Barbed Wire Tattoos, Van Dyke Beards… and Twennies

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In the ’80s, it was tinny electronic recordings advising you that “the door is ajar.”

In the ’90s, it was auto-strangulating seatbelts that assaulted you as soon as you closed the door.

Today, it’s the cement-headed obsession with oversized “rims” (ree-uhms, if pronounced correctly in High Ebonics).

The sight of something along the lines of a clapped-out ’78 Caprice Classic worth $1,200 sporting $3,000 worth of tackier-than-New-Jersey-Hausefrau Cameltoe twennies is a spectacle unique to our era. Like curb feelers and jacked-up rear ends (redneck high culture) a generation ago. Only those things eventually went away. And – they were mocked as markers of low culture (and a low IQ) at the time.

The Big Shiny Wheel thing shows no signs of fading. And it has permeated all strata of the culture.

The look is now routinely emulated by the designers of brand-new $60,000 SUVs (see, for example, the new Range Rover Evoque – it comes standard with nineteens and twennies are optional, right from the factory). The surest confirmation that the ghetto has moved to the ‘burbs.

Where did it all begin?

And will it ever end?

Larger (but not huge for their own sake) wheel/tire packages do have a functional purpose – up to a point. In the past, they were fitted pretty much exclusively to performance cars, for the purpose of enhancing their performance. A wider tire has a larger contact patch – and a shorter-sidewall tire flexes less – both of which improve things like steering response and cornering grip at high speed. But there are downsides, starting with a rougher ride and including higher rolling resistance from the increase in unsprung mass, more rapid tire wear and (almost always) much higher replacement cost.

In the context of a performance car, these liabilities are acceptable because the car handles, accelerates and brakes better. In other words, the larger wheels and tires make sense – they have a functional purpose – and the downsides are accepted in return for the enhanced functionality.

But twennnies on a 165,000 mile ’78 Caprice?

Or a new Camry?

At first, it was mere copycatting. Standard cars were made to appear sportier-looking by outfitting them with larger/wider/taller wheels. But it very quickly got completely out of hand – to the extent that today, even minivans routinely wear 18 inch wheels – which is utterly retarded given the purpose (and character) of minivans. Same goes for “crossover” SUVs and all the rest. From a functional point of view, shoeing ordinary A to B passenger vehicles with huge wheels/tires is as silly in its own way as fitting a performance car with ever smaller wheels and tires.    

The aesthetic crime hardly needs to be discussed.

It’s as demented – and pointless – as people walking around wearing gigantic bulging codpieces. Which in a way is exactly what the current cultural obsession with ree-uhms  amounts to. Look at me – mine’s bigger. One can readily imagine a pair of silverback gorillas posturing – threat displays designed to attract a mate. Or crows pecking at a piece of tinfoil.

Every time I see a PT Cruiser (usually also outfitted with glue-on fake chrome portholes) or an Escalade riding along on its twennies a Vesuvius of bile starts to churn in my guts. It’s like seeing the wrinkled up tramp stamp above the ass crack of a 47-year-old wearing hip huggers. It just doesn’t look good – and the whole thing, besides, is about as original as a barbed wire arm tattoo  or a Van Dyke beard at this point. Can’t the culture come up with something else? Maybe, something different?

Is this as original as it gets? Twenty years in? Will we call it a day at twennysixes?   

I keep hoping it’ll all go away – like bell bottom corduroys.

But rap “culture”– which gave mass culture its current obsession with ree-uhms – shows no sign of losing steam, even after 20-plus years of defiling America more thoroughly than a TSA goon fondling your 14-year-old daughter. It has killed off music (you know, the playing of actual instruments by musicians) and made displaying your underwear and butt cheeks in public the very height of fashion – as opposed to evidence of homelessness. Remember Derelicte from Zoolander?

Ree-uhms are the perfect accompaniment to this ensemble of civilization deconstruction.

In the ’80s, people thought that when the SHTF, the aftermath would look like The Road Warrior – guys in football pads driving around in V-8 interceptors searching for gazzuline.

Well, it looks like it’ll be a pimped-out Caddy with a gold-toofed thug sporting his ree-uhms looking for a blunt instead. No, worse than that. It’ll be a pathetic suburban kid trying to imitate the gold-toofed thug in his mom’s brad-new $60,000 SUV, blaring rap music as he rolls along on factory-installed twennies.

Gnomesayin’ ?

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eric

Author of "Automotive Atrocities" and "Road Hogs" (MBI). Currently living amongst the Edentulites in rural SW Virginia. 

  134 comments for “Barbed Wire Tattoos, Van Dyke Beards… and Twennies

  1. Olaf Koenders
    December 16, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Looking at some of the comments in this column about gold-toofed thugs and rap, it appears that it’s awfully close to the “race” argument – but it’s through nobody’s fault except the generation and ethnicity that started it and, continues with the culture today.

    Myself being of Northern European ancestry but a born Australian, it’s not my race but my own interests and intellect that virtually forces me to detest certain things. I’ll call it how I see it.

    Rap to me is utter garbage and filled with hateful slogans and violence. If you can’t sing or play instruments, rap instead. If you like it, that’s fine, but don’t call the “race” card if we don’t see the value. That’s just a cheap and cowardly argument with even less value than rap. Rap’s brought nothing but more drugs, violence, crime and pointless tagging and graffiti to an even younger generation in this country than there was before.

    Not forgetting that “doof-doof” rubbish I hear (well, kinda – mostly rattling body panels) as they roll past my place. Thankfully, in the last few years it’s declined markedly. Either they got deaf or the panels fell off completely.

    Know why they called it “house” music? They were apparently too embarrassed to take it outside..

