The Critics Respond, Part Thirty

critics

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.


It’s from Freud that we get the idea of the narcissistic injury and “narcissistic rage”. This is one of those situations where the Wiki editor really did his job, so let’s quote him:

Narcissistic injury occurs when a narcissist feels that their hidden ‘true self’ has been revealed. This may be the case when the narcissist has a fall from grace, such as when their hidden behaviors or motivations are revealed or when their importance is brought into question. Narcissistic injury is a cause of distress and can lead to dysregulation of behaviors as in narcissistic rage.

The DSC article brought out the narcissistic rage in full, mostly via the comments on R&T’s Facebook page. Hundreds of commenters called for me to be fired, banned from driver instruction, and/or beaten to death. I thought about including a few of the more unhinged comments and honestly there are too many candidates for inclusion. I’m paralyzed by choice. Somebody even created a Twitter account for the sole purpose of attacking me:

boyracer

Do you think that would make him feel better? It’s hard to screencap a spreadsheet but here you go:

spreadsheet

For my own amusement, I chose ten of my worst detractors at random and I looked through their Facebook pages. There wasn’t a licensed racer in the group. Most of them weren’t even advanced-group drivers; half of them appeared to have no track time under their belts at all. At the same time, I had a lot of experienced racers and instructors chiming in to agree with me either in full or in part. So I decided to keep skimming the comments until I found a racer. Finally, I found somebody who said he was a professional driver for Porsche:

chadwick

Alas, he’s not really a racer. He’s a university student who “canyon carves” in his old Cayman. Still, note the absolute certainty in his voice. It’s the worst article he’s ever read. He’s never laughed harder. And yet he’s never won a race. Never entered a race. Never coached a student. In short, he doesn’t have a single fucking clue about what it means to drive fast. Why does he feel empowered to lash out?

The answer is that I did him a narcissistic injury. I suggested that he needed DSC (in his Cayman, it’s PSM) to keep him from making major mistakes at the limit of the tires. While I didn’t criticize him directly, I did refer to novice trackday students and street-only drivers. In short, I listed two categories to which he would belong, and I stated that drivers in that category would be better served by using stability control.

The way he, and many other readers, took it was this: You don’t know how to drive. And it caused them to lose their minds. I was insulting their perceived skill or ability, and they were unable to handle it with any other response but sheer rage. And hundreds of people called for the article to be removed from the R&T website. In other words, they were so triggered by my statements that they needed those statements to be hidden from their view.

Am I the only person in America who sees how fuckin’ stupid that is? When I read something in Guitar Player that says, “Most average guitarists can’t improvise over the modes,” do I contact the magazine and scream at them to TAKE IT DOWN? When SportsCar says that regional autocrossers are inconsistent on faster courses, do I DEMAND AN APOLOGY? What is wrong with people when they can’t even accept general statements based on a decade-plus of experience in the field? Is this where we are as a society?

Oh, well. You really can’t get away with telling anybody that they don’t know how to drive. The plain fact is that you have to get to a pretty high level just to understand how slow you are — and you have to get to a higher level than that to truly understand what the very best drivers can accomplish. I have much less confidence in my driving now than I did when I was seventeen, and that’s with a shelf full of trophies that I didn’t have then.

It was the response to the TTAC article that truly shocked me. The ad hominems really came out in force when I stated what everybody knows: middle-class people can’t afford new cars. The responses were variously pathetic and despicable. There was one guy who kept trying to bring Obama’s “blackness” into it, another guy who called me racist, fifty readers who wanted to brag about their own success, fifty more who wanted to lecture middle-class people that a) they didn’t have the right to own a new car and b) I didn’t have the right to discuss the matter. One fellow started frothing at the mouth about the fact that I have a couple of Porsches, as if that somehow disqualifies me from caring about the struggles of regular Americans.

It took me a while to realize why people were so upset. It was the part where I referred to the “post-2008” economy. Many readers took that as an attack on Mr. Obama. Well, when it comes to Mr. Obama I have nothing but contempt for him and the harm he’s done to the United States both foreign and domestic. As the New York Review Of Books pointed out last week, African-Americans have lost 31.4 percent of their buying power under Obama’s administration, while whites have gained 3.4 percent. What do you call a guy who takes from black people to give to whites? Do you call that man a hero, or do you call him a racist?

