are to cleave to our SUV's (along with our Guns and our God) is just another reason for Fly0ver-Country America to become embittered, and distrustful of Urban Liberals who think they know better than we do how we should live our lives and spend our money.
Liberals and Environmentalists: A Pox on Both Their Houses.