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Funbag

Should Cars Have Another Horn In The Back? (No.)

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Time for your weekly edition of the Defector Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. And buy Drew’s book, The Night The Lights Went Out, while you’re at it. Today, we’re talking about guns, cars, aggro moms, hot dog pizza, and more.

Your letters:

Nick:

It’s 2022, why don’t cars yet have horns on the back? If I’m in my driveway and honking at some punks (likely on skateboards) behind me, they might think I’m signaling my wife to hurry up because the Applebee’s lunch specials end at 3pm. It’s crazy how no one has thought of this. Also, I think all cars should have digital signs to express to other drivers why you’re honking at them. I feel like both these ideas are gold!

I’ve thought of the sign thing before. Loudspeakers, too. Like if I could mount a giant bullhorn to the top of my car and say SPEED THE FUCK UP to people in front of me. I was like that’s a great idea! Then I realized that giving drivers text signs and PA systems would increase both accidents and road rage incidents by 7,000 percent. It would be a fucking disaster. That’s why you get a horn, stationed at the front of your car, and a horn only. You can tap the horn, you can mash it, or you can lay on it. That’s the full vocabulary, and tough shit if you don’t like it.

I’m so used to having endless communication tools at my disposal that I expect everything and everyone else to have those tools as well. But cars don’t NEED that shit. They just need to be cars. If you Homer-fy a car with horns in eight places and marquees and all kinds of other shit, you’d have a car that’s even more unwieldy and obnoxious than a pickup truck. I’ve definitely had moments where I’ve worried a honk of mine was misunderstood, but who gives a shit about my feelings? Not the U-Haul that was just idling in front of me at a green light, that’s for certain.

Peter:

Why in the world, if you were buying a Porsche, would you buy their SUV? The 911 is such a distinct design. I never notice a Porsche SUV until I’m directly behind it and see the logo.

Those are nice SUVs, though. When I was in the market to replace my old Kia Soul (RIP), I wanted a small SUV to replace it. I don’t fit in sedans or coupes, and neither does the average Midwestern-raised American male. I need to be obscenely comfortable while driving, and luxury auto manufacturers understand that. That’s why Porsche has an SUV, and that’s why editor at Road & Track told me that their Macan was easily the best of all the small SUV types. Even Lamborghini has an SUV (starting at $218,000), and has had one for a while now. These companies go where their customer base goes. I guarantee you that both Porsche and Lambo will start offering pickup trucks soon, because pickup trucks have become status symbols in America. Just like SUVs became status symbols back in late ’90s. Fucking horrible.

Anyway, I never got that Macan, because it was very expensive. But I understood the appeal of that Porsche SUV innately. It’s not as attractive as a sports car, because no SUV ever is, but it does have a distinct outline, especially given how much every new car looks like every other new car now. Also, a high performing car like the Macan makes itself known the second you boot up its ignition. You know a car like that isn’t fucking around.

And then, finally, there is the brand.

I can piss and moan about The Brands all I like—doing so is mandated by the Defector employee handbook—but even I’m not immune to their cachet. I test-drove a lightly used BMW. And an Acura. And a Lexus. None of these cars were better than the nice Hyundai I ended up buying, but the brand names made me assume that they would be. I was like, Well I can’t become a BMW Guy, but wouldn’t that car befit my station in life as a world-renowned author of books and what have you? Maybe I could smoke a pipe and read first editions of Hemingway while driving it. I don’t feel great about having those thoughts, but they were still fun to have. I played MASH a lot when I was in grade school. Kinda wild when you get to play a toned down version of it, for real, 35 years later. I was bred for this shit.

After those makes disappointed me, I then switched being a Real Car Knower who was like LUXURY CAR BRANDS ARE FAKE. That take befitted my station in life as a blogger. But I still ooh and ahh at Porsches and at top-of-the-line BMWs whenever I see them on the road. I can’t help it. I only have so much free will.

Matt:

How rich and successful do you think you could be if you sold out, rebranded yourself as Drew MAGAry, and spent all day owning the libs?

THINK OF ALL THE PORSCHE MACANS I COULD BUY. There’s a lot of money in becoming professionally redpilled. It’s its own economy now. You can even go half-red pill like Bill Maher and watch it pay off handsomely. It doesn’t matter if you believe any of this shit, just that you say it. That’s what Wingnut America wants from you. They want to be both validated and amplified by any big name out there. They want allies, and every turncoat they pay off helps them feel better about their own inner fascism. That’s how you end up with this bizarre cottage industry where any horrible famous person can immediately find both income and succor by turning into a publicly aggro shithead. Clay Travis did it. Jason Whitlock did it. Everyone who joins Barstool does it. All of them have decided that the money was worth it, and their beliefs eventually contort themselves around that money. I or any other person of mild renown could probably do likewise and reap a hefty profit. But I have no interest. I’d rather have, like, friends. And I’d rather not get divorced.

