The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Three

I like stereotypes. They save time. You like stereotypes as well, and you use them. They are cognitively efficient. In fact, they are utterly necessary. Every day, you make thousands of tacit assumptions about the environment around you: there are no tigers in the bathroom, buildings will not fall on you for no reason, the person behind you in the line for lunch can be trusted not to hold you down and rape you. You assume that the sidewalk will not collapse and the floor is not, in fact, actually lava. You purchase food and eat it without submitting it to a full battery of chemical and biological tests. If you’re American, you speak English to people you have never met before. (The future demographic shift of this country will teach you a lesson about that.)

The only people who cannot effectively “stereotype” are deeply autistic people who have no ability to ignore and/or generalize things. Autism is defined as the inability to form abstract concepts — in other words, stereotypes. When two normal people have a conversation, they can use an abstract concept like “car” or “refrigerator” without difficulty. Their ability to stereotype and abstract allows them to simply glide past the idea of “refrigerator”. The person who suffers from a degree of autism needs to know all about the refrigerator. This is not them being difficult; it is literally the manifestation of their illness.

It’s probably no coincidence that modern popular culture is so obsessed with “breaking down stereotypes” and focusing on the exceptions to a rule rather than focusing on the rule itself. After all, we are experiencing unprecedented rates of autism and autism spectrum behavior. The autistic mind is obsessed with exceptions to the rule. It loves Malala and Obama and the Harlequin Golf and every other case where somebody or something deviates sharply from expected behavior. The autistic mind is comforted by cases where stereotypes don’t apply because the autistic mind is fundamentally troubled by stereotypes. The autistic mind likes rules because rules are expressed in absolute and concrete terms. It does not like stereotypes, because stereotypes are abstract generalizations that, like language, are used as a sort of cultural and personal shorthand.

As someone who demonstrates the occasional touch of Aspie behavior, I will confess that my fondness for stereotypes is not quite as strong as it would be were I completely sane and neurotypical. And that is why I’m so annoyed with “pmirp1” and his dutiful conformance to pretty much every aspect of the “stupid Vette owner” stereotype. An entirely normal writer would just nod his head and say to himself, “Another dumbass with a Vette.” I, on the other hand, am compelled to flap this bug with gilded wings just a bit.


Let us count all the ways in which this dude is absolutely, almost suspiciously, typical of Vette people:

  • He wants us to know what color his C7 Z51 is and how rare it is. There was a long-standing joke in the Columbus street-racing community that every single F-body owner thought he had a rare car because “They only made 1,302 cars in Jet Black with the T-tops but without the subwoofer.” In this case, there were VERY FEW Admiral Blues made in 2016. Who gives a shit?
  • He has no experience with any of the cars listed, save for the (old-gen?) Camaro SS. Has he actually driven a Genesis G80? I betcha not. I betcha he got his impression of the G80’s handling from a Berk/DeMuro type trying to entertain an audience with low-flying exhibitions of unambitious wit.
  • He is TOTALLY SURE that the Alpha platform is a continuation of the C7’s handling behavior, because… well, he is totally sure! Never mind that the Corvette has been considerably better than the Camaro since 1984. Never mind that GM rarely manages to make Corvette technology transfer the way it should. There’s like a blood/brain barrier between Corvette and the rest of GM. This is good for the Vette team and the Vette buyers, but it doesn’t help the Equinox.
  • He solemnly assures us that Ring testing is not for show, and then he repeats various PR talking points almost word for word. This would be like me telling you that advertising doesn’t work but that I truly believe in Dove’s special power to get those chunky girls cleaned up.

The autism-spectrum person in me wants to patiently unpick everything about this comment and search for some evidence of reasonable, independent thought. I don’t like dismissing people and/or viewpoints out of hand and this is no exception. The normal person in me says that you can safely discount the opinions of anybody who needs you to know how rare Admiral Blue was as a stock C7 color in 2016.

