It used to be, The Chicago Tribune had a sports columnist by the name of Bernie Lincicome. This guy was, to my way of thinking, a complete and utter moron, the type of writer whose sole purpose was to conjure the most asinine, nonsensical, stupid tripe he could think of, the better to infuriate his readers.
It’s unlikely that any member of the fourth estate can possibly achieve the craven depths that Lincicome did back in the day (and may still, though I kicked the habit after college), but this Robert Weintraub and his offering on Slate? It ain’t far wide of Lincicome’s Ruthian mark.
Here are four of Weintraub’s many silly assertions and the reasons why I am inclined to consign the good sir to the slag heap of stupidity.
I can’t help but think that Detroit’s version of the Troubles is the right time to put the sport out of its misery.
Does it get anymore inane than that? Who or what, exactly, does a statement like that serve? It’s idiotic on its face – um, and what, Mr. Weintraub, would you propose for the thousands of immediately unemployed as a result of this action? – and, a la Lincicome, clearly designed simply for its shock value. I mean, if he’s serious, I can only presume his next piece will demand that the National Hockey League fold, too.
As fewer and fewer domestic autos have sold, interest in NASCAR has declined as well.
This is one of those statements that also seems to have been written expressly to annoy – irrefutable on its face, and largely unverifiable. Yes, domestic auto sales have tanked and NASCAR has slumped at the gate and on TV, but, are these two developments inextricably linked? Can it be demonstrated in any real way that they are, as Weintraub would have us believe, or is it possible that these two things are logical byproducts of myriad other factors?
There’s also a growing disconnect between racing and its hardcore fan base that began when the Frances stripped races from traditional tracks in Rockingham, N.C., and Darlington, S.C., in favor of places like Kansas and Las Vegas.
Um, NASCAR left Rockingham and stripped Darlington of one of its two races – it still hosts one – after the 2004 season. If Weintraub is the fan he says he is, then he’d know that people have been repeating this same, tired line of horse manure for, oh, almost 20 years.
The sport can’t escape the fact that the internal combustion engine and fossil fuels are technologies on a steep downslope. With hybrids and electrics on the way in, it’s hard to see where gas-guzzling, emission-belching stock cars fit in.
Guys like Weintraub, they give liberals – and I am one – a bad name. Seriously. In his defense, Weintraub isn’t the first I’ve seen make this assertion, he’s merely the latest. But I’ve yet to understand why it is NASCAR needs to take the lead on something like this. Hybrids and electrics might be the future, but, for better or worse, the internal combustion engine is still very much part of the present. And, by his logic, I’m sure I don’t understand why people still run the marathon, what with bikes and cars and whatnot that allow us to cover the same distance in way less time.
And one last thing, Mr. Weintraub: It’s Talladega Superspeedway, not Talladega Speedway.