Here I could tell you that the need for money FORCED all of the redpilled media to become horrible people. After all, capitalism has a track record of moral coercion that dates all the way back to its very inception. Only now, you get to see people become ethically disfigured in real time, usually in tweet form. Can’t say I’ve enjoyed that part of the 21st century. So I could tell you that Clay and his ilk are a symptom of something much larger and more intractable than their own miserable careers. But I won’t because fuck them. These guys made their beds. I hope they all fucking burn.

Jack:

You had a guy in the Funbag the other day who says that he truly hates The Eagles (the band) and goes so far as to remove himself from places where The Eagles are being played. This is all in reaction to The Big Lebowski, right? Like, there is a generation of people who love that movie enough to adopt The Dude’s irrational hatred of The Eagles to make themselves seem interesting. I get that you may not enjoy listening to a band, but actually leaving a place because a milquetoast rock band’s song is on is performance, right?

Probably, but please don’t say that hatred of The Eagles is irrational. I earned my hatred of that band, and I was pleased that The Big Lebowski endorsed it. Made me feel heard. Special. Because I genuinely fucking hate The Eagles, and I got a million great reasons for it. I won’t leave a bar playing “Hotel California,” but you better believe I’ll complain about it to whoever is nearby.

Eagles aside, I do think people will conform their likes and dislikes to other people’s likes and dislikes, though. I definitely had a phase where I got into Stereolab because I wanted to be a guy who was into Stereolab. That phase lasted roughly three months.

Evan:

I got irrationally happy when one of the nameless bad guys in The Batman used his phone flashlight when the power went out. It’s nice to see a movie finally recognize that people don’t just carry massive Maglites around. Anyone else (AKA you) notice this?

Welcome back to Batman Talk With Drew. I didn’t notice that part of The Batman, but I would have appreciated it. Small details make big movies work, and they’re few and far in between. You usually never see Batman struggling to get a cell phone signal, or Iron Man’s suit chafing him, or Thanos going FUCK ME when he opens a bag of chips and it rips down the middle, or Superman whipping out his GPS while flying halfway around the world just to make sure he’s flying due east over the Pacific instead of due south. I’d kill to see any of that shit on screen.

But that’ll never happen because these movies have six hours of exposition to cram into a three-hour bag, and because I still don’t think most movies and TV shows have figured out a way to work phones all the way into a storyline. It’s a difficult task. Most people in the real world just stare at their phones all the time, but you can’t show a character doing that. That’d be deadly dull. So you either have to set the movie in a time before phones existed, or you have to make the character so powerful that they don’t need a phone to do anything, or you have to only show phones occasionally, because apparently Catwoman limits her screen time to just one hour per day.

Matt:

1) Isn’t Memorial Day a better holiday than July 4? The major problem with July 4 is that it’s not always connected to a long weekend and what the hell do you do with a random Wednesday off? Memorial Day, on the other hand, is always part of a three-day weekend, making it more conducive to travel or other vacation plans.

You are correct sir. I know why July 4th is a fixed holiday, but it’s still deeply annoying when it falls on a Wednesday. No boss is ever consistent about which days you get off around a midweek 4th and which you don’t. I’d rather just have a Monday or Friday off so that I can plan my trips to the beach accordingly. It always rains on Memorial Day, and by Labor Day, I’m fucking sick to death of summer. So I need my three-day weekend right in the middle of summer, when I know it’s gonna be 90 at the beach and that everyone will want to party naked. That would be a massive improvement over the current July 4th setup, where everyone has plans but me and I end up parking outside a country club fence so that I can steal a look at a private fireworks display.

2) Wouldn’t it be better if we started more holidays on the Eve before, as we do with Christmas, and New Year’s? There is something magical about the combination of anticipation of what’s to come the next day and initiating festivities that you can only experience on the Eve of a given holiday. I, for one, would love to start celebrating Labor Day the night before and it would be nice to have societal approval to do so.

You don’t need society’s approval to initiate Holiday Eve protocols. Do you know how many times I’ve wished my kids Happy Birthday Eve or Happy Halloween Eve? I got no problem blowing out a single day’s celebration into a full, weeklong affair. My drinking habits gave my ample practice on that end.

3) Tell me why I’m wrong: Boys of Summer is actually a phenomenal year-round song: topical in summer, nostalgic in fall, ironic in winter, and anticipatory in spring. Few songs have that kind of range.

