hunting suvs

I’m not a huge fan of vandalism, and I’m not suggesting that anyone go out and do this (even though it’s occurred to me on more than one occasion to do it myself), but apparently there’s a group of French activists known as “The Deflated” who have been waging war on SUVs in Paris. Here’s a clip from the LA Times (via One Good Move):

…But five weeks after the clandestine crew of environmentalists launched a low-intensity war on SUVs in Paris, there are no casualties to report. Except, of course, for dozens of deflated gas-guzzling vehicles, said Sous-Adjudant Marrant (Sub-Warrant Officer Joker), the mysterious, masked leader of Les D

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  1. Posted October 11, 2005 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Viva La Gasto!

  2. chris
    Posted October 11, 2005 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Man love what is probably the biggest insult to them tagged on the car.

  3. mark
    Posted October 11, 2005 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Maybe a campaign to put bumber stickers on SUVs that say something like, “My dick isn’t a tiny little nub when I’m behind the wheel of my SUV.”

  4. be OH bE
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The bumper sticker idea is appealing because the owner might not neccesarily notice the deed for some time and it wouldn’t impair the operation of their vehicle.

    How about a magnetic ribbon that says something like, “I support whatever will net us more oil”

  5. Kristin
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    How about a comic that says “My daddy eats animals, and so do I?” I don’t know why one is so much worse than the other. Like if you have someone else kill your dinner for you that negates the dead animal. I know the Peta people aren’t doing that, but boy there are a lot of people who are disgusted by hunting while wiping the au jus from their chins.

  6. Posted October 12, 2005 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    My kid would come home and show me the comic, and say, “Daddy, I thought we were vegetarians,” and I’d say “We are, kid, they’re talking about other people.” It would be a pretty short discussion.

    As for the other business, I personally liked the Mud-splattering idea of bringing the countryside to the SUV. The problem with most (but not all) SUV owners, is that they’re fully insured and have the cash to cover anything you can throw at them, so I’d be concerned that some acts of vandalism might actually increase their resolve, instead of discouraging them. The mud would be such a bizarre discovery, though, that I still like that method- imagine the person coming out in the morning and finding it, and thinking “Wait a minute- I didn’t go off-roading yesterday- come to think of it- I never have!” Classic.

    I think, though, that rollover deaths and gas prices will probably do our work for us, eventually.

  7. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Don’t mommies clean fish? Aren’t men vegetarians? It’s just more sexual stereotyping. Feh.

    I understand dealers are starting to refuse used SUVs. As gas prices soar, SUV owners are going to be stuck with vehicles they can neither afford nor sell. Then what?

  8. Tony Buttons
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Perhaps they can live in them when they can no longer afford to heat their McMansions.

    I can picture shanty towns, like we had during the Depression, only composed of bumper to bumper SUVs.

  9. Posted October 12, 2005 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    PETA is ridiculous
    Mark Maynard has a good post this morning that is mostly about vandalizing SUV’s. For years I have fought back the urge to deface all those pristine Explorers, Hummers and especially Cayannes (Ferdinand Porsche must be rolling over in his grave…

  10. Posted October 12, 2005 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    They aren’t slashing the tires Mark, they’re taking out the valve stems

  11. Posted October 12, 2005 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Here’s another one for you:

    For kids!

  12. be OH bE
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    In that cover above, why is daddy wearing a suit to clean fish? Did he wear it for the whole trip? And what’s with that look on his face?

    How about, “Your Daddy is batshit insane.”

  13. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    All evil white men wear suits. And, as we all know, nobody but evil white men hurts animals.

  14. Posted October 12, 2005 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Okay, the French opposing SUVs, I understand. Gas is way more expensive there, and Euros drive tiny, small engined cars.

    What I don’t get is people here opposed to SUVs. I’m not a fan myself, but how is it that everyone hates SUVs but no one speaks out against giant houses on five acres of lawn with 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. Surely the maintainence and operation of all of that is worse on the Earth than a bunch of giant vehicles that are actually more efficient than the cars that were driven up until the 80s.

