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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Just To Keep This Pot Boiling! - NASCAR Fans Unhappy!

Trading Paint: Taking your shots

By Jerry Bonkowski, Yahoo! Sports

October 17, 2007

Thousands of NASCAR fans are not happy with Mississippi congressman Bennie Thompson requiring his staff members to be immunized against a variety of diseases before they visited NASCAR races at Talladega and Charlotte in the last two weeks.

As if NASCAR fans have more cooties than other sports fans in this country, right? Below is a sampling of the best letters we received.

Many emails could not be used due to profanity, racial overtones or because readers did not include their full names – or didn't have the guts to identify themselves when they criticized or called me names. (NOTE: I removed the last names for my blog purposes - Cyber Pastor).

As always, my answers where warranted are in italics, although I'm keeping my comments brief this week to let more readers' voices be heard.

Let's drop the green flag:

TAKING YOUR SHOTS ("Down 'n' Dirty" Oct. 12, 2007)

Jerry, I just read your article, "Down and Dirty," and I must say I am laughing my redneck backside off! The mere thought that some seven-term congressman would actually believe that us NASCAR fans could be a possible threat to national security is way out there in Turn 4 somewhere. It seems to me that maybe he should be working on more important stuff like his states' recovery from Hurricane Katrina. I am a loyal NASCAR fan, however my busy active duty Army life keeps me from getting a chance to watch it much on T.V., much less go to a race (which I hope to someday). Maybe he should realize that there are those of us NASCAR fans who are also sworn to defend this country. I think this congressman is just one of many people who actually believe, and I stole this quote from your article, that we are a bunch of "walking, talking, fire-breathing, beer- drinking, tobacco-spittin', cussin' and cheerin' sumbitch's". There are a lot of us that fit that mold, and then there are some that don't. I am proud to be who I am and if he is worried about being around "our" type of folk, then maybe he should just stay home and do whatever it is that he does, which probably ain't much. Thanks for the great articles and keep up the good work!

Stephen - Oklahoma

Rep. Bennie Thompson’s staff should get immunizations for ignorance.


Mine would be a comment: There is the total disconnect from our government from the public. We have become India's unwashed, the caste system re-invented. And the further shocking development is that in reality all government officials believe the same thing: the public is incompetent to solve any complications in their lives; we would cease to exist without their control. Haha. Maybe they will have awaken the beast that lurks under every NASCAR breast!

Linda - Bradenton, Fla.

Especially if that beast in every breast just happens to be eligible to vote. Thanks for a great note, Linda.

Hello Jerry, It is very interesting that Congressman Thompson could make such a comment. I am a NASCAR fan, a woman who holds a good job, has an education and lives a very nice lifestyle (my side job/hobby is in the fashion industry). I'm not your typical "redneck." He obviously has no clue about the "average fan" out there. I have never lived in the south so I don't consider myself or have I ever been called a redneck. I haven't had any diseases that I am aware of, either. For that matter, I am rarely sick with the common cold. I must say, what a disaster he has created with all walks of life. Thanks for the article!

Tammy - Chandler, Ariz.

What about these football, baseball, tennis, soccer games, where there are thousands of people attending? Here we go, someone wanting to stir up something else. I am so sick and tired of all this junk. You cannot enjoy anything anymore. For the shots, why not suggest that to football, baseball, etc. Leave NASCAR alone. We bother no one and enjoy our 'ole country living. He is out of his league.

Lena - Virginia

Your article on NASCAR fans and Rep. Thompson was hysterical. I laughed until I cried! I never knew that being an educated NASCAR fan who has No. 20 and No. 11 stickers on the back of my minivan, well, that I could have diseases! Thank you for sharing this story. This is the first I had heard of it (as I wipe tears from my eyes). Umm, do the drivers need their shots too?

Rebecca - Abilene, Texas

If the drivers don't have them yet, you can bet some politician is going to soon introduce a bill requiring such.

Jerry, how is this piece "news?" I see no reporting of any kind. Instead, you blather on about your opinions as to what the congressman must be thinking. Even for an editorial article, this is painful to read. Next time, try investigating what's going on so your readers will walk away feeling informed, not just disappointed. Furthermore, what is the purpose of your extensive use of the apostrophe? Are you mocking NASCAR fans? Are you attempting to buddy up to them? Are you simply showing off the key you just learned how to use on your computer? Finally, how did you get your job? You clearly aren't expected to do too much, so I was wondering how I might get a position similar to yours. Does it pay well? You see, I have to really work to make any money and I've been thinking about how I might go about getting into a field that pays pretty well, but will not put a lot of performance pressures on me. Given the quality of your article, I think your job sounds perfect. Thanks for giving me hope that I, too, can get paid for being a no-talent hack.

Grey - Portland, Ore.

Grey: are the words "columnist" and "satire" in your dictionary? Look them up. You took this waaaaay too seriously. It was supposed to be a humor piece, not the type of manifesto that you apparently sought. I guess you must be another one of those non-NASCAR fans. Or maybe you secretly wish to be called Bubba, rather than a blah, no-fun color for a name. Check out the next email for someone who DOES get it.

I don't have a question. I just wanted to tell you that your article about NASCAR made me spit out my morning coffee. That was the funniest thing I have read in a long time. I am going to be looking for more by you. Just seeing the word "sumbitch" in a news article makes me believe that everything is going to be okay. Haha!

Carrie - Cortland, Ohio

You're obviously a person with good taste, Carrie. Thanks for writing, and I'm glad you enjoyed the column. I just hope you didn't spit that coffee out in someone else's direction by accident.

Yo Jerry, check out the Coast Guard's policy on inoculations. Any time we expect to be at a crowded venue (high level brass) would do a review of the medical records to make sure we would place ourselves at the maximum availability to help, as I am sure that was what the Congressman was doing. Be that venue the Super Dome after Katrina, illegal immigrant interdiction in the Gulf or anti-terrorist protection in the other Gulf, and yes even a racetrack. Smoke it, Jerry! Quit race baiting.

Sam - Lakewood, Wash.

You missed the point entirely, Sam. Thompson's staff was ordered to be inoculated because it was going to visit a variety of locales, including two NASCAR races. The real issue is why single out NASCAR events? What about run-of-the-mill NFL or Major League Baseball games that can draw similar-sized crowds? To use Thompson's argument, then, his staffers should be inoculated for ANY large-crowd event. One other thing to consider: Why were Thompson's staffers the only people asked to be inoculated? If there was ANY imminent potential danger, shouldn't there have been a call for the general public to be inoculated, as well?