Bring Blacks the 50s | Letters | Chicago Reader

Bring Blacks the 50s 

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Dear Reader:

Though I generally laud Tom Frank's analysis of the auto show [February 23], I believe he missed a few points about the marketing of sports utility vehicles (SUVs):

(1) Practicality. There are a couple of rational reasons to want an SUV in an urban environment. Women like Jeeps et al because they feel safer driving them in the city. Sitting in an ordinary car you are always shorter than the pedestrians around you. In most SUVs you are taller than potential carjackers and smash-and-grabbers. Like a square of infantry, or Social Security, or owning a handgun, you at least have the illusion of security, and sometimes even actual security.

Similarly, you have at least the impression of greater mobility, an SUV being somewhat capable of four-wheel driving over curbs, snowbanks, and other obstacles. (Who remembers Mike Royko boasting in print of buying a Ford Bronco after one of our Big Snows?)

(2) Class distinctions. Rich men like luxury SUVs because it allows them to look down physically, not just metaphorically, on us members of the lower orders, who are condemned to ordinary cars (even ordinary luxury cars), bicycles, or shoe leather.

Also, luxury SUV drivers have a better vantage point from which to observe incipient mob activity, and more hastily escape.

(3) Aesthetics. Frank should have noted that, for all its falsity and pandering to the worst instincts of the wealthy, the Land Rover/Range Rover display was an absolutely stunning work of industrial/advertising design. With its nature noises, matted floor, real bamboo, real live plants, and real (mostly) live goldfish, you fully got the impression you had walked into Lincoln Park Conservatory--or at least a really good plant store.

I can't afford a Land Rover, but with such an appeal, I would consider picking up one of their shirts.

L.D. Chukman

W. Erie

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

More by L.D. Chukman

Agenda Teaser

June 12
Galleries & Museums
Monet and Chicago Art Institute of Chicago
February 11

Popular Stories

  • Surfing Sandy

    Lake Michigan's turbulent waters offer die-hard surfers a prime opportunity to shred some waves
  • Queer to the Left came to raise hell

    The group rejected the mainstream gay rights movement and kept alive the spirit of radical LGBTQ+ activism.
  • Skinheads

    There's a credo among skins: they take care of their own. So when Scott Gravatt came up from Atlanta with his swastika earring and his white power tattoos, a few of the local guys took care of him.
  • Listen to The Ben Joravsky Show

    Livestream and podcast
  • The 15th floor

    On losing a loved one at the Thompson Center