  15. Kari
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Sarah – I think a lot of people are expressing disgust about the giant houses that have become so popular. You may hear more griping about SUV’s though because they’re everywhere – if you leave your house on a given day, you’re bound to see many, many SUV’s, whereas you might not encounter many McMansions. What really gets me though, is that by choosing to drive an SUV, any stranger can about double their chances of killing me if we have a collision. At least their big house doesn’t put me in any immediate danger.

  16. Posted October 12, 2005 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, I think that Mr. Buttons made a reference to “McMansions” in the comments above, and both myself and many others have bemoaned the local subdivision boom on more than one occasion (which, thankfully, seems to finally be leveling off for the time being).

    Regardless, I think you do have a point, and it’s probably just (as Kari said) because the big wasteful homes are usually hidden away, out of sight, while the SUVs are on our back bumper, cutting us off, and variously impacting our personal lives in ways beyond global warming and petroleum depletion. Just my theory. Following your point, I’d also add that I seldom here any mention of the incredible contribution to landfills caused by construction debris (even when they aren’t demolishing something first); plus, there’s an aesthetic angle in which I feel that there’s few ‘white collar’ crimes worse than building an ugly, cheaply made structure, especially when you build a thousand of them side by side.

    As for the effectiveness of the PETA campaign (which is simply the newest installment in an older series of similar comics- I believe the first one was “Mommy kills animals”, and dealt with the fur industry), I agree that it’s ‘over the top’, but like everything else PETA does, it’s clearly meant to be. I would also point out that despite the press, it is not “primarily” marketed to children, as PETA knows that the biggest reaction has come from adults protesting it (but also, in some cases, possibly modifying their own lifestyle choices when they contemplate how their children may perceive them). If you look at it from that perspective, it suddenly goes from being ‘downright offensive’ to just slightly ‘edgy’, in my opinion.

    Incidentally, mark, I realize your main point was the issue of the effective marketing of different movements, but when it comes to discussing the PETA marketing, the issue instead generally becomes a criticism of the underlying philosophy, which I don’t think was your intention. i.e., I believe you’ll find that ‘Skeptical Sam’ above has very selectively copied and pasted your post, along with a lengthly anti-PETA diatribe of his own, and retitled it “PETA is Ridiculous”. (And, as I can’t comment on his site without registering first, I’ll point out that the bulk of his post (claiming that PETA focuses on hunting and not factory farms) is completely irrelevant, as the bulk of their advertising does deal with such issues, as Bea Arthur herself can attest).

  17. Posted October 12, 2005 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Mark, here’s another way to make a statement that is guaranteed to be orphan-safe.

  18. mark
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    For waht it’s worth, I like PETA, and was a member of the organization for years. When I fell off the vegan wagon, though, I felt too guilty to stay on their mailing list. At any rate, I still think they’re right… I’m pathetic for my meat eating and leather wearing and I deserve whatever I get in the afterworld. (So, you’re right, Brett, I wasn’t criticizing the organization, but just asking how far is too far in the defense of something you feel passionately about.)

    And, Scott, I’m a member of the FYH2 club. (It’s a lot easier to get into that the Mile High Club.) I think you can find my shot, taken here in Ypsi, somewhere around page 18.

  19. Sam
    Posted October 12, 2005 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I personally don’t feel that eating animals is unethical or unhealthy although it can be. As I said in my trackback post above I am opposed to the way animals are treating on factory farms. If they are raised in good conditions without the use of hormones and antibiotics the meat is a lot tastier and more healthy.

    I do agree that all these ridiculously sized houses are a blight on the landscape and I they are definitely a drain on the environment. However the people buying these places will get their comeupance soon enough. There was a good series in the Ann Arbor News this week about the slowdown in the housing market. This is just begininng. As interest rates continue to go up, a lot of people who have bought houses with with ARM mortgages and little or nothing down are going to feel a lot of pain (and I know at least a couple of them at work).

    As for the SUVs I think pulling the valve stems is a pretty cool way of making a point without doing any actual permanent damage.

  20. Shanster
    Posted October 13, 2005 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    So, a little vandalism is ‘pretty cool’?
    “Son, pulling the valve stems on the abortion doctor’s Lexus is a pretty cool way of making a point, but blowing it up is over the line. Go to your room.” If your ideas can’t win out in the arena of public policy, then you should be free to damage other people’s property?

