Preaching To The Choir

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Every now and then, someone posts something in the comment section here that sends me into a rant. It has happened again. This penalizes the 99.9% of readers of this site who make intelligent comments and know not to take what I say very seriously. I normally don’t take myself very seriously, so why should you?

Last Friday, I wrote a post about the potential decision that those at AJ Foyt’s team may be facing – choosing between Conor Daly or Sage Karam for the No.4 car. Most comments were well-written and well thought-out arguments. Some agreed with my assessment, while others did not.

Friday night, Susan and I watched a movie around 7:00. Just as the movie started, I checked the site and saw that there were eight comments. About ninety people had responded to the poll question and Sage Karam had garnered only two votes. When the movie was over, I checked the site again. There were ten comments, but there were now over 375 respondents to the poll question, showing Karam with well over 250 votes.

The two new comments appeared to come from two different people; one named “Ruby”, while another was named “IU Writer”. However, they both came from the same IP Address, which I can see but you can’t. Both were adamant in their support for Karam. The one under IU Writer complained “This article is written so slanted towards Daly and it’s obvious what the author wants.”

This is where longtime readers and supporters of this site will grow weary of hearing me repeat this, so my apologies as I preach to the choir.

To quote Richard Nixon – Let me make one thing perfectly clear. This is a blog. This is not a news site. I’ve been posting here since May of 2009 and I’ve always maintained that I am not a journalist. I am a blogger and nothing more. Some would say I am a lowly blogger, which I get. Bloggers can say and do some incredulous things from time to time. But I try to not be one of those outrageous bloggers, who says outrageous and shocking things just to get attention, or one of those who oversteps their bounds at race tracks.

There are (or were) IndyCar blogs out there that blur the lines between a blog and a professional website; with beautiful graphics and animations, along with tons of constantly updated video content, as well as containing all of the latest press-releases. This site is not one of those.

Instead, Oilpressure.com is what I would call a pure old-school blog. It is pretty much a one-man show. Yes, I’ll have guest-bloggers from time to time and the fun, but corny, One Take Only videos – but it’s mostly me writing about my take on things related to the Verizon IndyCar Series, and I’ll never refer to myself as "we" in order to give the false impression that there is a full staff here. It’s just me.

The key phrase there is “my take”. As I mentioned earlier, this is not an IndyCar news site. I give my impression of different things related to IndyCar; whether it be a race that just happened, my opinion of IndyCar’s TV coverage or more trivial matters like the lack of all-cotton polos in the IMS gift shop or my love of the classic breaded jumbo pork tenderloin that is still available during the Month of May.

News and sports coverage today have blurred the lines. There used to be op-ed pieces in newspapers that were separated from news articles that were just facts that told the story about what had happened. While the Opinion section still exists, nowadays reporters interject their own thoughts and opinions into their own news articles. In past times, that was considered a journalistic no-no. If you wanted to state your opinion or sway others to your opinion, you were encouraged to write an op-ed column and not taint your news article with opinions. In today’s world of news and sports reporting, it’s hard to tell the difference between a news article and an opinion column.

I do no IndyCar news reporting and I rarely do interviews. Why? Because I’m not very good at it. I simply comment on things that have already happened, much like a columnist; not that my opinion really means anything within the IndyCar world. But this whole site is centered around my opinion, so of course I’m going to slant things.

My opinion matters to me, but not to anyone else. My wife disagrees with a lot of what I write. But she’ll tell me her side and we move on. I invite people to disagree and comment. Longtime reader Ron Ford, whom I’ve never met, probably disagrees with what I write more than what he agrees with. But we both laugh it off and will probably agree on something just as strongly in the next post. Reading comments that agreed with every point I try to make would be boring. Many of you make excellent points that are totally against a point I made in a post, and it gives me something to think about. I’ve learned a lot from reading your comments.

I don’t wait for comments to be approved before they hit the site. I’ve never censored or deleted comments from anyone, nor has anyone ever been blocked from making comments here. OK, one has – a crazy person who hi-jacked this site back in 2010 to trumpet her own personal cause that had nothing to do with racing, but that’s it.

But when someone gets on here and makes snarky comments under an alias and changes their name from comment to comment, “stuffs the ballot box” on the poll question and then tries to accuse me of slanting an article to get what I want – that gets me riled up.

There is a reason I put my name at the end of every post I write. It’s to validate that I stand behind every word I wrote, no matter how controversial. And yes, George Phillips is my real name and I really do live in Nashville.

