[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”248″][/media-credit]The original working title for this essay was originally going to be called, “Absence of Alice”, however, considering I’m halfway through an Archaeology class this term, and I didn’t want a general confusion to erupt, with the one or two people who might actually read this sitting there, scratching their heads, and wondering out loud, “Uh, who’s ‘Alice’? Do I need to call the police?”…that was shelved, in favor of this obviously more-boring, yet quasi-professional title.
I was reading an article from the Speed TV site, “Where have all of the Southern drivers gone?”, from a few days ago, and it got me to thinking just a bit. My going into ‘thinking’ mode usually involves an arrest, life-threatening injuries, a smashed box of Twinkies, and an unhappy child somewhere in Florida, so I warned my family to put on their ‘Dear God, Dad is thinking again!’ body armor, we primed the indoor fire sprinkler system, they ran to the basement, I sat down to my computer, put my hands on the keyboard, turned my head away as if the keyboard was going to explode in my face, and I began typing this.
While the author of that article throws around a few salient observations, she completely misses the point in such a way that it makes the captain of the doomed Exxon Valdez appear as if he had a mild ‘whoops!’ when he somehow missed the entire coastline of Alaska sitting there right in front of him: The dirty little secret is that the France Cartel has been attempting to weed the ‘South’ out of NASCAR for quite some time…but they’re still milking this geographic area for all it’s worth. Follow me a bit as I attempt to explain the logic behind my reasoning.
1. Where are the major race shops located? If you guessed, “North Carolina”, you win $100,000 Space Bucks. (Disclaimer: You have to drive into space to get it)
2. The actual drivers put aside, where do all of the remaining crew members usually hail from? Even though you obviously have crew members and engineers from various parts of the country (and out of the country), yep, you guessed it…they’re from the South.
3. Say that you are an up-and-coming NASCAR driver. Kids, can anyone tell me what geographical part of the country you have to spend the bulk of your time racing in, so you might have a shot at being ‘noticed’? While there are clearly exceptions to this suggestion (the ‘West’ series, obviously)… if you absent-mindedly murmured ‘The South’, before actually finishing this sentence, you’re more than likely correct. An example? I know of a talented local youth here who couldn’t find a ride to save his life…his dad spent himself into oblivion attempting to purchase a ‘career’ in modifieds for his son…the young man in question had to move (South) to get a job, and apparently, he now works for the Richard Petty Racing Experience…which is based…in the South. You can’t find this type of job most anywhere else.
4. Where are vast offices of NASCAR located? Oh, wait, ‘The South’. Does South Florida still reside ‘in the South’, or has that area of the country been labeled ‘another planet entirely’ yet?
5. If I ever wish to transcend past the ‘unoffical smart ass of NASCAR’ stage of my career, and do something where I might actually stand a chance of making any sort of measly stipend, guess where I need to relocate to? Yep, that’s right, Da’ South.
6. Need more proof of how NASCAR is attempting to ride both sides of the fence, by only catering to its (rapidly dwindling) Southern base when it’s convenient? http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/cup/story/_/id/7586239/nascar-turns-bubba-watson-general-lee-car-pheonix-race The General Lee is merely an over-glorified TV car from a long-dead TV show based in the South, and yet NASCAR has to engage in revisionist history by banning a version of this car from pacing the field at Phoenix next month, because apparently, someone, somewhere might get upset by it (http://www.amazon.com/Shakedown-Exposing-Real-Jesse-Jackson/dp/0895261650 and http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/905242/posts, oh yeah, and http://www.spofga.org/corporations/2003/aug/nascar.phtml just in case you’d like some reading). Just in case some idiot at NASCAR might be reading this? Going politically correct tends to piss off your fans, sir (as evidenced by the comments on the ESPN page), and oh yeah, by the way? The flag painted on top the roof of the General Lee isn’t ‘the’ Confederate flag, however, I’m glad you decided it would be a great idea to force Bubba through the 1984-style, NASCAR Political Correctness re-education camp, so he could tout the France cartel party line about just how evil ‘The’ (singular, as in according to the morons at Daytona Beach, the Confederate States only had one flag) Confederate flag is, never mind ten seconds of searching on any search engine reveals sites such as, http://www.loeser.us/flags/civil.html, which show the ‘General Lee’ flag to merely to be a…Confederate Navy Jack…out of somewhere around 37 or so flags used by the Confederacy. This also begs the question; were the producers who originally designed the world’s most famous 1969 Dodge Charger cognizant of this fact, or did they just pick what appeared to be the most ‘popular’ Confederate flag (as do most apologist politicians and marketing morons at NASCAR do) and slap it on top? Taking various TV series writer commentaries into account (one good example being Harlan Ellison), most producers, when dreaming up stuff like what to paint on cars for a TV show, they rarely actually use any intelligence or logic in their decisions; one casual glance at the ‘Fast and Furious’ car movie disaster series should be an indication as to how clueless these people are. To summarize; According to NASCAR, it appears that certain parts of Southern history can be loosely construed as racist, therefore we should blot out all mention of them so we don’t drive away yet another Official Something-Or-Another Of NASCAR.
