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Press Release
Hummer owners claim moral high ground to excuse overconsumption
Monday, September 21, 2009


(Photo: Marcin Rybarczyk/STOCK.XCHNG)
Hummer drivers believe they are defending America's frontier lifestyle against anti-American critics, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Marius K. Luedicke (University of Innsbruck, Austria), Craig J. Thompson (University of Wisconsin–Madison), and Markus Giesler (York University, Toronto) researched attitudes toward owning and driving Hummers, which have become symbols to many of American greed and wastefulness.

The researchers first investigated anti-consumption sentiments expressed by people who oppose chains like Starbucks and believe they are making a moral choice by shunning consumerism. To these critics, Hummers represent the ills of contemporary society. As one extreme example, on www.fuh2.com, people have posted thousands of photographs of middle fingers directed at Hummer vehicles.

They investigated various Internet expressions of anti-Hummer sentiment, but they were equally interested in the ways Hummer owners framed themselves as "moral protagonists" in the ongoing debate over consumer values. They conducted in-depth interviews with twenty U.S.-born and raised Hummer owners and found among these consumers an equally strong current of moralism.

"As we studied American Hummer owners and their ideological beliefs, we found that they consider Hummer driving a highly moral consumption choice," write the authors. "For Hummer owners it is possible to claim the moral high ground."

The authors explain that Hummer owners employ the ideology of American foundational myths, such as the "rugged individual," and the "boundless frontier" to construct themselves as moral protagonists. They often believe they represent a bastion again anti-American discourses evoked by their critics.

"Our analysis of the underlying American identity discourses revealed that being under siege by (moral) critics is an historically established feature of being an American," write the authors. "The moralistic critique of their consumption choices readily inspired Hummer owners to adopt the role of the moral protagonist who defends American national ideals."

###

University of Chicago Press Journals: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu


Thanks to University of Chicago Press Journals for this article.

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Comments
non-hiipie

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 3:38 pm CDT
I'm amused with the fuh2 reference. It's obvious they didn't spend much time with the site. They don't hate all Hummers; just the H2. They hate the H2 only because it sucks, not because it demonstrates American "Consumption."
guest0922091636

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 3:39 pm CDT
It's not about 'American' morality. It's about 'Human' morality. I observe that Americans do not care, and are not serious about anything.

Except more money, attention, and toys.
dude

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 5:07 pm CDT
Too bad the H2 is built on a Chevy Tahoe frame and is hardly the type of vehicle you would choose if you were really exploring the ""boundless frontier. The H2 is designed for roads, and even there it's no safer or more capable than average.
Thomas

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 5:23 pm CDT
GUEST COMMENT said:
I'm amused with the fuh2 reference. It's obvious they didn't spend much time with the site. They don't hate all Hummers; just the H2. They hate the H2 only because it sucks, not because it demonstrates American "Consumption."


Obviously you did not read the article. They talk about over consumption, and Clearly talk about the H2's inefficiency...
Lee451

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 6:16 pm CDT
Yes, God forbid people who have worked hard to earn their money actually spend it on something they want. What we should do is just keep working in order to send our money to other countries (or to organizations like the UN) where American Culture is despised, bad-mouthed and imitated and their hands are always outstretched demanding "more, gimmer more".
Chris

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 7:54 pm CDT
They interview 20 owners? Small sample size alert anyone?
SleepsWithCats

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 7:58 pm CDT
Come on, people. Everyone knows Hummer drivers buy Hummers because they have small penises.
Al

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 8:25 pm CDT
Lee451

Why not just work less and consume less? Works for us in the rest of the world.
Al

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 8:36 pm CDT
Oh yeah, only this year did Obama agree to pay off its 10 year debt to the UN. Quite ridiculous really considering the UN was set up by the US in the US.

Also the US spends the lowest % of GDP per capita on foreign aid than ALL other developed nations. Give all your money to other countries? Get off your high horse.
Anna

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 8:52 pm CDT
GUEST COMMENT said:
Yes, God forbid people who have worked hard to earn their money actually spend it on something they want. What we should do is just keep working in order to send our money to other countries (or to organizations like the UN) where American Culture is despised, bad-mouthed and imitated and their hands are always outstretched demanding "more, gimmer more".
All american projection? gimmie gimmie gimmie?, guzzle!, guzzle!,guzzle! No wonder you yanks are the fattest nation... bet Lee here makes up 4 of me.
jim