But what I didn’t figure on was that criticism of Mr. Obama is, by definition, a narcissistic injury to the people who voted for him, particularly the people who voted for him twice. I’ve never felt that personally caught up with my presidential vote, but apparently that attitude is not universal. Many of my readers make the following leaps of, er, logic:

Demonstrating the shitty condition of the American economy == criticism of Obama
Criticism of Obama == racism
Criticism of Obama == condemnation of anybody who voted for him

So when I point out that the median middle-class family makes $57,000 nowadays, I’m a racist. When I point out that healthcare costs have gone UP for the majority of employed Americans, I’m a racist. When I suggest that this country might be better off if working parents could afford a new Camry instead of a 10-year-old one to carry their children around…

wait for it…

…I’m a racist. Because the word “racist” today simply means, “anybody who disagrees with the entirely of the progressive platform, in its most current and aggressive version.” Anybody can be a racist, from Richard Dawkins to Jesse Jackson to the people who made this hyper-trigging, hugely offensive, racist advertisement:

racist

And when it turns out that the two girls doing the “racist” pose are sisters, people are still getting angry:

context

So it’s not okay to have your two kids pose any way they want to in an ad, because it might offend somebody who sees it and is not interested in anything other than the first impression that comes to their minds. And then it turns out that Gap did exactly the opposite thing a while ago and nobody complained:

reverse

The depressing conclusion to which I’ve come is that some major percentage of American readers consume media with the primary goals of either having their preconceptions confirmed (“Watch John Oliver DESTROY Racists Who Don’t Think Mormon Kids Should Be Held Down And Smeared With Feces From A San Francisco Bath House!”) or finding a target for their pre-loaded and pre-configured outrage. Very few people want to learn anything besides basic facts or figures, and the ones that do can’t handle any facts or figures that disagree with their feelings. This is not exclusively a liberal or conservative mindset. Not by far. It’s the American mindset. The imperial reader permits no disrespect to his self-image. You can’t tell him that he can’t drive for shit, even if he can’t. And you can’t tell him that the President he chose was responsible for the further destruction of the middle class in general and the black middle class in particular.

Is it any wonder, then, that car magazines find it difficult to run anything besides “The New Bentlayaggasaurus is LUXURY PERSONIFIED”? Is there anybody left out there who is capable of hearing some bad news? Will the last literate, classically-educated human being in the United States please turn out the lights, assuming there are any working power stations left to make ’em glow in the first place?

92 Replies to “The Critics Respond, Part Thirty”

  1. Scott T

    Before I realized it was sitting in my garage more than it was on the road (living in N. IL — snow belt) and I sold it, I always left traction control firmly ON when I open tracked my Z06. Even with it turned on – the car was handful. Screw anyone who thinks ESC is just a button to push before driving off.

    Reply
    • Ryan

      That’s why I have contemplated selling mine. Decided I would probably be doing a disservice to myself taking it out on track. I would undoubtedly be better off picking up a decent Miata or Neon and starting off that way. The thing scares the shit out of me, which is probably why the car is still in tact. Quite a few of them have bought “fast” and subsequently wrapped them around a lamp post because they thought they were better than the car.

      But then again, the car is a few payments away from being paid for. I’ve put 30k miles on it the past few summers, it’s a great GT car. Most women I’ve dated thought it was childish (which is a good thing), but their fathers and I always became quick friends. That alone was probably worth it.

      Reply
        • Ryan

          Deal. I was considering sending it in to “Ask Bark” for shits and giggles. It should draw less hate than the “Live at home ACR” kid.

          I applied to a few different Information Assurance grad programs. I might might end up quitting the desk job (unless they let me work remotely again) and doing school full time.

          I have no bills, and the car will be paid off in July. Even a shit job will cover insurance and rent, depending upon where I end up.

          Reply
          • Rock36

            I’m in it for the long run on my C6Z. It was my 30th birthday gift to myself the second time I returned home from Iraq in 2010. It’s paid off, and my wife tolerates it….and dare I say she actually supports it, because she knows there are worse things I could be interested in.

            I just put it on a track for the first time at the NCM motorsports park, and I’m hooked. I’ve already signed up for another event. I just gotta change my brakes already, because I worked all their remaining useable life on my first outing.

            I’ve drag raced it, ive honed it through the Schwäbische Albs in the summer with all rich Germans and their exotics, I’ve ran down one of the first 991 Carerra 4S in 2011 at 288+ kph on the A81 south of Heilbronn Germany just because I wanted see how my old stock C6Z would hang with the latest from Stuttgart… He couldn’t shake me btw. Quite foolish and stupid I know, but that was before my kiddos came along.

            In 2013 I sent it off Katech to breath new life into it so I would be tempted to trade up, and now I’m tracking it.

            I will literally drive the wheels off this car.

    • rpn453

      The one time I drove my buddy’s C6 Z06 I made sure it had the stability control on, and that was when it had brand new PS2s. Of course it did. He didn’t want to be a passenger for another ride like our other buddy gave him on the worn out OE tires after he first bought the car used. The guy is very comfortable with oversteer and was apparently doing some serious fishtailing all the way up to 80 mph. Fortunately, the realization of his limitations eventually happened safely on the track rather than the street that night.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvZpAbhSB0c

      Filmed by a nice R34 GT-R that he wanted to stay ahead of.