7. Only a small (as in global tectonic plates shifting) paradox here: Almost all of the ‘Technical Experts’ that are used to supplement the on-air talent just happen to be…Southern. Whoops. I don’t know how that one slipped by the Anti-South Gestapo at NASCAR, but the funny thing is that I don’t know how they’re going to get around that little problem…
Judging by the amount of capable Southern drivers who have been quietly herded out of the Sprint Cup series, in favor of non-accented, colorless, bland, boring, and in some cases, not-so-talented robot drivers from other parts of the country, corporate sponsors don’t appear to want supposedly illiterate-sounding Southerners being the face of their product. One such Southerner that comes to mind is one Elliott Sadler (Fried Bologna Sandwiches!), who must make Northeastern marketing types scream in horror like a teenaged girl if he ever shows up in an interview—he can drive, but he’s nowhere to be found, for all intents and purposes.
While both you and I know better, in that I’ve known incredibly intelligent and talented people whose only supposed ‘curse’ was to be born somewhere around this geographical area, the fact remains that NASCAR only conveniently embraces their roots when it assists in attempting to plant butts in the seats during events in the Southern market.
Gee, could this phenomenon be taken into consideration as to why track attendance is dwindling in these key markets? Has NASCAR, being a typical corporation, in an attempt to shed itself of the ‘Southern’ roots and become (in their eyes, anyway) marketable to all types of sponsors, trying to expand to markets all across the country, trying to be something for everyone? And have they, in the process of telling their original fan base to go pound sand, as evidenced by something as stupid as going Orwell on pro golfer Bubba Watson, not only alienated the hardcore fans, but created a laughingstock out of themselves with the rest of the USA audience that they were targeting?
In a commercial aired during Saturday night’s Bud Shootout, in touting the excitement generated by the Daytona 500 throughout the decades, the NASCAR marketing team went right to the old video library and dredged up the old crashes and THE 30-something-year-old fist-fight to give us, the schmoes at home, a historical perspective on why we should waste a perfectly good Sunday afternoon and watch the race…but apparently, judging by other actions, in which they attempt to cover up their Southern roots, these people could care less about their history (and yours). They’re moving forward, and if you’re in the South…you’re the cold dead past to them, to be shunted aside unless they want to sell you some merchandise, or have you go to a race.
By the way, concerning the Neandertal part of the title of this essay? A heck of a lot of research has been done over the last few years concerning these ‘cave men’, yes, the same people that Geico have been doing (apparently) humorous commercials about for the last few years. According to a lot of researchers, they were superior to homo sapiens (us) in many ways…which vaguely reminds me of the almost-superhuman NASCAR drivers who were the past heroes of this sport…and just happened to be supposedly cursed with being born and raised in that part of the country; two certain seven-time series champions come to mind.
Neandertals (yes, correct spelling) were in Europe for a lot longer time period than regular homo sapiens; they lived hard, they worked hard, and they died hard. You did not want to face one in combat; imagine going toe-to-toe with a slightly-less-annoyed, but much more intelligent silverback gorilla. Basically, these humans were just as smart as us (larger cranial capacity in some instances), but a heck of a lot stronger, and almost fearsome in their capabilities.
The somewhat-current theory is that Neandertal man was simply too specialized to continue their existence, however, they have been in Europe for somewhere around 200,000 years, and in some cases, lived in the same cave systems for thousands of years, where in the case of the homo sapien (us), we’re merely a speed bump in Europe’s history. The funny part in all of this? NASCAR is threatening to become a speed bump in the history of the South, unless they quit treating this market like redneck cousins who live in a trailer park, to be ignored and chastised until Daytona beach wants to sell them something.
The Southern NASCAR Neandertals aren’t going away quietly. Daytona Beach can shun them all they want, using them when it’s convenient, but apparently, judging by the empty seats (entire sections in some cases) that I’ve seen during races last year…with some of these races being in the South…it would appear that that the South isn’t playing along any longer…and is voting with their feet. I’m wondering if the France cartel is going to realize this before it’s too late.
Until next time.
If at first you don’t succeed, call it “The Car of Tomorrow”.