I Have An Obligation To You

Let me start by saying this: To anybody who’s ever read a single word I’ve written, thank you. Even if you think I’m an idiot, a fool, and “a mere shadow of my brother,” I’ll still say thank you. Over the last five years, I’ve written nearly half a million words that have found their way into publication, and if weren’t for the people who both love and hate what I have to say, none of that would have been possible.

As such, I have an obligation to you. But it might not be what you think it is.

I don’t have an obligation to agree with you. I’m not required to make you feel safe or comfortable when you read what I have to say. I’m not obligated to play to all audiences at all times, or to stay safely in the middle of topics. I’m not an investigative journalist—it’s not my job to give you just the facts, ma’am.

No, I have only one obligation: to be interesting. Being interesting means having opinions. It means saying what nobody else is willing to say. It means saying things that maybe nobody else is even willing to think. It means offending you. It means making you feel something.

If you read an opinion or editorial, and you walk away from it feeling exactly the same about life as you did before you read it, then the writer has failed. An editorial should create dialogue. It should make the reader take a personal inventory of his belief system, and decide what should stay and what should go.

Unfortunately, there’s a belief among some that everything they read should fail neatly inside their comfort zones. In the opinions of these people, not only should they not have to read something they don’t like, it shouldn’t even be allowed to be published. The reader thinks to himself, “On a website with literally 50,000+ posts, this one post hath offended me—send it down the memory hole! Let it be no more!”

I reject that notion. I reject the sense that we have the right to oppress the thoughts and words of others. We certainly have the right to stop reading that author or that publication—voting with our feet and our dollars used to be the American way. But now we feel that the American way is to threaten and protest against anything that challenges our preconceived notions. We no longer feel satisfied with simply taking our business elsewhere—we have to erase any chance that somebody somewhere might be offended. We have to force the deletion of the offending words, or action, or even the individual or business. We no longer seek to understand, we only seek to be understood.

There’s a problem with this—eventually, we’ll get our way. There won’t even be a need for editorials, because we’ll all be forced to share the same opinion. You’ll have the safety of knowing that when you click on a link that all of the words inside will reinforce your safe, cozy worldview.

I’m tired of this type of discourse. I’m tired of feelings mattering more than facts. If I write something you don’t like, then write your counter-opinion. Tell me why I’m wrong. If you want me to understand where you’re coming from, then try to understand where I’m coming from first.

If you refuse to do this, then I can no longer fulfill my obligation to you. I can’t be interesting. I can only be safe. So ask yourself: is that really the kind of world you want? My fear is that when you ask yourself that question, that your answer just might be yes.

 

133 Replies to “I Have An Obligation To You”

  1. VTNoah

    Hey Mark,

    Read the article in question. Personally thought it was a pile of hot garbage. They can’t all be winners and I definitely don’t agree with you on everything, especially politics. That said, should it have been pulled? nope. Best of luck in the future.

    –Noah

    Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        How it was put together, and that it didn’t really fit the voice of TTAC, despite TTAC’s many voices. I pretty much agree with Bark on most things, including most of the content of the article. I just think it needed some editing and it should have been here instead of TTAC.

        Reply
        • VTNoah

          For me, it ventured a bit too far into conspiracy theory. Yes there are bad actors on the liberal front, just like there are on the conservative. Categorizing two million people acting of their own accord as violent SJW’s doesn’t exactly ring true. Both of my sister’s marched. One started a business, ran it for ten years, then sold it for a few million dollars. The other is a VP at Merrill Lynch. They don’t fit the stereotype outlined in the article and in Jack’s for that matter. I personally respect Bark and know he’s a good man, I don’t agree with his views on this and would be happy to debate them in person over a beer.

          Reply
    • WhiskeyRiver

      Good Gawd! Did y’all see the Steph Willems post at TTAC this evening? Screw the article, just go read the comments, I guess Stevenson thinks that catering to those hateful idiots is his salvation but it isn’t going to end well. Like many others, I’m only going there because Jack is still there. If they run him off, I’m gone too. I’m really sick of that crap.

      . It’s not a surprise that BarkM’s article wadded Stevenson’s panties. He thinks these guys represent the public in general. Sad.

      http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/01/trump-proposes-20-percent-tax-mexican-goods-pay-wall/#more-1499105

      Reply
        • WhiskeyRiver

          When I scolded them the reply was “honest to God I cannot wait for the Boomers to just hurry up and die off already.”

          I don’t know if I want to be there at all. I don’t know how ad revenue works over there but right now I don’t want them to collect a single penny off of my participation. What they did to Mark is beyond the pale and now the entire community there is on the attack. Emboldened I suppose. I’m a stubborn old ass and I wouldn’t tuck and run normally, but I hate the idea they’re collecting any kind of revenue due to my participation.

          Reply
  2. Watchseeker

    Bark,

    I take offense at your taking offense of my taking offense!

    Makes no sense, I know, but that’s the world we live in unfortunately.

    We live in a world/country that has taken political correctness several steps too far. Imagine Mel Brooks trying to make “Blazing Saddles” today!

    I was sorry to hear that you’re leaving TTAC, I certainly understand your reasons for doing so and I will miss reading “Bark Bites” and your other contributions to the site.

    Perhaps TTAC wasn’t the correct outlet for the particular editorial that caused the commotion, but once it was published I firmly believe that they should have had your back. They didn’t, and to me, that’s the real crime.

    Regardless, I will continue to read your musings here and other sites that have the courage to post them. Some I will agree with, some I won’t, some I may even comment on. But I will always respect your right to speak and say whatever the hell you want, because that’s one of the core principals that this country was founded on.

    Reply
  3. Jon Buder

    Well put and food for thought.

    I think there is a slippery slope downward from moderation meant to uphold guidelines, and it leads to censorship of viewpoints the moderator doesn’t agree with.

    The dialogue that most people are exposed to has gone so far down that slope, with the apparent purpose of political correctness, that I think people are being conditioned to brand a different opinion as extreme, or hateful, or ‘insert negative accusation here’.

    Maybe ironically, news websites get more visits when they have heated debates about controversial topics, so you’d think they would embrace that sort of thing.

    I can understand wanting to maintain the purpose of a news website designed to be about one particular thing, but the site in question sure seems to be quick to censor or ban people who made it entertaining to visit.

    Reply
  4. phr3dly

    Should it have been pulled? Decidedly yes. Should Mark have quit over it? That’s up to him, though the optics are that he can’t handle a mild scolding after drawing way, way outside the lines of a CAR blog.

    There’s a long list of things that I don’t expect to read on a blog about cars. I don’t expect to read about the best type of lawn grass for the mid-west region. I don’t expect to read reviews of the latest Samsung NVMe SSD. I don’t expect to read a sampler of slow-churn ice-creams. And I don’t expect to read a political rant.

    I don’t need a “safe zone”. That’s a BS excuse and you know it. I read plenty of political rants, in forums where those rants are appropriate. But as soon as my “read about cars” time becomes “read political rant” time, I get annoyed. And of course I can choose not to read said rant. But when every Baruth article is laced with them, and TTAC is 30% Baruth content, that ends up meaning not reading TTAC.

