MONTE DUTTON – WHERE DOES THE VIRUS TAKE US NEXT?
The novelty of iRacing ran out for me. I didn’t even watch the one in would-be Richmond, Va. The unexpected melancholy probably had more than a little to do with Kyle Larson, who threw his career away racing in a silly, make-believe race, leaving me and quite likely him with a sudden need for a swig of Pepto Abysmal.
I know iRacing must be hard, but I also know it requires no heroism, no responsibility, no knowing the pain of actually hitting a wall or having to fix what the driver tore up, or pay for it.
Of course they drive like lunatics. Talking like one was unexpected.
It appears as though Larson’s career is not going to rise again, even though it happened on Easter Sunday night. He said a Word That Must Not Be Said. The old saying was wrong. Sticks and stones didn’t break Larson’s bones. A word did. A bad, bad word.
I’m not just writing about iRacing, but the world in which we are presently dwelling.
I keep thinking of the last words of Bridge on the River Kwai, when Major Clipton watches the mayhem and says, “Madness! Madness!”
In that movie, Colonel Nicholson had nothing on Larson. The words of my late father show up in my head: “Damndest thing ever I seen.” A few days ago, I felt sympathy for Larson. It has evolved. I laugh right up to the point where I start to weep. It gets so funny, it’s suddenly serious.
Before I started pondering the incredible fall from grace of Larson, I thought about how awful racing and other sports are going to be without people in the stands, if it comes to that. I’ve been feeling sorry for the late-night talk-show hosts who sit in their houses and tell jokes without having an audience to play off.
What’s going to happen to Michael Waltrip or Rutledge Wood without … people?
Here’s my proposal. If NASCAR is going to come back without fans on the premises, the telecast has to have simulated crowd noise. When Waltrip or Wood are talking, old laugh tracks from I Love Lucy will suffice.
The winning driver does his burnout, pumps his fist, and the screen switches to black-and-white footage of the 1956 Republican National Convention. So what if the crowd is chanting “I like Ike!”? You want authenticity, or you want excitement? I thought so.
Lots of these telecasts were similar to a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman Presentation, anyway.