It shouldn’t shock me that there are cowards on the internet who dwell in anonymity and live in falsehoods. It probably happens more times than not. I have no problem with usernames like “billytheskink”, “Bob F.” or ”tonelok” because some people have a real need for privacy – especially where the internet is concerned. I get that. All of these are regular commenters who have registered with legitimate e-mail accounts. Although they are longtime readers, each of them have disagreed with me in the past and had the guts to put it out there. But for the trolls who have to hide behind a disguise to give their slant; I have no use for them.

I’ve been spoiled over the years. In talking to other IndyCar bloggers, I have determined that I have the most loyal and intelligent readers out there. I appreciate the thoughtful and frank discussions you all engage in. I also appreciate the humor and sarcastic wit that so many of you bring. It’s very seldom that someone brings the TrackForum mentality to this site. When they do, I probably get angrier than I should.

There is no poll question for today. What would I ask; do you like this rant or have you heard it before? It was about two years ago when I last went on this rant. I’m hoping it will be that long before I have to do it again. But I want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to those of you that keep coming here three days a week, fifty-two weeks a year and reading my sometimes pointless meanderings. You are the reason I keep doing this. As for the trolls…go get a life and use your real name, for once.

George Phillips

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19 Responses to “Preaching To The Choir”

  1. George, “noli illegitimi carborundum”. Ignore the Keyboard Commando and let him live his fantasy life eating Cheetos in his underwear in his Mom’s basement. 😆 He will find some where’s else to waste his time. Meanwhile, keep up the good work!

    And, since I like them, when’s the next “One Take Only”?

  2. George, as someone who works in the industry, I appreciate the time and effort that it takes to keep your blog current. Your topics are timely, relevant, and add “color” to a series we follow with passion. Keep up the great work and ignore the noise. Best, HS.

  3. Jim Shaver Says:

    Don’t let the trolls get you down. I’m one who occasionally disagrees with you but I still look forward to learning from every post.

  4. George, of course you and I have had differences of opinions here, but that’s what makes this site so special: you encourage us instead of being jealous or put off by us, which is rare today. I know you read some things I say (and I’m not trying to be a grenade tosser either) and just shake your head, but those moments are what used to make this country great! That we could disagree strongly about something but go down to the pub and have a beer together at the end of the day made us the greatest country in the world. We need to get that spirit back somehow.

    Pay no attention to “them,” George, you’re doing fine here, and please keep it up.

    Phil Kaiser (my real name)
    Indianapolis (my real hometown)

    PS: Folks check out my real website with real rock ‘n’ roll music that I really wrote and performed all by myself! (Thanks, George, for the mini shameless plug here, lol!)

  5. Brian McKay Says:

    This blog is fantastic.
    If it were mine, I’d delete wackos’ comments and reset or deleter polls.
    On many polls I don’t vote, as I had no clear choice and didn’t want to choose poorly. Many times I vote in agreement with the preceding blog posts (“leading the witness, you honor”).
    Maybe ten days, when I returned to the blog later in a day, or a following day, to read others’ comments, I voted again in polls and felt ‘wrong’ doing so.
    I’m not awake enough to say anything more.

    ever grateful, loyal reader #14, Brian

  6. Bob Butler Says:

    Preach on, George. You’re a welcome voice in the IndyCar world!

  7. Geez George, lighten up! Drag out the Mazda & head for the hills.

    At least you now know Sage’s IP address.

  8. I like your amateur, in-front-of-the-scenes, take on Indy racing. It is much needed and Indy Car owes you a great debt of gratitude. Motorsports racing (perhaps NASCAR excluded) assumes a high level of knowledge and a ready knowledge of recent past history to follow the references. And unlike other sports, there is no means to gain the requisite knowledge easily. In football you will have Madden or Gruden explaining certain offensive or defensive plays or even rules. Sometimes even during the game. In Indy you’ll have a quick interview and a quip by Tim Cindric or an off-handed comment by a driver you’ll have you spending 20 minutes researching arcane things like the specs of Ford-Cosworth engines to try to understand the comment.

    P.s.- regarding your last two pieces, the constant turnover in a lot of drivers and the changing tracks each year is not good for Indy Car as a sport. People/fans like familiarity and being able to identify with a brand, athlete, or location. Robin Miller talked about how young guys are not given a chance these days. And such an m.o. of racing teams hurts the sport overall, having greater negative impact on the fan base following. I understand the quirky nature of sponsor support. Well, actually I don’t, it would be easier to understand complex financial instruments and hedge funds. Still, I believe Indy Car needs to bring in a Gary Bettman kind of guy to bring uniformity and build the sport.

