Tuesday, September 29, 2015

my tire is unhappy

Yes it is, and that would make it a sad tire.  And despite the near-homonym status (of tire sadness stated differently, as a "sad tire") there is no connection of any kind between a sad tire, and satire.

Unless you are Dave Tolnai.

See, Dave Tolnai fancies himself a humorist.  But what is he really?  He's a tire re-capper, a re-treader, and worse than that, he's a re-treader who sells you the re-capped tire as if it were new and never used before and never before had lost its integrity.

Mostly, Dave Tolnai is a cheap retread of "The Old Coot", a column written about 20 years ago by Bill Boles for Dirt Rag Magazine.  Boles had an at-the-time unique schtick:  every 3d or 4th word was spelled phonetically, and the voice used for the phonetic spelling was that of an imagined hillbilly.  Sorta like this:

Ah went to the trayul the other day enn what did I fine?  A skunk, but I thowt it was jes' a black cat onna which someone had pain-ed some white stripe doo-dads.

If you barely got past 4th grade English and stopped your reading of ...cough cough... "literature" at The Little Engine that Could, you probably found Boles to be HILARIOUS and HUGELY INVENTIVE.** 

That many found Boles' writing useful is something of a shame for what many call "the MTB community."  And honestly, many did find it useful -- ask Maurice Tierney how many years that column ran at Dirt Rag.  It was a long damned time.  And over that time, Boles' writing got even less and less "coot"-like, as if it got harder and harder to phonetically spell every 3d or 4th word in some "clever" fashion.

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Dave Tolnai's spin on The Old Coot is to be "the Cranky Canadian."  But since Canadians don't know how to be acerbic, caustic, witty, sharp, clever, insightful, creative or funny, Tolnai comes across lamer than Bill Boles.  In other words, not even remotely cranky.  It's like an air-ball when shooting a free throw.  Except without the crowd uttering a collective AWWWWWWW sigh of let-down.

Even when Tolnai is trying to be "funny", he is typically Canadian -- relentlessly optimistic, apologetic toward the kinds of extravagant consumerist fetishes that are nearly over-ripe in their readiness for mockery, and afraid to step on anyone's toes -- rhetorically speaking.

Poor Canada.  Word-fear,*** political correctness, Purple Dinosaur Barney are the touchstones of Canadian "humor."  (I guess it should be spelled as "humour" if I want Canadians to know what I'm talking about.)  Lukewarm almost-irony is considered "satire" in Canada.  Real satire is treated as a hate crime and true satirists are denied access at the US/Canada border, for fear that some random Canadian's poorly developed sense of individualism might be tangentially affected in some minor way by learning about the presence of a satirist within national boundaries.

Instead of Tolnai being able to properly and stridently lampoon the lameness of bike reviews and the idiots who write them, we get an apology for how gosh-darned GREAT every piece of gear in MTB-land is.  Nothing gets skewered by Tolnai.  And that's just fine by his readers.  They wouldn't know how to treat real satire anyway.  They'd rather have a sad tire than a satire.

What should you expect?  They gave us the god-damned Barenaked Ladies, for satan's sake.  Any nation that creates such politically correct "satirical" music can't be trusted for witty insight.

Canada -- always lowering the bar, always dumbing it down.

Because that's more "inclusive."


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** Much like people who find Will Ferrell's humor in Elf to be high comedy.

*** "Word-fear" meaning, more afraid of words than of deeds; treating words as if they actually have the ability to physically harm the person who reads or hears them.

1 comment:

Ooten A. Boot said...

Maybe it's because you're not Canadian, eh, but you missed one thing Canadians are wiling to be sharp, critical and mildly condescending about. We're a very trend-conscious people. For whatever consumer item you and your social group may be most interested in, you will get disapproving looks and comments from fellow enthusiasts when your consumer item is not the newest model. Bicycles give us many opportunities to practice this disapproval. Dave Tolnai's subtle humor may be too Canadian for you. I see him sticking by 9 speed drivetrains when most of Canada is crying about where our 11 speeds are for MTB and where our 12 speeds are for road. He might even approve of MTB cranksets with two rings, and if you've ever read the forums at NSMB.com you know what a risk that is to take.