  21. Posted October 13, 2005 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Shanster, I agree in theory with your point, but at the same time it begs a few awkward clarifications of terms, specifically your use of the phrase “Damage other people’s property.”

    I have a difficult time understanding why we have an ‘arena of public policy’ at all, if private property is so often given superior status in decision-making, and so narrowly defined. There are vast resources being wasted, and environments being damaged, which I regard as being “Public Property”, thus “People’s Property”, but yet “Public Policy” is doing incrementally less under this administration to respect and protect those things.

    So, if you can accept for a moment that there are some resources we all should hold in ‘common’, and then a percentage of the society makes lifestyle decisions which are “Damaging that property”, it’s pretty clear that a lot of other people are going to become increasingly angry about the situation and, seeing no chance for success through the ballot box, will turn instead to the soap box (i.e., this forum), and an even smaller, angrier group will turn to the ‘ammo box’, trying to exact revenge (I believe the whole “Eye for an eye” deal in the Old Testament is a big part of the American psyche, despite the fact that they claim to be mainly Christian and thus should have read that bit about “Turning the other cheek”, as well).

    So, anyway, I think that the main issue is what can be defined as public, what is private, and if something private injures the public good, then why isn’t there some equivalent form of ’eminent domain’ to help protect the larger society from private interests?

  22. Shanster
    Posted October 13, 2005 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again for adding cogency to the discussion. I’m not sure the eminent domain will work, unless we can find a “public use” for the SUVs…Wait, I have an idea: We could form a “Museum of Waste”, consisting of a mountain of SUVs and styrofoam cups. We could get funding from the NEA, too, because it would be art. Then we could legally sieze any and all SUVs. The only problem would be giving fair compensation (as required by the 5th amendment) to the SUV owners, who would turn around and buy more SUVs.

  23. Posted October 13, 2005 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    I was playing fast and loose with the term “Eminent Domain”, by the way.

    My first and simplest idea would just be to impose a substantial tax on all internal combustion vehicles, based upon their MPG and annual miles driven, which could be done by testing the odometer annually and performing something like the emissions tests some states have. The funds collected could be focused exclusively on programs to counteract the environmental damage being done, develop solar, wind, and other energy-generating technologies, or used to underwrite public transportation systems.

    Your plan, and mine, both unfortunately rely on the aforementioned “arena of public policy,” which is controlled by the administration in office and those department heads which they promote (see the various Brownie posts). So, getting back to the French Deflationists, no matter how many good ideas we suggest, nothing will be done in the current power state, and thus sometimes people will take things into their own hands, often through illegal means.

  24. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 13, 2005 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know PETA had also done a “Mommy Kills Animals” comic. That’s fair; I take back my peevishness. I’ve been a vegetarian for decades, and have met vast hordes of self-righteous anti-vegetarian women.

    Perhaps Shanster’s “Museum of Waste” could be combined with my library idea: to print books on indestructible styrofoam cups, rather than on acidic paper which crumbles into brown bits within a few years.

  25. Posted October 13, 2005 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Doug, I think they’re just making a general nod to the fact that *most* people who fish are male, and *most* people wearing fur are female. Now that you mention it, I’ve probably gotten more flack from females than males about the vegetarian thing, on average. At least, they seemed to be more aggressive about arguing it, whereas most males tend to either a) just shrug it off, or b) make a stupid joke and then shrug it off.

    We could make all the SUV’s into Book-mobiles, to deliver your styrofoam volumes to all the people who live far from their library (and don’t have cars to get there).

  26. Doug Skinner
    Posted October 13, 2005 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Brett — That’s been my experience, too; that’s what pushed my peeve button. Most men seem to think it’s none of their business what I eat, as long as I don’t lecture them (which I don’t); many women feel the need to argue that vegetarianism is immoral and unhealthy. Who knows why?

    I have no objection to SUVs in their place. My girlfriend and I rented one when we took a road trip through Costa Rica a few years ago. You needed one to negotiate dirt roads, ford streams, etc. You don’t need one in the city.

    An SUV bookmobile might be a good idea. Libraries have shorter and shorter hours. Most aren’t even open on weekends, when people with jobs can use them. Cupbooks for the workers!

  27. Posted October 24, 2005 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I think you will enjoy this satire:


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