Saturday, July 22, 2006

Rednecks, racists and NASCAR

What is it about some people in the Irish media? They're never happier than when they're putting down 'middle America'. I wish I had heard the interview referenced in this unattributed column from today's Irish Independent. The writer essentially says that NASCAR fans are KKK wannabes.
If the [Joe] Louis fight was one step forward, the craze for NASCAR racing looks sadly like two steps back. The NASCAR league's detractors jibe that the acronym stands for Non-Athletic Sport Centred Around Rednecks, and the number of Confederate flags flying suggest a widespread romantic attachment to the good old days when blacks knew their place.
Maybe he was just trying to be funny and failed. I don't mind redneck jokes as a rule, but the writer seems to consider the very existence of people in 'middle America' as a source of amusement.
The NASCAR circus looks disturbingly like a mass cloning experiment involving The Dukes of Hazard which has gone horribly wrong. Moving us ever deeper into the mental heartland of Cletus The Slack-Jawed Yokel, the star drivers rejoice in names such as Greg Biffle, Chad Blount and - yeehaw! - Travis Kvapil.
Obviously, just saying the name Chad Blount is hilarious.

I'm sure there are some NASCAR fans who are racist, but I feel pretty confident saying that the percentage of out and out racists at any NASCAR event is dwarfed by what the writer would find at an average European soccer game. That's what's so annoying about this sort of thing. An Irish columnist feels the need to denigrate a large section of the American population despite the fact that he needn't look so far away to find examples of rednecks or racists.