    Most cars around here now with big chromies just look like oversized Matchbox cars. Dumb.. Expensive dumb.

    I don’t mind the Van Dyke thingie that much at all. What REALLY gets up my nose is that stupid little “flavour-saver” under the bottom lip. It started in 2002 fer fuck sake! Either out of sheer boredom or through a completely brainfucked idea that they look sexier, guys have tortured that teeny patch of pubic hair in an astronomical number of permutations – all ugly and pointless.

    I know that fashions return every 20 years and women are the main drivers of that, such as bug-eyed sunnies, wide-bottom jeans, black tights with long jumpers (yuk!), but PLEASE guys, shave that fecker off, or are you trying to get it lasting a full 20 year cycle?

    Thanks for the forum and topic Eric. I feel better now :)

    (/rant)

    • December 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

      Dear Olaf,

      “They put the word ‘*****’ in a song, and we get up and dance to it,” Cosby said. “They think they’re hip. They can’t read; they can’t write. They’re laughing and giggling, and they’re going nowhere.”
      — Bill Cosby, speaking to the congregation of the Hertiage United Church of Christ in Baltimore

      I don’t see it as a race issue, so much as a cultural (or subcultural) issue.

      Hard-working middle-class African Americans do not share the values of the “gangsta” subculture either.

    • December 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks, Olaf!

      I see this as not a racial thing – but a cultural thing. A low cultural thing. White trash – black trash – the key element being, trash.

      I doubt Neil deGrasse Tyson listens to rap – or says, gnomesayin’….

      • Olaf Koenders
        December 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm

        That’s true Eric, I like DeGrasse-Tyson. A shining example self-pride and achievement.

        During the apartheid era, ethnic minorities had a reason to complain, but not now. If they go to job interviews wearing cultured rap paraphernalia and backward caps and jeans where back pockets are haphazardly behind their knees, it’s no wonder they fail – but they pull the race card anyway. However, the white kids that wear the same shit fail too, but can’t claim race :)

        Same problem in this country. Many of our indigenous peoples have brushed off the “race” bullshit and stood tall on their own merits, disregarding what some of their “elders” define as culture:

        http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/health/images/AboriginalDrinkingSession.jpg

        Thankfully, much of the “rap” and “hip-hop” generation here have vanished. It was a very negative culture.

        • December 17, 2012 at 10:38 am

          cRap “culture” is the “culture” of thugs. Real ones. Murderers, rapists, gangsters. Literally. It arose out of violent street gangs and prisons – the look, the callousness toward human life, the whole thing.

          Some will accuse me of being rayciss – or that I am an old man who can’t see my own hypocrisy because I don’t deride rock music … but here’s the difference. Differences, actually:

          Rock – including heavy metal – was show. The rockers were adolescent and irresponsible sometimes, but they weren’t literal criminals as many cRappers are. Mostly it was standard-fare youthful rebellion stuff: Party, have a good time, hot chicks. Etc.

          It was also at least plausibly music – because it involved the playing of instruments. Perhaps not always with great skill, but nonetheless. There was also singing – again, not always brilliantly (though often it was exactly that) as opposed to literally mumbling high-speed doggerel “poetry” accompanied to a simple-minded (and computer-generated “beat.”

          • Olaf Koenders
            December 17, 2012 at 11:09 am

            I like Dire Straits, ZZTop, Gary Moore and a lot of older stuff from the ’70’s. Love ’80’s shit too. There’s not a lot that I like currently. I think the last year that I actually liked a new song was maybe ’92.

            I really don’t understand how anyone from this country could like the Detroit/Motown ghetto culture these days, if there’s even one left. As a kid I liked much of the music that came outta there.

            I could be wrong, but that’s how I see it over the horizon without a telescope.. ;)

  2. Matt
    June 12, 2012 at 2:56 am

    Sorry AAR Cuda…finger slip lol.

  3. Matt
    June 12, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Ive been a custom painter for about 20 years and hold down a regular job as well.

    I am black and have never been arrested or involved in criminal activity. I’ve never been on welfare or social service. I was taught to work for what you want and if you don’t have the money in your wallet or bank account, you can’t afford it.

    First off on the subject of racism, I’ve smelled hints of it here and there as I read the above comments. However some of the comments I can actually agree with. Sometimes people are racist pricks, and sometimes the truth hurts.

    I am an automobile lover and have painted everything from $200k AAR Cudas to 70’s flaked and patterned sin bins.

    I know what is stylish and what’s not. I know what’s kool and what’s not.
    While Occ and the like were trying to figure out how to squeeze a 360 on the back of a “chopper” I was saving for a knucklehead for a Harley and a crazy bent up frame from Sugarbear. I’m nowhere near done saving for my dream bike, but I’ll get there. Springer front end and maybe some invader wheels. All kool, cause it stems from when shit was real.

    When folk would help each other cause we wern’t so afraid of each other. Divide and conquer, you think cause you’re a non-black you arnt getting taken along for the ride as well? If it helps you sleep at night so be it.
    I remember seeing an old lady stuck on a roadside in the winter and wondering if she had a phone, some old folks don’t…so I stopped to see if I could lend a hand. She just had a flat tire. I’m not an idiot so I figured she may not think I was going to help her…more like rob her. Still I offered. I asked her if she wanted help or to use my phone…speechless…like she was so terrified I left her there. I actually thought I may give her a heart attack, just wanting to lend a hand. She could have stayed in the car while i changed her flat.

    Oh well…I’m used to it.

    And as far as music, rap IS music. Though I agree rap and hip hop in general I can’t stand anymore because it is for the most part…garbage.

    In the early days of hip hop and rap it was meant to tell a story of urban life.

    Now it’s evolved to this nonsense.

