Corona and SUV – Two heavyweights as communicating tubes
Often discussed and shared by both: measures in relation to their personal, social and existential impact – what motivates ‘proportionality’ and ‘getting by’.
SUV and Life Concepts
Linking SUV traffic dominance and Corona pandemic, like a blueprint. reveals some of the forces currently colliding.
SUVs are a mainstream anchored success model. They are established on the market in all shades. As a ‘plus’ format for an individual, flexible and pushing-through lifestyle.
SUV life and mobility concepts
SUVs have provided the individual with “unlimited” mobility in terms of functional and image benefits. Wherever, whenever, offroad. Own ways, with plenty of space and room for all situations, for family, everyday life and work, for hobbies, interests and vacations, etc. An all-round format for individual freedom and potential. It is the segment that continues to grow and that has virtually “cloned” all segments in all shades and marks the lifestyle today. And they sensually – felt and from the traditional image – in whatever situation – in traffic, off-road, in life – they provide a pleasant and secure “getting through” of one’s own.
Zooming into the image traditions regarding the origin of the SUVs, shows how loaded SUVs are with images of “heroic” survival forces, such as those historically anchored in the media by the jeeps in the battlefield.
Corona and personally getting through
Corona has temporarily canceled this privilege. The individual doesn’t get through “freely” anymore (no ‘breaking out’). The culture of individualism building on individualism, freedom of movement and multi-optionality is subject to the rules of the society and explicitly ‘socialized’ according to other rules of the game.
Applying rules without exception and no matter if and how the individual is personally affected by Corona, is extremely unusual. In spite of the fact that everyday life exists on continuously following rules.
What is unbalancing here is the disproportion between the risk of infection and the economic and social consequences – it can cost many lives and ‘prosperity’ its’ own head. The ‘proportional’ measure seems strange.
Proportionality of means
The discussion about the proportionality of means also hits the core of the SUV culture: that a society with SUVs drives ‘massiveness’ as a mainstream model for mobility and lifestyle. The tension between freedom, space consumption (in everyday life – parked and in traffic) and resource balance (consumption, use, environmental consequences, etc.) exposes the concept and its comprehensive benefits as a (symbolic) problem carrier for disproportionality of “self-interest” and overall benefits). They are prototypical for the conflicts in which society has become entangled.
SUVs and Corona are both anchored in an existential field: SUVs from their image tradition and Corona in terms of media and facts. Even if SUVs cannot “escape” from the situation, for their drivers they often act as a “shelter” against being exposed to and among the many (felt emotional distance – from ‘aloof’ format and social status).
A situation applying to all vehicles and their benefits – and antagonistic to claims for more car-free city sectors or pop-up bike paths, etc.
Conflicting goals: Getting through – but not ‘me first’
Benefit and damages are inseparably intertwined. SUVs cannot simply be “abolished” if at the same time their mobility concept is tailor-made for prosperity and individualism, a dredo for many.
Resulting in an ongoing ambiguity and a ‘pat’ in the interrelation between individual and society and, in general, between tradition and innovation within cultural evolution.