Controversial Topic on SUV's.

Essay by Rectifier October 2005

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Controversial Topic Assignment.

Why I Luv My SUV.

Byline: Walter Kirn I feel bad for my black '97 Toyota Land Cruiser. All it ever wanted to do was serve me--by blasting through snowdrifts, fording flooded driveways and pulling my wife's VW out of ditches--and in all these chores, it has succeeded splendidly, yet certain people hate it. They hate its kind. They accuse my Toyota and its beefy brethren of being wasteful, anti-social, dangerous and even of abetting terrorism. I'd like to think that the critics' hostility, like other forms of bigotry, stems from ignorance--because they simply don't know my vehicle or the rugged Montana terrain it ranges over. But I sense that their anger has deeper roots. Some people just feel incomplete without an enemy, and as it grows increasingly unacceptable to show intolerance toward any group of humans, it becomes more tempting to condemn inanimate objects. They can't defend themselves.

They can't hire lawyers or take out full-page ads. So whether the butt of the latest self-righteous crusade is a cell phone, a double cheeseburger or a bottle of malt liquor, it has no choice but to sit there and take its beating. As the owner of an SUV, I feel duty-bound to speak up for my poor vehicle--and for myself, since I feel beaten up too. Nothing takes the pleasure out of driving like the suspicion that at every four-way stop, someone in a fuel-efficient compact is sneering at my moral deficiencies. I might as well be wearing a scarlet letter (three of them, actually). I want to scream, "But I live on a dirt road! I have a farm! See all the mud on my fenders! I need this rig!" Experience, though, makes me doubt that such protests would do any good. When I was...