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Which Automaker Has The Ugliest Cars?

In this photo taken on September 11, 2023, BYD electric cars waiting to be loaded on a ship are stacked at the international container terminal of Taicang Port at Suzhou Port, in China's eastern Jiangsu Province. (Photo by AFP) / China OUT (Photo by -/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty Images

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 weddings, foul balls, coaches with awful taste in pop culture, and more.

Your letters:


Which automaker has the ugliest cars? Not the ugliest single car, but of all their models, who has the worst-looking vehicle fleet? I know aesthetics are subjective but I just don't understand Jaguars. They look ugly as shit to me. Honorable mention: Tesla.

This is a hard question to answer because safety regulations, and a general lack of imagination on the part of automakers, have resulted in most new cars looking nearly identical to one another, right down to the trim. I own a Hyundai and I’ve gotten it confused with various Mazdas, Acuras, Toyotas, and even BMWs. So when a make stands out, I’m almost grateful for it, even when the make in question is ugly.

But I have an definitive answer for Lexa, and it’s a surprise: Jeep. Jeep used to make some of the best looking, coolest cars out on the road, with the iconic grille to go with them. The grille is all that remains, because the cars themselves are now BRUTAL. Jeep brought back the Wagoneer in 2022, and I was hoping that it would look like, you know, a Wagoneer. Maybe they’ll even bring back the wood paneling, I thought. Wrong. They made the Wagoneer into every other Republican SUV. It’s big, it’s angry, and it may as well have a Thin Blue Line flag painted across both sides. A fucking abomination.

The other current Jeep models are no better. They took the Wrangler and made it into a vanity pickup called Gladiator that gives off even stronger dipshit vibes than the Wrangler does. The Grand Cherokee looks like a Lincoln now. And the regular Cherokee looks like a rental car. Every time I spot a Jeep on the road, I wanna strangle whoever decided to make them look like every other Chevroford, more-is-more, American piece-of-shit car.

Jags still look cool to me, though. They’re always in the shop, but at least they’ll catch my eye while they’re up there on the lift.


Fuck weddings. Weddings should be a deeply private event, leave me out of it! If you want to get married, I am happy for you and wish you the best of luck. But why does the wedding itself have to involve making all of your friends and family ruin a perfectly good Saturday (or weekend if I have to travel!) just to celebrate the fact that YOU'RE so fuckin' happy? Weddings should be between you, your partner, and god or the universe or whatever. I always go and let my loved ones know I'm happy for them and pretend I'm happy to be there, but in reality I just want to watch football at home in my chair. Am I a goddamn psychopath for thinking this?

Less a psychopath and more a cheap, antisocial prick. I’m like anyone else in that I have a beef with the wedding-industrial complex, with all of its costs, its attendant social responsibilities, and its needy brides and grooms. And I chafe at far-flung destination weddings. But to be against weddings entirely? No, I haven’t reached that stage of nihilism, and I never will. I’ve already handed over enough of my soul to the void. I already watch PLENTY of football at home in my chair. I log onto social media even though all people want to do on social media now is fight. I’ve put off talking to my wife because I’ve been in the middle of a tense Yazy game against a bot. I have gradually replaced having an actual social life, with flesh and blood friends, with the habits of a serial killer. So I would fucking LEAP to attend a wedding right now. I need it like I need air.

There’s no wrong way to get married, but the idea that a wedding should be deeply private goes against the very idea of the ceremony. A wedding is you and your betrothed declaring your eternal love to another in front of witnesses including officials, your friends, family, and your parents’ worst friends. At its core, it’s a celebration of love. A spreading of love, which is an inherently good thing. A necessary thing, given how self-isolated and miserable many people have become in the digital age.

And it only lasts a weekend. How weekends do you get in your life? How many of them do you outright waste? And you’re telling me that having someone ask you to use one of those weekends to be there for the happiest moment of their life is rude? Get your shit together, Aaron. Weddings are good, and if you can’t get that through your head, then know what? Don’t go. Indulge your inner misanthrope. Stay home and be happy in your cynicism. You’d just kill the party anyway.


I’m about to turn 42 and noticed that over the past year, I’ve attended more memorials than anything else; weddings, showers, etc. As someone who has a few years on me, is this normal? Or are my friends and co-workers dying at abnormally high rate? 

See this is why I could use a wedding, Michael. You get to my age and the weddings and baby showers just stop. The last wedding I attended was in 2019, and that was the first wedding I’d been to in a decade, if not longer. Any wedding I go to now is gonna be a second wedding. Any baby shower that I attend will be one I’ve been invited to by mistake.

