The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Eight

It’s not the biggest hit TTAC’s ever had; that honor, in the post-Farago era at least, goes to a short piece Ronnie Schreiber wrote about the “Porsche Design Soundbar” last year. But my analysis of the Audi ad was the fastest-moving long-form to appear on the site since my Lamborghini Urus opinion piece of 2012. And it could have been even bigger; thanks to a combination of factors including me being slow to respond on an editing question or two because I was on the way to Indianapolis to get measured for a Nomex race suit, we sent it out the door seven hours later than we should have.

Oh well. If wishes were fishes, we’d all eat salmon every night the way my father is doing in his unstinting effort to live forever. The artcle was, and continues to be, remarkably popular nonetheless, thanks to links in from a variety of general-interest heavy-hitter sites like Instapundit and the “Kotaku In Action” subreddit. As you’d expect, many of those non-automotive outlets are far more concerned with the general societal implications of the advertisement in question than they are interested in what it means for the car business.

Given some of the recent political sensitivity at TTAC among both readers and management, I made every effort to ensure that this editorial was clearly marked “before the jump” as a potentially controversial opinion piece. The opening paragraphs, and even the title, should have made the readers aware that I’d be addressing issues outside the stark sales-statistic meat-and-potatoes that defines the site’s current content and direction.

Apparently, there was one jagoff out there who didn’t see all the warning signs and managed to accidentally electrocute himself on the third rail of having to read something besides December’s CUV sales rankings.

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The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Seven

The AP Stylebook says that it’s no longer appropriate to mention race in crime-related news stories. The provided exception, mais bien sur, is the James Byrd case, because it’s a case where white people targeted a black person for violence based on nothing but the color of his skin. (In cases where the races are reversed, as in so-called polar bear hunting, the AP Stylebook appears to recommend that the story be buried or deleted.) It’s also appropriate, we are told, to mention race when it is related to civil rights or slavery. I’m reminded of the Dilbert comic where the narrator says something along the lines of “The only appropriate way to portray women in sci-fi is as starship captains.”

Of course, since journalists are lazy by default, the old (and admittedly racist) headlines of “Blacks riot at mall” or “Blacks attack old man on street” have simply been changed to “Teens riot at mall” or “Teens attack old man on street”. The aliens who listen closely to our news broadcasts are probably shocked by the way in which undifferentiated teenagers have replaced undifferentiated African-Americans as the nation’s greatest criminal threat; everybody else just reads the “dog whistle” and nods knowingly.

Luckily I don’t cover the crime beat so I don’t have to devote much though to any of the above. But when I mentioned the race of an Escalade driver in my Zimmer review, at least one reader decided to take me to task. Was he right to do so?

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The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Six


Never believe what people tell you they want. Yesterday’s No Fixed Abode was widely reviled as being inside-baseball journalist-drama time-wasting — yet it did more traffic on Day One than any supercar review I’ve done on TTAC has ever seen. In that article, I mention my time as a fast-food worker, leading “VoGo”, one of our more prolific commenters, to write the above.

I don’t require that anybody agree with me, ever — which is why I value VoGo despite his steadfast opposition to the vast majority of what I write. When I read the comment above, however, I realized that Mr. VoGo and I inhabit very different worlds.

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The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Five


Imagine this guy’s disappointment when he opened Moby-Dick for the first (and last) time, only to find that there was no video of a dick.

As Strother Martin once, said, “Some men you just can’t reach.”

Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings for a moment, because I think this is a good jumping-off point for a brief discussion about why video hasn’t quite killed the journalism star.

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The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Four


What would you call somebody who turns down a challenge to a race then tries to snitch on you to your employer? You’d call that person a coward, if not worse.

Yamaha’s Bruce Steever is a coward, if not worse.

And he has wayyyyy too many skeletons in his closet to be a snitch.

Let’s take a look.

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The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-Three


Let’s take a moment to be honest with ourselves. Is the kind of lazy, sloppy, corrupt writing that plagues automotive journalism really a problem? When MotorTrend reviewed the current Viper, Lieberman ranted that “luxury and driveability have been sacrificed” and that “driving the manual is hard” and that the Viper is “hot inside”.

None of that is even remotely true. I’m not even sure Jonny is stupid enough to believe the lines they’re having him read. I think the “creative” team at MT understands that videos like this get a lot of YouTube clicks. A click from someone who hates you pays the same as a click from somebody who likes you. That’s the business.

So what? So what if MotorTrend slanders the Viper? In the immortal words of our next President, what difference does it make?

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The Critics Respond, Part Thirty-One


My editorial for R&T yesterday on the uninspiring nature of electric “performance” cars generated all sorts of responses, at least a few of which somehow decided from reading nothing but the headline that I was in favor of electric cars and proceeded to call me an idiot for it. And then you have this fellow above, who thinks I should check out a Yamaha RZ350. As fate would have it, I did check out a Yamaha RZ350, some thirty-two years ago.

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The Critics Respond, Part Thirty


This past Monday night, I sat down and wrote two quick pieces that did not, at the time, seem terribly controversy-inducing to me. The first one, for TTAC, discussed the fact that middle class families cannot afford new cars. The second one, for Road&Track, explained why you shouldn’t disable stability control while driving on the street or during your first few trackdays as a novice. Insofar as I supported the first article with a lot of numbers, mostly sourced from other, reasonably well-respected sources, and I drew on twelve years’ worth of experience coaching trackday drivers for the second article, I didn’t think that either one would cause too many people to break out in the fookin’ fury.

Boy, was I wrong, mostly because I didn’t pay enough attention to Sigmund Freud when I was younger.

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The Critics Respond, Part Twenty-Nine


Surprise! You probably thought this was going to be about my long-hair-don’t-care article, which went flat-out viral over the past twenty-four hours and at one point held the top spot on at least three major “subreddits” at once. It’s generated several thousand comments across the Internet, nearly all of them falling into one of two camps: women saying “yes, this happens to me all the time” and men saying “OMG WHAT A LIAR SJW FAGET I COULD BEAT HIM UP FROM THE COMFORT OF MY GAMING CHAIR USING THE POWER OF MY SOUL.”

Truth be told, I wouldn’t even know where to begin sifting through all the traffic, drama, and conversation that post has generated. I’ll get around to it once the storm subsides. In the meantime, there’s a more important thing happening: a woman on the Internet is saying that I’m a lousy lay.

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