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 9:02 pm CDT
well al, i guess you told us!!! of course you are forgetting the part, assuming you are not american, that you live because we spent billions defending your freedom and probably still are, especially if you live in europe. we count that as foriegn aid, perhaps you should too. eurotrash, wants our protection then complains about the manner in which we provide it. we don't want your thanks, but i will laugh the next time the germans or perhaps the russians march over you.
Al

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 9:07 pm CDT
Jim

If by protecting us you mean attacking other countries and increasing the risk of terrorism to western nations, appreciate it. Thanks mate.
big rig

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 9:07 pm CDT
So typical, Americans are the first to step up to the plate and give their last dime to help others, jump into their 4X4 during inclement weather to rescue stranded motorists in their mini coopers and v-dubs, in general, be the good neighbours to anyone in times of trouble...
Yet, we exercise our freedom of choice and buy what we want, and live like we want, and the eco-terrorists go bonkers and destroy personal and real property, and we are the bad guys...
Now you can understand why many people do not stop for stranded motorists any more. No longer are we taking a risk to help out the mother and kids. You have cell phones, call the cops and a wrecker, pay to have someone come and help, I refuse to assist any longer, and same with my friends!
We have been repairing the damages inflicted by stickers put on paint, windows, and other destructive things like punctured tires, radiators and the like...
Ya, really funny when a three hundred dollar radiator has a hole from some nimrod... Or the fuel tank has a hole in it... Just let me catch you messing with mine, and you will get yours!
Al

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 9:08 pm CDT
BTW, I'm not from Europe.
Al

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 9:12 pm CDT
Big rig:

'Good neighbours to anyone in times of trouble'? I don't think most of South and Central America would agree with that statement.
Omicron

Guest Comment
Tue, Sep 22, 2009, 10:59 pm CDT
I don't mind the vehicles. I just would like the asshats who drive them to park farther away from the store, instead of taking up two and three parking holes in a parking lot near the door. Inconsiderate creeps.
al is right

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 1:00 am CDT
the "i should be able to spend my money on whatever i like" argument is so small-minded. buying a hummer is wasteful and destructive and you don't have to be foreign or hippie dippie to appreciate that fact. there are consequences to our actions and to pretend that there aren't just so you can get a gas guzzling toy to compensate for lack in your life and penis size is extremely stupid. grow up and start thinking about more than just yourself. people who pretend they are isolated in this world make me wish we really could isolate them and leave them to their mcdonalds, cigarettes (subsequent diabetes and heart problems, etc), hummers and low taxes. they should have to clean up their own mess, but we all suffer for the ridiculous selfishness. the united states' current rate of consumption can NOT be supported by the planet for too many more years. i am american and so grateful to be an american, but sad, terribly sad that we could be heroes and really lead and help the entire world were it not for the utterly self-absorbed glenn beck fans.
jim

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 1:19 am CDT
hey al, mate?????? you must be british. i had to spend 2 years in your country back in the early 70s, protecting you and yours. god, how far the british have fallen. still today we have 13,000 servicemen in your country. grow a set and defend yourself. or is it that you can't? from what i hear the muslims will soon take over the UK, and good bye to it, and the rest of europe too.
jim

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 1:26 am CDT
you gotta be from europe al, you think like one, you talk like one, so you are one. see, the freedom of america is we can buy a hummer, you don't like it, tough.....i don't like it, but i stay out of my neighbor's business. all is lost anyway, its just i will have a few years of laughs when europe falls, before we here in america do.
Hogg

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 5:41 am CDT
I drive an H2 but I don't feel bad about it. First of all, I purchased a used H2. I didn't cause it to be made, it was three years old when I got it, and had NO ONE bought it it would be taking up a LOT of space in a landfill. Secondly, I work overseas and I am gone half of the year, so I put VERY low mileage on my H2. When I bought it there were 20k miles on it, I've had it three years and it doesn't have 30k yet. The average hybrid owner uses WAY more gas than me, I fill up the tank once every other month, so that's about 200 gallons per year. Had I not purchased it and someone else had, there would be about 70k miles on it by now I'm sure. I'm basically saving the planet. Plus, chicks dig it, it can jump stuff, and it makes me feel better about my small penis.
Inverse Al

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 6:16 am CDT
Al Said: "Also the US spends the lowest % of GDP per capita on foreign aid than ALL other developed nations. Give all your money to other countries? Get off your high horse."

