You may have missed it in all the noise, but Charles Murray, who spent the 1980's as a scientific bigot-for-hire, has crawled out again and is attempting to re-establish himself as a pop culture bigot-for-hire. There's no point in This Blog's going spelunking through Murray's sordid hack-o-rama of a career. Nor is there much point in This Blog's going point-by-point through this latest loogie hawked into the national conversation.
(Besides, we have The Economist for that. This Blog would only add that it believes the football Jimmy Johnson is every bit as famous as the race-car driver is, and even knows how to spell the football coach's first name. And, even so, knowing a famous football coach and NFL analyst makes someone elitist? This Blog's brain hurts.)
However, This Blog would like to rise to the defense of NASCAR, at least in the sense that various hacks and stooges should stop using it as a political handball, and also stop using its devotees as proxies for a lot of bilge that they'd believe anyway, even if Bill France never got his pal, George Wallace, to get him the land in Talladega.
I have been to four NASCAR races in my life, including the last one at North Wilkesboro, Junior Johnson's home track. I have sat with Junior in his barn and talked about why NASCAR was moving to New Hampshire. (Junior said "New Hampshire" the way most of us would say "dysentery.' I make no judgments here. I am not, after all, Charles Murray.) I have argued politics in the garage area with Richard Damn Petty himself.
(Richard told me that he'd formed his own political-action committee, which made me argue with him. You're already Richard Damn Petty. How come you need a PAC? It was like discovering that Little Richard had filed to run for governor's council.)
In other words, I guarantee you that I have more NASCAR cred than Charles Murray does. (Seriously, how many of those cosseted conservative pundits who throw around the acronym actually could pick Kyle Busch out of a lineup? Seriously, those pundits spend their weekends trying to knife each other for Redskins tickets.) I thoroughly enjoyed my time each and every time I've been to a race, although I admit to understanding very little about what was going on on the track. (Pro Tip: Murray likely doesn't know anything, either.) I respect NASCAR as an example of one of those traditional American products that this country still manufactures -- a huge, honking public spectacle that makes the people who love it very, very happy. (Although the elitists seem to be keeping the TV ratings down.) They don't need to be hijacked into our increasingly embarrassing political dialogue. Ned Jarrett's too nice a guy for that.
My brain hurts too.