    Let’s define music.

    Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch (which governs melody and harmony), rhythm (and its associated concepts tempo, meter, and articulation), dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. The word derives from Greek μουσική (mousike; “art of the Muses”).[1]

    Hmmmmm, seems to fit the criteria. What you are leaving out is the fact we lost hip hop in the early to mid ninetys. Above I read a post from someone who listened to Public Enemy. BDP, KRS-One, Zulu Nation, Arrested Development, Common, all had positive messages. Those positive messages of black upliftment and learning about black history scared alot of people. We were Stopping The Violence and learning about “Self Destruction…so they pulled the plug on it. Why? because things were changing. People started listening to Malcolm, and wearing X hats. Farrakhan and Martin Luther King as well. But we stopped the violence for a brief moment, that was enough to shut it down.

    Replace it with Puffy…P Diddy…Puff Daddy, whatever you want to call him…I like “the shiny suit man”. We were getting too serious…just dance for us, you know like you used to back in the good old days.

    They hijacked it and now use our own music against us, and most are too foolish to see. They (along with non-whites) get taken down with the now trash they refer to as “rap”. It used to require talent, now it requires a crazy hard beat and praise/kudos from a veteran artist and ta da…instant credibility. The crap you hear on the radio isn’t usually authentic rap. It’s some foul mouthed, gold toothed, saggin’, derelict with a crime record usually. This (usually) undereducated, slang slinging loser is not about “keeping it real” he’s about keeping himself rich. I don’t know what the hell these “artists” are saying, and I’m their target market! It seems to be about “keeping it real…dumb”.

    Funny how my local radio station (that I don’t listen to unless I forget my iPhone or the battery dies) will have CONSTANT rotation of garbage, sexually provocative, violence laced music on 90% of the time. They don’t have a stage for Lenny Kravits, or Hendrix, or Eryka Badu. However let Lenny come to town and then they play him every hour on the hour. They’ll invite him in to talk, and when he leaves…stop playing him music!

    The cycle will continue until black folk wake the fuck up. We’ve been asleep for far too long and don’t see the big picture. I won’t go into how much ground we have lost in such a short period of time. See it seems alright to most white folk if blacks kill each other in the ghettos, but not if said violence spills into suburban white areas.

    The violence won’t stop until the system stops. The system won’t stop because hip hop generates millions of dollars a year for the people at the top pulling the strings. We’ve all been hoodwinked and Bamboozled into thinking this activity is appropriate for any culture to deem appropriate, let alone take pride in!?!

    It’ll get worse before it gets better.

    Oh and Obama isn’t running anything signifigant…the international bankers are running more than he is.

  4. Ron
    April 12, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I just dont like four wheel drives with low profile tires and those big rims,makes me laugh though.
    The boom boom music and the low pants and piercings,oh and the raiders sticker on vehicles back windows.I keep thinking of people with them as future convicts.

  5. March 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    If not racist,this article and most of the comments are then extremely intolerant.

    People go through periods on their life when they do the stupidest things, like liking disco music, wearing high hats,wearing huge skirts with wires on them, driving super high pick up trucks, wearing tight-dj shirts with a messenger bag, etc.

    But eventually most grow out of it and some might even become functional adults. Of course not a majority of them as we can see from the state of politics since Independence.

    The reeuhms are a sign of EASY MONEY OUT OF CONTROL IN A FREE MARKET. God bless them for making the money to spend as they please, for doing what it takes to getting a mate, and for spending their time on their hobby.

    White people and other cultures do the share of stupidity and it would be silly to write articles that border on racism just to point out how at electronic Music Winter Conference in Miami all these mostly white young adults look like cloned idiots with their tight tshirts with the stylized logo of a turn table, almost impossible to put on tight jeans, hugely rimmed glasses (no pun intended), their futuristic watches, and gay messenger bags. Writing about all of this in a classist, holier than thou, intolerant style, would speak more about the writer than the subject.

    So, now, lets get serious and write that article about rims and the Federal Reserve’s easy money!

    • March 31, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      This business of equating any criticism of anything that happens to disproportionately involve blacks with raaaaaaycism is so tiresome. Ditto its corollary: That we (non-blacks) must treat with respectful reverence anything blacks do.

      I mentioned (and just as insultingly) Van Dyke beards and arm tattoos – mostly seen on whites – and of course, that doesn’t generate the guilt-whine about raaaaaaycism.

      Please.

      If we ever expect to overcome this race bullshit we’ll need to get over this kind of double standard. Stupid, low-class behavior is the focus here – not blacks per se. Hence, it’s not raaaaaaaaaaycist.

      Clover

      • March 31, 2012 at 12:48 pm

        You are right Eric. The article is not racist. It does seem very intolerant of another culture and classist. You do reinforce this by saying in your comment ‘low-class’. Is therefore ‘High Class’ better than ‘low class”? Who will judge it?

        I have done my share of stupidity in life, as I imagine most people have. I’m now more tolerant of the periods people go through and congnisant that the stupid things young people do today is not what people will do tomorrow.

        I love reading your blog, your disdain for political correctness, and see tremendous value to freedom in it. It is for that reason that I take the time to comment.

        I wish the article had said the same points with more tolerance and good humor. Sorta, kids will be kids, and stupidity will be stupidity.

        We have enough divide and conquer strategies out there, for us to further it with class remarks. Once upon a time I used to laugh at ‘rednecks’, now I know that among them, there is a breed of uncompromising freedom fighters. I won’t make fun of their silly pick up trucks anymore. Let’s hope that this knowledge revolution does the same thing to the ‘low class’ and we won’t want to make fun of their rims.

