Sorry for the delay; it’s been a busy month at work and I’ve also had a few family commitments. I am happy the racing season is underway, and Graham Rahal’s win in St. Pete is something that is great for the sport. The Long Beach/Japan weekend is upon us, and why the ICS wastes its time on a points-paying race on another continent this close to the 500 is a mystery that I am unable to get my arms around other than the obvious bend over for Honda. I think Long Beach is a great opportunity to give champcar the funeral it needs. We need to add closure to that series, turn the page and enjoy May!
Over the past for days I have received several e-mails from people asking why they have not seen my contributions on TrackForum. The answer is because I am no longer allowed to post there. I have not had privileges there for nearly one year. There is a thread asking about it, and it appears their stance is unchanged.
Some of you ask me why? What caused it? What did not cause it was anything I posted on TrackForum. I believe what caused it was a post I made on a site known as SmackForum, a parody site where mainly cart-centric youngsters go to curse, taunt and write stupid things, mostly with incorrect spelling and grammar. Most of them hide behind generally vague but mostly vulgar forum names. Every once in a while one of them posts something funny, and my primary reason for infrequent visits is to use clever, biting humor to demonstrate the collective stupidity of that place. It reinforces the stereotypes people have always had about champcar enthusiasts. It is fun in a juvenile way. In simple comparative terms, TrackForum is the stodgy gated Republican community, and SmackForum is the jealous trashy trailer park on the other side of the track at the very bottom of the hill, socioeconomic scale and comprehension level.
That still does not explain why I am no longer allowed to contribute at TrackForum. This is, I believe, the reason: About a year ago I responded to one of a long line of threads on SmackForum that poke fun at Indy racing accidents. My response was to post a Photoshopped picture of Alex Zanardi as the 70’s Tim Conway character Dorf. Just a head shot. Dorf with a racing helmet and Zanardi’s face. Funny in a twisted way? Absolutely. Much funnier, in fact, than most things posted on SmackForum. Posting that Photoshop started a cascade of, in the words of one of the moderators on TrackForum, poo that resulted in my involuntary departure.
There were/are allegations of ‘poo getting on them and some of their members.’ I am unsure what they meant by that; it has never been explained. I suspect that SmackForum youth who re-posted the Photoshop on TrackForum were the tip of a poo iceberg they wanted to avoid. The most simple way: No more Defender.
Their stated terms for my return are, honestly, laughable and not realistic. Essentially, their offered ‘deal’ involved me losing the ‘Defender’ name permanently, then re-joining as a new member with another name that does not point in any way to Defender. Further, I would not be allowed to mention Defender or hint that Defender is me simply because I posted a marginally offensive (mostly to people who tend to set themselves up for being offended in the first place) Photoshop on a completely separate forum. Should I apologize? Why? I do not believe I need to apologize to anyone for anything I have ever posted. I think everyone should maintain a healthy sense of humor, even if it is borderline, and not any over-the-top puritanical zealousness.
My personal feelings on this matter may surprise you. I do not hold any grudges against anyone at TrackForum. It is their forum. They can do whatever they want with anyone where their forum is concerned. Most of them are fine folks and some are friends. There are plenty of places I can post, including this blog. TrackForum is neither life nor death for me, nor should it be for anyone. Defender critics should step back when something is posted to which they take exception. No one forces anyone else to read it.
The maliciousness that often occurs after I post something is unfortunate and stupid. If someone wants to gripe, direct it at me. I am easily available: IRLDefender@aol.com. Granted, the elimination of Defender posting privileges is creepy, heavy-handed, largely unexplained, pompous and lacks logic, but is not something about which anyone should worry. It is what it is. Fair? Unfair? Who cares? Not me. It is not my site. If anyone feels they are being cheated by being deprived of Defender contributions, I am still out there. Just not at TrackForum. I gave thousands of contributions there, and perhaps I will again. Whether I do or not as Defender is out of my hands.
Would I like to contribute as much as many of you enjoy reading? I certainly would. But only as Defender, or (under special circumstances) perhaps one of the other two primary names I have employed in cyberspace in the past; ‘The Late Harlan Fengler’ or ‘Hooter Morgan.’ I could change my name to something innocuous (I have plenty of possibilities), but I remain firm in my principles. It needs to be ‘Defender’ at TrackForum, and with no apology to anyone. It is their loss.
Meantime, let’s get ready for a full weekend of racing, including a late night!