This is normal in my universe because all of my friends are my age, so they got married and had kids right around the same time I did. I’m one of those people who had to attend like 57 weddings in my 20s and then zero after that. If you have a huge extended family, or you have a friend group with a wildly diverse age range, or you’re Mormon, my situation is probably NOT normal to you. You’re probably still going to church basement wedding receptions three times every spring. That probably helps counterbalance all of the funerals and memorials that inevitably come as you pass through middle age.

Because those do come eventually, and not on a set schedule. The fact that I have to wait for someone to die to attend my next large gathering is God’s way of telling me YOU SHOULD THROW MORE PARTIES, DICKHEAD. You gotta fill those interim years with as much joy as you can…

…which means it’s the perfect time for me to remind you that Roth and I are hosting a LIVE episode of The Distraction in New York next month! No one is dying, but everyone is going to fucking RAGE. So you get your tickets here and come out to Brooklyn for the greatest night of your life. And yes, Roth and I do plan on tying the knot that evening.


Never been a big concertgoer (age 42) but I’ve started seeing more shows, particularly of the iconic boomer variety (McCartney, Springsteen, etc), in part to see them live before they amble off to the great beyond. Any artists/bands you missed that you could have realistically seen? Any on your bucket list?

Here’s another joyful mass gathering to make a regular part of your life. I’ve gone to more concerts post-pandemic than I did before it struck, and I’m not alone in enjoying those concerts on a deeper, more existential level than I ever have. Every concert I’ve gone to since 2020 has been the greatest concert I’ve ever been to, so much so that I’ve mentally revised my criteria for attending one. I used to skip out on going to concerts if they were too expensive, or if I’d already seen the band before, or I didn’t like the venue, or if the band in question was no longer cool. Fuck all that. If I love the band and they’re in town, I’m going. I don’t even care if I have to go alone (which is usually what ends up happening), because I can’t remember the last time I attended any concert and regretted it.

I’ve made my peace with the fact that I’ll never be able to see certain bands live, Hüsker Dü foremost among them, because key members of those bands died before I have. But if active legends like Metallica swing by D.C. again (they missed here on their latest tour … feels personal), I’m paying Ticketbastard their pound of flesh. I haven’t seen Metallica live since 1989. Same deal with Def Leppard, who are now always on the nostalgia circuit playing joints like the Fargodome. If they come my way again, I don’t care how many rednecks will be there. I just wanna get high and sing “Pour Some Sugar On Me,” off-key, at the top of my lungs.

And there are other live acts that I’ve never seen—Iron Maiden!—whose tour itineraries I’m also keeping an eye on. This isn’t a midlife crisis, although I’ve had my fair share of those. This is just me getting wiser. You should never be afraid to have fun.

I’ll skip the Springsteen, though. Go to any Springsteen concert and there’s a chance he plays for 17 straight hours. That’s not as alluring to me at 46 as it was at 26.


Drew, I know you've written about Cocaine Bear and wanted to share this press release with you, Darren.

I have never written about Cocaine Bear, although I heard it was awful.


My wife and I recently moved to my hometown of Cleveland. When we arrived, we learned that our neighbor is a member of the Browns coaching staff (not a coordinator, but still someone reasonably important). While I grew up a Browns fan, the Deshaun Watson trade completely soured me on the team, and I watched a lot less NFL overall last season. When I meet this neighbor/coach, should I express an opinion about Watson if the subject of football arises? It's not as if this person is a congressman whose position nominally involves accepting unsolicited feedback from strangers. But when so many fans are loudly flippant about Watson's crimes, it'd feel like a missed opportunity to remain silent.

I’d bring it up if the opportunity arises. I wouldn’t storm over to the coach’s house and scream ENABLER at him, because then I’d have neighbor problems for the rest of my life. I’ve had neighbor problems before; you don’t want them. But if I’m talking ball with this coach and he asks me if I’m a Browns fan, I’d be both honest and ingratiating. I’d say, “I used to be a fan, but with Watson here I’ve kinda soured on them. Sorry to tell you that.” That’s a pretty soft way of phrasing it. You’re telling him the truth, but not implicating him, does that make sense? And then if he took umbrage with my distaste for his QB, I’d quickly change the subject to weddings. This is because I am a coward.



Are you satisfied with your cooking skills as they exist now? Do you still try to learn new techniques, or maybe try a particularly ambitious recipe? I find that I am always looking for ways to improve my cooking, where do you stand on that?

The pandemic killed a lot of my cooking motivation. Making your own bread sucks, and you can only cook yourself so many isolation dinners before you just wanna go out for a burger.

