Housekeeping: In Which The Other Cheek Is Turned

Earlier today, I wrote a post about how a little bit of effort is required in order to succeed. The example I used in this post was a Google document, written by the wife of an auto journalist and promoted by that journalist on Twitter, containing all the ways in which she would be resisting Trump.

Over the course of the afternoon, I had a conversation with the autowriter involved in which he disavowed the document and stated that his wife had not created any of the content in said document. I added a disclaimer to the beginning of the article. Since then, I’ve spoken to a couple of people, including Bark, about whether the article should stay up regardless of whether the person involved actually wrote that document. I also had a second discussion with the autowriter in which he said “do whatever you want”.

After some consideration, I’ve decided to take the article down. If you care about the reasons, and you’re willing to put up with a little bit of expressed frustration on my part, feel free to click the jump.


I’m not interested in criticizing people for things they didn’t write. I’m not even really all that interested in criticizing people for things they did write but which they no longer want to stand behind or endorse. I wouldn’t want to have to answer for every single thing I’ve written between my fifth birthday and my forty-fifth birthday.

Even if I assume that the lady in question wrote the document, she didn’t decide to Tweet about it; her husband did. There’s no sense in holding her up to a lens that she didn’t turn on herself. And although I did not identify her in any way, shape or form in my essay, there were enough people who remembered that particular Tweet out there for her anonymity to be compromised despite my best intentions.

In the sixteen years that I’ve been writing about cars for various blogs, forums, and publications, I’ve read every kind of attack on my family that you can imagine. I’ve had people publish information about my child, my ex-wife, my girlfriends, and my current wife. One TTAC reader posted that he wished my son would die in a car crash right in front of me. (He almost got that wish!) I’ve become habituated to it, although I do enjoy reading things about me that are hilariously untrue; one Redditor recently told everybody that I had inherited millions of dollars, and a Jalopnik reader told the world in 2014 that my passenger in a crash was a man and that I was on a secret gay date with a gay dude.

The fact is, however, that not everybody shares my happy-go-lucky attitude towards criticism. Some of them can be remarkably thin-skinned. A while ago, I wrote an article on a blogger who had taken a few shots at me. I included a photo of him taken at his wedding. (It was the his profile photo on Facebook.) What I didn’t realize at the time was that he was sensitive about his wife’s weight and appearance. He lost his mind and got very upset that I had put up a photo of him next to his wife. Then his wife e-mailed me asking me not to use her picture.

I was tempted to respond, “Fuck both of you, fat boy — the whole Internet feels free to joke about my kid nearly dying in a crash, so you can suck it up and deal with the fact that your wife is chunky. You picked her; stand by her.” But what’s the point in that? I took the photo down and replaced it with one supplied by him in which his wife was absent.

My colleague feels, rightly or wrongly, that I criticized his wife personally in my article. That wasn’t my intent; I was simply using the unfinished list as an example of not following through on something after beginning with much fanfare. But there’s no gain to be had in upsetting him or upsetting his wife. They’re both very nice people.

And that’s where we can leave it for now. I’m going to take the weekend off to ride at a skatepark with my son. As amusing as this navel-gazing meta-media business can be, it does become tiring. Take care, and see you next time.

22 Replies to “Housekeeping: In Which The Other Cheek Is Turned”

  1. Kevin Jaeger

    So if I got this right some guy was virtue signaling about his AMAZING wife’s virtuous virtue but didn’t want anyone saying anything but “you GO Girl!”.

    Ah – life’s too short for this BS.

    Reply
  2. niclas

    How often do you write an elaborate reply to someone, only to say “fuck it” and move on? Because what’s the point, really.

    My most listened to track last year was Haley Bonar’s Stupid Face. Something about “I miss the heart that does a cannonball into a frosted lake..”

    Have fun at the skate park and don’t break too many bones.

    Reply
  3. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Anybody can be anything they want to be behind a keyboard. There are far more 6’5″ bodybuilder genius’s, with a high 6 figure yearly income, than there ever will be in reality. If more people realized that the internet is FOREVER, that things posted are basically the same as it being in a newspaper 30 years ago and eventually reality will come up and bite you, they might be more careful about what they post.

    Jack, please note that I’m not directing that comment towards you, I’m sure that as someone who writes for a good chunk of your yearly income, you use as much due diligence as possible before putting up something like that. Sometimes that isn’t enough, but it’s all you can do until proven differently.

    Reply
    • nici

      That’s a large part of why I didn’t really post anything back when I had active social media accounts. There were some positives though, like being able to easily communicate with musicians halfway around the world.

      And I’m probably still here reading this site because the TTAC facebook page shared a post by Mr. Skel in 2012.

      Reply
      • everybodyhatesscott

        The post was good, probaly just should have not referenced it directly. ‘People say amazing too.much’ was probably a good enough starting point

        Reply
        • jz78817

          “As humans, we waste the shit out of our words. It’s sad. We use words like “awesome” and “wonderful” like they’re candy. It was awesome? Really? It inspired awe? It was wonderful? Are you serious? It was full of wonder? You use the word “amazing” to describe a goddamn sandwich at Wendy’s. What’s going to happen on your wedding day, or when your first child is born? How will you describe it? You already wasted “amazing” on a fucking sandwich.”

          ― Louis C.K.

          Reply
  4. erikotis

    Being essentially entirely apolitical, I took that post purely at the jumping off point of success doesn’t come without a lot of effort. Something I, a rather laid-back person by nature, need to be reminded of from time to time. So thank you for the kick in the pants.

    But because my day was spent dealing with a vendor who decided it would be a good idea to send test data to a production system, I didn’t have a chance to post a follow-up question to your response to a comment about the book you are working on. Can you share if it’s fiction or non? What the topic might be?

    Now I’m off to put a little effort into some of my off-work interests. Enjoy the time at the skatepark with your son!

    Reply
  5. Sightline

    The RSS feed has link-spam being inserted in it, things like

    I’m not interested in criticizing people for things they didn’t write. I’m not even really all that interested in criticizing people for things they iskysoft pdf editor pro 5 sales did write but which they no longer want to stand behind or endorse.

    Happens a few times a post lately.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I think it’s fixed now. If you read it on Monday or Tuesday and it’s still broken, let me know. Thank you!

      Reply
  6. -Nate-Nate

    Skatepark eh ? .
    .
    Roller or ice ? .
    .
    Who gives a care of some keyboard cowboy thinks your Old Lay is sweet or FUGLY ? .
    .
    That guy was a jerkhoff .
    .
    Anyone who wishes (or even pretends to) harm on a Child is seriously twisted .
    .
    -Nate

    Reply
  7. -Nate-Nate

    BTW: of course I recognize the quote but where is that image from ? .
    .
    It looks like vintage Warner Bro.s animation .
    .
    TIA,
    -Nate

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *