Jack Baruth planned a three-part series for The Truth About Cars about “Maximum Street Speed.” I quote from Part the First:
Let us begin with this: it is possible to go much faster on North American public roads than the law allows. Much faster. If you are interested in exploring the upper limits of this possibility, read on. If you find this idea morally, legally, ethically or spiritually repugnant; please return to your regularly scheduled bailout coverage. If you’re a member of law enforcement, please consider this a work of fiction.
The outcry from TTAC readers was loud enough that before Part Three appeared, editor Robert Farago decided it was necessary to justify the series:
We did not get where we are today by excluding thinkers with controversial, often polarizing opinions. The brand demands that we encourage strong voices, and err on the side of outrage. And so we shall.
Actually, I had exactly one problem with Baruth’s series: the fact that the first part was billed as an “editorial,” which technically it wasn’t. It was indeed an opinion, occasionally buttressed by facts here and there — but not the opinion of TTAC or of Farago. It was listed as such, I suspect, because it wasn’t news or a car review or a product review, the other categories on TTAC‘s menu bar. This would suggest that a category called “Op-Ed” or something functionally equivalent be introduced; since TTAC runs on WordPress, this would be a relatively trivial implementation.
As for How To Drive Ridiculously Fast, well, I don’t do that. Never. Well, hardly ever. Okay, there was that incident, which everyone somehow survived. And I don’t buy the notion that Baruth (or Farago) is endorsing this sort of thing or, worse, inciting the readership: anybody dumb enough to pull those stunts after reading those pages is dumb enough to pull those stunts without reading those pages. Still, as I said in a piece about the even-faster Alex Roy:
It is de rigueur at moments like this to remind you that this sort of thing is highly illegal, possibly even dangerous, and you should not try this yourself, especially if you’re not as capable a driver as Alex Roy, which very likely you’re not.
Then again, neither is P. J. O’Rourke.