Also, nearly everyone in my family has a dietary restriction, none of which align with one another. My daughter is vegetarian. My wife had to go on a gluten-free AND histamine-free diet (not her choice, I assure you). And both of my sons always want to eat dorm-room shit: fries, pizza, ramen, fried chicken, etc. So cooking dinner at my house is an exhausting exercise now, featuring multiple dishes and at least one unsatisfied customer by meal’s end. I don’t get testy about this kind of shit anymore, but I also can’t be like FUCK IT I’M MAKIN’ ENCHILADAS! on a given night, either. That makes life rough on my cooking muscles. So I’m more than happy to not cook these days, because it’s more a job than a hobby.

But you know who is happy to cook in this house? The 11-year-old. The boy has made his own mochi, his own milkshakes, his own sushi, his own dumplings, you name it. Whatever culinary drive I once possessed he now has in spades, and it’s been deeply satisfying to witness. The boy understands that if you can cook anything, you can eat anything, anytime you want. The import of this power is not lost on him.

This is the year I realized that I have spent my life surreptitiously preparing to teach my children all of the things that I know how to do well. My daughter is working on her common app essay for college, and I’ve been giving her rounds of line edits on it. I’ve been writing for decades now, and it feels like the only reason I’ve done all that writing was to help her write this single, critical essay. I’m passing torches all over the place and discovering the meaning of life in the process. Once these kids are out of the house, then MAYBE I finally learn how to make my own tortillas. But for now, my ambitions belong to them and them alone.

(A quick aside: I was home alone the other night and, on a whim, ordered takeout for myself. This was the first time I’d ordered takeout at my house without having to consult anyone else living there, and it was INCREDIBLE. I was like am I really doing this? Is this even legal? It was, and it was delicious. Four stars.)


I woke up at 4:30am with an idea so brilliantly dumb that I knew I had to share it with you and the Funbag commentariat. What if NFL owners could make in-game purchases with real money, like the rest of us do when we play video games? I'm thinking of football-related options like:

  • Buying an additional timeout
  • Challenging a penalty 
  • Game proceeds without review after their team scores/makes a first down

The first purchase in a game could cost something like $100,000, and then each time the owner wants to buy something new, a zero gets attached to the price.

I do not want loot boxes in my football. Ever. If you ever start off a pitch with, “I was inspired by the in-app purchases you have to make for iPhone games!” you’ve lost me already. That’s some Ted Leonsis shit. And while I respect Clark’s funbaggian impulses, I also don’t want NFL games decided by which owners are willing to pay for a legal mulligan (Jerry Jones) and which aren’t (Mike Brown). You’re not only tilting the playing field, you’re making owners active participants in the outcome. And haven’t we had enough of these mummified assholes already? They get 10,000 luxury box shots every game. They get blown by the color guys. They hog for more credit than they deserve. I don’t wanna set up an avenue where they can claim even more credit for their team winning.

Yes, but if they spend $1,000,000 on an additional timeout and they lose anyway, that’s funny!

For like 10 seconds, sure. But these guys have been deprogrammed for shame, so that little schadenfreude high wouldn’t last long. Thanks to the challenge system, there’s already one too many side games within an NFL game. I want less of those side games, not more. I just wanna watch cool players do cool shit.


I'm sitting through Hard Knocks, and what is jumping out to me is how dated and awful Nathaniel Hackett's sense of humor is. He renamed the red zone the "Gold Zone" after Goldmember. Evidently this humor plays well with Aaron Rodgers, but should he just retire when Rodgers does? I can't imagine him being able to relate to any younger players. I guess my question is: do you think he is more the exception or the rule? 

I’m shocked anyone remembers Goldmember, let alone actively reveres it. That movie was worse than The Spy Who Shagged Me, and The Spy Who Shagged Me was a glaring piece of shit.

But I expect nothing less from my coaches. These men are too serious about football to have actual taste in anything. See for yourself.

That’s a small sample size, but I promise you that it’s good enough. I know what country I live in. I chill out in a hipster online world where no one listens to country music or watches CBS sitcoms, but that’s not America. America is these men. They drive vanity pickups and quote Expend4bles to one another and listen to the shittiest country music ever heard outside of Guantanamo Bay. In this way, and perhaps only this way, Nathaniel Hackett fits right in.

By the way, I’m not happy that Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles. This is because I’d prefer he be humiliated on the field, fair and square. But it’d be VERY funny if Nathaniel Hackett burned the house down in Denver in less than one season, found himself in the cushiest possible spot afterward—new team, lower-pressure job, a good QB who wanted him aboard—and burned the house down AGAIN in just one series. This man went from zero to Kotite in a matter of seconds. It’s astounding. I wouldn’t trust him to deliver my groceries.