      Reply
  2. Bill

    As the father of two daughters I have never seen that photo, and have no idea what on earth is racist about it. But then again, I didn’t vote for Obama twice. Or once.

    Reply
  3. kvndoom

    I don’t get it…. what supposed to be racist about those pictures? Is the black girl being discriminated against because she’s not wearing a blue shirt?

    I’m dead serious. Why is it racist??

    Reply
  4. Ryan

    Well done sir – absolutely loved this. We are losing the ability to reason critically, and you have both illustrated this, as well as provided an insightful account of the methods by which it is occurring. You are performing a public service.

    Reply
    • Mike

      +1 – I knew some Americans wanted validation of their views. That is why they go to redstate.com or moveon.org.
      But TTAC whilst it has some of those people has a lot of what I would call sensible people who want to learn from an article and can have their views changed with reasoned argument.

      Reply
  5. Dave L

    You know they’ll all keep reading everything you write and great writers like you would rather be read than liked.

    Reply
  6. James

    George Orwell pointed out the existence of doublethink and other mental contortions, in a certain mode of thought; but doublethink is not inherently part of fascism, dictatorships, monarchies… The emperor claims authority from his lineage–a descendant of the Sun God, everything he says is inherently right. But the “dictatorship of the masses” claims authority from science and truth itself.

    A religious man can say that you, Jack, are wrong, when you disagree with him, because you disagree with the Holy Word–or, at least, his interpretation thereof. But a modern, enlightened American who disagrees with you is left with saying that you are wrong because… you are wrongness itself?

    It is an unfortunately subtle truth that the latter scenario is far worse for open discourse than the former…

    Reply
  7. jz78817

    I like to think I still have the ability to disagree with specific points of someone’s argument without dismissing their entire argument (or them entirely.)

    Reply
    • Rock36

      Similarly, I’ve found when I am able to articulate someone’s opposing opinion/viewpoint/idea/position and reasonably explain their rationality based on their value set, people tend to think I’m supporting them or sympathize and then proceed to attack me as well… Like holy fuck, I’m not even allowed to understand the people I disagree with… That just seems demented.

      Reply
      • jz78817

        it’s like Lewis Black said; “Just because I’m against going to war in Iraq DOESN’T MEAN I THINK SADDAM IS A GREAT GUY!!!!!”

        Reply
  8. Kvndoom

    As a middle class worker, I have to agree about the squeeze. Now some of it is self imposed-

    I started college at a school that wasn’t under our tuition reimbursement plan when I should have gone to community college. As a result I took on 22k of student loans. That’s down to 16 and My plan is to suffer through shelling out $800 a month and having those gone by the end of next year.

    We rushed and bought a house, when I really wanted to rent first and take our time. Circumstances were bad though. Karen’s mother was dying of cancer and we had to move her while she was still healthy enough to get around on her own. She was gone 3 months after we moved. Her landlord also sold the house she was renting before her lease was even up so she didnt get much notice. 2011 was a suckass summer. Needless to say, we rushed and we have paid the price since. Not as bad as the Money Pit, but it has been an expensive lesson.

    So yeah, times get tight, even with a 6 figure combined income. 3 kids in the house, and sadly the youngest at 17 is the most mature, so we work hard to get the “adults” to become adults. Electric bill is high (horrible central air system)’ water bill is high (5 people taking showers and washing clothes…), feeding 5 mouths… The two oldest begin paying rent this month though. I’m gonna use it to get shit paid off… THEN, if the house doesn’t throw me another multi-thousand dollar curve ball, I might buy myself a nice car. But damn ings are tight.

    Sure I could have stayed in my bachelor pad, had 2 or 3 cars paid off by now and just lauging to the bank with hardly any bills, but there’s a monetary price to pay for the happiness my life brings me.

    I’m not really complaining, just venting. TLDR I can relate to what Jack’s saying. Not all of us bring home 60 grand a year and still live in moms basement.

    Reply
  9. Dirty Dingus McGee

    There is a phrase the folks I ride with have adopted(not sure of it’s origins)

    “I would rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I ain’t”

    Reply
  10. S&M challenger

    Prepare for more narcissistic rage as the left continues to desintigrate. Their insane ideology becomes more apparent as they are destroying the world with extreme tolerance running contrary to common sense. They are kicking and screaming all the way as they desperately cling to the perpetual state of adolescence they prefer to dwell in..

    Reply
    • Mike

      Both sides extremes have a rigid mindset. That is why Trump is entertaining because he is shredding some long held Republican elite views (such as global trade agreements, H1B1 visa, Social Security isn`t the root of all evil etc) as not being aligned with what the Republican primary voter actually believes. Little Marco campaigned on a carbon copy of the elite GOP manifesto and see how well he did.

      Reply
  11. MrGreenMan

    If you are far enough into the red supremacist’s book about SJWs, you’ll see where he mentions that “I am laughing at you” is the strange psychological tic of this generation of Tumblr and combox warrior.

