The Null Device

Geeks vs. Jocks with Monster Trucks

Social phenomena seen through American high school archetypes: A WSJ writer claims that public criticism of SUVs (that's American for big-arse personal monster trucks) is geeks against jocks, the bookish dweebs who got beaten up in high school dressing up their rage at their former persecutors' wealth and soulless materialism in the garb of moral outrage, out of sheer impotent spite.
This anti-SUV fervor strikes me as a classic geek assault on jock culture. Here are the geeks: thoughtful, socially and environmentally conscious. They understand that only spiritually shallow people could possibly get pleasure from a motor vehicle. Then there are those jocks. They cruise through life infuriatingly unaware of how morally inferior they are to the geeks. They make money, become popular, play golf and have homes that are too large. And they're happy! For all the wrong reasons! And so every few years the geeks pick on some feature of jock life (McMansions, corporations, fraternities, country clubs) and get all worked up about it. And you know what? The jocks don't care! They just keep being happy. The geeks write, protest and fume. The jocks go to St. Croix.

By the same token one could dismiss any progressive concern is the whining of sore losers (or, indeed, "Jealousy masquerading as Class Consciousness"). Though, even if there is some truth in it (pertaining to the psychological motivations of some progressive activist types), that doesn't invalidate the argument. (via Plastic)

There are 9 comments on "Geeks vs. Jocks with Monster Trucks":

Posted by: mitch http:// Sun Feb 9 21:21:13 2003

http://squawk.ca/lbo-talk/0302/0240.html Left-wing jock versus right-wing geek?

Posted by: Ritchie http:// Mon Feb 10 02:28:26 2003

You didn't cite the best line in the article: the author's assertion that SUVs are "poetry made of metal". I wonder if Blake or Whitman would've agreed? Ah, but they were geeks, anyway. If SUVs are poetry manifested in metal, it is the poetry of John Laws.

Posted by: GJW http://the-fix.org Mon Feb 10 04:50:28 2003

I cannot understand the obsession with SUVs. They are slow. They are difficult to drive. They are difficult to park (difficult to even get INTO carparks, as a student at uni discovered last year when they tried to drive a departmental Landcruiser into the underground carpark. Much hilarity and expense ensued...) What happened to sporty, powerful, sleek cars being the symbols of the elite? You look cool driving a Corvette. You just look like a dickhead in a shiny SUV that's never been off the bitumen.

Posted by: Graham http://grudnuk.com Mon Feb 10 11:34:08 2003

Plus I can drag SUVs off traffic lights on my bike. So nyeh.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Mon Feb 10 11:37:59 2003

GJW: perhaps it's the power/dominance thing. Sure you look like a dickhead, but no loser in a Daihatsu is going to come up to you and tell you. Having a SUV gets you in people's faces and there's not a thing they can do about it, and to some that's the greatest aphrodisiac there is. It's like having a crewcut and a rottweiler named Winner.

Posted by: mark http://cyberfuddle.com/infinitebabble/ Mon Feb 10 14:09:11 2003

Ritchie: only if they're using Valvoline.

Posted by: Ritchie http:// Tue Feb 11 02:28:53 2003

Mark, you know what I mean

Posted by: Claire http://www.eskimo.com/~c/ Tue Feb 11 17:41:56 2003

The thing you're missing about SUVs is that they're *not* monster trucks. If they were, there wouldn't be nearly as many of them. SUVs are just minivans on steroids.

It's not Joe Blow driving them to show off his manliness. He's probably driving a muscle car or a pickup. But Mrs. Jones has five five kids to haul to Christianist day care, skating, hockey, football practice, and church school.

Doesn't make me hate 'em any less, though.

Posted by: Claire http://www.eskimo.com/~c/ Fri Feb 14 06:16:41 2003

The thing you're missing about SUVs is that they're *not* monster trucks. If they were, there wouldn't be nearly as many of them. SUVs are just minivans on steroids.

It's not Joe Blow driving them to show off his manliness. He's probably driving a muscle car or a pickup. But Mrs. Jones has five five kids to haul to Christianist day care, skating, hockey, football practice, and church school.

Doesn't make me hate 'em any less, though.

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