Monday, February 04, 2013

COMMENTARY: Opting Out Of The TMZ Generation

All the news that's fit to print...
In recent weeks, there has been a tidal wave of talk about “who’s dating who” in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. There has also been considerable gossip and conjecture about a top Indy Car Series driver and his movie-star wife deciding to end their marriage.

Honestly, I could not care less. And neither should you. 

I understand that I’m swimming against the tide on this one. Collectively, we have turned voyeurism into a cottage industry, trampling the line that used to separate people’s private lives from their public personas. Television programs like Entertainment Tonight and The Insider, publications like the National Enquirer and websites like work 24 hours a day to satisfy our unquenchable desire for business that is none of our business. Paparazzi hound celebrities night and day, hoping to be on the scene when some Hollywood starlet’s bikini malfunctions on a private yacht off the coast of Bimini, or Lindsay Lohan exits her latest limo, sans undergarment.  
Stop the presses, Kim Kardashian is PREGNANT again! Tune in for FIRST PHOTOS of her burgeoning baby bump! And while you’re here, check out Randy Travis’ DUI mug shot and our photo montage of “Reality TV Stars’ Plastic Surgery Nightmares!”
It’s sad. It’s unnecessary. And it’s getting worse. 
Who needs a life? We have Lilo!
To hear some people tell it, this is the first garage-area romance in the history of NASCAR. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the mid-1990s Elton Sawyer and Patty Moise competed weekly on what is now the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as husband and wife. Nobody questioned their competitiveness, no one worried about them “taking it easy on each other” on the race track, and no one fretted about them exchanging team secrets across the pillow. 
"I used to race against my dad, and it's no different than racing against my husband," said Moise at the time. "When I'm on the track, I concentrate so hard that I don't even think about it."
Those were true words then. They are equally true today.
Even under the best of circumstances, divorce is an unhappy process. Marriage is supposed to be for life, and when relationships fail, the emotions, pain and embarrassment are difficult to deal with. Imagine how much harder it is when you’re on the cover of the Weekly World News, or interrogated on the topic at your weekly Friday afternoon press conference.
Most of us will never have to deal with reporters sifting through our trash in search of titillating information. We’ll never have to endure photographers hiding in the shrubbery, hoping to snap a clandestine, 3 a.m. photo. We’ll never know what it’s like to nurture a new relationship while under a microscope, or weather storms of unjust, judgmental criticism, leveled by people we’ve never met.
There will always be people who exist vicariously, substituting the Real Housewives, Jerry Springer or Honey Boo Boo for real life.
Most assuredly, however, I will not be one of them.






  1. I too was disgusted by reporters saying it was the first romance of competitors. If you pride yourself on being a multi-year reporter on the scene, then you should know the history of the sport and competitors within it. Just because Danica has a huge spotlight on her, doesnt make her anymore or less of a racer than Moise is. Sawyer and Moise were married though, no shock value in that.

    But that was the 90s, when no one cared about the backwoods sport known as NASCAR, and there wasnt careers and $$$ to made from it by being a tabloid journalist.

  2. Thanks for that Dave. I don't think it's any of my business nor am I particularly interested. I sure don't see any difference between spouses, fathers, sons or brothers racing each other. Many are friends or have ill feelings towards others. So what's the difference here?

  3. David Levesque11:30 AM

    Well said Dave. I remember Elton and Patty, and she was no slouch for a little while.

  4. O come on Dave! You are missing out. A show called "The Mad Canadian" would be a sure-fire ratings hit.;)

    Seriously, I agree. MOST of the driver's private lives are none of our business. I believe things that they bring public are open to criticism, but in no way obligates us to be consumed by it.

  5. Thanks Dave. Well said as always.

  6. Anonymous11:40 AM



    I have been working in "the main stream media" for almost 30 years. I used to be proud of "my profession". No more. Why can't we get back to true journalism, and leave the crap to the gossip shows? Probably because the "12 year olds" that are called news directors, wouldn't know news if it bit them in the butt.

    Becuase of my job, I am going to have to sign this anonymous.

    Keep up the good work.

    Anonymous in Vermont.

  7. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Well said Dave

  8. Anonymous1:08 PM

    The feeling that one has a personal connection somehow to "your" driver is an important part to the Nascar experience and keeping a loyal fanbase. So, you might cut people (fans) some slack, I would imagine Danica and Ricky were smart enough to know what would happen when it became fodder for the news media, I am pretty sure they will do just fine.

  9. AndyB2:48 PM

    What I laugh at is the hypocrisy of this whole thing. Your comparison between Danica & Ricky and Patty & Elton is off the mark on a couple of accounts I think:

    1) Moise & Sawyer didn't compete head to head all that much because only one of them had a fulltime ride.

    2) The stakes weren't nearly as high 20 years ago on the old Busch series as they are today in the Cup series. Certainly the technical information is much more guarded between manufactures in today's Cup environment.

    The hypocrisy comes from the fact that Ms. Patrick has flaunted her sexuality for years now as a marketing tool. It’s ok for her to do a spread eagle of the cover of a men’s magazine, but if journalists make a story out of her personal life that’s over the line?

    Frankly the personal lives of most drivers stay private because they aren’t out in front of a camera trying to market their “brand”. If people are going to market themselves in such a manner, then they pretty much have given up some of their privacy - by their own choices and decisions.

    1. For the record, Patty ran 22 races in 1995, 18 in 1996 and 19 in 1998. That seems like "all that much" to me.

  10. g55rumpy4:36 PM

    Dave, I love your editorials. The news is done well, but your editorials are what make your column great. A voice of reason in the wilderness of media noise

  11. "Honestly, I could not care less. And neither should you."

    Worry no more!!!!!