When Alexander Pope wrote Epistle To Arbuthnot in 1735 he noted of himself that
Full ten years slander’d, did he once reply?
Almost three hundred years later, in 2004, Bronx rapper Fat Joe noted with some annoyance that
Ten years been legit, they still figure me bad
One, as Daniel Craig said in a middling movie, sympathizes. Since my brother and I started this site in March of 2013 I’ve written 1,494 posts for a total of almost 3.1 million words. Recently some busybody went through all of them and identified two paragraphs that upset him (or her), in the hopes that I would lose my job and be unable to feed my family as a result. The only solace I have is that we must have served them a bunch of ads in the process and therefore made a few bucks.
In a perfect world, I’d be able to immediately re-read all three million of those words and see if any of them would hurt anyone’s feelings. Since I don’t have that kind of time at the moment, I’ve unpublished all of my contributions until I can verify that they are compatible with The Current Year. Expect the “Made In The USA” stuff to come back first, because it’s critical to me that my readers still have access to this information. My opinions about music, politics, and so on will be slower to return.
(Edit, 30 Sep 2020: The 59 posts in “Made In The USA” are back — jb)
As an apology to my approximately 55,000 faithful readers for this perhaps over-cautious maneuver, I’m also turning off the ads for a while. I’d encourage you to read the great work by Tom Klockau and the other contributors during this downtime. Thank you for your tireless support of the site and for your patience with me as a writer and as a human being.
I’ll close by saying this. About fourteen years ago I looked at the then-current state of automotive journalism, decided that it could use improving, and went on to expend considerable effort in the pursuance of that goal. Not once between then and now have I done anything so weak or reprehensible as to attempt an anonymous subversion of someone else’s career. Yet it happens to me all the time. Not once have I said something in private regarding a colleague that I would not (or did not) repeat in public — but rarely does a month go by without me hearing about someone’s attempts to slander me behind closed doors or beneath the coward’s cloak of anonymity. Never have I tried to impede someone else’s ability to do their job, yet the water of our business fairly roils with overheated, fumbling attempts to make sure I am denied access to a car, an event, or an interview.
If there’s a lesson from the video above, it’s this: Get enough hyenas together, and you can take down any lion. It’s just a matter of time and nibbling, querulous effort. Yet no matter what happens, the lion knows what he is, and he knows what you are. You know it, too.