Just once in my life, I’m going to go with the normal, rational part of my brain. Buildings don’t turn into monsters. Trains don’t leave their tracks. If a man is wearing a sportcoat with a stitched lapel, he is not going to carjack you. This comment can be tossed into the circular file, along with everything else “pmirp1” has ever said and will ever say. Let’s save time on this one and bid it adieu. Not every single stupid thing, not every single worthless person, not every single meaningless relationship deserves the full exercise of your time and efforts. Free your mind and your ass will follow.

61 Replies to “The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Three”

  1. jz78817

    “there are no tigers in the bathroom,”

    only because I keep that tiger-repelling rock I bought in there.

    Reply
  2. Derek Kreindler

    He is correct about Lotus being an “engineering-for-hire” company. They have a division that does engineering consulting for many outfits besides Hyundai and GM.

    He’s also too ignorant to know the difference between them and Lotus Cars.

    Reply
    • jz78817

      so does Porsche; they run contract work via Porsche Engineering Services. when I was a resident at JTE (DaimlerChrysler) there were several contract engineers working there with “Porsche” business cards.

      AFAIK it was this division which actually consulted with Harley-Davidson on the V-Rod powertrain, not Porsche proper.

      Reply
  3. jz78817

    lack of an edit function…

    “The person who suffers from a degree of autism needs to know all about the refrigerator. “

    I was reading a piece on Cracked (I know, I know) which said the opening scene in Blade Runner where Kowalski is being tested is actually not that far off with the way some autistic people are. “What desert?” “How come I’d be there?” “

    Reply
  4. Ronnie Schreiber

    Hey, my Elan is the 10th from last Series II made. That’s got to make it rarer than other Elans, right?

    Note: Ford makes more F series pickups in a week than all of the Elans that Lotus made in a decade.

    I plead guilty to being an acolyte of one Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman (Note: that’s where the ACBC in the original Lotus logo comes from), and I try to avoid absolutes, but I’d bet that pmirp1 would have a difficult time finding *any* reviewer, professional or otherwise, who has criticized the handling of *any* Lotus car.

    As for being on the spectrum or not, the ability/need to monomaniacally focus, effecting blotting out the rest of the world while you’re involved in the task, allows you to get things done and solve some problems, but it doesn’t help in interactions with other human beings. People don’t understand that having to see if the test part you are printing will work is a perfectly acceptable excuse for showing up at 9:00 after saying you’d be over by 7:00.

    Reply
  5. Hogie roll

    I’m sure it’s an automatic convertible with 5 coats of zaino.

    Quasar blue is where it’s at.

    Reply
    • Yamahog

      With fewer than 10k miles on it.

      Thank goodness for rich old folks who make life so enjoyable for the 2nd / 3rd owner of their coveted items.

      Some day the music is going to stop on Corvettes, Pony Cars, and Harleys. And the sellers will realize that low milage means nothing when every other item on the market has been equally well preserved.

      “But do you know how rare Admiral Blues are on 2016s?”
      “But no one else has a Road King with Hog Tunes and an ABS delete”

      Ahh, but no one else is trying to buy some dinosaur that’s primarily designed for a clientele with revoked licences.

      Reply
      • Disinterested-Observer

        If I had the funds and there was a way to do it I would short muscle and pony cars. I think when the boomers die off the values will collapse. Just look at the GNX/Grand Nationals, everyone knew they were special so they didn’t drive them, they are still valued but they barely beat inflation.

        Reply
        • jz78817

          If I played (and won) the lottery or otherwise came into “fuck you money” I’d go to Mecum or Barret-Jackson and bid up one of those million dollar, numbers matching Hemi ‘Cuda convertibles or Boss 429 Mustangs. Then after making sure all fluids were in place, watch in amusement as those old codgers have coronaries while I drive the car away.

          Reply
  6. VoGo

    I’m not clear on how Obama doesn’t fit stereotype. Columbia U/Harvard Law grad elected to White House. Pretty standard, no?

    Reply
    • Yamahog

      People thought he’d be another feckless, spineless, limousine liberal but he was actually Carl Schmitt’s “The Sovereign”. He consolidated corporate and State power, unilaterally ordered the execution of U.S citizens, waged a war without Congressional approval, and used the intelligence apparatus to collect information on his opponents.

