How Well Do You Know Your Bloggers?

I have found yet another reason to appreciate the IndyCar blogging community. This past weekend, a friend of mine alerted me to a blog site that is written by a former acquaintance. I won’t name any names nor will I name the site or even the subject matter it deals with. It doesn’t matter, but it isn’t even remotely close to racing. What made my friend bring it to my attention is what makes me appreciate the IndyCar bloggers. You see, this person chose to spin an entire web of lies and deceit about themselves. I can’t decide which word is more appropriate – comical or pathetic.

I have known the author of the blog in question for more years than I care to remember. I pretty much grew up with this person and  know practically everything about him/her. As happens a lot when you reach my age, time makes old friends simply drift apart and lose track with each other. Such was the case with this acquaintance.

But when this site was brought to my attention over the weekend, it struck me that had I not known better – I would swear this was not even the same person. The lies and fiction that were strewn about would rival Grimm’s Fairy Tales. The life that this person self-described was something out of James Bond. No one lives the glamorous life that this person described; yet he/she wrote it out as if it all really happened. I knew better.

It made me think how easy it is for anyone to create an entirely different persona behind a keyboard these days. Start up a blog and you can become anybody that you want to be. Fortunately, the IndyCar bloggers I follow on a regular basis have written about such normal, everyday things about their lives – I don’t think anyone would bother to make up anything so mundane.

The Pressdog makes it clear that he is a professional writer and you can tell by his writing style that he really is. He also writes about his teenage daughters, his love of beer and his new snow blower. It sounds like a nice life, but nothing that anyone would question whether or not he is making it up.

My Name Is IRL is a computer programmer in his day job. That’s a good solid profession, but it doesn’t make me question for a minute what he REALLY does. JP of JP’s IndyCar blog is a marketing executive. Again, it’s a great job that probably provides for him quite nicely, but I never get the idea he’s the least bit pretentious. The SpeedGeek became a new father a few weeks back. While there is a part of me that is slightly envious, the much bigger part of me remembers those days all too well. There is no way I would consider trading places with Andy any of these nights at 3:00 am.

Will at "Is It May Yet?" probably has the most glamorous “real life” of all of us. He holds a Ph. D. and Masters in Atmospheric Science. Roy Hobbson at the Silent Pagoda? Well, I’m not really sure what he does, but I pity his co-workers.

And yours truly? I certainly lead a glamorous life. I am the sales director for a local staffing and recruiting company. I’ve done that for thirteen years. Prior to that, I was in pharmaceutical sales for eight years. I’ve been divorced for fourteen years, raised two kids by myself – from age 6 & 7 to adulthood; and have been dating the same (wonderful) woman for the past nine years, yet never re-married. Who would make any of that up? And as opposed to the blog in question that I read this weekend, I’ve always tried to make it clear that I am not a journalist nor do I pretend to be one.

The point is, while it would be easy for any of us to create a false persona for the mere sake of impressing people that we don’t know – what would be the point? Instead, by all appearances – the IndyCar bloggers seem to be a very genuine, unpretentious, civilized and normal group.

None of us seem to care about creating some false image. Instead, we all share one thing that cannot be fabricated – a passion for open-wheel racing. We don’t all share the same viewpoints on different subjects. Thank God, we don’t. Otherwise, it would be pretty boring to read everyone spewing the same opinions from one blog to the next. But one thing that we do share is that we all want to see this sport grow and succeed.

So everyone that reads the many excellent IndyCar blogs out there should take comfort in the fact that you are reading some real thoughts from real fans who are real people. We don’t care as much about who has done what as we do about the level of passion for open-wheel racing. But if you venture outside of the IndyCar circle and start reading other blogs about other subjects, take it all with a grain of salt. You don’t really know who or what you are dealing with.

George Phillips

16 Responses to “How Well Do You Know Your Bloggers?”

  1. Whoa there, George. Between my top-level security clearence in the CIA, my multiple Pulitzers, and the white tiger I keep chained up near the koi pond in my back lawn — I’m pretty sure you know what I do.

    I kick ass. THAT’S what I do. And it’s good work if you can get it.

    [holsters gun … puts mink coat back on]

    Great article.

  2. I’d be tempted to think that Roy is really Security Chief Charles, but I’ve seen them both in proximity to each other. He could be AJ’s undocumented off spring, though. I am as you portray, sadly, and I’ll throw in that I’m very disappointing in person.

  3. Well, shoot. I was going to finish up my bio on how I cured cancer, foil terrorist plots using a decoder ring from my box of Lucky Charms, and engineered the creation of the tenderloin sandwich via my DeLorean time machine. Now I have to be HONEST. Sigh.

    You take the fun out of everything, George.

    Seriously, great article. And your estimation of your fellow bloggers is spot-on. It’s a good group of people who should be welcome in any media center in the sport.

    You left out Meesh, though – if I were you, I’d watch your back for flying Tim Hortons coffee cups.

  4. Brian McKay Says:

    Thanks for writing (blogging). truly a pleasure to have something other than Formula One rumors to read of in the off-season.

