10/07/2004: Thought for the Day:
NASCAR, really the last bastion of propriety, taste and manners in this vulgar society of ours, fined points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. $10,000 and 25 points in the championship standings Tuesday for letting slip a swear word in an exuberant post-race interview on NBC Sunday. Asked in Victory Lane what it meant that he'd won at Talladega Superspeedway for the fifth time in his career, a jubilant Earnhardt said, "Well, it don't mean shit right now. Daddy's done won here 10 times, so I gotta do a little more winning. But we're gonna get there. He was the master. I'm just following in his tracks."
The f-----g b-----d! What an a-----e! Good for NASCAR for punishing that s------d.
In the past NASCAR had only taken points away from drivers for mechanical violations, which makes sense because cheating on the track can result in a driver being awarded points he didn't earn. But this year the circuit announced that it would fine drivers for bad language, a reaction to the FCC crackdown that followed Janet Jackson baring her breast at the Super Bowl, which I mention to boost page views.
NASCAR had punished two drivers on the lesser Busch Series for language fouls earlier this year, but they were out of the championship running. Earnhardt was leading the Nextel Cup standings, and the deduction dropped him to second place behind Kurt Busch, who reacted by saying, "Hot s---! Really? That's f-----' weird," and was promptly docked 25 points himself.
This process repeated enough times that your Great Aunt Sadie, driving the '78 Chevy Malibu for Team Polident, is now the Nextel Cup leader.
NASCAR went from a minor regional sport to a national obsession thanks in large part to brilliant marketing of the colorful personalities of the drivers. It's about time those drivers were forced to become dull automatons who refuse to show any individuality or say anything that might rock the boat or be otherwise worth listening to. Aggressive pursuit of this strategy should have NASCAR enjoying the commercial success of professional tennis in no time. Baseball and the other major sports would be g-----n fools not to get on the m-----------g bus.
Len on 10.07.04 @ 06:34 AM CST