    Which is obviously also something I, and others, can choose to do. And presumably the powers that be at TTAC can then choose between having readers who care about cars, or having readers who care about politics. They made that choice some time ago, and removing the article is simply in line with that decision.

    Reply
    • Watchseeker

      So is your time at this site “read about cars” time or “read political rant” time? Because it surely contains both of those and a lot more.

      I started to read the offending article, then clicked out of it because I had no interest in the politics. It didn’t offend me that it was on TTAC. To me, part of the charm of TTAC is that it is outside of the mainstream media, not just another cookie cutter car blog.

      My complaint with TTAC is that they published it, then retracted it after the flame wars started. I can’t stand waffling, the decided to publish it, they should have left it published and dealt with the fallout.

      Reply
      • Watchseeker

        also, we have no idea how “mild” the scolding was or wasn’t. We weren’t there, we have no idea what was said, etc. etc. etc.

        Reply
      • phr3dly

        This is ‘read about miscellaneous stuff’ time. I think the Baruth Bros are pretty good writers. Not as good as /they/ think they are, but that’s still a fair bit better than most of what’s out there.

        A site that needs readers needs focus. This site doesn’t need readers, Mark’s post would have fit right in here. TTAC does need readers. And its focus is cars. And Mark’s car-related content was generally valuable.

        Reply
  5. WhiskeyRiver

    Amen.

    I don’t have a lot of time to devote to recreational reading. My particular vocation requires that I devote a good deal of personal time reading white papers and technical manuals. When I do go online for automotive news and articles, it has to move me. Make me laugh. Make me mad. Make me think. Above all, it has to make me want to read more material from the author.

    Being a REALLY good guesser, I’m guessing I know exactly what event transpired to inspire this particular article. I feel the apparently offending (to some) article should have been posted as editorial content. Put into the context of a newspaper editorial page and published as such, it should have been ignored by management and allowed to stand in it’s own.

    If it’s published under the heading of an Editorial, and it’s well thought out and well written, it should be published. Most major newspapers run op-ed columns they don’t personally agree with all the time. Do they slam these columnists and run them off to a competitor? No. They simply ignore it and move on. If the columnist is widely read, they’re a winner no matter what he writes.The goal is readership, right?

    Put in that context, do they really want as much readership as they can get, or only the readership they agree with?

    Look. I’m a fan. I’m going to read Bark M. articles whenever and wherever they’re published. I think it would be great if you developed a mailing list just so we can know when you’ve published an article somewhere. Keep up the good work.

    BTW: If you ever need advice concerning how NOT to write a white paper, I’m you’re huckleberry. If you really want to amuse yourself, take one of your articles, use Google translate to change it to Chinese, then use the same tool to translate it back to English. The result is horrendous to read. Now try to imagine the same done to highly technical specifications and theory related to a piece of computer gear. Awful.

    Reply
  6. Marcus Topia

    It’s about expectations. A rant like that has no place in that forum – a rant about marching for autos yes, a thinly veiled rant about the women’s march on an automobile website? No. You have the wit and writing ability to influence many folks but you won’t do that spewing words while in the grip of, well, whatever it was you were in the grip of while writing that piece. You *will* make friends and influence people by taking that passion and using your nifty writing skills by tempering your heart with your brain via your pen.

    The most disturbing thing is your deciding to leave. You have a lot to offer folks aotumobile-y speaking and when the going got tough you decided to cut and run. It may not have been handled the best (editorially speaking) and you may not have written the best (article-y speaking) and there may have have been many uncool comments to your article (b&b-y speaking) but to pack up your bags and leave over one failure (or three failures over one issue) is just bad form. Expectation-y? I expected better from you. You’re a professional writer. Act like it.

    I don’t know you and I’m sure there are behind-the-scenes things I have no knowledge of, but from the facts I do know? You fucked up. Own it. Learn from it. If you’re as exceptional as your brother believes you to be? Grow from it.

    And…you say you wanted to debate facts but I notice that you skipped right over fact-based responses to your article while responding to personal attacks. I fear what you write about what you believe and what you actually believe (or feel) seem to be two different things and this may cause a bit of unhappy frisson on your part.

    Reply
  7. Sseigmund

    Mark,

    I will miss your writings on TTAC. I will remain a reader as long as Jack continues to write for the blog.

    You and Jack represent something unique and appealing to me as a brother to three other people. The ability to do so much that is enjoyable together at this point in your lives is remarkable and rare. Keep it up as long as you possibly can.

    “#5. “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.”

    The above is from “Tactics” in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals. This strategy has been well learned and employed by the modern progressive movement. If I could add one more thing to the “Rules” it would be, “Tolerance will be their undoing”. When you say you are “Tired”, brother, I understand! I too am tired, and I’m tired of being tolerant and getting my other cheek smacked. I’m tired, and I’m pissed off and I’m ready to hit back. This is why Donald J. Trump is president, and fight is just starting. The radicals are not giving up turf without a big fight, and ridicule is the number one weapon they love to use.

    Be happy and get comfortable with the taste of your own blood and you will enjoy the fight all the more. As a kid I learned that tasting my own blood was very motivating. Embrace it.

    Reply
  8. jz78817

    Bark,

    I had zero problem with the premise of the article. It could have done without the “SJW” stuff* and and the like. I thought that part of it was in poor taste, but not to the level where I was “offended” or anything.

    However, I think Mark mis-handled the situation. IMO far better would have been to not run it (or run after being sent back with “suggestions”) than to run it and then pull it. even with a mea culpa that just looks bad.

    * honestly the whole SJW-as-a-pejorative has become diluted into uselessness. the only SJW-ish behavior I saw in the comments was the guy(?) who claimed he “sent screenshots to all of TTAC’s advertisers.”

    Reply
  9. Tomko

    Yes, Jack is the better writer. But that’s a relative assessment and doesn’t mean that you’re not good.

    No, I didn’t have a problem with your last TTAC post.

    Yes, I had a problem with the direction the comments were going in.

    No, I don’t think it should have been removed.

    Yes, I think comments should have been locked.

    No, I don’t think you should have left TTAC in protest. It looks you appear more reactionary than calculated or considered.

    Reply
  10. Yamahog

    “Interesting”

    What a apt description of the time – and a great target for your writing.

    To take a line from David Foster Wallace:
    Two young fish swim along and they happen to meet an older fish who nods at them and says, “morning boys, how’s the water?” . The first young fish says to the other, “what the heck is water?”.

    I left a comment about “the redpill” on your instagram and I didn’t want to get into it there but ‘redpill’ seems to be analogous to ‘woke’ but I take it to mean ‘more aware of the important facts of the matter that are hardest to see’.

    It’s wonderful that you made the argument about liberty and took it in a pro-liberty direction and it’s a bummer that pro-liberty is ‘interesting’ in that it’s not one of the views you can take off the shelf from the status quo. And it’s unfortunate that the #triggered commentators conflated it with an attack on some ‘sacred cows’ and side-stepped the discussion you wanted to have to make room for the virtue signaling festival they wanted to have all while continuing to ‘manufacture the consent’ they’ve been fed for the past several years.

    I might even say it’s ‘interesting’ but it’s not – it’s the current, not the water. Glad to see you landed with a splash on riverside green and can’t wait to see what you rowdy Baruth brothers do next.