Oh I’ll tell you why you’re wrong: because that song blows and I hate it with the power of a thousand nuclear reactions. The least fun song of the entire 1980s, and Don Henley had the balls to call it “The Boys Of Summer.” The fucking prick. I’ll walk out of any bar playing it, I will! I’m angry you put it in my head right now. You’re worse than the scotch guy who was in here a few weeks ago. I’ll fucking cut you.

HALFTIME!

Larry:

I’ve been clean of any social media and any news whatsoever for about six months, and it has genuinely enhanced my quality of life. But Texas was obviously a big enough story that I couldn’t avoid it. A bunch of people scream “MENTAL HEALTH”, and another bunch of people scream “GUN CONTROL.” Before the blood has even fucking dried. Not a damn thing is gonna change. I’ll see y’all in a few months when this shit happens again and a bunch of people retweet vague, buzzword bullshit to assuage their egos and impress their followers. Obvious, gross, and never going away. Rinse and repeat.

Yup. I wish I could tell you I’m angry, but I feel nothing. I’m all out of catharsis, because it’s gotten me nowhere. At this point, I admire anyone outside of victims’ families who can muster any emotion at all. I watched Steve Kerr say all the right things after the Uvalde massacre last week, but even then I could only think about the contrarian infrastructure that was already in place ready to put Kerr’s words in a trash can. When Kerr started out a sentence with, “I hope Mitch McConnell…” I already knew he was speaking into a black hole. I already knew Mitch McConnell would laugh at those words. Lived to laugh at them. Mitch McConnell will live to be 200 years old, let as many people die and suffer as he can get away with, and then have a fucking school named after him. If you have anything to say about Mitch McConnell other than “he deserves to die alone in a fucking ditch,” you’re a fucker. That especially goes for Joe Biden, who’ll never get it.

What do you even do with that? If you haven’t figured out Republicans are the enemy at this point, you don’t want to. Clearly, neither Biden nor any of the other boomercrats want to. They just want to have a nice lunch every month with Mitch. I have no response to this shit other than glum indifference, because it’s been this way forever now. I wanna believe Uvalde was a turning point, but there have already been a dozen more shootings after it to prove me wrong. If there was gonna be a turning point, we would have reached it already. I don’t like being “this is just how it is” years old, but I’ve seen too much to indulge my naiveté any longer.

This has all been normalized. Every dipshit legislator in America knows that their constituents, of all ideologies, are so digitally pacified that all they have to do as leaders is ride out all of the fighting and all of the vicarious grief—on social media, in text groups, or even from a podium—before getting back to business. You can call America dystopian in the wake of these sprees, but what a fucking empty word “dystopian” has become. This isn’t a dystopia, and you are not living inside a fiction. If this were a dystopia, it’d be far more interesting than what it really is, which horrifyingly banal.

And that’s why I feel nothing. I wish last week crushed me the same way Newtown did. It didn’t. Instead, I just went about my business, the same way the shitty people are doing right now. I fell in line, cowed into acceptance because it’s just about the only tolerable, not to mention easiest, option left at my disposal. I have surrendered, as have many who might insist that they haven’t. America’s violence tax is here to stay. This is what happens when bloodshed is rendered normal rather than anomalous. The frequency is the point. Your indifference is the ultimate target. Mitch McConnell deserves to die alone in a fucking ditch.

Todd:

Why don’t we put hot dogs on pizza? We put other cured meats on pizza (pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, prosciutto), so it seems reasonable that we would put hot dogs on it too.

Clearly it’s because the foodnoscenti (copyright 2022 me) in this country would deem a hot dog pizza trashy and vile. They don’t want you to have an Oscar Mayer margherita, and that mentality is a clear example of socialism gone too far. We must resist, and perhaps a handful of minor-league ballpark concession stands already have.

Peter:

Can Blind Melon be called a one-hit wonder if my local indie radio station plays “Tones of Home”?

Blind Melon gets exempted from one-hit wonder status because A) “No Rain” is a perfect song, and B) Shannon Hoon tragically died before he got a chance to write another one. If you die young, you get bonus points for all the potential that dies with you. Judging by “Tones Of Home,” I don’t think I would’ve liked any other Blind Melon song that would have existed if Hoon had lived. They had just enough jam band vibes to keep me skeptical. But Hoon did die, which means that I have to consider an alternate reality where Blind Melon exists alongside Nirvana and Radiohead as the final transcendent rock bands. So no one-hit wonder epithets for him or his band. It would be rude.