    Because, when you’re on target, they need to pretend they are above the conversation, so they lie and type, “I am laughing”.

    I have no idea what Geoff Tate would say about laughing and crying looking similar when typed out in a hugbox. Probably not the same with no sound; probably it depends on how many times it’s repeated.

    Reply
  12. Graham

    The reason that I continue to read this blog, despite not caring for everything that you have to say, is that you think. Racism, poverty, violence etc. are massive, complex problems. I think we’d be better off encouraging more thinking and spending less time confirming our biases. You’ve said it before with your concept of sucks/rocks logic. It’s the emotional logic and decision making that kills progress. Emotion is good for convincing myself that I like my Alfas. Not for intelligent discourse.

    Reply
  13. Rock36

    Jack, other than just keeping personal records for posterity, is there any other reason why you maintain a spreadsheet of track events? Does it feed any kind of ciriculum vitae for what you do?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It’s more for my own records, and because I had the kind of sad realization a few years ago that, thanks to concussions, I can’t remember all the BMX tracks and skateparks I rode during my biking career. I didn’t want that to be the case for cars.

      Reply
  14. Ronnie Schreiber

    Want to read something depressing?

    Why Many College Students Never Learn How to Write Sentences

    http://www.popecenter.org/commentaries/article.html?id=3350

    Most cannot find the subject and verb in a sentence longer than eight words. Why? Because many American public schools use a “reader-writer workshop” method of writing instruction that completely skips grammar. In these workshops, students and teachers sit in a circle, play the roles of reader and writer, and give encouraging feedback to essays written on the most inconsequential of personal topics. Lucy Calkins of Columbia University’s Teachers College invented this approach, which has spread widely in American public schools since the 1980s.

    That method cheats everyone through its rigid insistence that expressiveness is all that matters, and the skills in the basics of capitalization and periods don’t matter. Inner-city students suffer the most from this wrongheaded instruction, since most have little chance to pick up writing basics in their homes without books and reading.

    If you can’t compose a coherent sentence, you can’t compose a coherent thought. The educrat establishment apparently discarded teaching grammar some time ago in favor of “creativity”. The Associated Press style manual now has to explain to journalism graduates what the word “canonization” means.

    My generation, the baby boomers, have created a generation of complete and utter ignoramuses convinced of their own intellectual and moral superiority.

    I blame Tee-ball. I think that’s where it started, even before trophies for showing up. WTF do you learn about hitting a pitched baseball from hitting one off of a tee? It’s baseball, not golf.

    Today I asked my son, my only son, Moshe, whom I love, who will be 32 this year and now has two children of his own, if his mother or I ever once did anything to boost his self esteem. He raised an eyebrow and said, “Of course not.”

    Reply
  15. jz78817

    The depressing conclusion to which I’ve come is that some major percentage of American readers consume media with the primary goals of either having their preconceptions confirmed (“Watch John Oliver DESTROY Racists Who Don’t Think Mormon Kids Should Be Held Down And Smeared With Feces From A San Francisco Bath House!”) or finding a target for their pre-loaded and pre-configured outrage.

    yep. you’re not the only one. IMO the “mainstream media” is useless not because it’s “liberal” or some other such nonsense, but because it panders to people who just want their beliefs confirmed. It’s why Fox News exists, it’s why MSNBC continues to exist. I’ve long since sworn off discussing politics, religion, or society with anyone IRL because it takes about 10 seconds to turn into a shouting match. “How dare you tell me I’m wrong?!?!”

    I’m not afraid of opposing viewpoints. I don’t expect everyone else to agree 100% with me. On TTAC, I read all of Jack’s articles, all of Bark’s articles, all of Ronnie’s articles. If we disagree in the comments, so be it. With all three of you (since Jack, Bark, and Ronnie tend to post the more opinionated pieces) I bounce back and forth between agreeing and disagreeing with you. But I respect that your opinions are nuanced and not just regurgitated talking points.

    keep it up and don’t worry about it. I’ll read them, I’ll tell you when I agree with you, I’ll tell you when I disagree with you, and I’ll gladly drive/ride bikes/drink beers with any of you.

    Reply
    • Kvndoom

      Politics, religion, and sports. 3 things you should never talk about at work. The only downside of my job is how much the first two are discussed all the time. Sometimes I just go into another room, sometimes I put on headphones. Not to mention the gay bashing and islam bashing. Ugh some days it’s really thick.

      With all the religions in the world, everyone can’t be right. So it’s no better for christans to try to impose than it is for muslims or hindu or any one else dammit. If more people could just live and let live, we’d get farther.

      Reply
      • everybodyhatesscott

        No one would give a crap about muslims if they stopped going around blowing people up. Until they stop doing that, they can stick to their own countries.

        I do find your annoyance of islam bashing and gay bashing in the same sentence funny considering what they do to gays in islamic countries. It’s a little worse than not getting a wedding cake made.

