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The Taboo Discussions Thread

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  • The Taboo Discussions Thread

    A place to make comments and discussion that's going to inspire certain people to demand how dare you say such a thing. To start off, in blazing fashion...

    Are male auto racers superior to female ones, at core level?

    *Weathers whatever immediate rage comes from a lot of people, including likely all the women on this board, and then proceeds to name where he got such an idea.*

    Ever read a book by Brock Yates, called Against Death and Time?...It's my favorite volume, on racing, period. In it, he identifies what people in the 1950s thought of the men who raced the "cast-iron chariots", who in turn were being killed, sooner or later, by a greater ratio than 50% of those who competed. Responses, in turn, were mixed.

    People like one of the writers for LIFE decried to sport as appealing to the basest instincts in humanity, in his article "Motorized Lemmings?" Clark Gable, in turn, hung around the "real men" at Indy, and made it a point to be a regular there. Women like Rudi Valley, Jean Greer (sp?), and Barbara Briton were likewise all regulars, women that Yates claims, openly so, were automatically attracted to the atmosphere that was inculcated by "alpha males" such as the Jimmy Bryans, Jack McGraths, Roger Wards and Johnnie Boyds and more, not to mention a demigod named Vukovich and the true Last of the Gladiators, A.J. (go look at the crowd reaction, when he took the lead at Indy for the final time in '82. He was the Last, as well as arguable, vs. Vuke, on the Greatest).

    These days, think of Danica Patrick, for all her excellence (and I'm not taking away from it, in the regular way of thinking about it), trying to be compared to those men, those males. Sarah Fisher, or Lyn St. James....no, they didn't have equipment like Rahal's given Patrick. But have any of them had the kind of fire that radio-listeners claimed Rick Mears had, (only) when he was strapped into the car? Jack Arute claimed he was like a psychopath sometimes, the intensity he said he could hear. And Mears was one of the greatest of all time.

    To those who are going to accuse me of being sexist (like was raised about Jenson Button, possibly for realistic reasons), I'd like to point out that I'd love to see Danica win it, now that she's not a rookie (had enough of them for a good while). Another first for the Great Indy, first time a woman would win in "primary-class" competition. If she wins elsewhere, just fine too.....another nail in CART's coffin, so that IndyCar can take over a given Long Beach, or elsewhere. I am in support of Danica.

    But does she have the "gruesome" fire in her blood? The craving that Al Unser, Jr., no matter if people here are or aren't fans of his, spoke of? "There comes that time, when money doesn't matter, living doesn't matter...."...only winning. Ambition, barbarous gladiator competition, whatever you wish to call it. He DIDN'T let off the gas, himself, in 1989. He and Emmo had it. My sister once said that dying is not a price worth paying to try for that Race, and we got into a big argument about it, because I certainly begged to differ.....guess I have it, too.

    And even if Danica does, is that the massively rare exception, an indicator of what kind of orientation the sport literally must have in it?

    I ask all these things because of the age-old demanding question at this place, as to which guys (or gals, the question being asked) deserve rides. Which guys have not just talent, but the obsessive It that makes the DePalmas, Shaws, Vukovichs and Foyts.

    Anyone who comes on and half-yells at me that I deserve so and so for being some stuck-up sexist so-and-so, after I just elaborated some of the explanation on, I reserve the right to let have it with both barrels.
    THIS...IS...OPEN-WHEEL!!!

    Some people have religion. I happen to be one of them.


    "If grown men and women wish to take such risks, that is their own business."
    Ronald Reagan

    "Be intolerant: because some things are just plain stupid."

  • #2
    OK - you asked for it - so here is both barrels.



    Of course, there will be nothing left of you, your house, your next door neighbor's house, or the next house, and so on, and so on.

    Comment


    • #3
      Since this is a taboo discussion, I'll raise a couple of other, potentially "off limits" points.

      First, any professional athlete, whether male or female, or not ordinary people. In fact, they are all freaks of nature. They are on the very end of the bell shaped curve in terms of some skill or other. Race car drivers happen to have that rare combination of natural athletic talent, endurance, reaction time, concentration, timing, intuition and other skills that make them greatly superior to normal human beings. So being able to claim males or females are superior in some sport of other, really amounts to saying "male freaks are better than female freaks." In other words, it doesn't say much about the rest of us. Racing is no exception. Just because there are far more successful male professional race car drivers than female, doesn't mean that males are better drivers. Even if they did have better inate skills, some of the male of the species lacks the caution and judgement needed to be a safe driver. Check the DUI records, or accident statistics - males are far more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.

      So, with that as a background, I don't think you should be attacked for raising the subject - its fair game, and it proves nothing about the superiority of males over females, etc. (For my part, I also always wonder what the chauvinists of the world really want to prove when trying to argue males are better than females. Does that mean they would prefer to live in an all male world? If males are better at sports, are they better at sex? If males are superior, would they like to marry one? Is it possible they are all secretly gay?)