      I’m really bummed he presided over a peaceful transition of power. He could have become The Real God Emperor.

      Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Single mother.
      Not Skull and Bones member.
      Virtually no experience in government.
      Allied to radical church.
      There might be a few other deviations.

      Reply
          • jz78817

            it’s no worse than people who will believe each and every rumor against Obama or Hillary, no matter how patently fucking stupid it is.

            That there are people who openly profess their belief that absurdity like “pizzagate” really happened is mind boggling to me.

            I’m still waiting for BHO to send the brownshirts out to round up everyone’s kids into FEMA concentration camps. And yes, people were actually saying he was going to do that in 2008.

            Christ, there’s plenty of policy reasons to dislike these people without making up idiotic trash.

          • VoGo

            Ronnie,
            What’s the deal with your obsession over my thick, cut ‘hammer’? I’m starting to feel uncomfortable!

      • jz78817

        I know some people will still be blaming him for all of the world’s ills in the year 2090, but he’s not president anymore. Get off it.

        Reply
          • VoGo

            It’s a little known fact that I have the power to force Jack to ruin otherwise cogent editorials with self-defeating sideswipes at black presidents, refugees and women.

            Just like I control the most powerful man in the world by forcing him to write random , insulting tweets that serve no purpose other than to remind people of what a buffoon they’ve elected.

            It’s what I do.

  7. Tomko

    As the original owner of: the 33,333rd 1996 Impala SS produced; a 2008 DTS in the exceptionally rare Cognac Frost Tricoat; and, a GMT-Master II with a prime number for its serial number, I agree with most of what you’ve written.

    But, as I’ve raised previously, I’m not wholly comfortable with the description of autism as an illness.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      It suppose it depends on how you would characterize illness. People on the far end of the spectrum are all but immobilized by it; some people on the near end go on to become billionaires.

      Reply
        • VoGo

          “I’m not wholly comfortable with the description of autism as an illness”

          Said no one ever who is an actual parent of a kid on the spectrum.

          Reply
          • Ronnie Schreiber

            Not calling it an illness might be of a piece with stuff like “deaf culture”.

            One of my 1st cousins twice removed recently had a cochlear inplant. To see his face when he first heard his mother and father’s voices and think that there are deaf activists that oppose such things is mind boggling. Then there are the close to Munchausen by proxy parents who give prepubescent children puberty blockers because it’s trendy in their circles to have transgender kids.

          • Disinterested-Observer

            Much as I dislike VoGo I have to agree. My best friend’s brother is a full-blown cussing, uncontrollable tics, autistic. It is/was horrible. He is a “secure facility” now, because when he grew into a 6’4″ 200+ pound man he was too dangerous to stay at home. I don’t get offended easily, and I certainly would not get offended on behalf of someone else, but when Jack self diagnosis Asperger’s or Autism I do cringe.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            To be fair, autism is a spectrum that ranges from “can’t shut up about Visual Basic programming techniques” to what you’ve described above.

            I don’t know if we did the suffers of serious autism any favors by bundling several related disorders into a “spectrum”, however.

            Furthermore, I can easily see the genetic markers of ASD in my own son, who has no difficulty interrupting any conversation, even between adults, to correct a minor error of fact or grammar. This isn’t behavior that his mother has and it’s something I take massive pains to not do in his vicinity. It just came out of the DNA.

          • Tom KlockauTom Klockau

            Ronnie, I have had a cochlear implant for 21 years. Long story, but I lost my hearing in high school. One of the things that mystified me was a questionnaire the U of I sent me long ago about deaf people and those who got cochlear implants. Things like “Are your deaf friends still friendly with you after you got your c.i.? And do you wish you were still deaf and had not had the surgery? Etc, etc. Of course, I wasn’t born deaf, but the things I read made it seem like some folks born deaf really, really resent other deaf people who get cochlear implants. This completely mystified me!

          • Ronnie Schreiber

            “Furthermore, I can easily see the genetic markers of ASD in my own son, who has no difficulty interrupting any conversation, even between adults, to correct a minor error of fact or grammar.”

            One of my father’s veterinarian friends, Marty Krochmal, gave me the nickname “Nudge” when I was a little kid.