        Reply
        • kvndoom

          They’d do it here too if they could. Wasn’t too long before I was born that the quality of life for my parents wasn’t that great. Sure, we don’t want trannies in our bathrooms. 50 years ago we didn’t want niggers in our bathrooms either.

          So we’re only better than Muslims because we have laws that keep us from enacting our murderous fantasies?

          People can speak their hatred and xenophobia all day and all night on their own time. I just don’t want to hear that shit at work.

          Reply
          • everybodyhatesscott

            If wanting to secure the borders from terrorists (or in general) is xenophobia, the word has no meaning.

            No one here wants to throw gays off of buildings. What they want to do is to be able to refuse to provide a service that goes against their religious beliefs. I look forward to a lawsuit where a couple of Lesbians go after a Muslim baker instead of a Christian one.

            Believing in freedom of association isn’t cool these days though.

          • kvndoom

            Yeah the “terrorism” scapegoat. So was that McVeigh guy a muslim? More Americans get murdered by Christians every single year than by Muslims. That’s a fact. The San Bernardino shooters were Arabic. The Colorado Batman shooter was a white kid. Is one crime lesser than the other?

            Stereotyping is so popular because it’s easy. “All of X are Y, so we must enact Z on all X.” Reality is way more complicated than that.

        • jz78817

          Nonsense. The city I work in holds one of (if not THE) largest community of Arab Americans in the United States. Nobody is blowing up anything. The only significant controversy has been when some hick “pastor” came through to try to stir up shit.

          Poverty and perceived hopelessness beget violence.

          Reply
  16. Kevin Jaeger

    The reaction by some of the more excitable people to that TTAC piece certainly was a little weird, but I guess I’ve come to expect it these days because I didn’t think much of it at the time.

    These days I regularly meet seemingly well-educated Canadians that are practically having an emotional meltdown because Trump is still the leading Republican candidate. And how much impact does a presidential election realistically have on us up in the frozen north? I try to figure out what tangible effect on their lives they actually expect to happen, which is usually a pointless exercise. There’s just a basket of unimaginable demons that will be unleashed that will be really, really BAD.

    So I tend not to have high expectations of commenters on the internet, even TTAC. You dropped some clever comments that hurt their feels, so they lash out in the only unhinged, irrational manner they can. Weird but sadly expected these days.

    Reply
    • dwright

      I think they are just transferring “Harper Derangement Syndrome” onto a new target. That kind of long term brainwashing doesn’t just vanish.

      Reply
      • rpn453

        Ha!

        One of the best things about the last South Park season is that I couldn’t figure out whether the Canadian President better represented Harper or Trump. I presume that was intentional.

        I have no strong feelings about either of them. They each have both good and bad qualities and, like anyone, make both good and bad decisions. I don’t align with any of the major North American political parties, left or right. Authoritarian government has never appealed much to me anyway, but that’s what we’re stuck with.

        Reply
  17. Tomk

    This from Wikipedia offers a relevant reflection on the often faceless, nameless, basement bombardiers (as Stuart Clurman calls them) who exhibit a ‘have keyboard will travel’ approach to forum postings:

    “Obscene phone callers are often male, feel inadequate, have feelings of isolation, have trouble forming relationships and consider making obscene phone calls to be the only way that they can sexually express themselves.”

    Reply
  18. John

    I’m discouraged by the reactions from readers that you document. I was going to send a direct email with compliments on the Road & Track piece because those recommendations were written with clarity, using personal experience, and illustrated by facts and references that experienced people should recognize and support. Good job. Keep it going.

    Reply
  19. Baconator

    Both articles seemed like awfully good writing to me. There’s a lotta rage out there in Internet land, or perhaps it’s more correct to say there’s a lotta rage out in America generally.

    It’s not so hard to imagine that this phenomenon is caused by many of the same forces that are making it hard for the middle class to afford new cars. The more screwed people are in real life, they more they’ll pretend to be flawless and flossy on the Internet.

    Reply
  20. Jeffrey Zekas

    Wow, Jack, well said. The general term that always comes to me is “political correctness” but I suppose the shrinks have good points. Basically, you cannot offend anyone, or you will be banished to the wilderness. Welcome to the new America.

    Reply
  21. -Nate-Nate

    ” Is this where we are as a society? ”

    Yes , sad to say .

    I seem to have missed what’s racist about that Commercial……

    -Nate

    Reply
  22. -Nate-Nate

    I forgot to mention :

    I know what ‘ fast ‘ is and I’m _decidedly_ not fast , why I don’t wa$te my hard earned $ on a high speed vehicle I’ll probably crash and ruin .

    Besides : it’s really fun to drive slow vehicles fast , you get to feel like Mario Andretti and hardly ever crash or get tickets….

