Everything That’s Wrong With Automotive Journalism, Summed Up Nicely In One Twitter Thread

There’s a sad, soy-substitute trend of self-loathing of so-called “automotive journalists” on the internet lately. Most of them hate cars and they can’t figure out why people in Winchester, Kentucky can’t just get on board with public transportation already. They are only on the autos beat because there were no job openings for the Social Justice desk at Daily Beast.

But that doesn’t stop them from needlessly inserting tributes to pedophile rapists and violent criminals, errrrr social justice heroes into every review of the 2021 Kia Forte, or from raging against the patriarchal, capitalist machine that is the auto industry.

Case in point: Senior Editor Jared Rosenholtz from Carbuzz.com. One day this week, Jared woke up and decided that he needed to do something about income inequality. Did he run for office? No. Did he volunteer at a soup kitchen? Also no. Did he write a passive aggressive tweet and tag Bernie Sanders in it? YOU’RE GODDAMNED RIGHT HE DID!

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Someone — and for once, I’m not sure who it was, possibly Updike — once noted that “Americans are extremely unwilling to have someone be good at two different things.” Our sole cultural exception at the moment is for the omnipresent-in-media rapper-turned-actor, likely in recognition of the fact that rapping is

a) not very hard from a technical or effort perspective, thus freeing up time to learn another skill;
b) much like acting in the sense that virtually none of the “gangster rappers” were gangsters and very few of the “trap rappers” have done any pimping and so on. Compare the excellent work done by Ice-T or LL Cool J in various movies to Pavarotti’s turn in “Yes, Giorgio!” if you want a study in contrasts.

Yet it’s perfectly reasonable to assume that extraordinary people have extraordinary abilities in multiple areas. Most professional athletes can also point to success in other sports at an earlier level, or even in another professional discipline. From DaVinci to John Ruskin to Donald Knuth, the history books are filled with men who have worked the ragged edge in multiple fields of study or endeavor.

Is concert pianist and citizen-of-the-world Hyperion Knight one of those fellows? Now’s your (and my) chance to find out.

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Reading Recommendations: In Which Captain Save-A-You-Know-What Surrenders His Commission

“Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Thus spake Samuel Johnson, and he was correct. (Note to the reader: a fortnight is two weeks, or fourteen days, from the Old English.) Many of my friends expect the Boogaloo to come in a few fortnights. I don’t really believe in the Boogaloo, but I think there’s something therapeutic about it. Like religion, prison, and true love, the Boogaloo offers a drastic reduction of possibilities. It’s easier to worry about fields of fire from your second-story windows than to wonder what kind of a man you’ll be in society when you’re in the bread line with everyone else, and you’ve started having to pull your own teeth for lack of dental care. We all know in our hearts that a Great Depression, or even a Not-So-Great Recession, leads to years of quiet, grinding desperation. Far better to imagine that the future holds a series of running gun battles with depersonalized Others who will be morally inferior to us but also, one hopes, much less practiced in the manual of arms for the AR-15 (USA) or Marlin 1894 (Canada) or Maringer Vorpal (here in non-firearms-owning Riverside Green, where we study the blade).

You get the idea. It’s easier and more pleasurable to imagine violent action than lengthy misery. Yet here we are, with our focused minds. For me, this focusing has led to an odd… flattening of empathy.

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Big Pimping, Mothers Not Dog Moms, The Love Song Of A Redhead Model

…Maybe give your child real and positive reasons to avoid sexual activity with the other, even more disgusting pubescents in their class. Help them cherish, even fantasize about, the idea of a future family and their own children.
Raise mothers, not dog moms.
Raise women, not wine aunts.
Raise ladies, not cat ladies.

I’d be careful about repeating the above words from “Peachy Keenan” and The American Mind out loud. I’m frankly a little nervous about even quoting them. We’ve taken ideas which were until recently the very foundation of American moral thought and made them too radioactive to touch. The idea that young women shouldn’t be trained to be sexually available to their classmates, or anyone else, in sixth grade? That’s racist! Or sexist. Or one of the many other words which used to have discernible meaning but which have now been effortlessly Newspeaked into just meaning “ungood”. You could be fired. In the UK, you can be denied medical care now for holding the wrong opinions. This is serious business. No fun involved.

Unfortunately for me and my stubborn personal commitment to placing truth above pleasantries, I’ve recently seen something which suggests that Ms. Keenan is, in fact, more correct than anyone would like to admit. Yes, it was on a sex worker’s Instagram page. Why do you ask?

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The Junior Classics

We interrupt this extremely sporadic program to bring you a commercial message. Vox Day and Castalia Press are reissuing the Junior Classics of 1918:

The purpose of The Junior Classics is to provide, in ten volumes containing about five thousand pages, a classified collection of tales, stories, and poems, both ancient and modern, suitable for boys and girls of from six to sixteen years of age.

If you know of, or are related to, a child who is primarily consuming kidlit and capeshit, this would be an outstanding antidote. As of right now the Indiegogo campaign has reached 1200% of its original goal.

