The Vagina Dialogues Pt. 2

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
the vagina dialogues pt 2

To review: BMW has banned The Truth About Cars from its press vehicles because of the "tone and tenor" of the website. Specifically, they objected to the fact that we compared the Subaru B9 Tribeca's front grill to a 'flying vagina,' and considered our review of the Lexus IS350 unnecessarily "harsh." I invited you to email your comments on the ban to and copy TTAC for publication here. On June 12, the new-look [still-free, more on that later] TTAC will have a commentary option. Meanwhile, here's a sample of the correspondence sent to Mr. Buchko's in-box (so to speak):

"I'm a firm believer in the right to free speech, but unfortunately your so-called "new media" has opened the floodgates for anyone with an opinion, a keyboard and a good repertoire of fifth grade put-downs to set themselves up as being a journalist… You have trumpeted your wounded pride with the self-righteous indignation of a newly ass-whipped schoolyard bully, yet you fail to see that you, not BMW, Subaru or any of your other victims, are the true cause of the problem." Dave Scrivener, Motor Week.

'A year or two ago, I was sort of contemptuous of 'the websites,' assuming that anybody with a PC could do one and what's the point in that? I've learned that the best ones quickly percolate out, and currently my largest, busiest and most voracious single client, and a munificent one it is, is Who knew? As for the word, it's one I'd have no hesitation in using in Conde Nast Traveler, if there were an appropriate and amusing reason to do so." Stephan Wilkinson

"I have an allegiance of sorts to TTAC, and your attack on it is, by extension, an attack on me. In the new media world, allegiances can be more difficult to establish than when the conglomeratized corporate media provided the only choices, but those new allegiances are much stronger… I suggest you leave the moral outrage to the political pressure groups. It's not your place to determine what TTAC should write or how it should report it." Glenn Peake

"The word vagina in a TTAC review. This is offensive? To BMW? You mean the company that is in a country that has brothels and sex clubs (ever been to Hamburg, for example) that defy human description?!" Jay Jacobs

"This dispute with BMW doesn't do BMW any credit. The crack about the vagina was wrong but they promised not to do it again. Give them another chance. Free speech can only be encouraged. Many Americans, Canadians, and Germans, gave their lives for it over the last century." John Shields

"Not satisfied with circumscribing automotive content within your market stream, you are now attempting to circumscribe speech and thought. What a sad state of affairs. What an unconstitutional attempt at censorship. What a farce." Mel Zelniker

"I must say you guys are often 'too cute'; trying to hard for a laugh or clever turn of phrase instead of just reviewing carmakers and cars. The flying vagina isn't offensive, it's just stupid; kind of like what you would have written in high school yearbooks. I think you should underreact to BMW and maybe – just maybe – try to write a little more maturely and soberly. Sure you can have fun, but don't try too hard." Ole Eichhorn

"You may believe that TTAC is in poor taste or vulgar, but I assure you, there is nothing more important than trust and your consumers need to believe that BMW is prepared to stand by its products and subject them to the harshest of journalistic inquiry." Geoff Rapoport

"Man, I was this close to spraying coffee all over my keyboard. Our editor-in-chief called the Mercedes-Benz B-Klasse a 'girly car' in a review last fall and MB has, guess what, cut off access to their test fleet in retaliation. These Germans, they still labor under the shadow of Bismarck." Peter Orosz

"Any other apt descriptions you guys would like to ban? Or is it that you object to female anatomies being integrated onto the historic phallic symbolism of the automobile in general? Or do you just secretly titter at naughty words, then wish they weren't in the dictionary for everybody else to see? Cheers, and see you at the next witch-burning-at-the-stake party." Don Nash

"I will only refer to my BMW 330I as my W 330I, because truthfully, the letters BM are objectionable. Furthermore, my girl friend really appreciated this new level of moral maturity when I referred to her, you know, V part, as her grill. And she now refers to my male organ as a tail pipe. Isn't this nicer? Thanks for you helping me to really see the truth and understand the consequences for using inappropriate language." David Marks

"You gotta be kidding me… VAGINA? Take the 530xi wagon off my short list… free speech matters more." Robert Kahn

"I used to drive Bimmers. Then this 'V' thing caught my attention. So I quit driving Bimmers and started driving one of these 'V' things. What am I talking about? My new Vette, of course. What did you think I was talking about?" Lance E Shaffer