  9. The Archer Says:

    I cant stand people who hide behind fake user names!

    The Archer

  10. I was actually a bit surprised at the fact of there only being one person. My thought when you wrote the article was ” Uh oh, here comes the haters” because I’ve noticed that whenever Sage is mentioned in anything but glowing terms there seems to be an army of trolls that come screaming to his defense. I enjoy the site and your take on most points, it would be a large loss to me if OilPressureBlog wasn’t here for me to drink a cup of coffee and catch up with. Keep fighting the good fight and know that those who enjoy the site greatly outnumber those who just come to be jerks.

  11. People these days…. I was talking to my dad this week, he’s about your age I would guess George, my mom saw something on Facebook that upset her, I read it and wasn’t fazed by it. I told them that people really communicate differently these days and it’s unfortunate. People are rude, and being a keyboard warrior is a disease in society these days.

  12. billytheskink Says:

    If I recall correctly, I was the second vote for Karam in that poll before a crack team of Russian (or Eastern Pennsylvanian) hackers infiltrated it. I would have voted that I do like this rant and have heard it before had there been a poll today. I generally agree with the practice of not engaging the crazies, but it is worth doing at times to assert control of your site, to ensure that readers both new and old know what you intend this blog to be.

    Thank you, George, for all that you do here, including putting up with the crazies from time-to-time. Wait, wait a second… You don’t believe my name is really William T. Skink?

  13. Well said, George. I enjoy coming here to read your opinion on things because that is something I value. You usually have an interesting take that hasn’t been brought up before. Never change.

  14. Dale Christenson Says:

    Since I found your site you are a MUST READ for me. I can’t even imagine the time that it takes for you to write this blog, and for that I thank you. I live in the Chicago area and in a couple of months your site is one of the only things that keep me sane until racing starts again. You have mentioned the “perks” that you receive from doing this, but, that is merely a reward for a job well done. Please DON’T STOP !!!!!!!!!!

  15. The stuffing of the ballot box bugged me more. And I too on occasion have changed my vote after reading others comments or further contemplation. Yours is the only blog I read, George. I enjoy your take on things and appreciate the work you do to make it worthwhile. Keep up the great work!

  16. George,
    This message is more for you, but I chose to include it on the comments section instead of an email because I think some of your readers will likely agree with much of what I have to say.

    I’m an infrequent commenter to the site. Sometimes once a week, once every couple weeks, sometimes I go months without chiming in. But I’ve been reading your blog since its first year.

    Like all Indycar junkies, I have my go-to sites for Indy car news: Indystar, Racer, and Motorsport are my main stops. Oilpressure.com offers something those sites don’t…..the human element.

    Over the years you’ve shared with us stories about your family. You’ve included your wife as a guest blogger. You and your friend John have shared your backyard with us for One Take Only. We know what you drive and why you like it. We know what memorbilia you display in your office. Hell, we know you don’t like JR HIlderbrand’s long hair and beard! I’ve obvioulsy never met you. I think we’ve exchanged an email or two over the years, but when I go to your site each week, I don’t feel like I’m checking in on Indycar news, I feel like I’m checking in to see what’s on the mind of my pal George from Nashville this week. A couple year’s ago I was watching a race and guest announcer David Hobbs kept mispronouncing Castroneves’ name. I remember thinking, I bet George is gonna say something about that in his race wrap-up post on Monday. Sure enough, you did. How would I know that? Because you share yourself with your readers. A couple weeks ago when your Vols and TItans both got blown out in the same weekend (sorry), I said to my wife, “George is gonna be really pissed!” She looked at me with the most puzzled face and replied, “Who the hell is George?” That, in my humble opinion, is what makes oilpressure.com so special. The human element. You share with us the man behind the blog.

    Point being, I know the website is personal to you. I understand why you take it personal when some yahoo shows up making dumb comments and leaving a stink on it. But please know you don’t need to justify to your readers what you or this blog is about. We know exactly what it is. It’s great. Your work is great. It’s been my pleasure to follow it for years now, and hopefully many more.

    Keep up the good work sir!

    Sincerely,
    Vic Lovisa, South Bend, IN

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