Jim Hightower

Eau d' Obnoxious


The Hummer—it’s not just for driving anymore.

Indeed, you can now splash the essence of Hummer all over your body! General Motors, the maker of this massive symbol of automotive macho, has now licensed a new Hummer cologne calling it “The Essence of Adventure,†and pricing it as high as $52 for a Hummer-shaped bottle of the stuff. The scent is advertised as being “masculine with rugged and adventurous attributes.†They go further, promising that this new fragrance “embodies all that Hummer is.â€

Hmmm. The Hummer is an absurdly-expensive, gas-guzzling, low-performance, high-polluting, gussied-up chunk of automotive junk. What would that smell like? Besides, these days I see many more women driving these behemoths than men. Forget the masculinity pitch, this thing has turned into a girlie car! I suggest they’d do better with a perfume than a cologne—preferably one with the alluring scent of money. If it’s a real man’s car you’re after, you want the International CXT pickup truck. Weighing 14,500 pounds, reaching nine feet tall, and stretching 21 and a half feet long, you could put a Hummer in the pickup bed of this honker! In fact, this beast will tow 20 tons and has to have air brakes to make it stop.

Yet, it’s got the luxuries you need, too—leather seats, wood grain trim, a drop-down DVD player, and whatnot. Speaking of luxury, it gets only seven miles per gallon, requiring about $130 each time you fill up its 70-gallon diesel tank. Then there’s the price tag—up to $115,000 with all the options.

That’s pricey, but think of all the Hummer men you can intimidate. As CXT’s marketing director says, “This is not a soccer mom’s vehicle. I can’t see the wife picking up groceries with it.†In a CXT, you can look down on a Hummer and truthfully say, “Mine’s bigger than yours.â€


After a recent congressional vote on the “Freedom to Read Protection Act,†one angry member said, “You win some, and some get stolen.†He was a Republican, defying George W., John Ashcroft, and his own party’s top leadership in Congress—all of whom lobbied furiously (and unethically) to defeat this act, which sought to ensure one of our most basic American liberties: the right to keep government snoops and bullies from secretly spying on the reading habits of perfectly innocent citizens. Bush, Ashcroft & Gang, however, had undermined this fundamental freedom with a nasty provision they tucked into their infamous, liberty-busting USA Patriot Act in 2001. It allows federal agents to get a secret order from a secret court to walk into any public library or bookstore and demand the records of any and all patrons, without showing anyone—even the court—any evidence that the people being investigated are involved in any criminal activity whatsoever. It’s jackbooted autocratic power like this that led to the American revolution.

And just as in 1776, today’s librarians, bookstore owners, writers, and freedom-loving people of all political stripes have risen up against the Bushites’ authoritarian, un-American intrusion into our privacy. This grassroots uprising led to the Freedom to Read Act, which would have halted the intrusion.

The good news is that the act passed 219 to 201. The sad news is that the GOP hierarchy then cheated. They held the vote open beyond the 15 minutes allowed by the rules, taking an extra 23 minutes while the leaders broke the arms of nine Republicans, forcing them to switch votes. This finally produced a 210-210 tie, defeating the act. In other words, the Bushites stole it… and they also stole an important piece of our liberties.

But we’ve only begun to fight. To join the uprising, call The American Library Association: 800-545-2433.