        Thanks for your wonderful blog, keep it up, and take my criticism for what it is, my opinion, and in good humor, in a blog that I really enjoy.

        Boris

        • March 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm

          It’s intolerant of the culture of stupidity – that’s all!

          I focused on this particular manifestation of cultural stupidity because it’s so pervasive and thus its effects far more pernicious. For example, the fact that most automakers now routinely fit even the most mundane family-type vehicle with preposterous (because useless and functionally detrimental) oversized wheels, because oversized wheels have become fashionable. As to thug culture – the emulation and veneration of the criminal underclass, its style, manner of speaking, its nihilism and vulgarity – that’s to be treated with respect? To criticize that amounts to “classism”?

          If yes, then bully. I’m intolerant of thuggism in all its forms – and irrespective of skin color.

          As we all ought to be – irrespective of skin color.

          • BrentP
            March 31, 2012 at 5:13 pm

            It’s a ford commercial, I think it is for the Edge. Where the “20s” are mentioned. Typical “safe” corporate TV commercial.

      • Chris
        March 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm

        Eric,

        Do you remember how Rush Limbaugh defined a bigot as anyone who wins an argument with a liberal?

        • March 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm

          Yep – and while I’m no fan of that corporatist windbag (and pussy) I won’t deny a point well-made!

          But to expand on this a little: What really twists my panties is the way “conservatives” roll down on the floor and present their bellies at the first taunt that they’re “racist” for saying or writing something that challenges a PC orthodoxy. Their cravenness – and opportunism – sickens me.

          • Chris
            April 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm

            And let’s not forget the difference in methodology between the left and the right:

            Liberals will defend, to the death, anyone valuable to The Cause while conservatives throw themselves and each other under the bus for minor (supposed) matters of principle.

            No wonder the Marxist tide rises inexorably.

  6. PJ
    March 30, 2012 at 1:31 am

    Something even worse: spoilers on pickup trucks. Spoilers on anything, really, but on pickup trucks is the perfect announcement that the owner is an idiot.

    • March 30, 2012 at 9:56 am

      They even put ‘em on minivans… almost every new car (every vehicle) I test drive either comes with or can be ordered with some sort of “rear airfoil.” And of course, most of these cars never see the high side of 80 MPH.

  7. Tim
    March 29, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    20’s are dubs. and only 20s can be dubs. i have seen 30s and bigger here in the SF bay area. completely retarded IMHO. dont know if they are still in business but several years ago there was a rent to own rims shop in LA that had more business than they could handle. thats right, 3k in rims on your POS beater and you get to go make payments every week. These guys have tehir life savings tied up in teh gold teeth grill and tires.

    Another thing that rubs me the wrong wat is these idiots that ride arond with the driver and passenger seat reclined all the way back. that has got to be a safety hazard with lack of visibility.

    Side note about van dykes…I graduated HS 20 years ago this spring. I have been wearing a full goatee and mustache since the day after I graduated (parents wouldnt let me while in school). my now wife that i have been with for 15 of those years doesnt want me to shave it. she says she is so used to me with it. but she doesnt like it when i grow out a full beard when on vacation. frankly im tired of it after 20 years. i grew it to make myself look older when i was at 18 and then they got popular in the late 90s when Mark Mcguire was hitting all those home runs. sometimes i let it grow out all shaggy and sometimes i triom it down to just a few milimeters. i digress.

    • Chris
      March 29, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      I thought (what I call) Tim McGraw beards got popular after Stone Cold Steve Austin showed up wearing one.

      You know, so fat guys could look tough without being itchy?

    • Scott
      March 30, 2012 at 12:20 am

      Tim, I feel your pain. I have this Sam Elliot mustache I grew 20 years ago that my wife loves. I don’t mind it much in the summer but it freezes solid every time I go outside in the winter; some weird mixture of snot and exhaled water vapor. It disgusts me but my wife insists on it.

      Back when my son was in 5th grade he and I went to the barber one day and we both got buzz cuts ’cause that’s what all the cool guys in 5th grade were doing. My wife literally screamed when we walked in the door and wouldn’t let me sleep in the bedroom for a month.

      I don’t dare shave the mustache.

  8. Bill Jones
    March 29, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    A piece of me wants to buy a 70’s Caprice and park it in the barn. Seen what Trabbi’s are going for?

    • Chris
      March 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      Oh please,

      The reason the Berlin Wall came down was so they could get the tow trucks through.

    • March 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      I like those big boats from the ’70s – I hate to seem them mutilated. A stock mid-late ’70s Caprice would make for a great beater; comfortable, easy to maintain – and dirt cheap.

  9. Tom
    March 29, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Don’t forget that with some cars that large wheels also allow the fitment or larger brake packages. Again a point to why performance cars use them and why it’s asinine to have them on every day drivers.

    • March 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      Sure – but that’s not usually what happens with these aftermarket “twennies” – which are typically installed on an old (and low-performance) car with its stock,low-performance brakes…

  10. Yes
    March 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Summary of Rant:

    It seems Mr. Peters is upset that a group of people have different preferences in status indicators than him, and he tries rationalizing it using a interpersonal utility comparison.

    • mithrandir
      March 30, 2012 at 12:13 am

      Eric is giving his opinion on these items. You can agree with his opinion or not.

      I do not think or get the impression that he is upset by people that choose to get the large rims. He does not see the point in getting large rims.

      Is there a point in large rims?

      • Yes
        April 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm

        “Is there a point in large rims?”

        They are status indicators.

        • April 1, 2012 at 7:49 pm

          Among people with double digit IQs!

        • mithrandir
          April 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm

          Some forms of status are more functional/practical than others. Big rims do not make much sense for me and I do not find them aesthetically pleasing. Jedem das Seinen.

