They call it "rolling coal" or "hybrid repellent." It is what it sounds like: "pollution porn for dudes with pickup trucks," a setup that costs hundreds or thousands of bucks and gives liberal-hatin' drivers a way to protest Obama by puking clouds of exhaust smoke on little lefties in their lefty cars.
"Prius Repellent" is a perfect introduction to one of the Obama era's great conservative subcultures: the men and women who "roll coal." For as little as $500, anyone with a diesel truck and a dream can install a smoke stack and the equipment that lets a driver "trick the engine" into needing more fuel. The result is a burst of black smoke that doubles as a political or cultural statement—a protest against the EPA, a ritual shaming of hybrid "rice burners," and a stellar source of truck memes.
The "Prius repellent" decal is easy to find on truck fan sites, as are memes of single or double stack trucks humiliating the drivers of smaller cars. There are videos of "hot babes" getting rolled on, and a mega-popular video (more than 3 million views) of an annoying Prius driver complaining about diesel. "She makes me want to do a John Force style burn out right in front of her," observed one critic on DieselBurners.com.
Weigel shares a couple of videos and pics of these redneck machismo machines, which are unremarkable in their repressed brotherly homosociality (Truck Nutz!), save for the addition of diesel-pumping stacks, unseen fuel-mix enrichers, and overt douchebaggery:
Weigel makes an interesting insight, though I can't really get on board with it:
The liberals seem a little surprised that conspicuous consumption—waste, even—could be a method of protest. They shouldn't be. The motivation for political coal rolling is roughly the same one that gets people buying guns and ammo after mass shootings. The expectation, every time, is that liberals will capitalize on the shootings to ban guns, so it's time to stock up.
Well, that doesn't really sufficiently explain this phenomenon. First, ammunition and arms are potentially, but not inherently, dangerous. Clouds of diesel soot, on the other hand, are immediate hazards for bikers and walkers and crawlers; you don't have to believe in climate change to know that.
Second, what's being stockpiled here? You could stock up on fuel, sure; but to make your fuel-air mix burn so richly that it sharts enough plume to kill a trench full of Belgian fusilliers? That's a waste of your money, and a gummer-up of cylinder walls. What hi-tech redneck wants that... unless the whole point is just to piss off a libtard? Which seems to be a fairly consistent narrative arc among Weigel's characters.
But what Weigel elides here is really important: the hidden assumption that these dudes actually are pissing off their political adversaries. It's a pretty egocentric notion that a liberal, or any stranger, gives three hoots about these huckleberries' displays of bravado beyond the superficial. The conservative impulse to performed crudeness owes as much to self-centeredness as the conservative political ideology does: "I'm Me, the Me-est Me there'll ever be, and Me will show you why you need to get off My back!"
These Bocephuses don't miss the point that climate change, progressive taxation, street laws and sundry other facets of civil society aren't about them; in fact, their grievances are borne out of a deep conviction that public policy should be about them. Any public policy that doesn't have them as its heart and soul is, well, socialism. And it's evil. As the old men say: "Paranoia means always being the center of attention."