    Reply
  11. Sloomis

    You’re overthinking this. People simply didn’t want a political rant on a car website. Pretty much the same as conservatives saying they don’t want to hear political rants from liberal celebrities at awards shows. Not the proper venue.

    Reply
    • 1A

      You’re under-thinking this. TTAC is not Edmunds, Consumer Reports, etc. Pretty sure TTAC had made it part of their mission to be outside the box, pushing the envelope. TTAC doesn’t sell cars–whereas “celebrities” sell their image, performance, etc.

      Reply
  12. Eparker

    Frankly, I think Mark should be applauded for quitting TTAC. He walks away with his integrity as a writer – and regardless of his opinions, integrity is all a writer has at the end of the day. Someone at TTAC read that article when it was submitted for publication. They went ahead and published…..and then they couldn’t take the heat when the complaints rolled in. At least have enough backbone to own the fact that you approved the content.

    Oh- I also think the article was dead-on. But, it seems like if you share those opinions, silence is the way to go……which is so, so wrong.

    Reply
  13. Frank Galvin

    Bark:

    I left a few comments on the retraction – and what happened really left a poor taste in my mouth.

    You, and your brother by this point are a known commodity. It’s guaranteed that your writing will elicit a reaction, and invariably someone is going to take offense. Big. F’ing. Deal. Mark S. can’t have it both ways; he can’t commit to a new “inclusive” content policy, approve your article, and then retract because of sadz. He can’t engage in navel gazing and then reverse himself. The apology is worthless. It’s a discredit to the writer, and a disservice to him as an editor. More important, it publicly rebuked you. You had every right to resign.

    I choose to visit those sites and devote my periodic break time to those places whose contents pulls me in. Why else would I be here, R&T, TTAC, and following you on social media? Its certainly not the entity. If Mark/TTAC wants to put out a neutral, non-offensive, by the numbers analysis and new car review site, fine. They won’t have my participation.

    I admire your passion, and think highly of you and Jack for devoting the time to writing. You’re both family men with little additional time to do this. Obviously, you wouldn’t do this if you did not think it was important or gainful. The article in question may not have been in your all time top-ten list, but you devoted time to it. What should have happened was a spirited dialogue in the comments – including some well developed counter arguments.

    My wife marched in Washington. I do disagree with some of your points, but do not feel strongly enough at the present to fly off in a ball of rage and take screenshots of the post and send to advertisers. Nor do I want to offer a counterpoint. I know where you’re coming from, and take it in stride.

    I do look forward to reading you here, and elsewhere.

    Best,

    Reply
  14. paulinlasvegas

    It’s interesting to me that there is so much dissent about any potential political content on The Truth About The Canadian Auto Industry. Jalopnik’s left wing politics have infected almost every article posted on that site (and appear to be completely celebrated in the comment section). I’ve found the solution to that is to stop reading the article and find another one without having a melt down. I guess once Nova Scotia kicks Jack off TTAC I’ll be down to reading Curbside Classics.

    Reply
    • silentsod

      Gawker/Jalopnik have gone from check multiple times a day (yay ad revenue) to check once a day and even then the downright disrespect given to people and ideas there is really pushing it. TTAC is taking a similar turn, it seems.

      I would 100% read a regular column by David Tracy going over his Jeep fixation and repairs, though. I happen to find his growth as a home mechanic interesting.

      Reply
          • jz78817

            the way Kinja works is if a mod/admin “permanently dismisses” you, you can post all you want and nobody will be able to see your comment.

          • Ronnie Schreiber

            I’m pretty sure I’ve been shadowbanned there. My comments stay in grey. On a personal level the Jalopnik staff is cordial to me, Patrick George made a point of greeting me at the NAIAS and Torchinsky and I swap emails now and then since we’re both fans of oddball machinery, but someone there must not like my politics.

            I’m disappointed at what an orthodox lefty Raphael Orlove is. The guy wrote a piece on the economic collapse of Venezuela without using the word “socialism” once.

        • WhiskeyRiver

          I tried to register at Jalopnik. They rejected it out of hand. I suppose someone over there has seen a few political posts of mine elsewhere.

          Just as well I suppose. I’d probably be in the “dumped” category by now.

          Reply
    • Acd

      Yeah its interesting that Jalopnik usually has at least one Gawker-style snarky left wing politically charged article per day that has absolutely nothing to do with cars but everyone gets upset at TTAC if a writer tweaks the left a little in a humorous way.

      Reply
      • paulinlasvegas

        This is the point of my original post. Since November just about every Jalop article takes a dig at the new administration even if the article is a CRV review. Look, I get it. You’re New York based liberally educated journalists. I enjoy most of what is written there. But between the Gawker articles snuck in between the car reviews and the “what you might like” tripe posted on the top left, the site is becoming unreadable as a car review web site. At least an article here and there on TTAC by Bark and Jack isn’t every freakin’ article.

        Reply
  15. stuntmonkey

    I appreciate your writing, Bark, but to be honest, Mark’s hand was forced. He made a commitment to what (I hope) all the TTAC editors agreed too, and when the line was crossed he had to tangibly demonstrate that commitment. I don’t think he necessarily had to retract it, but it was pretty clear everybody goofed and something had to be said. All the best, hope things do patch over in some way or other as time goes on.

    Reply
  16. James

    I used to think that editors read the pieces they’d publish, before they published them. The pieces they didn’t approve, I assumed, never ran.

    I guess the new generation of editors publish anything they’re sent, wait to hear complaints, and then memory-hole what they chose to publish and abase themselves before their readers.

    The new generation seems odd to me–very communist.

    Reply
  17. Orenwolf

    The problem with the premise of your post is that *everyone* self-selects where and what they read – i’m sure it’s not like you go browse the heart of the progressive web all day just to have your opinions “challenged” – instead, like me, I’m sure you visit sites with authors that you personally respect (or at least trust to have engaging content) – I read *this* blog despite not being particularly on-board with most of the politics because I *do* care about reading opposing viewpoints from authors I believe capable of being thought-provoking and salient in their points, and provide mine in return.

    I don’t believe an author has an obligation to me any more than I do to them. you’re the writer, you are going to write about whatever you want to. I deserve nor expect no say in that. As it should be.

    *everything* is filtered. It’s not like you can just read the twitter firehose as your news source – it’s filtered based on who you follow or what you search, and even if it weren’t, it outpaces human capacity for comprehension. So you naturally are *forced* to filter what you read. That invariably leads to information sources being filtered *somehow*, usually by a combination of subject matter, author, tone, stance, whatever. In the end, we *all* self-select. We have to. There’s too much information out there not to.

    So, in most cases, that ends up mostly holding true for authors, too – *where* you write is a selection process, because your choice of writing venue becomes a message in and of itself. If sites by necessity filter what is written there, then your *choice* to write there becomes a message, too – that you believe your writing *belongs* with these other writings on the site, that your messages and what you intend to create should co-exist.

    To that end, if you’ve decided that *where* you are writing and *what* you are writing no longer belong together, I applaud your decision to write elsewhere. It shows true integrity, IMHO, for a writer to choose to write for an organization that shares their ideals, not just where they can get a paycheck. Those who enjoy your writing will follow you, because they are selecting *you* as a source for information. You’ll lose some others, but you’ll gain new fans along the way as well.

