Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Undervilification of NASCAR

In from the surprisingly gentle holiday road, had that rarest of all things, a thought.

In the gradual greening of American political discourse, SUVs have been pretty easy targets, they're big, unmaneuverable, and silly. Anecdotally at least, sales have been declining of and on from at least 2005 forward, moving roughly in opposite directions from the price of oil.

But there's still the problem of the overhorsepowering of cars in general and the surfeit of power that results. Everybody craves power and acceleration, even if they don't / can't use it, given how crowded the roads are. Everybody wants to drive like the legendary Billy Bobby.

So why don't green leaders attack NASCAR? The stock car racing circuit -- and indeed auto racing in general, is clearly a bad influence on the way people, probably mostly guys, drive and feel about their cars. The circuit encourages car fetishization, big-time emissions and probably contributes to highway mortality too. What are the externalities of NASCAR? Has anybody measured them?

So why don't the Democrats go to war with NASCAR? Cuz they're too busy sucking up to it. "NASCAR Democrats" were a prized Grail that John Edwards and his strategists cast from their homespun Teflon a few years back. So we understand their reticence, but bemoan it still.

So what about Leonardo di Caprio and George Clooney and other Hollywood do-goodniks, why don't they go toe-to-toe with the heirs of the great Darrell Waltrip? Probably because those who would go to a stock car race are amongst the few who can still stand how loud movies are in theaters. No seriously, NASCAR is a big biz with big demographics. But it's evil, and should be vilified.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm just all hot and bothered by your talk of fetishes and big-time emissions.