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Jewish Journal

Fill ‘Er Up With Guilt

by Gaby Wenig

December 26, 2002 | 7:00 pm

What do you think you're doing when you pump gallons of gas into your SUV?If you think that you are simply doing a necessary weekly chore of no great consequence, then Laurie David, a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council and wife of comedian Larry David, wants you to think again.

On Dec. 19 at a forum on energy independence hosted by the American Jewish Congress, David revealed a new anti-oil television advertising campaign designed to make the suburban soccer-mom set shudder with shame every time they pull into a gas station. The ads are a parody of President Bush's war on drugs ads, and they feature talking heads saying, "Today I helped hijack a plane" and "Today I helped our enemies develop weapons of mass destruction." They end with the tag line: "What is your SUV doing to national security?"

David produced the ads along with Arianna Huffington, film producer Lawrence Bender and Ariel Emanuel, a partner at Endeavor Talent Agency. These four call their efforts The Detroit Project, and the aim of the ads is to encourage American car manufacturers to produce hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius, which use much less fuel than SUVs and get more miles to the gallon. If Americans can use less gas, then America can decrease its dependence on Saudi Arabian oil. The Thinking goes: If Saudi Arabia loses a large chunk of the American oil market, then it will have less money to support terrorism and radical Islamists, and the world just might be a safer place.

The Detroit Project plans to air the ads in select markets a week before President Bush's State of the Union address. Their goal is to make you feel uncomfortable about taking the SUV out for a spin. "The time has come," David said. "Drastic times call for drastic measures"

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