    To that end, I wish you all the best.

    Reply
    • Lucas Zaffuto

      I disagree somewhat, although maybe I am the exception that proves the rule. I am a right-leaning moderate, but I read Jalopnik and Kotaku multiple times every day. I even read some of the articles there that I find to political inflammatory click bait, but usually I don’t take the time to respond (and even if/when I do I’m in the grays anyway so nobody will see my response). I wish they had less political commentary, because the real reason I go there is because I haven’t really found a better place to read articles about the hobbies I care about. Every other place either doesn’t have as good of articles, doesn’t post often enough, etc.

      Reply
      • jz78817

        there’s two “shades of gray” on Kinja. if you’ve not been “approved” to post in the clear, your comments are still visible if a reader clicks “show pending.” if you’ve been dismissed/shadowbanned, nobody will see your comments.

        Reply
  18. MrGreenMan

    I like that there are people with different opinions, and who disagree, sometimes quite vociferously with me. It’s the same reason I appreciate that women aren’t men, and thank God for that. If I don’t hear a new opinion, how do I grow? How do I learn something if I’m only confirmed in my preconceptions?

    I was serious in asking, when this happens again, will Mr. Stevenson resign. Because the tone police is a horrible paradigm, and, since it will happen again, and he says it is his fault, he should resign. Not for the offending opinion, but because he uses the paradigm of the tone police.

    There are at least two kinds of TTAC readers: Those who are looking for a lively discussion to get them riled up, and those who are looking for a diversion where they can switch off their brain for a little while, chill out, and look at indulge the innocuous. Mr. Stevenson’s reign as EIC at TTAC has been an embrace entirely of the latter. (All previous TTAC EICs have implemented some amount of the former; I am here because I think Jack did the best of implementing the first category, to which I usually belong.)

    It’s OK to be in either of those camps, and it’s OK to switch sides depending on what day you had. The thing that is the real problem with TTAC – they don’t use software in any smart way to allow the reader to tailor the experience. A crude solution would be to have a simple switch that lets you have news only, opinion only, or both. You could then have a second level solution that allowed you to show/hide specific tags, specific writers, and specific commenters. Never want to hear MrGreenMan again? You would never have to, and yet, it would still be published there for me and that one other guy who doesn’t dislike me to read.

    Mr. Stevenson shows no out-of-the-box thinking. He just wants to be the tone police. I would say it’s the Canadian sin – trying to smooth it all over and pretend there’s no difference of opinion, and then having to squelch the flare ups. The only reaction to his approach I’m ever going to have is Jason Newsted’s response to Metallica going into group therapy – this is weak, man.

    Reply
  19. MrGreenMan

    “I can only be safe. So ask yourself: is that really the kind of world you want?”

    If it was, we’d still be watching Autoline and reading pap that makes @dog_rates look as catty as Roger Stone’s worst dressed list.

    Reply
  20. MrGreenMan

    To end my villain monologue:

    I thought the foot article was within bounds, so the risk of autonomous driving to the car nut spelled out in a cheeky way is within bounds.

    Reply
  21. hank chinaski

    This is the biggest weakness of online publishing over print. A printed retraction doesn’t vaporize every copy of the offending text.

    Eff ’em.

    Reply
  22. James

    I had no problem with the post in question. My choice to agree or disagree. I always felt that summarily redefining history to meet the individuals, groups, states definition was to dictatorship of the proletariatesque. Good healthy debate is a hallmark of a democracy. TTAC should have properly applied editorial policy prior to publishing. Failure to do this was a serious gap and to throw Mark under the bus was inexcusable. I applaud Mark standing up to this.

    I have been watching the overall quality of TTAC decline over the years. The commenting veers from thoughtful to idiotic to trolling and beyond. BigTruck got tossed and few of the other writers I looked forward to reading are gone. Currently the only draw to the site is Jack. If he leaves I am done.

    Reply
  23. Sobro

    I didn’t think the article was one of Bark’s best but it certainly didn’t merit the Yezhov treatment. With “feelz” so high right after the inauguration and “protest” I think its publication was just too soon for some. All of the butthurt about losing the election was then focused on Bark.

    I’ve enjoyed most of your writing and my knee jerk reaction was that you took your ball and went home and how could a 40-something writer be so childish. Upon further reflection, I can see you were betrayed by the editor and he should have either stood by his decision to publish or written his own rebuttal.

    I’m glad you’re being published in other places, Bark, because I’d miss you if you had actually been executed for disloyalty.

    Reply
  24. Arbuckle

    If a leftist writer wrote the same article but the first part was about how the Women’s March was a triumph of THE PEOPLE over the patriarchy, an illegitimate orange gasbag, and stupid/racist/raping/ Trump supporters funded by Putin then the readers that complained would have been stroking off over it and the right wing types would have been having meltdowns. Not sure if MarkS would have disappeared it the next day though.

    Anyway, I don’t agree with the retraction decision and I’m sorry you won’t be on TTAC anymore. But at least on RG you can be as interesting as you want to be.

    Reply
  25. dal20402

    I understand your feeling that you had to leave, but I think doing so is a mistake in judgment on your part.

    The original article was far less connected to its ostensible automotive subject matter than most of your political rants have been. Honestly, it read as a paper-thin excuse to spew bile at the participants in the Women’s Marches. It would have been par for the course here (which is why I rarely comment here), but I think Mark S made a mistake in approving it for publication on TTAC, and I think he realized that pretty quickly.

    I don’t see his decision to memory-hole the article as censoring a political viewpoint or forcing TTAC readers to share the same opinion. I see it as a belated recognition that the particular article was not up to TTAC standards. You can do, and have often done, much better, more substantive writing while still being completely honest to your own viewpoint. And that writing has always (to my knowledge) been published, and remained, on TTAC.

    In my view, you should come back, and use this article as a learning opportunity about how *not* to be convincing or effective in expressing a political opinion.

    Reply
    • Arbuckle

      MarkS should have kept the article, closed the comments and made a post saying that he stands behind his authors but understands the issues some reader had and will work with the writers closer on future editorials to make sure they align with his earlier promise.

      I’m not sure if Bark would have quit over that type of action, but it wouldn’t have made MarkS look like he just surrenders whenever people complain. This is like the third time in his short tenure he bent to the mob.

      Reply
      • dal20402

        That would have been a reasonable course of action. Mark, are you willing to address whether that would have caused you to leave?

        Reply
        • Bark M Post author

          With all due respect to the commenters both here and TTAC, some of whom have made wild, ridiculous assumptions about what the conversations between Mr. Stevenson and me regarding a particular editorial were, I’m not going to comment on those conversations. I respect Mark’s desire to not pour gasoline on that fire at TTAC, and I’m not going to do it here, either. Regardless of his decision in that or any matter, I consider Mark a friend.

          Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        If it is not suppressed by some entity that has a monopoly on violence then it was not censored. You can’t come to my house and yell whatever you want to passers-by from my lawn. That is not censorship,* that’s just me telling you to git off ma lawn!

        *although I do have a very localized monopoly on violence on ma lawn.

        Reply
  26. Hank_M

    Sorry to see you leave TTAC but after a new topic today referencing the present occupant of the WH, I removed it from my bookmarks.

    Seems that only certain points of view are acceptable, as you’ve alluded to, and all others must be silenced.

