SUV: Globalization, Environmentalism,
suv advertisements (print and television) & suv
selling the suv
b. schor, "towards a new politics of consumption" in consumer
hebdige, the gender of machinery (pp. 124-127) of "object as image"
in the consumer society reader
to high & mighty: suv's (print ready file)
- the overspent
the end of this unit you should be able to define these key terms:
study guidelines for student presentations
detroit projects' realaudio anti-ads
suv info link
want my suv" hayes
reed on alternet
don't make sense for the average driver. Well, no shit. But when
did American cars ever make sense? We are the country that gave
birth to the three-ton Cadillac, the five-room RV, the 200-mph
Viper and now the Excursion – all hideous vehicles in their own
rights, to be sure, but also vehicles that inspire us. And, frankly,
we need that.
wear our vehicles like costumes, using them to project an image
that usually has no basis in reality. In a nation of serene suburbs
and cubicle jobs, driving an SUV says, "I am not boring. True,
I'm going to work now, but later, when you're not looking, I will
be whitewater rafting, mountain biking and climbing things. I
am sexy and dangerous!"
love SUVs because we are a nation of poseurs. We love to buy things
that will never really have any practical application – things
like cowboy hats, pit bulls, Corvettes, assault weapons, etc.
That we will never use them for their intended purpose is beside
the point. The point is that they fulfill the need to pretend.
(excerpt from hayes reed, "i want my suv")
hidden life of suv's by jack hitt
(essay on the semiotics of suv names)
in a name? What do you make of a passenger vehicle called a Bronco?
Or one dubbed a Cherokee? How about a Wrangler? Are they just
chrome-plated expressions of sublimated testosterone flooding
the highways? Check out the herd that grazes the average car lot
these days: Blazer, Tracker, Yukon, Navigator, Tahoe, Range Rover,
Explorer, Mountaineer, Denali, Expedition, Discovery, Bravada.
Besides signaling that we're not Civic or Gallant, they indicate
there's something else going on here.
The true irony comes from the fact that this thoroughly market-researched
word no longer has any core meaning. No one comprehends its denotation
(Colorado town) but only its vague connotations (rugged individualism,
mastery over the wilderness, cowboy endurance). The word does
not pin down meaning so much as conjure up images. These names
are only the end product of the intense buyer-profiling that the
car companies and the marketing firms continuously carry out.
By the time they make it to the lot, these cars are streamlined
Frankensteinian concoctions of our private anxieties and desires.
We consumers don't so much shop for one of these SUVs as they
shop for us.
GMC decided to launch the Denali (an SUV named for the Alaskan
mountain), the auto-trade papers discussed the subtleties of that
outdoorsy name: Even though most buyers "will never venture into
territory any less trampled than the local country club parking
lot," wrote Ward's Auto World, "the important goal of the Denali
marketing hype is to plant the image in customers' minds that
they can conquer rugged terrain. The metaphor of Alaska is particularly
apt because SUVs, especially the larger of the species, depend
on the myth that we have new frontiers yet to pave. Perhaps we're
trying to tame a different kind of wilderness. Indeed, in an age
of gated communities the SUV is the perfect transportation shelter
to protect us from fears both real and imagined.
upon a time, Trailblazers, Explorers, and Trackers tamed the Wild
West. Now, through the sorcery of focus groups, the bull-market
gentry have brought the Pathfinders and Mountaineers back into
their lives in the belief that they need to conquer the savage
land one more time."
fromjack hitt "the hidden life of suv's" )