The Critics Respond, Part Twenty-Five


Well, dude, here’s another quote for you, and Geddy Lee had nothing to do with it:

And I never wanted anything from you
Except everything you had
and what was left after that too

I’ve written at tedious length over the span of nearly a decade about how automotive journalists come to love their friends in PR. Got that covered to the point that even my friends complain about it to each other when I’m not around. On the other hand, I’ve almost certainly failed to fully address the story of how automotive journalists come to despise their readers. So let’s discuss that for a moment. We’ll use an analogy.

The analogy is two women and one man. Or, if you prefer, one woman and two men. Or two men and a third man. Or a poly trans otherkin pansexual and a gFur wolfkin and a thirty-inch bear plushie. Your choice. I’ve given up on trying to force my laser-like focus on pussy/victory/controversy/Metheny into your mind, dear reader.

The first woman tells the man: I want certain things from you and I’ll be very clear about them and if you deliver them to me I’ll do whatever perverted thing you can conjure up in your #PornEducated #FastFoodDiet mind and you can call me next Friday night if you’re free. Oh, and I’ll pay for dinner. The second woman tells the man: I need you to love me and do everything I desire but I’m not going to tell you what I want until you fail to provide it and then, my love, we are going to have problems. Oh, and I need to live with you and not work a real job and eat from your Sub-Zero at your expense and once in a while I’m going to leave you a hateful note just, you know, because.

If you don’t know that most men will pick Girl 1 and let Girl 2 hit OKCupid on the way out the door, then you must be as blind as Anne Frank* because the truth is that we like sharply defined deliverables and tangible rewards and low commitment and low expense. I don’t think that preference is limited to so-called hetero-normative cisgender white men six feet and above, but I can’t speak for others because that would be racist.

The PR game isn’t just the carrot of the benefits, the Ferrari Challenge race or the trip to Mallorca. It’s the stick of the fact that you can totally screw over the PR people and write the honest truth about something and most of the readers simply won’t understand what you’re doing. And then next month you got no money, and you got no car, and you got no readers, and there you are**. After a while, nearly everybody understands this, and they start writing for an audience of twenty people instead of the readers as a whole. Only the most iconoclastic or stubborn of people would do anything else.

Well, I am that stubborn iconoclast. So I take a hammer to Porsche’s ridiculous Turbo turbo Carreras, further ensuring that I’ll never be invited to a Porsche press event, like, ever. And I even work a little quote from a Rush song in for my brethren among the true prog-rock nerds.

Then one of them has an Asperger’s attack and gets angry with me for picking the wrong Rush quote in his Rushy opinion. He’s also feeling stroppy because I didn’t stop the article and write THIS IS A RUSH QUOTE BY GEDDY LEE FROM THE ALBUM “MOVING PICTURES” FIND IT AT YOUR LOCAL BUZZARD’S NEST RECORDS immediately before or after the quote, maybe both.

I give up.

Next week I’m going to write a new article. It will called, “The New 911 Carrera Is So Good. I Mean So Good, I Mean Amazing, You Have To Read What Happens Next.” And if I want to hear anything else about Geddy Lee, I’ll hear it from the Burmester sound system of a brand-new Panamera Turbo S loaner, you dig?

* yes, another unattributed quote
** and another, albeit modified

37 Replies to “The Critics Respond, Part Twenty-Five”

  1. AvatarDerek Kreindler

    I realized pretty quickly that unless you write at a DeMuro level, you will inevitably threaten someone’s identity and get the “too clever” remark.

    • AvatarDan S

      But…but….Skyline! and RHD, because nobody ever sees an RHD cars. Ever. Anywhere. Because skyline.

      Really though, can you get less clever than “What automotive button annoys you the most?” or “You wouldn’t believe what happened when I took my R32 Skyline to the dealer after telling them I was bringing in a Versa” or “WHY NOT BUY THIS FLOOD DAMAGE E60 M5 FOR THE PRICE OF 20 CONTOUR SVT’S?!?!?!”. I guess it appeals to the legions of hipster enthusiasts out there?

      Coincidentally, TTAC has definitely started going to more clickbait-y news headlines now, not a good trend.

    • AvatarDomestic Hearse

      True. But Peart shares lyric credits for Witch Hunt with both Lifeson and Lee, so Jack’s claim can technically stand giving lyrical attribution to Rush’s frontman.*

      *High school Rush superfan nerd who spent a good portion of the late 70s/early 80s in his basement with a Rickenbacher 4001, a record player, and a stack of Rush albums.

    • AvatarHankChinaski

      A real Rush fan would have chastised him for not using a Caress of Steel quote.

      Great article, Jack. At least when this ICE vehicle free dystopia arrives, we’ll all own Orgasmatrons.

  2. AvatarRobert

    Do the comments (and commentors) really matter, in any statistically significant or measurable way, to the succes of a site, author, or individual article? I dont know what percentage of readers comment, but I suspect it is vanishingly small.

