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The Rezvani Vengeance.Handout

What do you get the family who has everything, including lots of enemies? Why not the new Rezvani Vengeance, an SUV that appeals to the most extreme family-values stereotypes while at the same time channelling a Nordic death metal aesthetic. Designed by a video game developer for California-based Rezvani Motors, the Vengeance is a “luxury meets military” vehicle. It can seat up to eight passengers and comes standard with a 6.2-litre V8 engine. It has collision warning, a panoramic sunroof and Apple Carplay.

Oh, and if you buy the “Military Package” you get bulletproof glass and body armour, underside explosive protection, smoke screen, military run-flat tires, thermal night vision system, reinforced suspension, electromagnetic pulse protection, ram bumpers, optional explosive device detection, bulletproof vests and helmets, electrified door handles, siren and horn options, strobe lights, blinding lights, intercom system, magnetic dead bolts, gas masks, first aid kit, hypothermia kit and pepper spray dispenser.

The Rezvani Vengeance has been hailed online for its family-style paramilitary delights as the SUV that “lets you take the whole family zombie hunting.” It’s been called “the ultimate apocalyptic family hauler. Of course, in North American society, when we say family, we often mean “mothers.” The Rezvani, which also makes the Tank and Tank Military Edition and the Hercules 6X6 (the tag line is “The god of all trucks”), appears to be aimed at moms who want to make sure the kids get to school on time, even if that means obliterating everything in their path.

“The most frightening thing about this weaponized monster of an SUV,” writes Oliver Wainwright, the Guardian’s architecture and design critic, “is that it is aimed not at military personnel, but at everyday soccer moms.”

After all, what parent (of any gender) has not dreamt of pepper-spraying and electrocuting potential assailants? Consider the TikTok influencer who posted a video shilling the Vengeance to moms who crave a little more protection. It’s a harrowing performance in post-capitalist obsequiousness. Her hollow eyes betray a feral hunger for approval as she extols the automobile’s “momorable” features. Her giddy chirping conjures up fantasies of what one might imagine would happen if despair and greed mated and gave birth to venal sin. The high point comes when a man pretends to grab a door handle and then mimes being pepper sprayed. Thousands of years from now, when cockroaches rule the Earth, this video will be the kind of critical archeological evidence that distinguished cockroach historians will use to answer the question “Why did human beings go extinct?”

Given the pressures of parenthood in the age of COVID, high interest rates and climate change, I am sure most moms dream of electrocuting or pepper spraying someone at least three to four times a day. But this act may not be tops on their lists. Let’s assume Rezvani does want to capture the soccer mom market. If so, they should consider widening its features.

Why not include:

  • Chocolate-covered pretzel dispenser
  • Better mirrors to see kids in back and babies in rear-facing car seats
  • Locked back-seat snack dispensers that can be preloaded and then opened by the push of a button
  • Shades for breastfeeding in the car
  • Easy lockdown systems for stuff you throw in the back or back seat, so it doesn’t fly around
  • Mute button for partner in passenger seat
  • “It’s Wine O’Clock” floor mats
  • Cloak of Invisibility
  • Cappuccino/Lorazepam IV drip

I’m sure such features would appeal to dads as well.

The Rezvani Vengeance slogan is “Vengeance is Yours.” This should be a red flag to any potential buyer. After all, the original line in Romans 12:19-21 is, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.” There’s nothing in there about pepper spray, electrocution or heated seats.

The concept of luxury military SUVs also misses the fact that assailants who are hellbent on attack will not simply cease when confronted by new technology. When the Allies invented tanks in the First World War the Germans didn’t just go “Well, that’s that” and give up. They invented anti-tank weapons. Likewise, if an SUV becomes a tank, then diligent assailants will get anti-tank weaponry. There’s nothing more human than using all your intellect, creativity and willpower to find a new way to kill another human being (see: cockroach historians).

Who will buy the Vengeance? It’s hard to predict. Moms with scores to settle? People with almost as much money as they have safety concerns. The starting price is $285,000. It rises to $499,000 with all the add-ons. That’s a hefty bill but it might tempt some. What mom wouldn’t want to pull up to the drive-thru in her 007-style luxury-military SUV armoured vehicle and, when asked for her name, reply, “Mom, James’s Mom.”