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Re: “Tough Driving” [May 26–June 1]. Marc Cooper is my new hero. It’s such a relief to know someone out there feels the same as I do about those useless contraptions called SUVs. How it ever became hip to drive around in something that looks like a delivery truck, I’ll never know.
A year ago, I met a guy who told me he designs BMWs and Land Rovers. I asked if he’d ever considered equipping them with turn-signal indicators. To his credit, he not only got the joke, but told me the company had told him to design these things so as to appeal to the arrogant and narcissistic among us! On a recent trip to San Diego on the 405, to pass the time, my son and I counted how many SUVs signaled when changing lanes. The answer? One in five. That just about sums up the SUV driver’s personality profile.
As a rule, I hate bumper stickers. (Have you ever noticed that it’s always the angry person with the “Mean People Suck” sticker who cuts you off?) Well, I finally saw one I like, obviously a message to those Westside women in their SUVs, yakking on those cell phones designed to make them feel important: “Hang Up and Drive.”
Many thanks to Marc Cooper for articulating the hatred I have always felt for SUVs (which I call “suck-you-vees”). It’s always cracked me up that the effete-yuppie types who drive these abominations wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere near dirt roads or wilderness areas, though supposedly that’s what the things are designed for. Presumably, they’re the same nimrods who live in the hills, but freak out when mountain lions wander near their manicured back lawns.
I drive a Honda Civic and take great pride (and, admittedly, great risks) in cutting off SUVs every damn chance I get. Inspired by Mr. Cooper, I will continue to do so with a sense of mission.
—Kathy A. Bekele
I’ve just finished Marc Cooper’s “Tough Driving.” This SUV slayer is an American Hero, and the Impala SS he drives is a real man’s car. All I can say is “Marc Cooper for president!”
Congratulations to Marc Cooper for his indictment of shameless SUV drivers, but shame on him for buying into the exact same type of irresponsible, car-based identity politics that he attacks. His sarcastic pride in his own wasteful vehicle and his chain of militaristic, confrontational analogies smack of the same type of stupid machismo he pins on the pseudo-cowboys in their four-by-fours. And as for his dismissal of the aesthetics of an old soap-bar Volvo, point well taken, but I would hazard a guess that most of my peers who inherited these safe and responsible cars from their yuppie parents prefer them to the faceless, gleaming pebbles of today’s “modern” look.
While I understand the intent of his piece, some of the “facts” Marc Cooper chose to bolster his objective were simply wrong. First of all, ironically enough, many in the media did indeed lash out at large rear-drive sedans such as the Impala because of their size and — as Cooper calls it — “gas guzzling,” but that was in the context of 10 years ago. Today, the 26 miles per gallon full-size sedans such as his Impala achieved on the highway (and that achieved by full-size sedans such as those the Ford Motor Co. continues to build) is five to 10 miles per gallon more than the typical full-size SUVs being used today to run down to the store to pick up a loaf of bread. And as far as weight goes, despite its length, that Impala weighs 4,200 pounds, not the 4,700 being quoted by Mr. Cooper, making it a good 1,000 pounds less than a typical full-size SUV today. In fact, the weight of his Impala is more in line with the typical small SUV being sold today, and yet it has more room, gets better gas mileage, and is faster and better-handling. Seems to me, if everyone who drove big SUVs today was driving an early-’90s Impala or Buick Roadmaster Estate station wagon, we could cut the smog and gasoline that their owners waste by at least 30 percent. Who would have thought 10 years ago that owning a Buick Roadmaster might actually make you environmentally sensitive?
In any case, I have now joined Mr. Cooper in protecting my own safety by welding a spiked, reinforced, CHP-style push bumper to the front frame of my 1998 Z/28 Camaro (capable of 28 miles per gallon, by the way). To paraphrase a line from Mad Max, see you on the road, Ford Excursion owners.
Re: “Things Fall Apart” [May 26–June 1], I applaud Celeste Fremon for saying all the right things and telling it the way it really is in L.A. or any other place. My second husband was a foster child, and he had one horror story after another, and this took place in the sleepy little towns of Connecticut. I myself was a victim of my father’s sexual perversion, and of my mother’s undiagnosed extreme mental illness and unbelievable abuse. No, I was never taken away, but if I had been, what would I have been taken to? Only another horror story. This country simply does not care about the needs of children who are not born to the rich, the loving, the kind, the good — and let’s be real, how many people like that are there in this world? The one thing I truly believe, without rehashing all the wonderful points the author makes, is that bringing back orphanages — good, well-provided-for orphanages — would be better than the indifferent, abusive homes children come from and the indifferent, only-in-it-for-the-money (or worse) foster homes they so often go to. Thank you for running this article.
Thank you for Celeste Fremon’s article on Sophie’s boys. We all need to address the plight of these children under the government’s wing. I adopted a child from that system 12 years ago. The damage done by physical and mental abuse, while in the system, was disturbing. I would, however, like to encourage anyone considering fostering or adopting. The road is rough for these children. Life has given them a different road map from the one many of our other children take, but the rewards are there. They may struggle in school and on the sports field, but they take us to places we could have never traveled without them. They are a gift waiting to be opened.
Re: Ben Ehrenreich’s “Terrible Waste” [June 2–8], this hilarious, and frightening, article lends credence to a statement made by Patrick McGoohan’s character (Number 6) in The Prisoner: “Don’t vote — it only encourages them.”
KIND OF A DRAG
Re: Marc B. Haefele’s “Hang On” [City Limits, June 16–22]. Why would anybody share a race spot with someone who’s going to plaster the location all over the pages of a newspaper? I sympathize with the theme of the piece, believe me, but the location where my son and his friends go to run their Camaros and Mustang 5.0s and Turbo ’Vairs and blown Civics will have to remain secret. There’s not going to be another legal dragstrip in L.A. County. It’s a guerrilla activity, and I think mostly that’s how the participants want it, like raving. Letting them have it their way is part of growing up gracefully, and yeah, you never stop growing up, if you’re lucky.