By on January 1, 2016


Twenty-fifteen is all done and junk.

We had a lot of change around here, didn’t we? Everywhere that I’ve ever worked in my entire life, somebody has taken me aside and said something to the effect of, “If you don’t like change, this isn’t the place for you.” In fact, there’s so much change in the world nowadays that there are actually people who make six-figure salaries as “Change Management Specialists.” They do things like give you safe spaces to discuss your grief and then send you large bills to fund their vacations.

The only thing that any of us can really count on in 2016 is more change. In order to maintain relevance in this space, TTAC has to continue to evolve. There are people who’d like TTAC to be timewarped back to 2005, to the time when our austere founder and his band of merry men took on the giants of the industry — and won. I’d like to think that spirit still exists here. I, personally, do the very best I can to bring you my unfiltered opinion on this business, and I trust the others who share the responsibility of putting their names below the masthead of TTAC to do the same.

That being said, there is often a difference between The Facts and The Truth.

The Facts about a car are often quite distant from The Truth. If I want The Facts about a car, I can simply go to the OEM website and read the statistics and the dimensions for myself. So can you. That’s what passes for “journalism” in several of the automotive press outlets one finds on the web — taking the meat of the press release, rewriting it ever-so-slightly, and then clicking “submit” — but only after sending it to the OEM’s PR department for approval first.

The Truth is about opinions. The Truth demands perspective. It demands experience. It demands that we not only ask Who, What, Where, and When, but most importantly, it demands that we ask (and answer) Why.

While my Facts and your Facts cannot differ, my Truth might differ greatly from yours. Every time that one of you clicks on words “See More” to find out what my Truth is, I am humbled and honored that you’ve done so. You don’t have to like my Truth, and you definitely don’t have to agree with it. When you don’t, I appreciate that you often take the time to tell me what your Truth is. Although you may not know it, your Truth often shapes and defines what my future Truth becomes. Thank you for that.

So, with all that being said, here are the six times that I gave you my best Truths in 2015:

The Genesis of Something New: Yes, this piece was fiction, but I often feel as though fiction can be even more truthful than reality. This story rang true with a lot of you, and I suspect that many of us have found ourselves entangled in relationships with broken people who simply cannot be fixed. Here’s my personal Truth: I miss writing fiction here. If you miss the Sunday Stories, too, let us know.

Sure, I’m Happy To Have You Ignore My Recommendation: All of us have experienced this, right? Our friends ask us for advice, which they then blatantly ignore at their own risk.

Subaru, We Hardly Knew Ye: This one was particularly full of Truth, mostly in showing just how little I really know about the mechanical problems of dealing with an old car.

Why Does The Public Accept Car Reviews From People Who Can’t Drive?: Every once in awhile, this one gets a spike of traffic when somebody prominent finds it. I don’t claim to be a great racing driver — I’m still very much a student of racecraft — but there are literally writers out there who can’t drive a stick.

Ask Bark: Should I Lease a Jetta?: Send me your questions, people! I’m not one who’s prone to quoting himself, but I think I told a Truth here that’s entirely fundamental to my philosophy on car ownership: “Life is too short and money is too precious to spend a freaking cent of it on a car that ‘doesn’t excite’ or of which the reviews ‘aren’t terrible.'”

Nissan Doesn’t Make a Single Car You Want to Buy: Probably my most popular post of the year, and the one that’s closest, in my opinion, to the Farago-approved vision for TTAC. Plus, it has a Matt Farah cameo. What else could you want?

For 2016, I want y’all to tell me this: What can Bark do for you? What sorts of Truths are you most interested in hearing about? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram and let me know, or just tell me below.

One last request: If you’ve been a silent reader for a long time (the percentage of readers who actually comment on articles is often less than one percent), sign up and say hello to us sometime soon. The loudest voices here aren’t always representative of the silent majority. Tell me what you want to read, and I’ll do my best to write it.

Happy New Year

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11 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: My Favorite Truths of 2015...”

  • avatar

    Bark 8 years of reading TTAC, yes i miss Robert’s posts, just part of the 99%, keep sharing your opinions. As a partner in a small “Stealership”, I enjoy all articles auto related. The only auto site I visit multiple times a day, is TTAC. Thanks Have a great 2016.

  • avatar

    Measuring popularity with traffic is going to make one optimize for trolling, inevitably. Look no further than the Nissan article: for all of its good points, it also made a number of convenient omissions, even if we accept that poorly substantiated, deeply personal opinions are okay and the spice of life. Someone aiming purely for traffic must do more of that, so just ask yourself if that is the goal. Is that what RF wanted, or did?

  • avatar

    I will say I do not get your love of the Ford Co but at least your upfront about it so I do appreciate that, I have no problem with the sunday fiction I could take it or leave it but I know some enjoyed the heck out of it, I would like to see TTAC do more car reviews , rentals, real world stuff, I think TTAc does some of the best stuff when they keep it real world. I would like to see more of if you might want to buy this car check out this one as well sort of a real world plus and minus, is a loaded Accord new better than a 3 year old CPO 335 for example.

    Oh and more VW articles I have not seen enough of them in 2015.

  • avatar

    In case I’ve not made myself clear before, I LOVED THE FICTION. Having it titled Sunday Stories made it obvious to most that it was fiction, so it’s not hurting the brand or anything. I sift through some stuff I could just as easily do without on this site, so … let the fiction haters learn to skip the Stories and BRING THEM BACK!

    • 0 avatar

      I too liked the fiction and hope it returns.

      Fiction, besides being entertaining, can often be a way to present certain truths which, for reasons of libel or inability to obtain adequate verification, cannot be written as non-fiction.

      Also, they can often show the feelings side of our relationship to our autos and to our lives.

      Whoever killed the idea of fiction here needs to be sentenced to at least three consecutive exposures to A Christmas Carol, followed by a re-examination of their decision to bar fiction.

      And whie I would prefer to see it here, where it could gather a perhaps larger audience, please consider using Riverside Green as an outlet if TTAC remains adamantly opposed to fiction in the future.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Bark – Thanks for all you and the team do. TTAC remains my go-to several times a day for 10 years now. I even make sure I click on the ads because baby needs formula.

    /not a fan of the fiction, but I’ve never liked fiction per se.

  • avatar

    Why Does The Public Accept Car Reviews From People Who Can’t Drive? Unless you are literally referring to writers for the NYTimes* who don’t have a drivers license, because it makes more sense.

    Reasons you care for a review by a “real race car driver”.

    1. You plan to take the thing to a track, and that drives the majority of your purchasing plan.
    2. You plan on street racing and killing a few people before going the way of Roger Rodas and Paul Walker.

    Of course, if you wanted a “track car” you would probably be much better off buying something like a built spec miata, spec E-30, formula ford (do they still exist?), or other such car. Buying a street car (with all the regulation it entails) when you want a track car doesn’t make sense. Buying a track car for the street makes barely any more sense.

    Of course, TTAC probably does have its share of drivers with racing experience/HPDE/Jack’s personal instruction and they can benefit from your instruction. For everybody else, how would Walter Mitty know the difference?

  • avatar

    I missed most of 2015 over here at TTAC because well, I did not know.

    To cut a long story short I am looking to buy a secondhand car sometime in the next six months and I am determined to get a better grasp on this automotive racket before I do. TTAC seems to be the place where one might do that. Mainstream automotive press is not.

    Happy new year :)

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