Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Who Are The Bad Guys?

by Tammy

I was watching a race over the weekend and found myself thinking in Star Wars terms, with one team as the rebel alliance, trying to go against the might of the evil empire. I know why I was thinking of one team as Darth Vader and minions (because I've read newspaper articles containing less than savory tidings of the main character), but it got me thinking about how and why I form impressions of different teams and drivers, as well as what influences my allegiances.

I have to be honest and admit that I'm not always rational. And I can be fickle.

Take Jimmie Johnson, for instance. I used to dislike Jimmie. A lot. For no good reason except that he won a lot, often beating Tony Stewart, who was (and remains) a favorite. Then I saw him at the 24 Hours of Daytona one year, at the track early, having a great time. I started listening to his interviews and discovered he seemed like a decent guy. Now I root for him. What happened to me?

In Jimmie's case, and probably the case of a few other drivers I don't care for much, I fell victim to the  prevailing wisdom (if you can call it that) in the media about him. He was bland, boring, a machine. It didn't take disliking and then liking Jimmie to make me realize how easily we're influenced by media around us. I knew that already.

But when I started writing my second book (titled Braking Points, due out April 2013), I thought about how we're swayed by mere opinion, not even fact, and decided to see how my protagonist would react as the target of unfair bias.

I'd like to think that I'm making judgments about the drivers and teams I do or don't like these days based only on behavior I've observed, though I realize I still see only a portion of the whole picture through the filter of television, print journalism, and social media. But at least I'm making my own evaluations, not just parroting negative words from others.

I'm still not a fan of Kyle Busch though.

What about you? Do you harbor irrational dislike for any team or driver? Or is it totally rational?

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