    The vitriol directed at you was extreme, to say the least.

    I mainly went there to read articles from you and your brother.
    Always enjoyed them. Keep on writing.
    Regards.

    Reply
  27. Duong Nguyen

    Being “interesting” by posting articles that will just result in massive comment flame wars and arguments is not interesting. It’s no better than clickbait titles or anything Doug Demuro would do. It may gets clicks and ad revenue, but it’s not interesting. I bet half the people who commented didn’t even read the article, they just go straight to posting their bullet points in the comments.

    Not one person is going to change their viewpoint. Nobody is objective about politics. If there was a leaked tape of Obama saying the same “locker room talk” as Trump conservatives would be OUTRAGED. Just like how liberals will be OUTRAGED about Trump deporting people even though Obama has deported thousands. No one holds their team to the same standards so what’s the point of writing about it?

    Reply
  28. Zykotec

    I’m not sure if just provoking a reaction from me is enough to call someone a good writer, but you are one of those who make me think at least.
    Any commentary regarding the latest presidential election, or which talks about the new president or those who are against him will cause extreme reactions. From both sides. Both sides of the campaign have been going at each other and each other followers like two MMA fighters before a match. And both sides in the match have been made out to be very onesided, although followers of both parties are mostly very diverse groups who voted for a lot of diffferent reasons.
    Hiilarys side are considered ‘snowflakes’ and urban whitetrash and ‘cucks’ etc. and Trumps side for the Nazis and conspiracy theorists etc. Anyone who agrees with either side is somehow automatically part of these groups…

    So, now we have a bunch of supposed ‘nice’ people going postal and creating havoc, while on the other side we have ‘bad ass’ people who like calling peopl enames being hurt and crying for being called names they don’t like.
    I’m not the least bit a fan of Trump, but it’s near impossible to say what effect his presidency will have over the next 4 years , and it’s not up to some protesters anyway.
    Fact though, is that he is POTUS now. There’s F all anyone can do about that except supporting him and hope for the best. That goes double for the press, who is normally obligated to be neutral. (even if there is no such thing as an unbiased news outlet anywhere in the world anymore)

    As for myself, I’m more provoked by your constant fear of having to give up your driving privlieges than I’m provoked about whatever you think of some march that was hugely pointless and certainly not representative of any ‘left’ side of any politics.
    Serisously. Cars are fun and great and all that. I love driving, and I knew there are literally hundreds or even thousands of people like us all over the globe. And just like recreational shooting and fishing and horseriding and other antiquated useless hobbies, we will still be driving our natural aspirated, manually shifted gasolline powered toys for as long as you will live.
    Will we be allowed to risk other peopes heatlh and safety in public traffic? Maybe not for so long, but unless you are willing to live with highways filled with horses and farm animals and tractors and forklifts and wheelbarrows and pedestrians, I think you should check your driving priviliege.
    Instead of moaning like someone whos toilet privilieges have been stepped upon by people from a 17th century biblegroup ,enjoy driving while you still can, and maybe talk to your local corrupted politician about how to help fund a lobby that is willing to waste billions to make sure less than 3% of the car buying public can enjoy their hobby in the future.

    SJW’s wont shame you into scrapping your old fashioned manually operated car, the free market will deem it unsafe, unwanted and uneconomic to produce. Worry less about government regulations, instead worry about insane insurance premiums for cars that don’t brake automatically, or cars that can break the speed limit at the wish of the driver.

    Reply
  29. Foxtrot Alpha

    I don’t understand why some people can’t let stuff go when they don’t disagree with something. This is the reason I NEVER go to Jalopnik anymore. You don’t like the article or the where the site is politically? STOP going to the site and giving them mouse clicks. Is your life that devoid of meaning that you have to stop and tell on people because they don’t espouse your beliefs?

    Reply
  30. Jim

    Is there any logic found in this argument that could not have been used by those loudly protesting in the library, as documented by another posting here, to defend their actions?

    Reply
  31. BamaSkip

    Settled: TTAC EIC should have either killed the article upon submission from MB, wholly retracted it gracefully, or retracted it in part/closed the comments, so forth.

    Still curious about: We all believe, right, that there’s room for obviously intelligent people like dal20402/many others and Baruths to wonder about things like:

    Do we have any idea how Trump intends to successfully navigate and/or deliver on what he’s promised?
    Somewhat specifically, how do you not decrease spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, simultaneously cut taxes on the rich, AND make the military stronger than ever?
    Haven’t presumably really smart people been at work on that collection of Rubik’s cubes for years and come away mostly stymied?
    What do you believe Trump knows the others don’t?
    Is it a combination of much better than anticipated economic growth with some other combination of factors?
    Are the changes we’re seeing in the relationship of the Administration to the media and it’s ultimate consumers (us), a paradigm shift that comes with the times? A purposeful, coordinated campaign to distract from the difficult parts of what answering the questions above might be? Symptoms of a freshman Presidential team/class feeling its way? Honestly, I’m genuinely confused by it all, more than I am either angry about it or finger-pointing.

    I think those *might be* a few of the larger questions we’re mutually wrestling. Attaching the discussion of those to cars is less important to me than, A. Having an opportunity to do so in the presence of a lot of genuinely smart, interesting people, including the Baruths, and B. Doing so with civility and grace.

    What’s going to happen? Really?

    Reply
    • tmkreutzer

      Oh, I want to play too – let me take a shot at these, please!

      – Somewhat specifically, how do you not decrease spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, simultaneously cut taxes on the rich, AND make the military stronger than ever? –

      You answer your own question here. The goal is to spend less and then reduce the taxes to a level that supports your new, lower level of spending. Cutting taxes on the rich, according to “trickle down economics” will boost the economy by allowing the rich to invest in their businesses, which means new facilities and new jobs for the working class – something that will eventually help the government recoup the cost of the business-boosting tax cut they just handed out. There is little evidence that this has worked, by the way, but that’s the theory anyhow.

      But how do you spend less? Well, by looking for efficiencies. By negotiating down medical costs using economies of scale, by cutting government workers and by contracting out the services these people once provided to those who will do it for less, and by eliminating non-essential military platforms, personnel and bases in order to use the pot of money currently used to maintain old and out of date systems to develop newer, better ones.

      None of these ideas are new. The Rubik’s cubers have had this figured out for years. The reason they haven’t acted is congress – which is an amalgamation of people who serve small, local districts and states and who need to bring home the bacon lest they anger their voters and lose the next election. So, when the Rubik’s cuber says “We need to close down X air force base,” the local community that depends on that base for jobs goes straight to their congressman who gets X air force base taken off the closure list.

      So, we have a system where people have learned they can vote themselves money. Over time, different groups have mobilized in order to gain the influence required to keep their own personal pet projects going more-or-less indefinitely. It’s the people in the middle – the people without an organization that represents their interest, or an organization that has somehow been marginalized over time – that feel the bite. What we saw this election cycle was a candidate who reached out to many of those people. Who gave them a chance to coalesce and a chance to get something of a voice back. It worked and their concerns are now on the agenda.

      The unhappiness we are seeing now is coming from the members of the organized groups. They are mobilizing to get their interests put back on the agenda and are terribly frustrated that they are being rebuffed – to the point that some of their members have worked themselves into a frenzy.

