A Trite Exercise in Pettiness

I have never considered myself to be a controversial person. I don’t usually go through life trying to ruffle feathers every step of the way. However, I’ve never denied the fact that I can be very petty, vindictive and still somewhat immature. You would think someone in their mid-sixties would have grown out of such childish traits, but unfortunately I have not fully.

I do think that I am accountable. When I’ve said, written or done something wrong, I believe I’m pretty good at owning up to it. That may not have been the case fifty years ago or so, but it is today and has been for a while. But pettiness is one bad trait I have not been able to shake. Today will not be an exception. If you are looking for examples in my growth process, come back another day.

My pettiness was on full view for the Facebook world to see about a week and a half ago. You would think after that much time, I would have gotten things out of my system, but I still feel compelled to rant some more about it today.

Over the years, you’ve read my comments about some of the IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 Facebook groups I belong to. I’ve learned some things in some of the groups, and enjoyed some very rare photographs posted in all of the groups. But there is also a level of ineptitude that fans and group members are forced to put up with in others.

There is one particular group that is famous for a couple of things. First of all, the administrator who runs the site is known for putting up more error-filled posts than any members. The site is also known for kicking people out of the group and forever blocking them, for what seems like ridiculous infractions.

For example, last May, said administrator posted a photo with his own caption that was so wrong – it would’ve sent Donald Davidson into convulsions. I forget now what it was, but I remember it was far from factual. My good friend Paul Dalbey corrected him in the comments and even provided proof of the correct facts. What was his reward for setting the record straight? He was kicked out of the group and has been blocked ever since.

The group and administrator will go unnamed. I don’t like calling out fans for following their passion, no matter how misguided they might be. Plus, I’m not sure how big he is and I don’t care for the idea of getting beat up in May (I’m kidding…I think). I have even covered up his picture and the name of the group in the screen shots below. But if you are one of the 16,000 members in the group, you probably know exactly who I’m talking about.

So what am I being so petty about? Monday night Feb 6, I was lazily scrolling on Facebook when I came across this post, which is written in such an odd way that I’m not quite sure what he was even saying.

I spotted a couple of blatant errors, so I took a screenshot and sent it to Paul, since I knew he couldn’t see it – being expelled from the group since May. I asked him if he wanted me to tell him everything that was wrong with his post.


I scrolled on, but I kept thinking about the post. I couldn’t leave it alone and finally went back to it. I was the first and only to comment, when I left this comment – tactfully pointing out the errors and sent the screenshot to Paul. I even joked “I guess I’ll be kicked out now”. Within fifteen minutes, I was.


First, I went back to see if anyone else had commented on it. I went to the comment section to find my comment had been deleted and that all comments had been turned off. There went another screenshot to Paul.


Less than five minutes later, I could no longer access the group at all. I had joined the ranks of Paul – being expelled from an Indianapolis 500 Facebook group.

I was boiling mad and went to Facebook to post a rant along with the screenshots. The next morning, a member who could still see the post told me the administrator took the facts I sent him and went ahead and made the proper corrections to the post – as if he knew the facts all along, yet I was not reinstated.

Who does this? What kind of power-trip do you have to be on to throw people out for tactfully disagreeing with you. How fragile is your ego that you have to silence and eliminate someone simply for presenting facts that dispute what you erroneously posted? I’ve always said, there is no worse combination than arrogance and ignorance.

I’ve had this site for almost fourteen years, and people disagree with me almost every day. How many readers would I have, if I deleted the comments from those with a different opinion or brought proof that what I said is wrong? Not many. Sometimes if I feel strong enough about a stance, I might go back and confront a comment or to clarify something, but I have never once ever deleted a comment from anyone. I don’t hold comments for moderation either. They go up as soon as you put them there (unless my overactive spam filter grabs them, and I have to go back and retrieve them). How boring would it be if I only left the comments that agreed with me and deleted those that saw things different from me?

For the record, in the post I was offering correct facts for – the driver of the car pictured is André Ribeiro, when he won later in the 1995 season at New Hampshire. It was not Scott Goodyear at Indianapolis. I provided a correct photo of the Goodyear car, which looked noticeably different than the teammate car of Ribeiro.

If you’ve read this far, you are probably regretting it. Many of you are probably thinking that you’ve finally found something that we can agree on – I can be very petty.

George Phillips

13 Responses to “A Trite Exercise in Pettiness”

  1. Starting and maintaining a dedicated website for blogging takes time and effort. When I was active with my music blogsite, I reviewed, revised, and edited every post before I put it out there for the world. My feeling was, if I’m going to take the time to create a blog, I want to make sure my info is right. Facebook sites on the other hand are more or less effortless to launch and maintain. I thnk there’s much more half-assery on the part of those who run them. I know there are far fewer IndyCar blogs out there these days, so I get the temptation to join IndyCar Facebook sites. That said, your example is “Exhibit A” for why I just stick to blogs.

