Sunday, May 24, 2015
Day Before the Actual Memorial Day
I have to go back to work tomorrow, because my job is at a place of business which being open will probably delight many of our customers, of whom we exist to serve so as to ourselves survive. In a few minutes the Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing will begin in Indianapolis, Indiana, and my web person tells me her favorite driver, Jeff Gordon, is driving the pace car before zipping back to Charlotte, NC for the CocaCola 600 later today. Last year Kurt Busch, brother of my favorite driver Kyle, aside from everyone's actual favorite, Junior (Junior Nation!), drove both the 500 and the 600. Then as the racing year unfolded his relationship to one Pam Driscoll unraveled, and she accused him of domestic abuse in a slick lawyerly way, taking the weird case to a Deleware domestic court and demanding he be enjoined from contacting her when the whole deal started allegedly because he didn't want to contact her any more. Today, the very day of the Indianapolis 500, the Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing, I've learned that Ms Driscoll has been accused of misusing significant amounts of monies from a charity she operates for disabled military vets. Do tell. Gentlemen, start your engines.
Meanwhile, in other news, I just learned via the blog Crooked Timber of one of the greatest rejoinders ever rejoined on the great Internet by one Sady Doyle. It was published back in 2010, when times were young and there was less cynicism and despair. Even the Republican Clown Car of 2012 had not been cranked up (Gentlemen, Start Your Engines!!!). Here is the link to what should really be required Memorial Day Reading. Braveaux, and to the Lady Ragin' Cajuns, better luck next year! (This is a genuine remark to the Lafayette, LA Women's Softball Team, not some sort of obscure snark aimed at Ms Doyle--Ms Doyle is 110% on the mark.)
I must say that for the full wonder of this marvelous intellectual maelstrom to be appreciated one must--MUST--read all the comments. Really. The comments are absolutely positively fantastic, and not to be missed. And most particularly, Freddie's. All of them.
Let's hope all the Indy drivers survive this race without injury. The practices appeared to take the whole thing back to the very edge, and to verify Jimmie Johnson's remark, back when the last open wheel fatality occurred (at Las Vegas) that perhaps the Indy cars were now just too fast for oval racing. A lot of people objected to that remark. Most of them felt they'd lose money if his views were actualized. That's how a lot of stuff really is, if you've not noticed, and why my top "label" is now "black is the color of my true love's hair."
When I started watching Indy (actually listening--it wasn't on national tv in 1954), Billy Vukovich was the top driver. The race was on Monday (actual Memorial Day). A lot of those Mondays involved mowing the grass. It was also the very end of school.
Vukovich went over the wall while leading the race. He was killed. It's something of a wonder to me that the whole generation of Indy drivers headed by Vukovich was not wiped out on the tracks of that era. Look at the exposed character of the drivers! Just this last week James Hinchcliffe survived being skewered by a piece of his front suspension when he hit the wall doing 220, and compared to Vuky, he was in a space capsule. Jimmie Johnson is surely right. And of course Jimmie Johnson may one day die whilst riding his bicycle. As we can see from the Deboer example, there are plenty of ways to go over the wall.
Two quotes from the Crooked Timber piece which led me to Sady Doyle's deathless prose:
First, in the comments:
The Dark Avenger 05.23.15 at 5:30 pm
Sorry I’m being so negative. I’m a bummer, I don’t know I shouldn’t be I’m a very lucky guy. I got a lot going from me. I’m a healthy, I’m relatively young. I’m white; which thank God for that sh** boy. That is a huge leg up, are you kidding me? I love being white I really do. Seriously, if you’re not white you’re missing out because this sh** is thoroughly good. Let me be clear by the way, I’m not saying that white people are better. I’m saying that being white is clearly better, who could even argue? If it was an option I would reup ever year. Oh yeah I’ll take white again absolutely, I’ve been enjoying that, I’ll stick with white thank you. Here’s how great it is to be white, I could get in a time machine and go to any time and it would be fuckin’ awesome when I get there. That is exclusively a white privilege. Black people can’t fuck with time machines. A black guy in a time machine is like hey anything before 1980 no thank you, I don’t want to go. But I can go to any time. The year 2, I don’t even know what was happening then but I know when I get there, welcome we have a table right here for you sir. … thank you, it’s lovely here in the year 2. I can go to any time in the past, I don’t want to go to the future and find out what happens to white people because we’re going to pay hard for this shit, you gotta know that … we’re not just gonna fall from number 1 to 2. They’re going to hold us down and fuck us in the ass forever and we totally deserve it but for now wheeeee. If you’re white and you don’t admit that it’s great, you’re an asshole. It is great and I’m a man. How many advantages can one person have? I’m a white man, you can’t even hurt my feelings. What can you really call a white man that really digs deep? Hey cracker … oh ruined my day. Boy shouldn’t have called me a cracker, bringing me back to owning land and people what a drag.
Second, from Belle Waring's initial post on the subject of DeBoer's blind spots (also the Dark Avenger's point):
DeBoer is making a larger point which, if it were not so hideously sexist, would have some merit. Recursive LOLspeak and self-critical whiteness can be an idle diversion for minds that would be more profitably engaged in political activism. Frothing oneself to a lather about the latest outrage is counterproductive if it only redirects energy away from real issues. OK! These are, in principle, valid criticisms of the internet progressive milieu. HOWEVER: a) this goes awry when the complaint is a sexist one that codes the lamentable unseriousness as female b) the criticism itself can and has become an irritable gesture, quite entirely another matryoshka doll inside the online feminist one! The pose of the Orwell-like contrarian who calls people to action with high-minded seriousness is…also a pose! If you are mcmanus-sensei, you call for burning shit down at every opportunity and lament the trifling concerns of others. Then you accuse people of harbouring a desire for fascist conformity because they like monumental architecture. You didn’t see that coming, did you? No? That’s because mcmanus-sensei is a better troll than deBoer, who has a limited range. Every day Freddie deBoer turns his face to serious issues, and every day the paltry concerns of feminists online blast him like an ill-wind of dick-jokes, a Boreas enjoining him to drink a tall, cold glass of STFU, which batters his doughty vessel but cannot prevent him from steering on, tacking back and forth in the direction of personal liberation, which project he needs no woman’s approval to undertake [swelling strings and snapping pennants].
What I guess I’m saying is, if your complaints about online unseriousness have lead you to criticize Sady Doyle and Mallory Ortberg in particular, something has gone wrong. The most accomplished, hilarious feminists don’t need condescension on how they are Doing It Wrong from their purported allies. (Needless to say it’s perfectly fine to criticize either writer, but not in a sexist way.) I had been inclined to let the [BONERS] episode go on the grounds that it was five years ago, and Freddie deBoer is a genuinely smart guy who sometimes writes interesting things, but this concern-trollery about how Ortberg’s not getting challenged enough has raised my ire....
If you want to go read the whole conversation, here's the link:
Meanwhile, I did watch both Indy and the Charlotte 600. Indy was so fast it made Charlotte look like watching I-40. Juan Pablo Montoya won Indy, which was a great thing for him. He'd toiled in vain in NASCAR since winning the Indy in 2000. That's a damn long time. The final 26 Indy laps were as good as it gets in current racing, Castroneves' petulance notwithstanding.