      Meanwhile, the people who haven’t had a voice in a long, long time remain quietly hopeful. If the new administration takes one or two steps in the direction they’ve want and then makes four steps to the side, they’ve still gained two steps. 100 jobs, 200 jobs, 300 jobs coming back to our country are small potatoes but those weren’t coming here three months ago and now they are. That’s measurable progress and, what’s more, there is hope for more. Our country needs that and, even though my personal politics differ from many in the majority, as a person who comes from the working class I’m pretty damn glad to see that happening.

      As for the media part of your question, I think we are seeing an entirely different approach. I believe that this administration is trying to harness the power of social media and that, having had so much of what they have said projected to the public through a negative lens, that it lacks confidence in the media to carry the message they want to send.

      There are two problems here. The first is that the mainstream media has its own editorial bias. It needs to attract eyes and it is prone to sensationalism. It turns political leaders into simple, easy to understand characters that are seldom reflective of their real depth. In the 70s, they castigated Carter as a small town buffoon, made Reagan into a savior, painted Bush Sr. as an essentially ineffective little old man, Clinton as a young Kennedy-esque reformer and GW Bush as a Texas Buffoon. None of these characterizations offered us a complete picture of any of these people and already they are lining Trump up to be a blowhard and a buffoon. Why should he get on board with that?

      To get around that, Trump is using social media and that is the second problem that the new administration will need to solve. Dozens of messages from the president every day, on any number of subjects, will dilute the overall message. There needs to be a real focus to Trump’s interaction with the public and he will need to refrain from directly responding to anyone who baits him. He also needs an organization that will adhere to sterling journalistic ethics – the current “alternative facts” debacle should be a watershed moment for his press team. You cannot have the NY Times/CNN/Wa Post publishing daily lists of what the president’s team misrepresented at the noon press conference.

      Is it a purposeful campaign to distract? I think not, the new administration is proud of what it is doing. It’s just a teething process that I hope they will quickly outgrow. Trump needs to get a thicker skin and his team needs to step up and tell him when he needs to let stuff slide – otherwise he is going to be constantly involved in little, easily forgotten comments over individual remarks and be left unable to focus on the big things.

      I’ll close by saying what I say to the people around me. I am a Left Coast liberal but I am also a member of the working class. I have seen great progress on certain social issues over the past administration and I am proud of that. While there are some who would like to see all of that unwound, I don’t believe there is a huge national push to entirely undo everything that was done. On other issues, however, I have not seen the progress I would have liked. For example, I have not received, nor have I seen others of my class receive the true benefits of globalization. While I am not sure if the new course currently being charted will address that, I am not afraid of the change in direction. As a country, I think we need to try something different and I’m on board with it.

      Sorry for such a lengthy string of thoughts, but as someone from the middle I think it’s important that we be heard as well.

      Reply
      • Ken

        This is a great, well thought out response. I was glad I took the time to read through it. Thank you for posting. This is the kind of intelligent, non-confrontation, non-sensational, dialog we need more of.

        Reply
          • BamaSkip

            Thomas has made a good and appreciated response, particularly in both content and tone. In those veins, let me try to respond similarly.

            My belief is that we’ve had 2 presidents in a row, Bush/Obama, that have had a flaw that’s been genuinely significant though less than totally catastrophic.

            Bush’s, to me, was that he at least appeared to be intellectually incurious, and too often fit the facts to the decisions and narratives he already had in mind (invading Iraq, “Mission Accomplished,” believing he had a mandate in ’04 and using it to try to privatize Social Security, etc.).

            Obama, particularly on foreign policy, couldn’t get the narrative to fit the facts (given his skills as a communicator, this is kind of shocking, right?). Specifically, he appeared to be weak, when, I would argue, he was, A. Effective in fighting the War on Terror (bin Laden, general decimation of Al Qaeda, drone strikes, effective legal frameworks for continued prosecution, etc.), and, B. Relentless in determining if we really had a continued national interest at stake (Syria comes to mind, as does troop draw downs in Iraq and Afghanistan).

            My concern with Trump is that while he seems to have successfully navigated the primary and campaign through a series of decisions and techniques the likes of which we haven’t seen before (Scott Adams’ blog on this is very interesting), Thomas, all:

            *****Do you believe those techniques will continue to work?
            *****Will Trump be able to convince R/D to work together on things like adequate and simplified taxation, infrastructure projects, and, to one of your suggestions, Thomas, a “leaning” of the military infrastructure?

            Personally, I believe we MAY be at the limits of those techniques. Note, this is different than saying I think those techniques are “bad,” that I think Trump is “bad,” and/or that his policy preferences are “wrong” (some of those policy preferences are, of course, wrong to me, though this is the case with any thinking constituent and any candidate, isn’t it?).

            At any rate, for all of us, on most of the issues, it will be interesting to see how this evolves. And, for the things we can all get behind — who doesn’t want good economic and foreign policy? — let’s be hopeful that the techniques to come prove both effective, and do so in a way that’s less divisive. Looking forward to watching and participating in how it plays out.

          • -Nate-Nate

            “Thanks, that means a lot to me, Mark.”
            .
            So, stop goofing off and taking care of your Family etc. and get back to the key board ! .
            .
            -Nate

        • BamaSkip

          My apologies, as this should have been included in my responsive post above, but it just hit me. The genius of Reagan is that he not only didn’t have one of these major flaws, he had the opposite. An uncanny ability to make folks feel great while doing things that — particularly in retrospect — were the opposite of what we might think now. Examples:

          *****Reagan projected warmth and care. How do you square this with “ketchup is a vegetable,” and things like not using the word AIDS well past the point where most would now argue it should have been?

          *****Reagan projected (and demonstrated) strength, even when there were times where — were similar things to happen today — he would be excoriated. Think of 283 Marines dying in Beirut and our decision being to leave. In the context of the world as it was then, I’d argue, A. Correct decision, B. He benefitted from a lot of earned and deserved “air cover” from “Tear Down this Wall,” and the actions that accompanied that.

          *****Next, think of the genius involved with beginning your work as president by busting the air traffic controllers union while then creating an entire new slice of the electorate — Reagan Democrats — many of whom were proud union members themselves!

          So, if we conclude that Bush I, Bush II and Obama didn’t have those gears, and maybe Clinton had about a half-set of them (see Welfare Reform + Sister Souljah moment), then we have to wonder:

          Does Trump either have those gears?

          Or, is he inverting the game from warmth/inclusion to “negging”/identity politics?

          My guess is that he doesn’t have those gears, and that his other strategy/tactics have reached their limits. We’ll see.

          Reply
          • Tmkreutzer

            Trump used a new strategy in this election to be sure. There’s a lot of sour grapes about it, which I actually find funny. The idea that he is not legitimate because he lost the popular vote is obtuse, he used a different strategy to get the votes he needed – i.e. the electoral votes. I tell people who complain about it that it’s a little like a basketball game where one team beats another on three-pointers, In that situation, it’s entirely possible that the losing team made more baskets but scored fewer points. There’s nothing wrong with that, that’s the way the game is played. Trump’s magic is that he looked at the electoral rules and developed a strategy that would allow him to win from the outside. Even if you dislike him, you gotta admit that what he did is pretty damn smart!