  5. Yeah, a lot of people on the internet make stuff up, but the Indycar bloggers seem pretty honest. I really like the Indycar community, compared to NASCARs. Even with the split, 9/10 Indycar bloggers are fun to read and not nearly as aggressive/rude as many of the NASCAR bloggers/writers. Which might be one reason my blog’s sidepod is mainly open wheel bloggers.

  6. so you know how you all think george is so calm and serious and knowledgeable and disciplined and knows big words and stuff? and roy hobbson is a gun-totin’, Wild Turkey-swiggin’, mobile-home trashin’ borderline psycho? well not according to my new theory…

    George P. and R. Hobbson are THE SAME GUY! Think about it–the infamous “bet,” where Hobbson supposedly took over Oilpressure? And how Hobbson is always the first one to post a comment? And how they always sorta compliment the other? It’s exactly like that old movie–Dr. Jekell and Mr. Heckell–when George gets tired of being nice he disappears into his basement, gets liquored up and chain-smokes Kools while computer-stalking Lindy Thaxton and just before he passes out he writes “the Pagoda.”

    I mean–have you ever seen them both in the same place?

  7. Sorry for all the pretentious skullduggery, George, but I’m actually Paul Hospenthal.

  8. I also have a blog that expresses various passions regarding “open-wheel racing”, and other things that kids 18-21 are interested in. “Fast, Fun, Easy and More” is what kids want, and they can get it when they want on the streets of America and on the SPEED channel. IMHO

    Soon it will be 5 years that my 18 year old daughter was killed in Orlando, marker 27, Beach-line, right near where they just had the Karting Expo in Orange County, Fl. You can be sure that I will be watching the St. Petersburgh Grand Prix 2010 and hoping to hear the PSA’s for the new Izod crowd. I luv the new sports apparel and RHR and GR, BTW, because my daughter would have also! RHR is the new face of American Sports and I love the original commercial. it was almost a tribute to my daughter, who was an athlete in Soccer and Diving. “Everything’s gonna be alright…….”

    Living on the beachside of Disney and on the Space-coast (soon to be the “Race -coast” when the Shuttle is shut down completely,) I have become an advid follower of Indy racing.

    Thank you George for sharing your thoughts and deep passion for this American pass-time.

  9. You’ll have to trust me when I tell you that my current life doing a bad Bob Cratchett imitation is really deep cover because I’m a mafia hitman. You know that line about those holes being dug in the desert from the movie CASINO? Me.

    I chose #3 on the poll. On the one hand, since I don’t know any of you people personally and probably never will, it doesn’t really matter whether you use the internet to indulge your inner Walter Mitty. But even though a lot of blogging is commentary and analysis, not news, finding out someone’s lying destroys his credibility across the board; if you’re lying about This, how do I know you aren’t lying about That? At least when I go to a bookstore, the words A NOVEL are usually on the covers of fiction books.

    Oops. Gotta go. The Veyron is back from the shop and I have a hot date. You don’t keep Giada De Laurentiis waiting.

  10. Hey, buddy, you ought to be envious. That little girl sleeps pretty much non-stop from 11:00 until 5:00. You couldn’t ask for any better at 3 weeks old. Oh, and Mrs. Speedgeek is on midnight duty in the case that the little one wakes up, due to the fact that she’s on maternity leave right now and I’m back at work. And by “work”, I also mean the CIA, where I work three cubicles down from Hobbson. You should know that he brings in the nastiest stuff imaginable for lunch. Usually it’s Khal-Khalash and crab juice.

  11. fantastic post, sir. although i don’t religiously follow indycar bloggers (and pat w pointed me to this post), i can say that you’d find the same thing in f1 blogging circles.

    if nothing else, the community is so small, you’d get busted pretty quickly.

    one major pet peeve i have with the occasionally blogger that you haven’t touched upon, but that seems to be happening more and more, are those who seem to think of themselves as some kind of massive media organisation and drop phrases like “we’re working on this”, or “when we reported that”.

    you know very well that it’s just another single guy or girl, working alone, spending far too much time in front of the screen and not getting the right amount of exercise or eating properly. there is no army or editors pounding the streets sniffing out leads.

    anyhow, apologies for the minor rant. trust is everything and i love the indycar scene a little more because of this post. cheers.

  12. I love this post. There are a lot of people online pretending to be something they aren’t. Sometimes that’s a good thing as you can be who you aspire to be whilst remaining true to yourself. I like to think this is the model most racing bloggers use. At least the good ones.
    Often, unfortunately, there are those who are downright lying. I’ve not seen a case as bad as your example (unless you count the GMM ‘news’ service – avoid).

  13. I just realised I didn’t make sense in my comment.
    I mean to say, in ‘real life’ I’m quite quiet and sometimes don’t get my point across, whereas I can (usually!) do that with a blog. So in that respect I’m pretending to be more than I am. But that’s completely different to what you described in the original post.

  14. Traffic from the Sidepodcasters! You thought the “Hobbson Bump” was big, George? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

  15. Traffic from the Sidepodcasters! You thought the “Hobbson Bump” was big, George? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

    oh no, the pressure!

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