mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Should we all speak French and watch open-wheel race cars?

OpinionJournal has a brief mention of Formula one racing in Nascar country that includes the quote When you're selling tickets or trying to get ratings, your whole life depends on the guy who lives on the south side of St. Louis who's sitting there drinking a beer on a Sunday afternoon," Mr. Wheeler told the Virginian-Pilot. "He's run a backhoe all week. He wants people he can associate with. . . . Guys with big heads and big hands and big feet.

So now Americans aren't just inferior to Europeans for the rest of our cultural gaffes - supporting democracy over tyranny, not traveling to enough foreign countries, not having a socialist government that mandates 2 months of vacation or free health care - but also for prefering NASCAR to Formula 1.

I admit, I don't understand the appeal of NASCAR. I don't really watch much racing at all, and cars making only right turns for several hours isn't exactly my idea of fun. But except for occasionally making left turns, and having drivers with names that are hard to pronouce, I don't really see anything superior about F1/IRL/et al. If I'm going to watch any motorsports, give me rally or LeMans style endurance - those are people with true driving skill, and they are exciting and entertaining to watch. Rally drivers will get all kinds of sideways and do things you didn't know a car could do, and 24-hour racing requires huge amounts of human and mechanical stamina. - plus cars frequently blow up in spectacular ways.

However, I take issue with the Bubba stereotype of the NASCAR fan. I know a handful of NASCAR fans, and most of them are educated professionals - engineers, accountants, insurance
reps, ect. If this chart is correct, the average NASCAR fan makes more than the average American. This would seem to suggest that most NASCAR fans are not backhoe driving Bubbas, but it seems people can't resist the urge to paint Americans - especially Americans who live in the South and like racin' - as ignorant.


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