            But governing is different than getting elected. What we need to see now is some coalition building. Reagan’s magic is that he had the ability to get people aligned. He had a tremendous amount of personal charm – I love seeing the photos of him and Tip O’Neil drinking together and enjoying one another’s company. They were professional adversaries, but got along well in person. Reagan did the same thing with dozens of other people and the good relationships he fostered allowed him to get things done – even some things many people disagreed with. That’s how politics are supposed to work.

            The ability of a president to work effectively ended with New Gingrich and the Contract on America in the early ’90s. Stronger congressional leadership and an unwillingness to compromise has hamstrung our government. It is now incredibly difficult to get things done on a national level. Flash forward to today when there are no limits on PAC money and we have a situation where congressmen have to tow the line ever more closely lest they face well financed competitors in the primary. If they are concerned about retaining their office, there simply is no way they can compromise on any issue. The result is gridlock.

            It’s this gridlock that stymied much of Obama’s social agenda. He had to move heaven and Earth to get what he got and even that ended up being half-assed because the obstructionists managed to gut everything they could and, in my opinion, created programs that don’t effectively satisfy anyone. Already weakened by the process that birthed them, I’ll be surprised if they stand. The opposition to health care, for example is organized and even the people who benefit are essentially unsatisfied. So long as the preserve a few cherries, things like the ability to keep our kids on our health insurance into their 20s, Obamacare will slide into the abyss and most people won’t miss it once it’s gone.

            Will Trump be able to get both parties to work together? As polarized as things are, it’s doubtful. He’ll have a hard enough time reigning in the Republicans who are terribly split – just look at what that division did to John Boehner – and unless Paul Ryan has some sort of magic bullet, I don’t see it getting much better.

            On foreign policy, Obama’s problem is that he wanted to be the “anti Bush.” He wanted, in his heart I think, to reject the use of military force and embrace soft-power. The problem is, our government only effectively controls to aspects of the DIME – Diplomatic and Military – and diplomatic power simply doesn’t work in every situation. The soft power strategy was a nice talking point but fell flat much of the time. Therefore, Obama turned to the M more and more – but kept it out of the public eye as much as possible.

            But the military has been run pretty ragged over the past decade. It needs a solid reset but just can’t find the time. New platforms are coming on line, but given the wars we’ve been fighting the cost has been huge. If we can disengage, we can reset – maybe not “get lean” which is a term I loathe because a lot of muscle gets cut – and that would do our soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen a great deal of good.

            I know this isn’t a complete response, but I need to get up and get ready to go to work now. Sorry for any typos or other errors – I like to be able to edit my posts after the fact, I always find flaws, but the site doesn’t allow it. This is a good discussion and I’m happy to contribute. I look forward to more and will check back in throughout the day – Thom

  32. Nolan Sinclair

    Hey Bark,

    I enjoy the auto journalism and track lifestyle pieces. I do not agree with either of you socially most of the time, but that’s what I’m here for.

    The Internet has made it so easy to connect with like-minded folks but no one sees the value in the ease we can connect with nice people that think differently than we might. Fuck monoculture and people who just want to make everything agreeable.

    Reply
  33. TAFKADG

    I loved the idea of a giant hot rod show/protest on the National Mall.
    “HEY, HEY! HO, HO! EMISSION REGS HAVE GOT TO GO!”

    Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. I hope this “no platform” incident inspires you to write something truly triggering here.

    Reply
  34. Bmac

    Mark,

    For what it’s worth, I have never found you merely interesting. I have found you real. From your earliest pieces about buying your Boss 302, to your recent adventure with the NSX, your work has been – for want of a better word – authentic. We disagree on politics, probably not to the extent your imagine, but even so. However, I will still be happy to read your byline where and when it appears, not as a challenge to preconceived notions, not as an invitation to dialogue, but because it will herald honesty.

    cheers,
    -b

    Reply
  35. PM Summer

    OK. I read the article. Having retired (yeah, I’m an old boomer) from an Urban Planning career (Urban Transportation Planning in particular), ‘Your Betters’ with American Planning Association certification truly dream of the day of that MANDATING driverless cars and empty streets comes to fruition. Because we’ll all be riding $5,000 single-speed bicycles to the trolley station.

    They studied but learned nothing from, the Pruitt-Igoe housing project’s massive failure, taking away only that more government muscle was needed to make people realize how much they’d enjoy living in a concrete hive…and more bike lanes.

    TTAC’s bookmark has gone the way of Gawker bookmarks in my browser.

    Oh, and for context, I both commuted 20 miles a day (RT) on my bicycle, and was a #NeverTrump/#NeverHillary voter, clinging to my Bible and John Cooper Works MINI.

    All the best, Mark.

    Reply
  36. Bigtruckseriesreview

    JACK and BARK

    Obviously the only way to beat-em is to have your own website and do better than they are.

    TTAC is a joke now because they’ve driven all the fun out.

    So basically – just do your own thing using whatever avenues are open.

    Reply
  37. Rock36

    Bark,

    I first came across Jack’s writing randomly several years ago on a Mustang forum that linked to an Avoidable Contact article on Speed Sport Life. I since followed his content to TTAC, and that’s where I came across your articles as well. Your writings also appealed to me. Both you and Jack take an iconoclastic approach to the auto industry that resonates with me, but in my opinion you have your own voice on the matter. So I find uniqueness in what either of you write.

    Voting with your feet is admirable in my view. I wish we (myself included) would do it more often. Constant reassessment and reevaluation and the resulting changes keep us fresh. I won’t tread any further on my speculations about TTAC or my impressions of editorial decisions or the alleged B&B.

    As a consumer of your content, I will follow your content wherever it is featured just as I did with Jack (I do rely on Jack’s weekend roundups to keep me informed on where it is featured though ha ha). TTAC or Jalopnik or R&T, or, or, or have no intrinsic value in and of themselves in my mind. Frankly it is my interest in individual writers that set one off from one another. I certainly don’t prefer TTAC over Jalopnik because of the website’s interface or the people who comment on the articles.

    TL:DR You keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

    Reply
  38. Tyler

    You folks are, kindly put, blowing this out of proportion. Freelance writers and outlets are every bit as intensely personal in their flocking habits as musicians and rock bands, something Baruth the Younger knows from. Stevenson was within his rights to pull the piece, Mark B. was within his rights to take his leave. This too shall pass.

    Reply
  39. Midnight DeSoto

    >>We no longer seek to understand, we only seek to be understood.
    [several graphs later]
    >>If you want me to understand where you’re coming from, then try to understand where I’m coming from first.

    There’s something odd about this combination, no?

    Reply
  40. Ron

    While I did find this website because of your brother, I think your voice is also worthy. And while I agree with virtually everything you posted here, I would add one more thing you owe the readers: You have an obligation to not bullshit them. While a great many authors survive by posting nothing but bullshit, I don’t read them and I don’t expect that of you. Not capitol-T truth – this isn’t a church and you aren’t carrying any tablets around – but small-t- truth, a promise not to pervert a review in the name of money or more clickbait. While I fully expect you to embellish a yarn about What Happened While Driving Vehicle X, I don’t expect you’ll tell me it’s V8 is good for 45 MPG, or that the new Sync XVIII ICE system doesn’t suck.Fortunately, this is an expectation I think you demand of yourself – so much so that you didn’t even think to mention it.
    Which is why I bring it up. Integrity is rare enough these days that it should be recognized.