          My dad told me many times that: You are better to “keep as little money on the road”. The less money that I put in a car, the better it is for me. Cars in general do not hold their value well.

          Of course there are some things that I am willing to spend money even if they are not practical or sound financially. Big rims is not one of my weaknesses.

  11. Methuselah
    March 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    One problem with ugly style is that it leeches into the language. A “pimp” is a contemptible, vile person. When we refer to a person, thing or style as “pimp” what are we really saying? That someone who uses force and cruel manipulation to get what they want should be held in some sort of elevated esteem?

    • March 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Ditto mangled English, the worship of “thug culture” and so on.

  12. Bob
    March 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I recently bought a Focus SES, which came with 17″ wheels. Looking back, I should’ve bought a Focus SE with the sports package, as it came with the more reasonable 15″ aluminum rims. I’d have saved $600, too.

    The larger wheels are more easily damaged, the replacement tires cost a lot more, the ride is rougher and they require air more often. Who needs them?

    • swamprat
      March 29, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Bob:

      I am exploring my car options at this point. Trying to consider whether or not to buy one of those.

      How do you like the Focus? What kind of mileage are you getting out of it in city and highway driving. How fast do you drive on the freeways?

      • Scott
        March 30, 2012 at 12:45 am

        When I was in my Ford Focus phase back in 1978, I bought a beater Porsche 914 (1.7L) for $1500 and built it to a 916 in my carport. I got a fiberglass flare kit for it that probably cost me $300, put 15″ alloys on to support 235 tires front and rear, then learned the meaning of “un-sprung weight” :) It got about 30 mpg, topped out at 115 and was a huge amount of fun to drive. I called it the Flexy Flier and it’s the only reason I can defend tweenies with a strait face; I have to, I was once that stupid myself.

        It died shortly thereafter in a pissing contest with a TR7 on California 1 between Santa Cruz and San Francisco one fine afternoon. I grabbed the stick and, in a brief but oh so painful moment of kinesthetic confusion, shifted from 4th to 3rd and dumped the clutch. I sucked a valve instantly and dove for the sidelines billowing smoke as the TR went blasting by me with a big grin and a victorious wave.

        Ford Focus? No, I don’t think so…

        • Bob
          April 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

          I went through my Porsche 914 phase in the late 80’s. Then I realized that people who judge you by what you drive weren’t the people I wanted to associate with anyway, especially the women.

          Now I just want to get from point A to point B safely, comfortably and cheaply. A car where you sit with your ass scraping the ground while you feel every bump in the road just doesn’t do that for me. Neither do paying high insurance rates and not being able to drive a vehicle at the speed for which it was designed.

      • Bob
        April 3, 2012 at 10:43 pm

        I like the car, but you’ll have to buy a used one to get something similar. The Focus has been totally redesigned for 2012.

        I get a little over 30 MPG in mixed driving, but I can get around 37 MPG doing 60 on the highway. However, I usually do 70 (which the car can do comfortably), where I get 35.5 MPG.

        How do I know the mileage I get? The car has a display that provides it. And it checks with my own calculations.

    • March 29, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Bob,

      I try to steer people in that direction whenever I’m asked (and whenever I write a review – performance cars excepted). For the person who just wants to get from A to B, a 15 or 16 inch steel wheel and all-season tires will provide more economy, better ride and lower (and less frequent) tire replacement costs.

      • getch36
        March 30, 2012 at 2:18 am

        I agree with you.I think most people are shocked at the cost when they go to replace the 18 or 20 inch tires that came on their vehicle.

        • March 30, 2012 at 9:40 am

          My neighbor bought a new truck with 17 inch wheels – not really thinking about it and thinking they “looked good.” Two years later, he got a shock when it was time to buy a new set of tires….

  13. March 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    I’m kinda partial to the bone-stock looking 75 Hornet Hatchback a friend of mine used to street race/cruise in back in the 80’s (this was before the gangstas started showing up on cruise nights and shooting random suburban teens). With an AMC 401 4 barrel pushing about 450 ponies, and a tight Torqueflight trans and a limited -slip rear, that thing defined for me the phrase “violent acceleration”.

    The first time he gave me the keys, a crotch rocket pulled up beside us, looked over, gunned it, and when the light changed, we were off. At the next light he pulls up next to us and asks, incredulous, what was under the hood.

    “An AMC straight six”, my friend said.

    Good times.

    • March 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Love it!

      I knew a guy, years ago, who had an ex-cop car full-size Dodge with the 440 – just like the Blues Brothers, but an older model. That thing was unbelievably fast – not so much off the line (though it would push you back in the seat) as much as once it got going. The top end seemed unlimited. Roll-on from say 40 MPH had to be felt to be believed. I’ve felt the same thing in a few modern cars – BMW M5, Caddy CTS-V – but the difference is everyone knows about those cars. An old full-size Dodge in faded chocolate brown? With moon hubcaps?

      But that thing ate a TPI Corvette without even trying one night back in 1987 on the I-495 DC Beltway. We were at around 140 and pulling hard, with the ‘Vette way back there someplace….

  14. charlie
    March 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I wouldn’t have ‘em, but I love seeing ‘em.

  15. Sleepy
    March 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Love this article. The rims do serve a purpose, they are the automotive equivalent of the “I’m stupid” sign. In the interests of taste I put together a cloaker, myself… completely invisible. A fairly humble 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the little round one. Utterly bone stock outside except a nice set of basic BFG tires. Under the hood, a 4.6 I-6 stroker with everything on it and enough grunt to rip all four tires loose at once on wet roads, embarrass smallblocks and startle the everliving daylights out of motorcycles just by keeping up. The only giveaway: a lumpy idle courtesy of Comp valvetrain. Dishing out abject humiliation to “gank-stas” at stoplights since 2010! Nobody notices it at the -first- light, but the “gank-stas” sure do stare when they eventually arrive at the -next- one.