By the way, I think “No Rain” should be the bumper music for every golf telecast. This is Drew Simmons signing off.

Dan:

Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, 90% of all of the characters in any given movie were just plain assholes. And I’m not just talking about the primary antagonists. Generally your protagonist was a good person, as was their love interest, and maayyyyybe a best friend. But besides them, movies back then were populated with absolute dickheads in almost every supporting role, existing only to belittle and demean our main character and make their journey towards whatever they were after that much harder. This transcended genre; comedy, teen, horror, action; all filled with unpleasant roles; bus drivers, waitresses, teachers, co-workers, etc. Nowadays it seems like most supporting characters our heroes meet along the way are nice, or at least neutral, and I think the art form has suffered because of it. Do we need more asshole supporting characters?

Dan, we do indeed. I remember when Roger Ebert gave Die Hard two stars all because he hated Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson so much. Well now there are NO dickhead police chiefs in any movie. No chiefs, no passive-aggressive neighbors, no high-maintenance friends or spouses, no evil teachers, no pissy desk clerks, NOTHING. Everyone is either a friend, a frenemy, or an enemy who makes some good points. And no one uses their phones! I AM OLD AND UNHAPPY AND I LIKE THINGS BETTER THE WAY THEY USED TO BE!

Justin:

I am a brand new father. Since the day my son was born, I have been in agony. I feel intense guilt over what my wife had to go through for labor and delivery. The baby screams and cries and I am powerless to stop it. I feel overwhelmed just trying to change a diaper or feed him via bottle. It’s been less than a week and I’ve cried myself to sleep on multiple occasions. Is this normal? Is there any way to improve my situation? At least tell me things will get better because so far I feel like an incredible failure as a dad.

I emailed Justin right after he sent this to make sure he gets checked out for postpartum depression, which all parents can suffer from, not just new mothers. He said he already noted it with his therapist and things improved in the days after.

I myself escaped PPD, but I don’t think that was because I was better prepared to be a dad or because I ate more antioxidants. I simply had the good fortune of slipping through all the risk factors—a family history of depression being a big one—that can cause it. You, along with Justin, may not be so lucky. And even though PPD has been covered extensively by the press, and described in vivid detail by many famous people who have suffered from it, the nasty trick of depression is that you can know about all of its warning signs and STILL not realize that you have it.

The good news is that it IS normal to have it, and that it’s likely treatable in some form. Things can get better. This is also true of parenting in general. It’s overwhelming at first, just as any other major life event is. Then you adapt to your new situation, figure out how to be a parent, and then things brighten from there. I have not had PPD, but I have despaired as a parent, particularly over my own failings. But that despair doesn’t have to be permanent. Think of all the other ways you’ve evolved over your lifespan. Parenthood is no different in that regard. Just wait till your kid laughs at your farts and then it’ll be a new dawn.

Earl:

What is the best cover song and why is it Subdivisions by Rush covered by Allegaeon

Actually that’s pretty solid. Will I ever listen to it again? No. But I respect Allegaeon’s effort, and the fact that they use eight-string guitars. That’s so much guitar. No one man should have all that riffage.

Anyway, the best cover song ever is “All Along The Watchtower” by Hendrix, but I already had a strong dad rock moment while alone at a bar in San Francisco last week (they played the only Elton John song I like and it hit me at the exact right time; I may or may not have danced while sitting on my barstool), so I don’t wanna overdo this line of conversation.

Email of the week!

Mike:

This past Mother’s Day, a bubbling tension within my family reared its head. The problem is there are three people in my life who are all mothers: my own mother, my mother-in-law, and my wife. And all of them insist that Mother’s Day is THEIR day, and it belongs to no one else. My mother demands that everyone drop everything to do what she wants to do, to the exclusion of everyone else, as she is The Only Mother in question of Mother’s Day, until the day she dies. My mother-in-law is also, coincidentally, The Only Mother in question when it comes to Mother’s Day, until the day she herself dies. My wife, naturally, just wants to be left alone by everybody, and is possibly hoping for death to come upon us all. 

My natural bias is towards my wife, since she’s the only one in this scenario actively parenting a toddler 24/7. We’re both in our 30s and, as much as we love our moms, everyone’s at the point in our lives where they just drop in for a few hours every couple of weeks at best. But no matter what, Mother’s Day inevitably leads to a fight and hurt feelings with somebody. I’m tired of dealing with this nightmare scenario every year. Is there a way of King Solomon’ing this baby?

LOL I’ve never met any mom who takes Mother’s Day that seriously, let alone two. The key, and you’ll learn this once you reach your late 40s, is to ignore them.