Hogan's Alley

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's Not Enough To Do Good, You Must Be Seen As A Do-gooder

Erik Jacobs for The New York Times

Well, it has now been proven by research, as reported in the NY Times, that the main reason people buy the rather ugly and somewhat impractical Toyota Prius when they want a hybrid car is that owning it, "Makes a statement about me."

There surely are other valid choices when seeking a hybrid. Toyota itself sells an hybrid version of its popular Camry. Ford has the Escape SUV hybrid and Saturn has the VUE SUV hybrid. But only the Prius can be spotted from a block away as a hybrid. Fully 57% of buyers surveyed this year site as their reason for buying a Prius that everyone else will see them and know that they are good people who want to do something positive for the environment. As the Times says, it has become the automotive equivalent of the brightly colored plastic bracelets that announce one's contribution to a raft of good causes.

My question is, what is missing in these people that they require outside validation of their goodness? Shouldn't it be enough for them to know that they are good? It seems to be necessary that they proclaim themselves holier than the rest of us in our gas guzzlers.

Added: Of course, if you decide to boogey down highway at 100 mph while holding a bag of weed and some of all the major psychotropic and pain meds known to man, you may just get noticed too much.

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