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’Net Junkie

Shawn "Speedy" Lopes

Monday, May 19, 2003


SUVs stir vivid feelings
of love and loathing


Let's face it, we Americans have a love-hate relationship with the SUV. For millions of us, the popular vehicles represent the ultimate in four-wheel chic. They're spacious, functional and versatile. They're also bulky, pricey, environmentally unfriendly and rollover-prone. And while the neighbors are sure to notice when you roll your new Land Rover up the driveway, you're also guaranteed to draw resentment from a fast-growing sector of the population who despise the SUV as the premier symbol of American arrogance and excess.

Do an online search on SUVs and you'll find twice as many anti-SUV sites as SUV fan pages. One of the best known is The Ultimate Poseur Sport Utility Page at http://poseur.4x4.org. Featured in USA Today, the New York Times, Car and Driver, Business Week and Auto Week, it's billed as "The original SUV satire page on the Web." It takes aim at two-wheel-drive versions of models like the Nissan Pathfinder ("It can find paths but can't go on them"), Honda Passport ("Your ticket to nowhere"), Lincoln Navigator ("$40,000 and 4WD is optional?!") and Mercury Mountaineer ("Gonna be a tough climb").

There's a section devoted to snapshots of suspected poseur SUVs. Check out the Jeep with the puny racing wheels and the apartment parking lot lined with nothing but SUVs.

You'll find anti-SUV funnies mixed with eye-opening statements at www.idontcareaboutair.com. Did you know that SUVs are allowed to emit 29 to 47 percent more carbon monoxide and 75 to 175 percent more nitrogen oxide than passenger cars? You do now.

You're even encouraged to join in on an SUV "tagging" campaign at www.changingtheclimate.com and affix stickers that read "I'm changing the climate -- ask me how!" to the bumpers of every four-wheeled behemoth you encounter.

"Feel the adrenaline rush of stalking the really big game, like the Denali, Yukon or Tahoe," reads the site's mission statement. "Get the thrill of witnessing the tagging of an Excursion, Expedition or Escalade with a not-so-subtle message that will leave them scratching their heads."

The site warns of a confrontation with the vehicle's owner, as one campaigner had while tagging an SUV.

"You have to decide if you want to take this chance," it reads. "But remember, we are at an environmental Bunker Hill! Spread the word and change the world!"




’Net Junkie drops every Monday.
Contact Shawn "Speedy" Lopes at slopes@starbulletin.com.


Note: Web sites mentioned in this column were active at time of publication. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin neither endorses nor is responsible for their contents.

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