Would you care to cite your sources for this 'information'? And does your source account not only for GOVERNMENT paid aid but PRIVATE charity as well? I would suspect it does not account for things like the Red Cross and dozens of other charities and ministries in the states.

http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/most-generous-nation/

http://www.zenit.org/article-26474?l=english

"In the United States, $115.9 billion in private donations were recorded, which is more than five times the official public aid amount of $21.8 billion."
Al is right is wrong

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 6:17 am CDT
Al is Right said: ""i [sic] should be able to spend my money on whatever i [sic] like" argument is so small-minded."

Actually, the "You should only spend your earnings on what *I* approve of." argument is the small-minded one. Who are YOU to decide what another human who has labored, gotten sweaty and expended THEIR resources and energy to earn should be allowed to spend those earnings on? Who are YOU to decide which products are acceptable and which are not?

How would you like it if someone ELSE came into YOUR home and into YOUR checking account and decided what items YOU were allowed to buy and which ones you were NOT allowed to buy? Or let me adjust this to a slightly different point of view which gets to the heart of the matter: how would you like it if someone else decided which political candidates you were 'allowed' to contribute money to and which ones you couldn't? How would your tune change in that scenario? Would it not be just as wrong for me to tell you and attempt to force by law or intimidation to MAKE you contribute to candidates I approved of? "But that's diiiiiiiiiiiiferent". No, it is not. What you earn, how much you earn, and how you spend what you earn is NONE of *MY* business. And frankly folks who are PRODUCERS in this nation and world are tired of being told by LEACHES in this nation and world how they should be allowed to spend that money.

Did you happen to go deep enough into your studies to comprehend the basic fact that a 'evil rich person' buying that 'hated evil H2' was actually enabling hundreds of jobs to exist? Did you ever think that just maybe those 'evil rich people spending excessive amounts of money for excessive products and material goods' are paying LOTS of paychecks out there. Well, were. Because now spending is down, and people who make these items are no longer employed. But you go on and keep believing that lower and middle income people are the real workhorses in the economy and keep it going. Because if it wasn't for some evil rich person YOU wouldn't have an opportunity to get a job.

Until people stop looking in OTHER people's checking accounts for their happiness, they will never be happy.
Jane

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 8:57 am CDT
GUEST COMMENT said:
hey al, mate?????? you must be british. i had to spend 2 years in your country back in the early 70s, protecting you and yours. god, how far the british have fallen. still today we have 13,000 servicemen in your country. grow a set and defend yourself. or is it that you can't? from what i hear the muslims will soon take over the UK, and good bye to it, and the rest of europe too.


Protecting us? Protecting us? Are you serious? ever heard of the IRA or ETA? They get an excellent amount of funding from the US, most of which only stopped after 9/11 when it suddenly became apparent what 'freedom fighter' actually meant to those on the receiving end of the 'fighting' bit.

"Eco-terrorists" - That just about says it really, doesn't it Jim; the old, black and white "with us or against us" mentality. If someone's doing something you don't like, then they must be a terrorist. Indeed.

Why don't you try shutting your mouth and opening your eyes for once? On what authority do you talk about these things? "Overrun by Muslims", mate (yes I am a Brit, incase you hadn't guessed by now)I couldn't care less if they brought over a ferry load of immigrating muslims every day for the next year, a) another person's religious beliefs are none of my damned business and b) for those who are worried about it, British-born, white Christians (specifically Anglicans) would still make up the majority of the population. By majority, I mean more than 90%.

Your statements make you look foolish and are the reason that, unfortunately, most people who are not citizens of the US consider Americans to be single-minded, selfish, navel-gazing, hypocritical bullies. I, happily, know that this is not the case, but way to destroy your global image.

PS, Al could well be an Aussie.
haha

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 9:03 am CDT
Fucking rednecks. Jim: you think like a retard, talk like a retard, ergo....

Bigrig: LOL, the "stranded motorist" argument is brilliant. Wonder how many H2 drivers catch a lift from a hippie when they run out of gas. Tool.

BRB, I'm going in search of the moralistic argument for being 400 lbs. I miss Twinkies.
jim

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 9:44 am CDT
jane, so you know my ancestors were from ireland, including one named joseph plunkett. considering how you treated the irish you deserved eveything you got, and more. you can just imagine how i felt about havivg to be stationed in england. and yes, we still have troops in england, protecting your ass. i don't like it any more then you. go bow to your queen and get off my lawn.
H2Owner

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 10:10 am CDT
Is really possible that so many commentators here have their heads squarely buried? What a collection of small minded "useful idiots"; if there is a vehicle on the road that defines "moral" as this article would have you believe, it is the Prius. A vehicle that takes 3 times the energy to build than a Hummer. (Look it up!) As for small penis's, you may be correct there, my wife drives ours!