            I’m so glad that when I was in grade school and junior high I was just a smart kid with a big mouth who got into trouble at school a lot. My parents sent me to a psychologist, but this was before ADHD and the autism spectrum, so I survived childhood without being drugged.

  8. Arbuckle

    Riverside Green is less autistic than places like a subreddit on HAM radios or a MGTOW forum but it’s still above average.

    TTAC commenters are split fairly evenly between under 45 STEM autists and older Boomerposters like Mr. Blue Corvette above.

    Reply
      • ComfortablyNumb

        “Left brained” people can come across as socially inept, which to an uninformed observer looks a little bit like autism. I’m OK with being stereotyped in that way. It can be a useful persona at times.

        Reply
        • jz78817

          “socially inept” fits me to a T, but for various other reasons.

          Q: How can you tell if an engineer is an extrovert?
          A: When he talks to a woman, he stares down at her shoes instead of his own.

          Reply
  9. Wulfar

    My 6-speed Hellcat is Sublime with a flat black hood and, of all things, an engine block heater. There must be like what, 80 or so out there 😉

    Who cares – its was a retirement gift to myself. It’s dirty, needs new tires and I drive it hard every where I go. Have fun with everything you buy – life is too short man.

    Reply
  10. scs

    Lotus did a lot of work on the two Isuzu models that wore its badges (for, as I recall, $50 or $75 each). I owned an I-Mark Turbo with the Lotus suspension, Recaro seats, big Potenzas and a lot of other cool features; out-handled anything FWD from that era, including Hondas, got good mileage, and the Recaros were superb. Unfortunately, at that time, my 110-horse four-cylinder cost more (a LOT more) to insure than a 225-hp Mustang GT. Turbos terrified insurance companies then. The Impulse was an underrated car, and the Lotus suspension didn’t help it as much as it did the I-Mark. But it was still a solid car. As for having patience with readers, and even worse, journalists, who spout off on how good a car was or wasn’t that you know they have never driven — yeah, I got none. As for Isuzu, there’s a very good MBA thesis to be written about its mismanagement, but there aren’t many people around now who could get it right.

    Reply
  11. -nate-nate

    ” Free your mind and your ass will follow.”

    bang spot on as usual jack .

    i enjoyed all the varying comments too =8-) .

    -nate

    Reply
  12. Ryan

    I read an article in Autoweek about 15 years ago (I believe it was written by Cory Farley) regarding someone who purchased a used 911 and quickly became a walking embodiment of your stereotypical “Porsche owner.” At first, I took believed the commentary to be in jest. As I got older, however, I found this to be not incorrect.

    It was around that time that I picked up my first Corvette, the 79 that I posted on Instagram a few weeks ago. My dad and I started going to meets with the local Corvette “club” in hopes to get a line on some good used parts. eBay was still in its infancy back then, and the good stuff was still trading hands by word of mouth. The people we encountered were not far off from the guy in this article. I didn’t care one iota about some guy’s 74 Convertible that was 1 of 13 L-82 Automatics with a CB radio and Oyster interior. I quickly stopped going and parked the car due to lack of repair funds.

    Fast forward a decade, and I helped my friend locate a C5 of his own. This is what made me vow to stop helping people shop for cars. His search was not dissimilar to this:
    http://confessionsofacarman.blogspot.com/2007/11/i-hate-corvettes.html

    On a weekly basis, I get sent a link for some low-mileage 04 Z06 with a note of how I should “jump on this.” Not only am I currently unemployed, but I would not purchase a duplicate of my same car. His justification? “You can keep driving yours into the ground and have a nicer one.” In the past three years, I’ve put over 40,000 miles on my car and have done everything you’d expect a mid-20s male to do with such a car.

    He keeps his 90,000 mile car parked under a cover at his mom’s. Apparently, he’s concerned about resale value on his “1 in 326” Corvette.

    For some people, they are buying into a marque because they have nothing else going on in their life. For others, the car is just a tool for enjoyment. It’s because of this attitude why the only car “meet” I can stomach is the occasional Saturday morning at Pasteiner’s.

    Reply

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