    -Nate

    Reply
  23. DeadWeight

    There’s a new show on TruTV called “The Internet Ruined My Life,” and in fact, the people who are featured really did have their lives ruined (at least in significant part) by fairly innocuous, or at the very most, controversial BUT fairly debatable, non-trolling comments/articles/postings.

    The internet can be a dangerous place.

    Reply
  24. Will Litten

    I tell myself that I suck at least three times a day.
    Sometimes four if I did something right that day.

    Reply
  25. jz78817

    So I just went and read the comments on the R&T piece.

    This is why I sometimes hate being into cars. Enthusiasts can be such arrogant, self-absorbed assholes. Wow, you’re so goddamned important because you think hanging the tail out on a RWD car with ESC off is “fun.” Fuck off. People like that are why I prefer to spend 99% of my non-work time alone.

    Reply
    • Rock36

      I did the same thing, and it was crazy how multiple people tried to outright claim ESC was actually dangerous. Or the guy who said ABS sometimes would cause him to coast into an intersection !?!?

      Reply
  26. hank chinaski

    I liked both pieces.
    There are always responses like that at TTAC when something remotely political is even mentioned. There be Canadians there, after all. Recall most pieces written or broadcast about Rob Ford. He ruffled more panties than Sig Chi during rush week.

    I am not really surprised at the responses at R&T given the inherent peacocking of car-guys, but the degree of vitriol is almost embarrassing, although less so than ‘the chalkening’.

    Still, it gets worse. #shoutyourstatus

    Reply
  27. Hogie roll

    I skip most TTAC stuff but always read yours.

    I need a similar system for the commenters. I need to form a list of who to actually read and who to skip.

    Reply
  28. Tyler D.

    It is a pervasive mentality of having nothing to be offended about so they go looking for something, anything to scream like children about. A lot of these individuals believe they are living in second civil rights era. but it is not rights. It is feelings.

    Reply
  29. Pingback: dustbury.com » Quote of the week

  30. carrya1911

    Harry Calahan famously said “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

    I think that’s the root of much of what we’re seeing here. I deal primarily with guns and I see lots of people who don’t know their limitations with that lethal instrument either in their skill using it or safety handling it. If you call them on the fact that, hey, you just negligently pointed a lethal weapon at my face, they often react with all the maturity of a spanked child.

    A lot of people go to great lengths to avoid ever having to face the reality of their limitations. When someone points them out they lose their shit.

    It can’t be that I’m fat and lazy and haven’t developed any personal charisma, you see. Women are just stuck up bitches or shameless whores unworthy of my time and effort.

    It can’t be that I don’t have any capacity to fight with either my hands or any lethal instrument, you see. Bad guys are just going to see my open-carried Taurus and shit themselves with fear.

    It can’t be that in the spectrum of driving skill between Ayrton Senna and my Aunt Mabel I’m way closer to Aunt Mabel than Senna, you see. Therefore your comments about the benefits of traction control to keep people from killing themselves and others is just ill-informed nonsense. So fuck your traction control, and fuck all the BMW M cars at the M school in South Carolina that come back to the garage covered in grass and mud from would-be track day superstars who thought they didn’t need to use traction/stability control and learned the hard way. There’s no way *I’m* not a skilled driver.

    You can’t Stuart Smalley your way into skill or accomplishment. Except maybe in politics.

    Reply
  31. mopar4wd

    I really liked the piece on TTAC. I commented a few times. I didn’t see at as much of a hit piece on Obama as others did.
    I voted for Obama twice. While he hasn’t lived up to expectations I don’t think he’s awful either. I think history will view him an average president. Really my biggest issue (and where I guess I differ from Jack, is not that Obama created policies that hurt the middle class but rather that he kept the bi partisan effort of the last 25 years or so going. The policies put in place by both parties from Reaganomics to NAFTA to the Bush tax cuts have all had their part in the dismantling the middle class. Obama kept these going more then adding to them.
    I think the ACA is a mixed bag. It’s obvious with origins in the healthcare industry itself (mostly the health insurance industry rather than providers) that it was not going to be the most consumer focused piece of legislation. In the end I think it did some admirable things like bringing more of the working poor into the healthcare system. But the costs were likely to great and not just in dollars but in the pain some of the giveaways to the industry and the chamber of commerce associations. Giveaways such as much to large deductibles really have again damaged many in the middle class, these should have been capped much lower.

    Looking back I would have voted for Obama again given the competition. McCain seemed lost when the economy started to collapse in 2008 no plan no idea it was even happening. That and he was pretty typical GOP in policy. Romney I liked better he was governor of Mass living the next state over and following regional politics, I can tell you that would mean he was a moderate republican who could reach across the aisle. When he spoke most of what he said was reasonable. In the end some of the things he said to get the nomination (swinging his positions far right to win the early primaries) made me really question his integrity so again I voted for Obama.