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2 of 3 comments
  • Robert Farago Robert Farago on Jun 16, 2006

    I remember arriving at Bimmer's Munich HQ to pick up a press fleet motorcycle. My wife and I had packed a suitcase for our tour on the K100 RS. Obviously, we planned to transfer our clothes to the Beemer's panniers and leave the hard shell case there for our return. When the technician delivering the bike saw the case, he said "What are you going to do with that?" "We thought we'd just strap it on," I joked. We went off to break bread with the PR guy. When we returned... You guessed it: they'd strapped the case onto the back. Now I only mention this because companies, like people, have personalities. Or, in this case, not.

  • Mike1041 Mike1041 on Apr 05, 2023

    There is no indignation like Germanic indignation.

    ‘No test wagens for you schweinhundt! You vill nicht besmirch the the wagens off the vaterland’ !!!

  • Dukeisduke Yikes - reading the recall info from NHTSA, this sounds like the Hyundai/Kia 2.4l Theta II "engine fire" recall, since it involves an engine block or oil pan "breach", so basically, throwing a rod:"Description of the Safety Risk : Engine oil and/or fuel vapor that accumulates near a sufficiently hot surface, below the combustion initiation flame speed, may ignite resulting in an under hood fire, and increasing the risk of injury. Description of the Cause :Isolated engine manufacturing issues have resulted in 2.5L HEV/PHEV engine failures involving engine block or oil pan breach. In the event of an engine block or oil pan breach, the HEV/PHEV system continues to propel the vehicle allowing the customer to continue to drive the vehicle. As the customer continues to drive after a block breach, oil and/or fuel vapor continues to be expelled and accumulates near ignition sources, primarily expected to be the exhaust system. Identification of Any Warning that can Occur :Engine failure is expected to produce loud noises (example: metal-to-metal clank) audible to the vehicle’s occupants. An engine failure will also result in a reduction in engine torque. In Owner Letters mailed to customers, Ford will advise customers to safely park and shut off the engine as promptly as possible upon hearing unexpected engine noises, after experiencing an unexpected torque reduction, or if smoke is observed emanating from the engine compartment."
  • Dukeisduke In an ideal world, cars would be inspected in the way the MoT in the UK does it, or the TÜV in Germany. But realistically, a lot of people can't afford to keep their cars to such a high standard since they need them for work, and widespread public transit isn't a thing here.I would like the inspections to stick around (I've lived in Texas all my life, and annual inspections have always been a thing), but there's so much cheating going on (and more and more people don't bother to get their cars inspected or registration renewed), so without rigorous enforcement (which is basically a cop noticing your windshield sticker is out of date, or pulling you over for an equipment violation), there's no real point anymore.
  • Zipper69 Arriving in Florida from Europe and finding ZERO inspection procedures I envisioned roads crawling with wrecks held together with baling wire, duct tape and prayer.Such proved NOT to be the case, plenty of 20-30 year old cars and trucks around but clearly "unsafe at any speed" vehicles are few and far between.Could this be because the median age here is 95, so a lot of low mileage vehicles keep entering the market as the owners expire?
  • Zipper69 At the heart of GM’s resistance to improving the safety of its fuel systems was a cost benefit analysis done by Edward Ivey which concluded that it was not cost effective for GM to spend more than $2.20 per vehicle to prevent a fire death. When deposed about his cost benefit analysis, Mr. Ivey was asked whether he could identify a more hazardous location for the fuel tank on a GM pickup than outside the frame. Mr. Ivey responded, “Well yes…You could put in on the front bumper.”
  • 28-Cars-Later I'll offer this, offer a registration for limited use and exempt it from all inspection. The Commonwealth of GFY for the most part is Dante's Inferno for the auto enthusiast however they oddly will allow an antique registration with limited use and complete exemption from their administrative stupidity but it must be 25 years old (which ironically are the cars which probably should be inspected). Given the dystopia being built around us, it should be fairly simply to set a mileage limitation and enforce a mileage check then bin the rest of it if one agrees to the terms of the registration. For the most part odometer data started being stored in the ECU after OBDII, so it should be plug and play to do such a thing - this is literally what they are doing now for their emissions chicanery.