    Reply
  41. Dirty Dingus McGee

    TTAC= Tough Times Are Coming

    I still, and at least for a while longer, check the site daily. However the article clicks, unless it was by the Baruths, or Murilee, have mostly stopped. The content is rarely interesting enough in the “teaser” to warrant reading the rest. Just doesn’t seem to be anybody stirring the pot there, just serving up what can be found anywhere else. I do tend to spend more time on marque specific boards, because I really don’t care to read about how the cup holders in the new Toyota Lackluster are superior to the ones in the Subaru Snorer. Hell, even Jalopnik, with an amazing group of commenters who seem to despise cars, has more interesting articles for the most part. Are a lot of them clicklbait? Yup, but it seems to work for them. If any place isn’t interesting, be it on the web or in real life, why are folks going to go there?

    Reply
  42. TheOtherDave-tm

    Having missed this whole debacle first-hand, and only now beginning to skim a cached link… my first impression, based on my years in print, is that Stevenson did not serve his role as Editor.

    When it comes to setting the tone of a publication, the buck stops with we who judge what is fit to print. In my experience, that guidance stemmed from dialogue and rapport, not arbitrary autocracy. Just my two cents, YMMV.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re leaving TTAC, Mark. Your Q/A column was an asset to a site now largely awash in cheaply regurgitated PR.

    Reply
  43. Tietonian

    Bark,

    I thought the article in question was far from your best work. I did, however, agree with everything you said in it. I guess my problem was with the amount of words spent on the marchers. It had the idea of a really great article but perhaps got lost in the weeds somewhere.

    That being said, if Mark S. looked at the article before it was posted, it seems to me to be dishonorable of him to delete it, as well as making him look weak. If he is indeed your friend, I pray this will not affect your friendship.

    Regards,
    Elias Sugarman

    Reply
  44. AoLetsGo

    I read your post before it was pulled and most of the comments. Did I think it should have been pulled? No, but then I have a high tolerance for people with different views. In the past you have done some fine work and I think your best stuff was about car reviews, your auto/work world and even your family stuff. When you ventured into commentary and politics it is much harder to write about. To me it appeared you were trying to emulate Jack instead of developing your own style. It was like Salieri trying to be Mozart, make it louder, more outrageous, more fireworks, and giving them a big bang at the end so they know when to clap.

    Reply
    • Bark M Post author

      Jack and I don’t really agree on politics—not entirely, anyway. I realize that the comparison between us is inevitable, due to the last name being the same, and the fact that we read most of the same books by the same authors growing up probably influences our writing similarly. But, to be honest, I very rarely even have the time to read his writing, and vice versa.

      And you do realize the whole Salieri/Mozart thing was fictional, I hope. Made for a good movie, though.

      Reply
  45. Hogie roll

    I liked it bark. Some of your best. Your normal stuff is less interesting to me. But your normal work seems to have good mass appeal fwiw

    Reply
  46. Rob

    I too missed the initial post and subsequent shitstorm it hath wrought, and I too share the sentiment expressed here that GawkerThink has infected even the most pedestrian, ostensibly automotive content at Jalopnik and elsewhere. That’s why I continued to seek out the Baruth Bros here and at TTAC; you guys are not afraid to express your opinions, however unpopular they may be.

    What I’ll never understand is the mindset that some people have where they demand for opposing viewpoints to be eliminated altogether. There are a few commentors I’ve seen here (and at TTAC) that seem to visit for the express purpose of attacking you two. This would be akin to me following Michael Moore on Twitter, just to tell him he’s a fat hunk of dishonest Canadian tripe.

    Anyway, Mark, I hope you are recovering from the Fiesta Bowl result, and look forward to reading more of your sexist/misogynist/fascist/bombthrowing hatred very soon.

    Reply
    • Panzer

      You know VoGo, even though I think you have acquitted yourself relatively well in your threads against the Baruth brothers, I do feel your constant commenting/trolling on every. single. post. that the Baruth brothers have made here and on TTAC lately undermines whatever standing you may have gained by engaging in such trolling/commenting in the first place.

      It is somewhat unbecoming dude. Just sayin’

      Reply
  47. Paul M.

    Bark,
    I love how you write. I love the passion. I love the man. Yes I also love your brother. I think you are at that stage of life, where we leave youth and enter, how can I put it politely middle age? You will be fine. Passion is part of youth experience. As time goes on, passion and experience makes a man what he is. Your brother knows. He now drives an Accord and enjoys it, and tries to justify it in many ways. Whereas in his youth, he drove Audi Lime Green S5 or VW Phateon.

    You will be fine. I love you and your brother and hang in there my friend.

    Reply
  48. Panzer

    What I don’t get are all the comments about how Mark’s piece was ‘incoherent’ and ‘didn’t have a consistent thread’ or some such nonsense.
    My take away from it was that these spoilt upper middle class white women had managed to mobilize and draw attention to themselves in a big way for no other reason to show everyone how upset they are that something didn’t go their way for once in their entitled lives, and that we car enthusiasts should follow their example on how to bring pressure to bear in order to defend our hobby, whether it be on two wheels or four.

    Makes sense to me.

    Reply
  49. Jeff

    I read the “offending” article, and while it strayed into the political areana, I didn’t find it to be too over the top. It did talk about the “March” but also drew parallels with a possible future in which we car owners cold easily be on the defensive. It certainly was not so over the top to cause so much “buthurtedness” among the B&B, IMHO.

    It is interesting that it this politically correct environment that we find ourselves in that the elite seem to be proudly taking pages from Joe McCarthy’s playbook. In the 50’s, the Hollywood elite were blacklisted. Now it seems anyone who doesn’t agree with the Left Wing/Progressive Globalist perspective gets that honor. Funny how things come full circle.

    Reply
  50. Nickoo

    The editor in chief. Mark Stevenson, is a no-ball coward who should resign. To approve a submission and then retract it when the heat got too to be too much is a gutless move. He should have taken responsibility for approving the post and resigned as penance. OR he should have grown a set and rode it out. What he did was the complete coward’s way out, and I have zero respect for him, or his quickly devolving site.

    Reply
  51. rtr

    Read the article. Thanks BTSR! I see no reason why it was taken down. It is after all about cars and what might happen in the future. TTAC blew it by reacting to a few self acclaimed pundits. Sad to see you leave TTAC. The site has been slowly gone downhill and losing you makes it worse.

    Maybe it is time for a new editor in chief. It was better when Jack ran it.

    Reply
  52. DirtRoads

    Bark, I haven’t read any of the other posts, just scrolled to the bottom.

    Who cares if someone likes your stuff? If you get enough clicks or whatever metric it is that you measure with, then enjoy the ride. There are tougher gigs than writing, trust me.

    For those who need a trophy for completely reading through AND comprehending an article, screw it. You did your best. If they can do better, or need a trophy, they can get off their cynical asses and write their own shit. See if that works out for them.

    Keep it rollin’ Bark. The rewards your readers get aren’t close the the inner rewards you get for yourself, knowing you’ve done your best.

    Reply

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