Smacking of arrogance

One of the most curious Formula One (and general motorsport) stories to come about over the past couple of weeks has come from, strangely enough, Melbourne’s Herald Sun.
The Murdoch owned peddler of right wing politics and photos of Shane Warne, photos of dogs, and photos of Shane Warne with dogs published a column by former Today Tonight (boat people!) host Jill Singer about the dangers of motorsport, to which I – and what seems like the entire motorsport community – took great exception.
Published two days after the tragic death of MotoGP’s Marco SImoncelli, which itself came a week after the loss of IndyCar’s Dan Wheldon, Singer goes on a tirade against motorsport, questioning its credibility as a sport before taking aim at the fans themselves, declaring them to be responsible for all motorsport-related fatalities.
Telling us that our grief ‘smacks of denial’, I put forward that the article itself smacks of ignorance at best, and arrogance at worst.
She tells us of her suspicion that motorsport fans are ‘getting off on the carnage’, citing just one piece of writing as conclusive proof of her worst fears – which, rather comically – tells us that this must be the case because without this ‘carnage’, all that would be left is a ‘chess match’, in reference to the game of strategy. It’s tragic that she should come so close to the point of motorsport, yet still miss it entirely.
Thankfully, Ann Neal came to the defence of the motorsport world earlier this week, describing Singer as ‘naive’ and ‘sensational’. She points out that Singer totally neglects to reference the significant research that goes into making Formula One as safe as possible, and that while racing has seen the tragic loss of a number of young men, the sport rallies around the accidents to learn as much as possible from them to ensure they can never happen again. Moreover, she points out that Singer’s one piece of supporting evidence is, in fact, referring to oval racing – and even then it’s ‘all a bit too Hollywood’.
In what should have been the end of the argument – even with each side agreeing to disagree- Singer decided to retaliate. This time, she points to the road toll and tells us that the vastly over-represented 18-to-25-year-olds are such because of the great influence of motorsport. Interesting claim – but again, one that we’re apparently supposed to swallow without any evidence from any even vaguely reputable source.
This second article was frustrating enough to raise the ire of Box Of Neutrals favourite Joe Saward, who rather succinctly summed Jill Singer’s articles as ‘a lot of tosh’. He arguments are ‘ill-conceived’ because she ‘could not be bothered to do the legwork’. If she had, she would’ve found the vast amounts of work done by the FIA and others in the racing community to use Formula One’s high profile to raise awareness about road safety. Take a read.
I personally have a number of problems with Jill Singer’s writings. Firstly, I found it deeply insensitive for her to come out to attack an entire community in grieving after a most appalling week. It’s one thing to question safety in motorsport at such a time, but to blame those affected by the tragedy is foul, just as it would be for any other community in mourning.
Secondly, she fails repeatedly to back up her claims with any legitimate evidence. To her credit, she attempts to in her first article, but has evidently failed to read the source in its entirety, lest it would have, in fact, not supported her claims.
Third, I find the second article in particular to be seriously degrading as a motorsport fan. The entire article, which references precisely zero pieces of evidence, implies that motorsport fans must be stupid – young males, the core audience for motorsport, must be inherently dumb enough to assume they’re capable of driving as well as professionals.
Moreover, any evidence presented to the contrary of her insane logic is dismissed as nothing more than ‘denial’. This, I say, is a woman in denial herself – in denial that her apparent hatred of motorsport is an irrational one.
And this seems to be precisely the problem with Jill Singer. She seems hell-bent on somehow objectively discrediting motorsport because of her own issues with it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect everyone to love racing. Most people probably don’t, and I equally accept that there must be a great number of people who hate it. But whether you like or dislike it, the decision is an emotional one. Maybe racing appeals to you, maybe it doesn’t – but there can be no objective truth to the matter.
Singer continues to fail at conclusively disproving motorsport’s worth because it is impossible to do so, and it is driving her to make such outlandish claims as purporting that watching racing must increase road trauma. The line of argument akin to that of playing violent videogames makes the player a violent person; this argument alone should be enough to discredit the writer,
If you don’t like motorsport, just don’t watch it. It really is that easy.

 You can follow me on Twitter, if you have nothing better to do: @MichaelLamonato


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