Is Purdy just new Tebow? I didn’t know Purdy was a Jesus freak until your 49ers preview. This sort of explains why his trading cards are thru the roof expensive. So now I assume he is going to suck mondo ass and then get lionized when he gets benched. 

Judging by the current sample size, Brock Purdy doesn’t suck. He might even be legit, and probably is. That’s a key distinction from Tim Tebow, given that Tebow showed, right from the start, that he couldn’t operate a proper NFL passing offense. Also, Purdy probably has some appalling politics, but he’s nowhere near as showy with his faith as Tebow was and is. Tebow’s whole deal is being Public Christian Number One. By contrast, Purdy appears content to be the scrappy little underdog turned play-action assassin. So he’s not the next Tebow.

(I reserve to the right to disown this take if Purdy wins a Super Bowl and uses the moment to proudly endorse Ron DeSantis.)


Am I insane, or is there a disadvantage to getting a big first half lead in today’s NFL? You incentivize the other team to pass, which is easier to rip off chunk plays while encouraging your defense to turtle.

Roster parity in the NFL is so widespread that no lead is ever really safe. But that’s different from saying that taking a lead is a bad idea. You want the lead. You shouldn’t be giddy if your team is down 17-0 in the first quarter. Maybe the game evens out, but if you’re playing an opponent that knows what it’s doing, they’re NOT gonna turtle on defense. They’re gonna unleash the hounds on your poor quarterback and then turn him into a grease stain on the turf, the way the Cowboys did to Daniel Jones on Sunday Night. How many times have you heard a color guy implore the team with the lead to keep their foot on the gas? A million? They’re never wrong to say it. If you sit on any lead, parity will come for it. But I’m not gonna sit here and start making “14-0 is the most dangerous lead in football!” jokes because of that.


I have two goals in life that I haven't achieved yet: Compete on Jeopardy!, and catch a foul ball and casually toss it to a kid at a baseball game. The tossing it to a kid thing is a big part of it, and I was wondering: Is it ever acceptable for an adult to keep a foul ball they catch? Or should it be mandatory that they pass it off to a kid? Does it matter if it's a home run vs. foul ball? Thanks.

It’s OK to keep the ball, any ball, so long as the cameras don’t catch you doing it. If the cameras spot you refusing to give the ball to Zack Hample Jr., your life is over.

If it were me, I’d give the ball to a kid so long as the kid was nearby and made a good effort to catch the ball his or herself. But if I catch it clean and some little punk from 20 rows back comes over and asks me to give it up? No. Fuck that kid. I’ll give that little shit a backhand, is what I’ll give him.

Email of the week!


As a young kid with anxiety (that, to this day, is still somewhat crippling), nothing churned my stomach harder than having to use the bathrooms in our small-town Illinois school. In third grade, the bathroom was at the back of the class, behind a plywood door that provided next-to-no protection from the smell or sound. That made it especially hard on me on a beautiful fall day when I’d had four McDonald's hash browns for lunch, and nothing else.

As my bubble gut percolated during the last period of the day, I asked the teacher to use the bathroom. To my dismay, the hottest girl in class was assigned to a seat DIRECTLY next to the bathroom. I couldn't possibly shit back there and have any chance with her, so I went in the bathroom and tried doing my business quietly but found it impossible. So I didn't poop. I just held it, like some kind of moron with a hot liquid death wish.

In that same small town and countryside, we only had a few buses to take kids home. Some kids had to ride as long as 75 minutes to get home. By the time my stop came, 35 minutes into the ride, I was ready to burst: a deep breathing, eyes-closed, tour-de-force of intestinal pain. Once I was out of sight of the bus, I began sprinting across a literal cornfield for home. But too much time had passed, and I fired the guns of Navarone directly in my pants, crying in relief at the sweet freedom that my internal organs were experiencing. I twirled in a shit tornado like I was in the goddamn Sound of Music. 

When I finally made it home across the fields, like a war-torn Yankee coming back after Gettysburg, I went to the backyard, peeled my underwear off like a strip of dried paint, and rinsed myself head-to-toe with our garden hose. At that very moment, my mom was coming home from work, and I was still holding a biohazard. Somehow, I didn't think to also rinse my underwear. Instead I put them, and the rest of my clothes, in my favorite Ninja Turtles canvas bag and threw the bag as far as I could into the corner of our attic, where it remained for nearly 20 years until my parents put in new insulation.

I later found the bag, faded but washed, tucked under my childhood bed on the first evening my own son was big enough to sleep in it. No idea what happened to the underwear. 

Actually I have them now. They fit like a dream.

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