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Hummer of love

Lezlie Lowe on why jerks and their Hummers will never be parted.


Surely you've noticed it's summer.

The mercury shoots up into appropriate-for-early-June territory and the city goes mad. Men rip off their shirts and strut down Barrington in the insufferable 20.6 degree heat, women stuff their bikini bottoms up their cracks and sunbathe on the north Common (I saw it!), those cock-rocket 200-decibel motorcycle dudes zoom by burning off my cochlear hairs with their stupid exhausts.

And the Hummers. Out come the damn Hummers.

OK, fine. I know they were there all winter. They are, after all, all-terrain vehicles, suitable for scaling precipices and canyons and snowbanks of all sizes. But it seems like they all crept out of their 1,000-square foot garages last weekend and took to a tear-about of the town.

They're cruising, I suppose. Because that's what people with Hummers do. There's no other possible purpose—practical or otherwise—for the things. There isn't. Not if you live in Halifax.

Driving a Hummer is the vehicular equivalent of jumping up and down on a busy street screaming LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! Driving one every day to work is like an ad nauseum reenactment of standing up through the sun roof of a white stretch limo going 50 clicks down Spring Garden Road screeching "Woo! Yeah baby!"—the thing you imagined was the coolest possible thing to do. When you were 11.

And, sadly, that's why we'll never be rid of them. The more we deride them, the cooler Hummers get.

It used to be Hummers were rare. But now the Hummer—introduced to the public in 1992—is on its third model. They're getting successively smaller and marginally cheaper; the H4, which could be released in 2008, is supposed to compete with Jeep's market share. Hummers are increasingly accessible to drivers whose fondest desire is to "pull up in one of these babies and sure to turn heads and become the centre of attention." (Actually, that's on a New York booking site for the 28-person Hummer limo, but I think it gets at the Hummer mentality quite succinctly, no?)

Now that rarity is less and less a selling point, the counter-culture appeal of Hummer is coming hard.

I'm talking counter-culture of the "Fuck all y'all" trucker hat and drinking-pitchers-of-beer-straight-from-the-pitcher ilk, not the spray-painting-social-anarchist variety.

The megalomaniacs who drive Hummers revel in their environmental punishment. And it only gets more fun to do so as the more conscious among us rail against Hummer excess. You know the Fuck You and Your H2 campaign? It encourages people to give the finger to Hummers and submit photos of the act ( It only bolsters Hummer drivers, people!

It's not that they're ignorant of their impact and excesses, it's that they don't care. That is the Hummer brand. I can galump right up over the curb and squash you like a beetle! I can burn $100 in gas in two days of commuting. No one can stop me! Woo! Yeah baby!

Before Al Gore convinced North America to bat an eyelid over Co2, Hummer drivers revelled in how special they were ("accentuating personality as a person who deserves VIP treatment"—again from that Hummer limo site! I can't stop myself!). They were drunk on gall—the gall to drive monster-sized vehicles that squeeze bike riders off the roads, the gall to imagine they need a military vehicle to tote groceries home from Sobeys.

Now, as Smart cars and Priuses gain momentum, Hummers become alternative chic. The vehicle "for when nothing else will do but the exotic." It's an inescapable circle of Hummer justification. Will someone please run me over so I no longer have to wallow in the horror of it all?

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