Escaping To The Pagoda

I have been doing this site for just a little over fifteen months. In that time, I have accidentally developed a reputation for writing one of the more serious-minded IndyCar blogs. Just last week, Jeff Iannucci referred to this site as “the corner of the IndyCar blogging world known for “thoughtful” posts”. To those that really know me, that’s a little ironic. I tend to have an irreverent sense of humor and I am one of the more shallow and superficial individuals you’ll ever meet. The more serious the circumstance, the more lighthearted I become. I am usually the disrespectful dolt that is cracking jokes at funerals.

My girlfriend will certainly attest to my shallowness (is that a word?). Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm are my favorite shows. That doesn’t bode well for intellectually stimulating conversations; although I’m beginning to develop a taste for Mad Men – with Don Draper being my favorite character, of course. If you’ve seen the show, you know that doesn’t speak highly for my moral compass.

I guess I figure that if I’m going to sit at a keyboard and type about something that I truly love, such as IndyCar racing – I might as well put on my serious face. One-liners come easily to me in casual conversation, but they sound stupid when I take the time to type them out. With so many very funny IndyCar blog sites out there, it just works better for me to play it straight most of the time. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy good humor. That’s why when I want to relax and get away from the real heavy subjects that sometimes abound throughout the IZOD IndyCar Series, the first place I go to is The Silent Pagoda.

I kid about Roy Hobbson being a drunk and a derelict. Not to say he won’t turn one up now and then, but he is a lot straighter than you think (sorry for busting the mystique, Roy). His writing is outrageously funny, however. So much so, that I truly think he could write professionally – which he does already, but I mean for a much larger audience than hard-core IndyCar fans.

If you were to come across both of us together at Indianapolis this past May, you would swear that Roy has the more serious personality between us. Many bloggers have a completely different side than the persona they present in the blogosphere. Roy Hobbson was hired by IndyCar a few years back to present a blog for the novice fan – like him. What they got was a master of biting satire, who may not have known much about racing when he took this gig, but is actually pretty savvy about it now.

That being said, I don’t rely on The Silent Pagoda to get my IndyCar news. There are many other sites for that. That would be like relying on “Weekend Update” from Saturday Night Live to keep me informed of actual current events. There are other sources for hard-hitting news, but SNL provides a unique and twisted way of looking at the news. That’s what The Silent Pagoda does.

Roy’s writing isn’t for everyone. Not everyone gets it. I don’t get everything that he throws out there – I’m not even sure that Roy gets all of it. That’s what makes it so “off the wall” and downright funny. Sometimes, the only thing funnier than Roy Hobbson’s posts, is the collection of comments from the “Pagodians”. I don’t consider myself a Pagodian. I’ll comment occasionally over there, but their humor is far more advanced than mine.

That’s why I was so dismayed to notice that one of the Legions Of The Miserable had glommed onto Hobbson’s site last week. Like everyone else, Roy had his opinion on the last two laps at Edmonton. Of course, he presented it by offering up a masterful piece of satire in a way that only he can do. However, sarcasm is wasted on some people. Some enjoy their misery so much that they cannot process satire and enjoy it. They look for the deep, dark meaning behind the jokes that they don’t get in the first place. That’s what happened with one reader in particular.

I go to The Pagoda to relax. It is my escape from the day. It is my comic relief. I enjoy reading the lighthearted sarcasm and satire both from Roy Hobbson, as well as his readers. There is no ill-will over there. Any jabs are all in good fun. That’s why it was so disheartening to see The Pagoda take on a life of its own and become a smaller version of Track Forum.

Very quickly, the comments section at The Pagoda took on an ugly turn. That has happened a couple of times here at It’s frustrating to watch something that you created in your head, become a source of venom and pure hatred and be carried off in a direction that you never intended – simply because one idiot didn’t understand satire and a sarcastic wit. They are so focused on their own misery that they end up making sure that everyone else is as dour and miserable as they are. What I don’t understand about these people is why they continue to read IndyCar blog sites, if they hate the sport so much.

I’ve said before that I don’t care for the NBA. If it disappeared tomorrow, it would suit me fine. But I realize it is very important to a lot of people. I don’t waste my time infiltrating websites devoted to the NBA and telling all those people how hapless they are for following that sport. I just choose to ignore it and focus on things I like – like IndyCar racing in general and The Silent Pagoda in particular.

The beauty of The Pagoda is that it is not a hard-hitting site that tackles all of the issues of the IZOD IndyCar Series – nor does it try to be. Instead, it is an offbeat site that takes a serious subject and turns it into something absurd. In all honesty, I think Roy Hobbson is a genius. No normal mind could think like that – and I mean that as a total compliment. It has been a treat to read The Silent Pagoda and the comments of the Pagodians. I only hope that last week’s tone was an aberration and not a sign of things to come.

George Phillips


19 Responses to “Escaping To The Pagoda”

  1. Greetings Mr. Phillips,

    That’s a nice endorsement of Mr. Hobbson’s blog, and hopefully some readers will still be able to take an objective look at it. Some already have.