    • AvatarKen

      Dunno, depends on what you consider “successful”. I can tell you I’m that person: the silent majority that reads, but rarely comments. I can also tell you is that I now seek out JB’s work and, when I do care enough comment, it’s usually his articles.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      The comment-to-view ratio is bizarrely different for different kinds of articles.

      Something like a QOTD gets maybe ten times the comment ratio of an opinion piece for obvious reasons, but in general, the longer the piece the lower the comment ratio.

  3. AvatarJoe

    “And I never wanted anything from you
    Except everything you had
    and what was left after that too”. Sounds like my wife, or a hostile corporate take over!

  4. Avatarjz78817

    Then one of them has an Asperger’s attack and gets angry with me for picking the wrong Rush quote in his Rushy opinion.

    All you need is Deadweight to try to make this about Cadillac.

  5. AvatarNorman Yarvin

    I think that’s an attempt to offer constructive criticism. Here’s another quote for you:

    “Upon the low practical value of so-called constructive criticism I can offer testimony out of my own experience. …. My books are commonly reviewed at great length, and many critics devote themselves to pointing out what they conceive to be my errors, both of fact and of taste. Well, I cannot recall a case in which any suggestion offered by a constructive critic has helped me in the slightest, or even actively interested me. Every such wet-nurse of letters has sought fatuously to make me write in a way differing from that in which the Lord God Almighty, in His infinite wisdom, impels me to write — that is, to make me write stuff which, coming from me, would be as false as an appearance of decency in a Congressman. All the benefits I have ever got from the critics of my work have come from the destructive variety.”
    — H. L. Mencken

  6. AvatarMrGreenMan

    If you look around to older writing – the Greeks, the Romans, the Jews, the New Testament Jewish church, etc – you’ll see that they quote the message often without attribution. There was an assumption that they were speaking to a specific audience that was well versed.

    In contrast, I’m reminded of the description of a play in I believe it was Notre Dame De Paris where Hugo says, because they assumed the crowd was so stupid as to miss all symbolism, they made the characters wear a sign spelling out what they were supposed to symbolize.

    I guess you choose your audience, and your audience chooses you.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Well yeah, that goes back to so-called “cultural literacy” where you could assume that your audience had more than a passing familiarity with

      * The Bible
      * Greek and Roman mythology
      * European history
      * Basic science
      * The dynastic history and so on of their specific nation

      Oh, the days of wine and roses*, when we didn’t bury our talents in the ground** or see through a glass darkly!***

      * song
      ** bible
      *** mo’bible

      • AvatarMrGreenMan

        That fully-enstupified (enstupidated?) sentence was fantastic. It’s like Pope’s Shakespeare – rendered unintelligible to those who want to read it by adding all sorts of reading aids, explanatory clarifications, and clarifying explanations for those who don’t want to and won’t read it anyway and don’t get any value out of those, either.

  7. AvatarMatt

    Don’t give up, Jack. The Porsche turbo piece was you at your best. The analogy about your wife’s brother coming for a visit really drove the point home.

  8. AvatarDomestic Hearse

    Lots of people say LOL. But do they? I mean, actually Laugh Out Loud? This article had me chortling with gFur wolfkin building to out-loud-coworkers-are-looking laughter by the end. Fucking awesome.

    • AvatarFelis Concolor

      Having been around for that term’s origin (possibly on CI$ CB $imulator), I only use it when I truly burst out laughing – which makes it all the more entertaining to post when I’ve made my customers nervous.

  9. AvatarAoLetsGo

    I can somewhat relate to your situation.* As an independent research consultant I have to wade thru the bullshit and make sense of massive amounts of conflicting data as I separate the wheat from the chaff. Since most of my work is done for a clever and cranky billionaire there are high expectations and zero tolerance for fools.

    The problem is when I leave work and go back to the “real” world. I have a hard time relating to all the thin skinned, politically correct, team building, ass kissing, high self-esteem/low value, people that I meet. Carry on my wayward son there’ll be peace when you are done.

    *Nothing here – just going with the theme of the day.

  10. Avatargalactagog

    not a big fan of KANSAS, but that is one killer riff !!

    and the organ part coming in, tops it all off. no pun intended

  11. AvatarRyan

    I knew you had a great sense of humor when I started reading your work on SSL. The infamous podcast cemented that sentiment in my mind. Then, you made that Anne Frank reference and blew my mind. You’re hands down the best out there, keep it up man.

    • AvatarVolandoBajo

      You forgot to attribute that to PT Barnum. Weren’t you paying attention to the original complaint?

      No problem, I didn’t pay much attention to it either.

      And Jack, reading you is like a mental workout…I have a decent measure of cultural literacy, but reading you is always an exercise in trying to reel in all of your references.

      But just as you point out, such references were not always considered obligatory, and if I have a troubling feeling that I am missing something, there is always Google to let me run down the rest of the story.

      • AvatarDomestic Hearse

        What Dennis Miller is to comedy, Jack is to auto journalism. The references come fast and furious and if you can keep up, the payoff is worth it.


Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.