The holidays do tend to warm up the fellow-feeling quotient, and put you off your cynic's game.
So when I glimpsed the bright, fleeting message on a television ad for Hummers, a spot called "Hummer Helps,'' I first thought, charitably, "Whaddya know - Hummer is making nice! Maybe it's going hybrid? Or maybe just ... going?''
Then I saw it again. It's a video litany of natural disasters, of wind and rain and snow and donder and blitzen, punctuated with images of lesser vehicles incapacitated by the elements, while Hummers sail serenely through. Hummer helps? Helps what? Helps to contribute to that capricious global warming mess in the first place? Helps the Hummer owner on his me-first-me-last mission?
I should have known better than to expect better. The last Hummer ad that grabbed my attention presented a Norman Rockwellian soapbox derby theme. The ad showed a kid building a little wooden Hummer-like vehicle from planks he stole from a doghouse -- with the dog still inside -- and then cheating by taking off-road short-cuts to beat the other kids' ''lesser mobiles'' to the finish line.
Come to think of it, the latest ad really did deliver a Hummer holiday message. Here it is: "Piss on Earth, goodwill to ... me.''