WHY DO WE SUCK?
Maybe the dominant shift in society is to blame for the demise of the car culture. Maybe it is the broad lack of respect and hypocrisy that has turned “car guys” into nothing more than whiney pricks who need to justify their purchases and assert their own superiority. On that note, I challenge you to read ANYONE’s review or opinion on a given product on a forum. 9 times out of 10 if they hate a given car or product, that is because it is a competitor or different from what they have bought. A person will praise a product 9 times out of 10 because they own it and have to convince others that they need it due to their own personal bias and in essence, buyer’s remorse that needs affirmation through agreement from others that what they purchased is in fact, the best. I see this time and time again. My Camaro SS 1LE is way better than your SS, or your Mustang. My M4 is so much better than your 335i. My BBS wheels are better than your Forgelines. Don’t even talk about my GT because you own an Ecoboost Mustang.
Why can’t we respect people anymore? Why can’t we appreciate others who have something different? What happened to the days where a Mercedes owner could look at the modifications someone did to their M3, or an EVO guy talk to an STI owner about what turbo is on their car rather than crap on it and try to argue why their 4G63 is so superior and can make far more power than the EJ-boxer, and that the Evo’s chassis handles so much better than the understeering pig of the STI?
To me, “Car guys” was somewhat of a brotherhood. Sure, there was always jokes to be made in jest amongst friends, giving someone a hard time for being the token MR2 owner in a group of Miatas, or the BMW guy in a Porsche gathering. But at the end of the day there was always respect for another motor head. The brotherhood seems to be gone and now ‘clicks’ have emerged with an “assimilate or die” attitude, where people are berated for not affording a V8 in a group of Camaros, or for not owning an M car at a BMW gathering, or for choosing to go forced induction when everyone in the group stays naturally aspirated. Jokes these days, just like stand-up comedy, are now more mean-spirited and serious than said satirically though a true underlying respect.
I’m sorry, but at the end of the day, you’re not a better person because you can afford the top of the line car and another guy can’t. You’re not better because you like Brand X more than Brand Y. And you’re not right because you chose to buy a given aftermarket part and another part is not ‘wrong’ just because you didn’t choose it. Your budget and personal preference does not make you right or better than another person. However, your criticism and belittlement does outright make you a far worse person.
In all likelihood, 90% of readers were turned off well before now and have clicked on the next article because they don’t want to see what’s truly in the mirror. I applaud you for continuing to read thus far. But I implore you to still be self-critical. In all likelihood you have pulled a douchey move in attempts to show your friends how much you know about a given car at a car show, or subconsciously argued why what you did to your car is better than what they did, or maybe you argued on a forum because you’re not face to face with the strangers you are belittling. I would simply recommend reassessing things a bit.
WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY?
While reading car reviews might be the closest any of us will actually get to getting behind the wheel of a given car, can we at least go back to thinking for ourselves, reading things with a grain of salt and drawing our own opinions though reading a review rather than blindly accepting it as gospel? Can we go back to focusing on the positives rather than finding reasons to hate, and to put others down? Can we go back to celebrating a difference, even if it differs from our preference, rather than hating on it because it’s different? When did we become so narcissistic as a society? Can we have confidence in ourselves rather than let our own insecurities feed on and spread hate? Can we have the courage to stand up together for what’s right, against trolls and bullies, and call them out for their actions?
Maybe try to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Maybe try to realize a kid is being (more) responsible for buying that V6 Camaro instead of a more expensive SS that’s also more expensive to insure. Maybe he can’t afford the coilovers you purchased but would better off leaving his suspension alone until he can afford Brand X coilovers because you personally tried Brand Y and they fall apart and will cost him more in the long run. Maybe look out for your neighbor with this recommendation and spell it out for them rather than crap on Brand Y without justification.
Maybe start to look at the positives of cars, and cherish the differences that make each car unique rather than trying to justify why your Camaro is better than a Corvette, or why your modded EVO is better than a GTR. Maybe don’t be so insecure and appreciate other things and be happy with what you have. If you want to prove you and your car is faster than another car, go to an actual track and do it rather than talking smack at a car show.
At the end of the day, the car community is probably on borrowed time with the push for electric cars, ever-tightening EPA standards, and a global panic over ‘climate change’ and the need to restrict the emissions of cars when it won’t make ANY difference when other countries are allowed to pollute without restriction for their own energy creation, more than offsetting what any change in the automotive emissions could ever do.
We are a dying breed. And continued ignorance of the auto industry by politicians are killing our culture for no realistically beneficial reason. On top of that, kids care more about their Instagram and Twitter accounts than they do actually hanging out with each other, let alone hanging out in person or needing a car to actually see each other. Instead of hating on each other, can we not at least find the common interest in cars and stand together against the people who don’t even know if their car is an automatic or manual, or what side of the car their gas cap is on?
Your car, and your personal taste, opinions, modifications, and choices don’t define you. On the other hand, your attitude and the way you treat others sure does.