    Reply
  32. Pseudoperson Randomian

    Is it utterly and completely weird that the more I learn about something, the less I’m willing to comment about it?

    It’s this weird curve – there’s this period, about 1 year, when I quickly learn the basics of a topic and become likely to comment about it, and then I learn even more and I become less and less confident about talking about it…

    I suppose I spend the first year knowing what I know and feeling confident about it. Then after that, it’s a matter of knowing what you DON’T know….

    Half knowledge, especially proud half-knowledge, is probably worse than either extreme…

    Reply
    • jz78817

      Yep, that’s about it. You (as in all of us, not just you personally) get a “birds-eye” look at a topic and think you have a solid grasp of it. Then you dig further into it and realize how much more there is to it. But the step of admitting you don’t know what you don’t know is what trips up a lot of people.

      It doesn’t help that we in this society seem to demand that everyone have a firm opinion on everything. It’s somehow “weak” to say “I don’t have enough information to know what I think about this yet.”

      Reply
  33. Domestic Hearse

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

    Okay, I agree with everything you said but if I can just point out again…

    Nobody nails the jump teaser sentence like Jack. I’m reading along and thinking, okay, I think I know what he’s about to…WTF? Blind corner ahead. Where’s this going? I did not see that coming now I absolutely, positively must click to see how this pays off.

    Damn it, Jack. Sometimes I’m busy and skimming and don’t have time right now for the whole article and you write a freakin’ jump teaser sentence like that and I’m hooked.

    Well done.

    Reply
  34. Paul Alexander

    Thanks Jack for putting into words the phenomenon I’ve been witnessing but been unable to put into words. ‘Imperial reader’, or ‘imperial consumer of mass media, is a great term.

    My 16 year old cousin called me today to talk about her problems with high school. After each issue she brought up, I suggested a possible solution, each of which is was summarily ignored. I realized she really didn’t want to fix the problems, she was saying that those problems are what she identifies herself with, and my suggestions were taken as attempts to fix HER rather than the issue.

    Modern man cannot handle his emotions. Once someone gets upset, it’s not a signal to do something, it’s a signal to distract and ignore the feeling.

    Reply
    • Hogie roll

      That’s just because you’re talking to a woman. They don’t want solutions. They want to talk.

      Reply
    • Suto

      It took me too long to learn this, but yes, some people just want to complain. I am the kind of person who immediately looks for solutions/fixes to problems/broken things, but most people really want to tell a long story and have you say, “Oh, that’s too bad”.

      Reply
  35. rpn453

    I despise non-defeatable stability control and would never want to own a vehicle where I can’t at least yank a fuse on it and still retain all the other non-brake-based functions. But that was a good article; well written, with reasonable opinions and practical advice based on experience. The title might be a tad inflammatory though.

    I accept that it’s either risky or stupid to enjoy driving the way I do in winter. However, doing so on studded winter tires still seems less risky to me than driving conservatively in the same conditions on less capable tires.

    But that’s all easy slow-motion stuff. At highway speeds or greater on high grip surfaces, I’d leave it on provided they make it convenient to do so. Things can get tricky once significant suspension loading – along with tire and chassis flex – get involved. I wish they’d provide a user-adjustable speed setting for ESC activation. 40 mph would be fine for me in most cases. Modern automotive electronics would be wonderful if we were permitted control of them.

    I’m babysitting my buddy’s RX-8 for the next couple weeks while he’s in Peru and I recently read about the latest Takata airbag death. It has an outstanding recall for that, so this morning I was inspired to yank the fuse on them. Unfortunately, there isn’t one. I suppose that may be for the best, as I’m now remembering that the car has side airbags, which I hold in much higher regard. Anyway, I did notice a 7.5A DSC fuse in the interior fuse panel. So I replaced the 30A fuse that he had removed under the hood and removed the 7.5A one instead, and now he has functional ABS in that thing for the first time ever. So chalk one safety upgrade to an unlikely source in me today!

    Reply
      • rpn453

        “For the record, I didn’t write the title.”

        I figured as much. You have more tact than that. I suspect that many of the commenters didn’t read beyond the title. Even I was surprised when I reached the end of the article, having found nothing disagreeable.

        Reply
    • jz78817

      “But that’s all easy slow-motion stuff. At highway speeds or greater on high grip surfaces, I’d leave it on provided they make it convenient to do so. Things can get tricky once significant suspension loading – along with tire and chassis flex – get involved. I wish they’d provide a user-adjustable speed setting for ESC activation. 40 mph would be fine for me in most cases. Modern automotive electronics would be wonderful if we were permitted control of them.”

      they won’t, because you and maybe three other people care about this shit.

      If you’re driving on public roads and you think you need to disable stability control, then you damn well should be prevented from doing so.

      Reply
      • rpn453

        I personally know a lot more than three people who care about it. If you grew up driving on snow and ice every day for four months of the year you’d understand. But go on and tell us how a vehicle should work in conditions you’re barely familiar with.