TPaine
Moral Authority
Jane

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 10:45 am CDT
GUEST COMMENT said:

Don't be so presumptuous - I may have been born in GB, but 3/8 Great-Grandparents are Irish Catholic (Donegal and Derry), the rest were Scottish, Anglo-Jewish or Cornish-French Grandparents, obviously their progeny, half Irish/half Scots, Scottish, Anglo-Jewish, and Half Irish/Half Cornish. I would imagine my links to those actively involved in the troubles are a hell of a lot closer than yours. This doesn't stop me thinking that this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jKDuEG1KcRM/SKW6j0f1PSI/AAAAAAAADsc/rs-Ht8s6Cwc/s400/Omagh+bomb+aftermath.jpg is wrong and will not stop me from remembering the x-ray of a baby with a nail through the front of its head as a result. BTW, incase you are unaware for any reason, Omagh is in Ireland. Violence begets violence, no one wins, people just get hurt.

And leave the Queen alone, at least a Constitutional Monarchy stops us from having an autocracy such as your own. (although, must say, quite like Obama).
Anselm53

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 10:49 am CDT
"considering how you treated the irish you deserved eveything you got, and more. "

My ancestors - probably a lot closer than yours - were also from Ireland a that is a load of cobblers. Do the donations to the IRA (which was shooting/blowing up/destabilising society - its own society, mostly, and killing mostly other Irish people) also count under the 'private donations to foreign aid' heading?

Would the same sentiments - got what you deserved - still apply if it was Al Qa'eda talking about 9/11?

(Clue: not in either case, imho)

Unscientific
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Like 0 Dislike
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 10:53 am CDT
Heh. Do I have to reveal my ancestral underpinnings to participate in this discussion? Christ...

There is exactly ONE argument for driving an H2, and I'll tell you what it is:

"This is what I want to drive, and I ain't give a fuck what you think, or how it impacts the planet."

If H2 owners made this simple argument, I could at least respect them for being honest with themselves and others. ANY other argument, including "preservation of the American pioneer spirit," "I can pull ur hippie car out of a ditch," or whatever, is utterly childlike in its construction, and should result in immediate revocation of one's license to use the internet. Among other things.
Jane

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 11:05 am CDT
Jim, perhaps this is a better illustration of what happened in Omagh. Noth especially Breda Devine, aged 20 months, and Maura Monaghan, 18 months and her mother, Avril, who was expecting twins.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/dec/21/northernireland.topstories33

Now stfu. Lets get back to cars.


Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 11:19 am CDT
jane my dear, you trying to re-write history. you english have killed many more irish babies, read your own history. now stfu, go to the corner mosque in your town and pray the muslims are nicer to you then you were to the irish, or for that matter to the muslims.
jim

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 11:26 am CDT
jane, not at all impressed with your heritage. look up joseph plunkett. there is no more brutal history in the world then that of the british empire. going around the world, killing millions in asia, europe, middle east, africa, and yes even north america. i will be glad when it finally is no more.right now it is on the longest suicide in history, just finish the job, please.
Ryan

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 1:54 pm CDT
Obviously the only reasons for buying a hummer is for running over gypsies, and having a pussy magnet /end story
Diggiman

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 4:40 pm CDT
I like the anti-American statements as much as we all like racist comments, sexist comments or other ill-informed rhetoric. Americans be proud of who we are, what our history is and what we can achieve. We do not have to be proud of "products" as some core component of our national identity. Products come and go. America should not. Get to the core of what I think is wrong here.

Mass stereotypes are unhealthy and I see a lot of small minded people on here throwing insults that are really unrelated to the topic but instead rooted in ignorance and prejudice. The Hummer sells on identity alone. It is not a clear leader in any technological fashion in the civilian incarnation. It sells based on identity. But what else do most vehicles sell on? Clothes? Any consumer product? If this was not the case there would not be a need for brands.

There are few people that buy clothes based on their environmental impact. What about dish soap? The impact a Hummer has is clear. That does not mean it is the worst. There are things far worse for the planet. Burning wood in Africa is a great example. Now there are vast differences here but stay with me.