    • March 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Hey Sleepy,

      Now that’s the ticket!

      I’m just about ready to fire up an old Kawasaki two-stroke triple I’ve been restoring for the past year… being a two-stroke, it burns oil on purpose – and smokes. A lot. The typical gnoe-nothing will look at it and think – tired old junker. Until the light goes green… . These bikes are vicious little terrors – but few people today remember them, much less what they’re capable of.

      • Ron
        April 12, 2012 at 6:10 am

        My dad had the 350 and 500 triples,He said the 350 seemed faster.I remember hanging on as it came on the pipe,they would scream and almost jump out of your hands.Fun stuff!
        My uncle had a 750 all hopped up with wheelie bars and raced at a local drag strip.
        My dad actually bought two 350,s in a couple of days,he let someone at work ride his and they looped it out,so they owned it and my dad went and got anouther new one.

        • April 12, 2012 at 9:36 am

          The 350 was supposed to be a mean little SOB; the 400 the mildest of the bunch – and the 750 the scariest. I’ll report on the 250’s performance as soon as I get my pipes and get her up and running!

  16. Joe Milligan
    March 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    I don’t know, Eric, you’re all over the map here… as someone who occasionally sports a Van Dyke and goes looking for blunts, I can’t agree with the entire article.

    Though I think my father said it best during the late 80’s when people were sporting monster tires: “A guy with a PhD decided which tires to put on that car. You think that bozo can do better?”

    • March 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Joe,

      Hell, I don’t expect (or want) agreement with everything I write – just so’s I’m not tarred with the tiresome “he’s racist” brush for pointing out dumb-ass conduct when it happens to be engaged in most often by blacks in this particular case. If the article had been a mock-fest directed against “sothren inbreds,” I doubt very much I’d have received any complaints about me just hatin’ on whitey… .

      Stupid is stupid… and twennies on a ’78 POS Caprice is the apotheosis of stupid!

    • Fred
      March 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      “A guy with a PhD decided which tires to put on that car. You think that bozo can do better?”

      Maybe, what was his PhD in?

  17. Scott
    March 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    The first time I saw these was in a BMW ad a friend eMailed me a few years back. It was weird because you could see through the wheels in the picture since it was taken on a track.

    It’s pretty silly to put them on a Vega like you say, but remember back when people were bolting machined aluminum wings to the trunks of Honda Civics? It passed.

    Kids will customize their cars in stupid ways. Take heart that a few of them eventually figured out what those wings were really for and went on to race 935’s at Watkins Glen.

  18. Dutch
    March 29, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    For those of you who don’t know, Carroll Shelby has an interesting take on this. While he is somewhat at the origins of this practice, having given identity to some of the early muscle cars with aggressive details including big tires, he has since changed his tune. Not long ago he was the subject of an article around efficient automotive engineering. And he asserted that he could design and build a car that would have better handling on bicycle tires than a Dodge Viper, the icon of ‘fatty tire’ indulgence. Sadly, since then big obnoxious wheels have only continued to transcend into popularity even where they are a detriment to performance. Apparently because people seem to think they look good. Yet as this article and the comments confirm, anyone under this misconception needs to ask around.
    Good stuff…

    • March 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks, Dutch!

      I’m all for people doing whatever turns them on – including to their vehicles – but if it’s retarded, don’t expect me to respectfully pretend otherwise!

      Back in the Day, we’d laugh at the fools running around in a rusted-out Nova with its ass end up in the air courtesy of a pair of Gabriel High Jacker air shocks.. with shimmed-on and sticking four inches out of the wheelwells Keystone Klassic mags on either side.

      And, remember the Kustom Van craze?

      Bad taste is always in style!

  19. Doktor Jeep
    March 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    There is an upside to stupid people paying thousands of dollars for rims: less money for them to donate to political causes.

    • March 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Excellent point, Herr Docktor!

  20. March 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    By the way, Eric, having a wider wheel does not enlarge the contact patch. The size of the contact patch is relatively constant (with only *some* fairly inconsequential variation) on a skinny tire vs a wide tire.

    What makes wide tires better is the fact that a wide patch cycles the rubber around the circumference of the tire faster which sheds heat more quickly); plus there are some differences in lateral stability. A narrow tire going into a hard turn distorts more than a roughly equivalent wider tire, the wider tire runs somewhat cooler, and other benefits.

    Racers went for more wheel and less tire because having more of the rotating mass as a stable, rigid disc made the tire/wheel combo’s handling more predictable.

    Of course, what racers did to obtain minor increases in advantage on the track became “cool” and the aftermarket seized on the ideas and took them to extremes for the consumer market.

    As happens with a lot of other products!

  21. Rog
    March 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Silly city folks. I fart in your general direction.

  22. Art Thomas
    March 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    What is pleasing to the eye depends on whose eye it is. This twennies thing, for me, is always
    striking, always garish and even clownish. A Bentley with these flashing, spinning, spokey wheels
    is a sight for dulled eyes!

    Whether this trend is a sign of cultural/moral decay is always debatable. But we know that real decay can be found in gilded halls and pinstripe suits, on honeyed tongues and the paper that passes for money.

  23. Tinsley Grey Sammons
    March 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    If my special affection for my Race – the White Race – makes me a racist, then so be it. In addition to being White, I am especially proud to be Scot-Irish.