        Reply
        • rpn453

          Maybe I’m being a bit of a dick here. Sorry.

          I understand that some people think that winter public roads shouldn’t be viewed as a playground. Regardless, often the difference between smoothly and quickly accelerating onto a road from a turn, and struggling to get moving across an intersection then holding everybody in your lane up, is whether the vehicle is allowed to operate at minor slip angles. We drive in these conditions every day during winter. Surely you can understand how a vehicle that is programmed to prevent you from making forward progress in a reasonable manner would be undesirable to those who are familiar and comfortable with the alternative of putting vehicular control in the driver’s hands.

          My friends and I will accept criticism of such driving if it ever results in a collision, or even a somewhat close call.

          Reply
        • jz78817

          If you grew up driving on snow and ice every day for four months of the year you’d understand. But go on and tell us how a vehicle should work in conditions you’re barely familiar with.

          I live in Michigan. try again, with less presumption.

          Reply
          • rpn453

            Well then, I will make no presumption about why you’re uncomfortable with driving in winter. It’s not a common trait among male drivers here.

  36. Felis Concolor

    “Hey, you! You with the fucking hair!”

    As one who grew up seeing what you wrote about in your column, I’m astonished at how powerfully it stirred up the hornet’s nest; isn’t 442 posts a new record for TTAC?

    Seeing as this election season has been the most entertaining for me since an actor turned state governor said “There you go again . . . ” I’d only add a modification to his other famous quote: “Are you better off now than you were 8 years ago?”

    And congratulations on your racist branding, Jack; I have yet to claim that merit badge towards my eventual and hoped-for Shitlord status.

    Reply
    • kvndoom

      I kinda think those who auto-label Obama criticizers racists are unwittingly lashing out at themselves for the hidden knowledge that they only voted for him because he’s black.

      Long ago someone told me that the flaws we point out in others are just reflections of things we don’t like about ourselves.

      Reply
      • Felis Concolor

        It’s serious projection, although they’ll deny to their dying day they’ve spilled the beans on what’s going on in their little black hearts. It’s clearly where the “he’s compensating for something” line came from; when someone’s doing well enough to buy the hot new shiny toy or have some fun before their middle-aged years, like Jack says: the murder feelings swell and the – rhetorical – knives come out.

        Reply
  37. tifoso

    I offhandedly refer to these grievance mongers as the tolerance and diversity crowd. Despite chanting that mantra as if they owned it, they’re invariably the least tolerant of any point of view that diverts from their own. The fact that you pissed them off is probably a sign that your’re onto something.

    Reply
  38. Sean H

    I voted for Obama twice and I agree with Jack….Middle Class people can’t afford new cars. I don’t really blame this on our political leaders being bought off by banks and insurance companies. The safety regulations have also jacked the prices of cars up. I don’t think every car should have a back up camera. Our fearless leaders are beholden to taking the dollars of banks and unregulated insurance industry.

    Reply
  39. Rockhound

    Late to find this post, but just wanted to say thanks to Jack for continuing to be a voice of reason. I was dismayed by how many folks reacted negatively to the TTAC piece, although there has been a growing aggressive left-leaning contingent of the commenters that is an all-too predictable trend on the internet. My favorite is a certain individual who has repeatedly, over multiple articles, made reference that anyone who dares to use the term ‘SJW’ has an invalid opinion. Doth he/xe protest too much?

    Jack and Bark’s pieces on TTAC are one of the few reasons I continue to visit (along with Ronnie’s). Hopefully the special snowflakes that need a trigger warning prior to hearing difficult truths won’t be able to transform TTAC into yet another Gawkerized hivemind (Jalopnik).

    Reply
  40. Bruno Jácomo Balestra Simões de Lima

    Hello Jack!

    I just would like to say that I find your arcticles both riveting and fascinating. You stand up for what you thinkg and I appreciate that immensely. Also, you seem to love rock and roll, old american iron and Vipers, all things that I enjoy and admire. Having read you article on th buying power of the average American and some previous ones on the subject, I come to you for help: I would like to deepen my unterstanding on the subject and educate myself on your economy, populace, its trends and fluctuations and the job market.
    See, I am from Brazil but have always loved the United States, having even briefly lived in San Francisco to study Industrial Design. Now i´m back home, studying law and want to specialize in International, Commercial and Import/Export Law. Would you be so kind as to point me to websites that could shed light on the matter? Unfortunately, any books I have to obtain from outside Brazil are off the table as being a student and a sorta-boyfriend-sorta-husband drains all my money and even the ones here are ridiculously priced.
    I´m a big fan of yours ever since first reading you on TTAC a few years ago and wish you all the best!

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I might have to toss this question to the audience here… but I’d start by reading the Economist, if you’re not already doing so?

      Reply
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