      So are males better drivers? Maybe, but were comparing only the outliers in the human bell shaped curve? Do they have the "red mist" needed to win? I don't know, but females can be pretty competitive over things men would never consider worthwhile at all. In the end, I think it comes down to practice. Aside from being freaks or nature, todays pro athletes are also victims of very bizare childhoods. Instead of going to the movies, circus or watching tv, they are all at the race track (are ball field, or gym, or ice rink) starting as early as 4 years old. DP quit school at 16 and moved to England to persue racing. Basically, the sport becomes the all consuming thing in these kids lives and, those who suceed are the ones who pretty much shut out every other normal thing that a kid does. In the end, there are probably fewer girls whose parents will allow or inflict that upon them, so there are less female racers. DP's dad, was one of the few who did so, and we all know what everyone around here thinks of him. I'm betting that he's no differnt from many other parents who have kids in Little League, Youth Soccer, Go-Kart Racing or Quarter Midgets. And probably not much different from some of the other racing dads.
      Randy

      "Danica has earned her equipment and her opportunity. It didn't just materialize out of the air. She earned it one piece at a time, starting at 10 years old." Mark Martin

      "Life does not imitate art. It imitates bad television." Unidentified TV Talking Head.

      Comment


      • #4
        Does Danica (or any other female racer) have the fire of which you speak? From what little I've seen (one season in IndyCar competition) I would have to say yes, she does. Now, what I don't think she has is the skill that a Foyt, Vucky, or Mears had and for that reason would never stack up to them one-on-one.

        That being said, I'm not sure that any current IndyCar driver has the combination of skill & fire that a Foyt, Vucky or Mears had, so don't take it as a slam on Danica.

        And I'll take it a step further (and probably pizz off some here) and say that even Mears was probably a rung below guys like Bettenhausen, Sr., Ward, Horn, ect. because those he raced against (for the most part) weren't as good as those from the earlier generations. Not to say Rick isn't a great driver, and he certainly spanked all that challenged him and was by far the best of his generation, but would he have stayed with it in the earlier times?

        One thing that has changed (for the better) is the safety factor. But I think that has also deluted the talent pool. Nowdays, the possibility of death has been so greatly reduced, that it's almost like it's just lip service being payed to it. "Yeah, I'm a racecar driver and it's dangerous. I might get killed." But back in the 60s, 50s, 40s, 30s ect. every time you took to the track, it seemed like someone was getting killed or hurt real bad. And in a way, it seemed like it made the drivers better (and smarter?) drivers because they knew the consequences of being a bone-head and tried to avoid getting themselves in bone-headed situations.

        I also think the fact that because there were no huge retainers and complicated sponsorship arrangements, drivers (if they wanted to make a living at racing) had to run anything and everything during the season, and that gave them so much more seat-time than today's drivers ever get. When you look at most of the current IndyCar drivers...they're in the car what?...twenty-thirty times a year (including practice and testing) plus the month of May? Hell, back in the day if you raced less than 100 times a year, you were considered semi-retired or a slacker. Never mind where you were racing, you were in a car against competition and honing your skills.

        As Al Unser, Jr. once said about his training before coming to IndyCars "In sports cars, I learned how to drive. In sprint cars, I learned how to race."
        Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!

        Comment


        • #5
          Intensity -male vs female for any sport has not been found to be different genetically or in any research base. Obviously strength is going to be different if you look at the size of of the women drivers. They can train for their max strength but it cannot be equal with the current drivers. But does being able to bench press more matter in the IRL?

          Stamina depends on what research you look at - some would provide women the advantage- especially the research that looks at womens prolonged pain tolerance/focus during pregnancy (this done on women that chose natural childbirth-obviously a different type of person than one that asks for drugs) - but any athlete can work on stamina. Look at how Armstrong has trained to address this.

          Testosterone vs estrogen- well we know testosterone does impact the competitiveness in men. But are women less competitive (notice I did not use the word aggressive) without it- I can't find a research study to prove that. There are numerous negative stereotypes i.e. competitive women are most often accused of having too much testosterone as though they are freaks (by both genders). Accusations of instability are often slanted toward females but most women are not going to have that hormonal fluctuation for two reasons. Low body fat in a highly athletic women will stop menses or they use depro shots and do not have a cycle. And mens testosterone levels also have been used to assert the flaws in male aggression that can actually hinder their performance such as the large amt of unnessary violence of male athletes (our Uni football team had 4 arrested for assault- NBA example last year...). Really it is adrenaline during the time the driver is "on" that keeps the focus, concentration and increased reaction time. Controlled adrenaline is the best driver. Not overreactive - that can be anyone. That is the rare factor for an awesome driver.