    One does not have to love someone to respect his unalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

    I will never apologize of being White nor do I apologize for being deeply concerned about the possibility of White Extinction. Several years ago I authored the following:

    SKIN DEEP and PRETENSE
    by
    Tinsley Grey Sammons (1936 –)
    bastlaw@yahoo.com

    The White Race is being propagandized and legally* herded toward a brown oblivion from which it can never recover. Especially where children are concerned, there’s something intrinsically criminal about the systematic effort by government and the media to destroy white folks’ Sense of Identity. Fortunately though, most whites still tend to socially avoid blacks whenever they can lawfully* do so. While “equal protection of the laws” is a Fourteenth Amendment, Law of the Land fact, claims of “color blindness” are pure political expediency, or self-deception, or both. In America today, pretense rules.

    Concerned whites would do well to focus their anti-miscegenation argument on something that is obviously unarguable. Other than myself, nobody that I know of does that . . . yet. Although statistically valid, the arguments about inherently inferior intelligence are demolished in the minds of many by simply trotting out an example of an intelligent black, whereas: An argument based on hair texture, eye color and complexion easily forces apologists and supporters of genetic race mixing to deny what their own senses tell them. It frustrates the “there’s only one race, the human race” pretenders every time, quickly reducing them to ad hominem attacks and red herring blathering. When it comes to personal decisions that affect the possible extinction of the White Race, ” only skin deep” is surely deep enough.

    *Legal and lawful are not synonyms, and history is fraught with legal horrors. There is an ethical element in lawful that is absent in legal.

    Edited: August 28, 2011
    Permission to reproduce with full credit hereby given.

  24. Roy
    March 29, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Phublik Skewl and TeeVee has tuned Amerika into a land of retarded psychopaths…This proves it.

    My Neighbor has a jacked-up Bentley Continental GT he got cheap during the Carmageddon era. Ghetto to Burbs, indeed.

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:33 am

      Yup – if you haven’t seen it already, check out Idiocracy (the movie) by Mike Judge…

      • Roy
        March 29, 2012 at 9:47 pm

        Yup…Looks like it was filmed on location in Detroit.

        • March 29, 2012 at 11:43 pm

          Check it out:

  25. shootist66
    March 29, 2012 at 8:05 am

    They’re all over the place and all I can do is laugh out loud at ‘em! If They only knew how really dumb they look driving around town. I especially get a kick out of seeing something like a jacked-up Towncar or a big black Chevy Suburban pimped out with 20″ 5-spoke ‘see through’ chromies and low-to-no-profile tires. They remind me of covered wagons crossing the prairie.

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Yes – except covered wagons had a purpose!

    • Freedom
      March 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      Wow, since when are all poeples in this great United States here to service your sense of style and culture?

      It’s nice when matters of opinion on how people decorate thier possesions or represent themselves culturally bring out all the bigots, racists and old men that want to keep everyone off thier lawn.

      All the comments in this comment section basically sound like a bunch of senior citizens sounding off that EVERYONE should be wearing elastic waist bands in thier pants instead of belts, IT JUST MAKES SENSE, or the closet racists using this as a platform to rail against black peple.

      How about all you self-centered narcissists (including the article writer) pull your posteriors out of your behinds and realize that other people have no need or duty to service your desires when it comes to fashion sense!

      I am sure the singing Bass on your walls doensn’t serve much of a purpose either, but your free to keep it playing at full volume f you want!

      • swamprat
        March 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm

        We are free to lament about what we perceive as a degradation of our culture just as much as people who drive cars with 20″ rims are able to express themselves in that way. I don’t have a problem with the freedom of expression. Hardly any of us are interested in passing laws against loud stereos, DUBS, baggy pants or whatever garbage people want to put themselves into. On the other hand, we are entitled to our opinions.

        Having opinions on cultural issues does NOT make a person a racist.

      • March 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm

        Trash is trash – black, white or yellow. So also poor taste. You’re free to mount ‘dem twennies on your hooptie if you like – that’s certainly you’re right. And also to speak using illiterate ghetto vernacular. But don’t expect not to be made fun of for doing so – in the same way that “trailer trash” is routinely made fun of for similar reasons. (See: Inbreeding, no teeth, etc.) And note: The people making fun of rednecks, trailer trash, etc., are never accused of “racism.”

        You’re the one imputing a race angle to the criticism of idiocy as expressed by putting ‘dem twennies on a POS Caprice. Not me.

        Gnomesayin’?

      • Josh
        March 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

        “Freedom”, did you just suggest they all pull their asses out of their asses?

        I suppose your support for the idea that there are no such things as better and worse is made perfectly evident through your use of language..

      • Chris
        March 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm

        Freedom,

        Ad Hominem, way to go!

        Here’s a thought.

        Why do you try telling us WHY we’re incorrect instead of posting all sorts of personal attacks. You know, load some live ammo for a change.

        I’m open to rational discussion. If you convince me that my ideas are inaccurate and yours are right, I’ll be happy to dump mine and adopt yours, and you’ll have won a convert.

        Try that.

  26. MoT
    March 29, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I stopped at a Sonic in Andrews Texas on my way to a field office to take care of some computing issues when I was assaulted with the tell-tale “thump-thump… buzzzz” of some idiot forcing the public unwillingly into his demented world. When I glanced over to see who this knuckle head could be I was astonished to see it was some white bread cracker dressed like a thug driving this POS with the bling and tomfoolery associated with a ghetto wannabe. I said to myself that this had to be the most ridiculous sight on Gods otherwise green earth. Someone who was simply a wishful poseur in a dusty small Texas oil town. How ultimately pathetic.

    • March 29, 2012 at 10:26 am

      I have a solution!

      Find the MPEG file of the Soul Glo commercial from Coming to America; put it on endless loop replay – at top volume – when accosted by a ghetto mobile. Or, even better, the Bix Nood recording. Or, if you’re really feeling it, just start jumping around in your car like an ape. That’ll get the message across!

