My reluctance to even consider banning or otherwise silencing members of the B&B has become so well-known that a few of you have taken to making fun of me about it. The truth is simply that I value every member of the TTAC community. You’re too valuable to lose, and I try to keep sight of that fact.
We have very few rules for commenters here at TTAC. Not everyone is comfortable with that; some of our longer-serving friends remember with undisguised fondness the days when Mr. Farago ruled with an iron hand and “moderated” the posts the way a Ma Deuce “moderates” a field of mounted cavalry.
We’re also big believers in anonymity. There are multiple auto-industry people at TTAC who have privately disclosed their status in the business to us or simply signed up with their work e-mail, but we don’t share that with the world at large. Anonymity is, frankly, critical to the free flow of ideas in a world where people lose their jobs for saying the wrong thing in an arena completely unrelated to the rest of their lives.
This past weekend, we had two issues with anonymity. One was our fault — or, more properly speaking, my fault, since I permitted it to happen — and the other was the work of someone with an axe to grind.
Gone are the days here at TTAC where simply typing a phrase like, “You, Sir, are a usefully idiotic pawn of the Chinese government and a despicable fetishist of rubber pleasure devices” could get you banned from this site in two shakes of a Shanghai working girl’s tail. No longer. People say the meanest things about me and Derek, and we don’t care. Actually, Derek gets a little teary-eyed about it, so we rewrote his contract to specify that “PART IV. COMPENSATION FOR RIDICULE. Every time the phrase “game-changer”, complete with hyphen, appears on the site in obvious and plain reference to Derek Kreindler, he shall be compensated with one thousand dollars ($1,000) or two nights with a Lamborghini Aventador.”
But that’s not what we want to talk about right now. Actually, “we” means “I”; Derek’s out somewhere making it rain at a club while they tow his double-parked Aventador from the entrance. Read More >
Our Editor in Chief pro tempore, Jack Baruth, was injured an automobile collision near Columbus Saturday. His injuries were serious but he is expected to make a full recovery. Last night, Jack posted the following to his Facebook page:
This is Rumor Control. Involved in 40mph offset today on rural road. Wasn’t speeding, the other car wasn’t speeding, we just hit some ice. My son’s fine. My partner is in the proverbial dire straits. I had spleen surgery and I’ve broken the stuff I broke in 1988 — minus the neck.
In the meantime, all of his colleagues are keeping him in our thoughts and prayers, wishing for him to have a recovery as speedy as he is on the track.
Once again, Jack, all of us wish you a return to full health as soon as possible.
Have you noticed that lately we’ve added a little box at the end of most stories asking you to sign up for the “TTAC E-Newsletter”? Sure you have. You’re observant like that. But why would you possibly want to do such a thing?
“And all the troubled world around us
Seems an eternity away
And all the debt collectors
All will be behind us
But they’ll never find us
‘Cos we’ll be dri-i-i-i-ivin’”
-The Kinks “Drivin’”
The last time I made an announcement about my status here at TTAC, I made it clear in the headline that I was bidding the site “au revoir” rather than “adieu.” Having taken an opportunity to work in politics for a year, I was absolutely planning on returning to the fold. Unfortunately, that plan has now changed, and I have informed TTAC’s owners that today will be my last day on the site’s masthead.
From our family to yours, TTAC wishes all its readers the best of holiday wishes. We’ll be enjoying the company of our loved ones for the next few chilly winter nights, but we’ll return to regular service on Tuesday. And who knows, maybe Santa will leave something for your reading enjoyment over the weekend…
This time tomorrow I will be on an airplane, and for the first time in quite a while I will not be on my to some auto-related destination on behalf of TTAC. That’s right, I’m actually taking a vacation, which I will spend introducing my lovely life partner to the European continent and visiting family in my ancestral homeland of Austria. Of course, TTAC has become such a big part of my life that even my vacation will have a work-related angle: I’ll be spending each week with a different not-available-in-America car that I think should be of some considerable interest to you, our readers. But this is also just the first of two breaks that I’ll be taking from TTAC: in January, I’ll be stepping down as TTAC’s Editor-in-Chief for the calendar year 2012, to pursue a one-year opportunity outside of the field of automotive journalism. Even as I write those words, I can scarcely believe them… I’ve lived and breathed TTAC for so long now, it’s almost impossible to imagine life without it. But do not fear: not only do I leave TTAC in incredibly capable hands, I’m also not gone for good. You won’t be rid of me that easily.
Having read most of the latest raft of auto industry books, with titles like “Car Crash,” “Overhaul,” and “Sixty To Zero,” I have to say, Bill Vlasic’s “Once Upon A Car” is my favorite of the bunch. Not only does it lack the parochial form and voice that define too many of theses tomes, it populates its narrative with rich dialogue and intriguing character studies. In short, it’s got all of the lessons about industry, culture, and competition that you’d expect from a modern study of the auto industry, but it presents them in such a way that they never feel like a lecture or a business school study. Instead you get a well-spun yarn, still-newsworthy anecdotes and an unvarnished look at industry dynamics on their highest level. If ever there were to be a modern movie based on the auto industry, Vlasic’s book should be its basis. Read my full review over at The Wall Street Journal.