          Body type in the IRL is a factor- you need a leaner athlete. Look at Kanaan and his cross training. Look at his ability to see the front and carve a path when he starts from the back. THAT is intensity.

          So the IT for me is the personal obsession to race. The mental acuity to see the track and the ability to feel it through the body, sense how close the wheels are as you pass. That makes a great driver. That is genderless.

          Comment


          • #6
            OK, I'll play.

            When does the IRL tell Danica she can't race after she becomes pregnant?

            What if she doesn't tell anybody for the first few months, and is killed or miscarries due to racing accident?

            Scary stuff IMHO.
            ...Always follow the money

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by irloyal
              OK, I'll play.

              When does the IRL tell Danica she can't race after she becomes pregnant?

              What if she doesn't tell anybody for the first few months, and is killed or miscarries due to racing accident?

              Scary stuff IMHO.
              So let's tell all women they can't drive when pregnant. They might wreck. A drunk driver could slam in to them from nowhere. I was teaching emotionally disturbed children and one child punched me in the stomach when I was pregnant. That was a risk of my job. It would have been a tragedy if something had happened to the fetus but it was my choice to work there and continue to work with that child after the incident. No woman can be sure they will have a risk free pregnancy. It will be Danica's or any woman drivers decision when, if and how to handle a pregnancy. The law prohibits employers from discrimination due to being pregnant. Not sure what Dr. Bock would say about clearing a pregnant driver in the first trimester but I can't imagine the IRL could force her to disclose being pregnant in the first place.

              Comment


              • #8
                I remember some driver (Robby McGehee?) indicating that his mom raced cars while she was pregnant with him. He indicated that he was born to drive cars. Interesting question.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chris
                  Are male auto racers superior to female ones, at core level?


                  Frankly , the accomplishments of the current girl drivers, as modest as they are, say a lot more about the quality of the scientists and engineers, who have created cars that are so stuck to the track and easy to drive that a five foot tall, hundred pound little girl can drive one for 500 miles without breaking a sweat...................... Congratulations to those scientists and engineers!

                  The current girl drivers have proven that they can bust a quick lap in a good car on new tires but they have also proven that they lack the pure nerve required to race up front in the first five lap scramble at the start of the race nor do they have the race savvy to compensate after 10 to 20 laps when their tires start to go off and/or the track changes.
                  .

                  http://indyroadsters.webs.com/
                  http://macmillersgarage.webs.com/
                  http://www.youtube.com/user/macmiller46241


                  I love any race car whose last name is "Special"

                  .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Here's a taboo topic for you: Which drivers are gay - if any - and does it matter?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Are drivers and pit crews tested for drugs and alcohol? I wouldn't want to be driving next to someone drunk or high.

                      Does the IRL have a drug and alcohol policy?

                      Should a female driver submit to a pregnancy test each month?

                      Why isn't OSHA involved in sports? Based on percentages of hours worked, more men and women get injured playing sports than in construction.
                      "You just don't know what Indy means" -Al Unser, Jr.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                        Here's a taboo topic for you: Which drivers are gay - if any - and does it matter?
                        Doesn't matter to me.


                        Originally posted by IndyCarsOnly
                        Are drivers and pit crews tested for drugs and alcohol? I wouldn't want to be driving next to someone drunk or high.
                        I don't think I'de worry too much about that. It's hard enough to operate at this level without being stoned. Tomas Enge may be the exception, but I'm sure he wasn't stoned when he was actually driving the car. "Wow, dude, 20,000 rpm rocks!"


                        Should a female driver submit to a pregnancy test each month?
                        Were I a female racer, I would be responsible enough to be really safe with my birth control, and if I were planning a child, that's a good time to give up dangerous activities.


                        Why isn't OSHA involved in sports?
                        Because they screw up enough without wrecking sports too.


                        Based on percentages of hours worked, more men and women get injured playing sports than in construction.
                        Having fallen off a few bicycles I'de have to go along with that.
                        "Is that my *** that I smell burning?" ... Helmet Stogie from "Death spasms of the Mabuchi"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                          Here's a taboo topic for you: Which drivers are gay - if any - and does it matter?
                          Who cares and no.
                          Chicago Blackhawks done didn't do it again!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Because this thread discusses taboos, is it doomed? Discuss.
                            "I didn't hear a single comment about airboxes, "carbashians", or how terrible the car looked. I did see dozens and dozens of little kids in awe of the speed and how cool the cars looked. We should learn from our children."
                            --Danny Noonan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Technology and design have made the current cars physically less demanding to drive. Psychologically, women have for a long time shown they have the courage to take the same risks as men.

                              Attitude wise I've known women who wouldn't have lifted into Puke Hollow.

                              I married one.
                              "You people worry too much. Strive for change. Root for your favorites. Enjoy the racing. Drop the flag." rev-ed, 3/04

                              Comment

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