The hate for the Hummer is not the love for the environment. Hate for the Hummer is hate of a brand and product that has been vilified. This hate is as ill-informed as the love of the same vehicle. It is emotion over a product? Why not the same emotion over wood in Africa? Because it does not have a brand and all of you are falling into a trap of consumerism. Love brand x, brand y is for evil people.

You can hide behind a flag or in front of a fake claim to be concerned with the environment but so few people are. In the end and at the heart of this matter you are just falling into commercial behavior and mass stereotypes. Both are ignorant.
Childish in the USA

Guest Comment
Wed, Sep 23, 2009, 5:17 pm CDT
"If H2 owners made this simple argument, I could at least respect them for being honest with themselves and others. ANY other argument, including "preservation of the American pioneer spirit," "I can pull ur hippie car out of a ditch," or whatever, is utterly childlike in its construction, and should result in immediate revocation of one's license to use the internet. Among other things."


What amazes me is that the arguments against an H2 (or H3 for that matter) are themselves childish and selfish. Go figure....

While one could almost make the argument concerning fuel economy & probably usage, one cannot always assume that the lady driving the H2 to work doesn't take it out in the back country on the weekends. One can't assume that the single person in a suburban driving to work has it just to suck fuel and have a big 'penis-boosting' vehicle. I own one car and one motorcycle. The car I own is a suburban, because it can haul 8 people. And has done so on many occasions. While it does not always haul 8, it IS sufficient for my needs enough that I don't have two cars. (And if I did own two cars I would be lambasted by some of the childish people here for having too many cars....). It is old, it has over 200,000 miles on it, probably has another 200,000 to go before major repairs are needed, and gets 17+mpg on the highway (which is better than my S10 pickup got). Sure there are probably more economical vehicles out there fuel-wise, but it works. But if I happen to make a trip, many people see one person inside and assume that I am some sort of wasteful tiny-penis-having egomaniac.

What happens when people ASSume is quite predictable. And sad.

Again, until you folks stop looking into other people's checking accounts for happiness, you'll never have any.
unscientific is right to

Guest Comment
Thu, Sep 24, 2009, 10:01 am CDT
plain and simple, people who drive hummers are just defiant and don't care about what they do to harm others. they don't give the slightest concern for the air their children (or neighbors' children if we are lucky enough for them to be sterile) will be breathing 10 years from now and i think it is a shame for them to do all this damage while we ALL suffer the consequences. they give americans a bad name and the problem is bigger than hummers. it is not about being in each other's pockets or demanding a person spends money on one thing over another. think about your impact- that's all.
al is right

Guest Comment
Thu, Sep 24, 2009, 10:08 am CDT
GUEST COMMENT said:
Al is Right said: ""i [sic] should be able to spend my money on whatever i [sic] like" argument is so small-minded."

Actually, the "You should only spend your earnings on what *I* approve of." argument is the small-minded one. Who are YOU to decide what another human who has labored, gotten sweaty and expended THEIR resources and energy to earn should be allowed to spend those earnings on? Who are YOU to decide which products are acceptable and which are not?"
when will you people understand it is not just about money. you missed the entire planetary and environment impact part, huh? clearly it is a free country and you can spend your money on whatever you want- the shameful part is you do ZERO thinking about what these things will be and what they mean to the bigger picture. you are ignorant and choose to stay that way. god forbid you tried at all or at least a little harder. your choices hurt everyone around you and feed people on foreign soil- i only throw that in because you pretend to be a patriot.
but by all means, please do keep paying for all that foreign oil, the muslims really love collecting all that money you decide to give them filling up your dream "car".
a real patriot cares about his country and not just his image. a real patriot wants all american children to breathe clean air. a real patriot doesn't serve foreign governments by financially supporting the oil industry.
jksymz75

Guest Comment
Fri, Oct 09, 2009, 1:35 pm CDT
I wonder how those frontiersmen will feel now that their brand is owned by the Chinese.
cheap used cars" target="_blank">samy

Guest Comment
Fri, Oct 29, 2010, 8:40 am CDT

This site is very usefull and more inforemataion Hummer owners claim moral high ground to excuse overconsumption They investigated various Internet expressions of anti-Hummer sentiment, but they were equally interested in the ways Hummer owners framed themselves as "moral protagonists" in the ongoing debate over consumer values.I not like this .

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samy




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Genomic Repairman
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Fri, Oct 29, 2010, 9:10 am CDT

Greatest discussion ever.  Vitriol brings me delight.


Nikkilina
Washington University School of Medicine
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Fri, Oct 29, 2010, 9:35 am CDT

It is rather entertaining!

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