    My objective view sees you calling for the job of the front tire changer on A.J. Foyt’s crew, or the slowest qualifier in the field, or the Senior Official in charge of enforcing non-discretionary regulations.

    And presenting an opposing view to those criticisms…whether they are spun as down-home tales or couched in sarcasm elsewhere…those views earn me your title as flag bearer for “the Legions Of The Miserable.”

    Free country, last I checked. Wrong flag. And bloggers are free to control their content, and restrict personal attacks aimed at an invited guest who expresses his views on the author’s topic. Responding to those attacks earns me more labels, and “venom and pure hatred” again demonstrates the objectivity of your judgment calls.

    Those are instances when personal disagreements are off topic, and best handled in someone else’s house. Here, and in other locations, I have invited such distractions to my blog or continued the discussion privately through theirs. That sense of propriety doesn’t resonate with too many people.

    My letter to you is an unwanted but necessary task, and will not be repeated. Nor will you see me among the ranks of Mr. Hobbson’s faithful, in spite of the cordial invitation he sent me to continue my participation there.

    I have my own blog to write, which readers everywhere are welcomed to dismiss as they wish. It is recognized by some of the very few people for which the content is directed, as the entries are focused on factual information and proactive solutions to the sport’s deficiencies. Without calling for anyone’s job. Without respondent attacking respondent. In every way, quite different fare and thus not for you or some of your readers.

    Best wishes with your continued endeavors. People who are devoted to the success of IndyCar racing have more important issues to contemplate. I do, and have found association with objective minds in other places. Time for me to stay there.

    Andy Bernstein

  2. ↑↑↑ Oof. Here we go again. Man your battle stations, men. This could get ugly.

    But before we scatter — thanks, George. You are far too kind, and I feel like you just gave a stirring (and terribly exaggerated) eulogy at my funeral. People will come away thinking I’m waaaaay awesomer than I really am … AND ALSO WAY GAYER:

    “he is a lot straighter than you think”

    Speak up, people. Exactly how not-straight do you think I am?? Bollocks!! But nevermind that. We have battle to prepare for, it seems.

    Thanks again. And Godspeed, everyone.

    [puts on chemical warfare suit]

  3. George, I know how you feel! I’ve had the same thing happen, mainly on twitter, someone doesn’t get a sarcastic remark and then flips out… it’s really annoying!

  4. As a wise person once said:

    “Don’t wrestle with a pig, because you both get dirty, and the pig enjoys it”

    There’s only one way to deal with the Legions of the Miserable. Ignore them. Their whole reason for existence is to drag us all into the mud with them. Don’t take the bait!

    As for Oilpressure & the Pagoda, I think of you and Hobbson as the Yin and Yang of Indycar blogging. The Peanut Butter and Chocolate. The Candy and the Apple. Oscar & Felix. The Left Brain and the Right Brain. To have one and not the other would throw off the center of gravity in the blogsphere, and send us all hurtling into space.

  5. billytheskink Says:

    Interviewer: Roy?

    Vercotti: Roy. (takes a drink) I was terrified of him. Everyone was terrified of Roy. I’ve seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Roy. Even Randy Bernard was frightened of Roy.

    Interviewer: What did he do?

    Vercotti: He used… sarcasm. He knew all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and… satire.

  6. Thanks for a ringing endorsement of the Indycar blog that most meshes with my own demented sense of humor. Of life, really. Sad that sometimes the worst of the internet can invade that which is so good.

  7. Ron Ford Says:

    Mosquitos and wood ticks disappear and cease to become annoying as we progress through the summer months. Where do they go? Who cares?

  8. You watch. He will be back. He can’t help himself.

  9. timnothhelfer Says:

    Politics, religion, social issues all inflame…….
    If you are passionate about IndyCar racing the end of the Edmonton race was like spilled fuel on headers. Some fans were caught up in the blaze with outrage; others may have just witnessed damage that was preventable.
    I wonder if the pass Zanardi made on Herta at the corkscrew caused much controversy? (I remember being mad as …..)

  10. “The Pass” had me livid, ‘specially after the debacle in Detroit when Danny Sullivan muscled his own teammate (Al Jr.) off the “track” (as marked by cones) when Al had the roll on him for the lead. Then they DIDN’T penalize Zanardi? Thanks dude…I was just settling in for sleep when I read this and now I’m wound up tight as an eight-day watch. Where’s my Ambien?

  11. Sl4md4nc3! Says:

    Wow. George so you lost ANOTHER bet to Hobbson??

    Well said… I feared the worst for a brief moment when Roy said he was gonna pull the plug.

    I spent hours sifting through the words of Pagoda that fateful night, as if sifting through the wreckage of the Hindenburg, looking for causes…

    [insert that radio announcer guy, screaming “Oh, the pomposity!!!!”]

    Thanks George and Roy for all your effort. You really make the world a better place.

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