  2. Bruce Waine Says:

    The mindset & self-endowed power that is associated with it is not uncommon.

    Look no further than politics at the national level, audience participation in the recent State of the Union speech, and not gloss over the fabrications that empowered one to be elected recently a New York Representative………………

    There is Constitutional Freedom of Speech – be it right , wrong, dilusional, etc.

    But being shamed for mis-representing the truth and then not being accountable for not telling the truth presents an excellent portrail of said dilusional (self-endowed all powerful) individual.

    Pity their daily life coping challenges with such dilusional mindsets.

  3. So if you’re the administrator of a Facebook page, what gives someone the authority to fact check others without allowing to be fact checked themselves?

  4. billytheskink Says:

    Given the inconsistency of the larger wings seen on the car in the original photo with the wings that were run at Indianapolis in ’95… are we sure that the group administrator wasn’t a consultant on Driven? Because that inconsistency happens A LOT in that movie.

    Yours is an understandable reaction, George. No matter how many times I see the XKCD “someone is wrong on the internet” comic posted… I’m still regularly tempted to be “that guy”, and I’m guilty of being him more often than I would like to admit. Heck, I’ve been guilty of it in this very comments section many times and I apologize for rubbing anyone the wrong way when I slip into know-it-all mode. I can tell you I mean well, and I would like to think I am as open to correction as I am to giving it, but I’m sure that doesn’t make me any less irritating from time to time.

    Yours was quite a gentle correction, George, I thought. It’s as absurd to ban someone from a Facebook group over that as it is to tie one’s ego up into appearing unflappably correct in all matters when running a Facebook group.

  5. Whenever I get taken aback by something social media related, I often end up saying (to myself), “I’m surprised that you’re surprised.”.

    Maybe I’ve just been in too many groups where your situation is closer to the norm than the exception, which is why I’ve basically abandoned FB and twitter.

  6. I was in a group like this probably a decade ago, it was a lady who ran it, and she had these weird rules like you had to comment once a month but not more than 3 times or something. John Della Penna was in the group, and someone posted something about his Richie Hearn car in 1996 with an incorrect fact, he corrects it, and she banned him and said he didn’t have the right to correct someone. I then said, “HE OWNED THE TEAM!” and got booted too. Weird people and groups out there.

    When stuff goes sideways on Reddit or other place, I take a deep breath and realize it’s probably a 12-year-old who wasn’t around for any of this, running things haha!

  7. George,
    You did absolutely nothing wrong. I for one only block people when they begin to get abusive… not because they have a different opinion on something. Not being a savant like Donald Davidson when it comes to everything Indy 500 related, I would have never noticed the problem with the first comment… then I looked at the picture and realized that it’s not even IMS… the fencing is all wrong, as are the stands, and the lights, and the Start/Finish line on the track… and as you pointed out the car is not even a superspeedway car! So hopefully, those sheeple that are still allowed to belong to this Facebook Group noticed the photo didn’t match the comments by a long shot. But I do agree, there is way too much inaccurate information out there for you or anyone else not to politely point it out. If the owner of the FB Group can’t handle it… it’s their loss. Maybe they just want to remain uneducated!

  8. Banned on Facebook is an honorific.

  9. Never had a fb account and never will.

  10. F*c*book groups don’t move the needle anymore. So you won’t miss much on there now.

    Trigger warning: weird but true story ahead:
    In my years spent on the internet since the late 90s, the worst troll I witness was a guy whom for the purpose of this post, we shall call by the randomly picked name Daniel.
    He was repeatedly kicked out of a forum I was a not very active member of, for various infractions including harassing the moderators.
    At one point in the 2010s, Daniel decided to buy out the ailing company that hosted the forum, only to throw out the forum owner and moderators and take it over, making it part of his own enterprise whose business model was somewhat related to the topic of the forum. In turn, most members left and went elsewhere.
    You couldn’t make up a story as weird as this one, and people who go to such great lengths to “get even on the internet” are crazy to begin with. Other reports gathered by members of that former forum seriously point towards that he really is. It’s sad.

    Your F*c*book group moderator seems tame in comparison. But given Daniel’s track record, that is not hard.

  11. As usual there’s nothing I can add to the conversation.
    I’ll say again that I’ve wished I could upvote or thumbs up many, many comments in this blog over the years.
    We love you, George. That FarceBook group’s head is a petty-minded, embarrassed person.

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