With a few thousand books in my house, I have enough of the source materials to not “need” this set, but I’m likely to get it anyway. You might want to take a look as well. The campaign is here and while it isn’t cheap, to the best of my knowledge Vox has fulfilled or refunded every single one of his campaigns to date. So it’s a better shot than the last Kickstarter I funded, to be certain!

A Little Propaganda For The Proles On The Fourth

If you’re reading it, it’s for you. Sometimes that is particularly true. As a frequent user of Mozilla Firefox, I also receive “Pocket recommendations” when I open a new tab. These recommendations are supposedly based on my browsing behavior. It’s worth noting that Pocket limits its recommendations to very carefully-vetted purveyors of pap propaganda; for instance, I’ve been reading quite a bit about the new generation of Desert Eagle pistols lately, but I have yet to receive any “deagle”-related suggestions. Pocket is never going to tell me about guns, or off-roading, or patriotism. Not even on the Fourth Of July.

Let’s briefly discuss two recommendations which caught my eye today, because both of them are specifically designed to distort reality in such a way as to make me, and others with my approximate browsing history, doubt our ability to understand the world.

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The Censorship Of Fahrenheit 451

Oh, this is awkward.

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, once the darling of every small-town activist librarian aghast at the idea of not making Tropic Of Cancer and Fear Of Flying mandatory reading for nine-year-olds, turns out to have had a few, ahem, controversial aspects to it. In particular, the book railed against a society where abortion is encouraged and children are shuttled off to anonymous daycare.

Don’t remember that part? That’s because you probably read the censored version.

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(Double) Weekly Roundup: The Desire Of The Woman Edition

And they say that writing doesn’t pay: Kristen Roupenian received $1.2 million dollars as an advance for her FIRST EVER BOOK, You Know You Want this after her story “Cat Person” went, as they say, viral. The book is, apparently, a bit of a hash and it’s not selling terribly well. You can read a rather savage review by the infamous “Delicious Tacos” here; as with Clive James’ infamous Princess Daisy evisceration, the criticism is significantly more accomplished than the source material. I could attempt a review of my own, but it would be stymied both by the excellence of Tacos’ piece and the minor, but in this case relevant, fact that I have not read the book.

Which won’t stop me from talking about “Cat Person” a bit, because I have read it and because it’s free for all of you to read. The story is trash, little better than the vampires-and-billionaires vomit you see being eagerly scarfed-up by every middle-aged woman beneath every rental umbrella on every beach during every summer, and bearing the scars of a thousand table readings at a dozen writers’ workshops — yet, as Clive James reminds us, “It takes bad art to teach us how good art gets done.” Therefore, let me flap this bug with gilded wings, &c., because there is a fascinating, and important, lesson buried right in the fetid guts of the thing.

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“If she loved us, she would have stayed with us, not copped out. God didn’t do it, Mom did.”

She had to die before I could love her. Eleven years ago, I’d thought of us a little more than — what’s that horrible and oh-so-modern phrase — “friends with benefits”. Or the even-more-modern phrase, “fuck buddies”. She’d been easy to seduce because she was broken inside, although I chose not to see it. I liked her. She was perky and she was quick-witted and most importantly she was twenty-nine years old at a time when I was starting down the barrel of my fortieth birthday. We met where and when we could, from my guest bedroom to the model unit of the rental apartments she managed. On a risky whim, we went to see Bob Dylan’s Never Ending Tour in 2010, standing near the back and listening to the old man warble his incomprehensibilities, both of us suffering from aching knees and light headaches from the vodka. Her hand sought mine in the unlit crowd and while I did not resist, neither did I squeeze back.

In 2012 her husband found out. They always do, you know, the husbands. He called me. Asked me to lay off. Told me that I was standing between them and happiness. I suggested that his OxyContin addiction was probably also an issue. He said he could get help, and that he would sober up. He said he could, and would, look after her. I knew he was a born loser but I also, in my own way, respected the institution of marriage, so I did, in fact, lay off. She and I would occasionally meet for lunch, at the Pizza Hut down the street from the Honda plant in Marysville, Ohio, but we did not touch. “Did you ever love me?” she asked.

“Of course,” I lied.

Five years later, in May of 2017, she and her husband had a big fight. She threatened to kill herself. He’d been sober for a while, and he was filled with the self-righteousness that comes so easily to people who have beaten a percentage, however minor, of their own addictions. “Go ahead and do it, you won’t be missed,” he yelled, and he let the door slam on his way out. She cried for a while — I don’t know how long. Then she took their trio of children across the street to her neighbor’s house. “I need you to look after them until my husband comes home,” she said, and smiled.

Then she opened the faucets on the old plastic tub in the back bathroom of their tired old duplex, and she stripped down just to her underwear, for the sake of decency, and she stepped in. When the water was warm enough, she opened both her wrists, and she died. Shortly afterwards, the neighbor ran into the house, her subconscious having assembled the clues in front of her into their only logical conclusion. The water was still warm, stained with paisley swirls and ethereal tendrils of slowly clotting blood.

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