    • Freedom
      March 29, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      So, you found someone who has created thier own culture and own style independent of all others, or are you the one?

      Are you the one true authentic person on this planet?

      No, just a classist and racist. Now we know why you keep all the extra white sheets.

      I was a wanna be punk back in the 80s too, then I grew up and figured out everyone was a poser, including myself.

      It’s called growing up, you might want to try it.

      • Clik
        March 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm

        It has nothing to do with race. It has everything to do with culture. Eminem and Vanilla Ice come to mind.

        The great thing about the USA is we can pick and choose parts of various cultures from around the world and incorporate the BEST into our own.

        We have found Italian food great and there’s an Italian restaurant on every corner, while you don’t see many English (White culture) restaurants do you? That’s because in spite of it’s White roots their food sucks!

        We have fully embraced Motown (Black) music, but Rap remains controversial because it’s not only substandard in most cases and made to offend in many others but for the most part it sucks!

      • MoT
        March 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

        “Created” their own culture? Put the crack pipe down for a moment. There is no “creating” anything involved in merely spending loot to fob off your idiocy as “Kultchah”. The asinine arrogance of your retort is astounding. I never, not once, had the disposable shekels to toss about and force feed anyone my musical or automotive ignorance. Too busy working to survive since I was too damn poor to worry about proving anything to anybody.

  27. Max Power
    March 29, 2012 at 4:25 am

    I don’t suppose anyone ever saw the episode of Drawn Together where Foxxy Brown learns that government schools are a conspiracy to keep people dumb enough to buy gold rims and purple leather seats for a $3k Geo.

    • Chris
      March 29, 2012 at 9:09 pm

      God, I remember an old episode of Law & Order where Briscoe and Curtis were talking to some biker gang and Curtis (who was supposed to be Hispanic) pulled his gun on a biker because the guy called him a spic.

      And the general tone of the show indicated that this gun-drawing was acceptable behavior.

      Delightful, huh?

      • mithrandir
        March 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        That was a good episode. I like most of the episodes, although I sometimes get annoyed at the portrayal of the justice system.

  28. Blake
    March 29, 2012 at 1:08 am

    Whatever happened to the “crown” air fresheners?

    • Clik
      March 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      As I understand it the CROWN AIR FRESHENERS were to signify African royalty and imply that one was sort of an African King.

      Then the rumor went around that they were made by a KKK member who was getting rich off the sale of them and they disappeared like roaches when the light comes on.

      • March 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        Just spilled my coffee… that was freakin’ hilarious!

  29. scott j
    March 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm
  30. Bryce
    March 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    Hey Eric, we need a lot more articles like this talking about various and sundry modifications like this and what actually helps performance, what just looks bad, and what not only looks bad, but actually hurts performance. “Twennies” are just the tip of the iceberg here.

    • March 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Yep – and then there’s 3 inch exhaust “fart cans” fitted to stone stock 1.8 liter fours…

  31. March 28, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Perhaps I’m an automotive paleolithic….. It took two readings of this article to understand that twennies referred to wheel diameter.

    When these ridiculous tire/wheel combinations first appeared several (or more?) years ago, I thought to myself, “now they’re making solid, non-pneumatic tires for automobiles”!… The sort of tire/wheel package found on my 1959 Radio Flyer.

    To be sure, Mario Andretti would likely have a keen interest in such unservicable and fragile tire/wheel combinations…He is a Formula One racer.

    I laugh at this Beemer culture….let ‘em have blistered and separated tires, shattered cast wheels, 20,000 mile (or less) servicable tread life!

    Give me 7.50 x 16 retreads on split-rim pressed steel wheels any day.

    And don’t forget the spoons.

    • March 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm

      Me too, Tom!

  32. dom
    March 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Go Whoo Whoo!

    • Brandonjin
      March 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Wow. So much wrong with this video. So so much.

    • The Other Ken
      March 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      • Brandonjin
        March 27, 2012 at 7:36 pm

        HAHAHAHA! Thanks for putting that up. Everyone I know is going to see this now.

    • mithrandir
      March 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      I think someone has posted this video here before.

      It is funny at the end of the video when the “whoo whoo” guy runs through a stop sign while he is demonstrating the whistle in action. :)

    • Luxomni
      March 30, 2012 at 2:55 am

      The things you can buy when you don’t have to pay for the necessities in life, like food, shelter, and medicine.

  33. Chris
    March 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Dubs, lowriders, rap music, giant pants…and of course all the violence.

    This nonsense isn’t just UN-civilized, it’s an assault on the very idea of civilization.

    Anthropologists will tell you that one of the defining characteristics of civilization is that people live in cities, and yet people who actually live in cities are some of the most uncivilized human beings you’ll ever meet.

    It’s like a grotesque inversion of stately British reserve and decorum.

    Eight thousand years of cultural development discarded in the name of “authenticity,” – “Keepin’ it real, yo.”

    What does that mean, Keepin’ It Real?

    Seems to me that it’s verbal shorthand for never improving yourself. For never attempting to rise above yourself or your surroundings.

    Incoherent, I know. I’ll post something more comprehensive later.

    • March 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      I’ll make no PC bones about it: Mumbling (or shouting) doggerel “poetry” to the accompaniment of a droning, repetitive (and electronically generated) bass beat is not music. Neither is it singing. Music involves musicians – that is, people who play instruments. It is characterized by melody - not boom…. boom …. boom… (repeat, endlessly). Singing is not “rapping.”

      The best razor I’ve ever heard of to differentiate crap from art is this: If anyone can do it, it’s not art. I can write a few crude lines about ho’s and fowties and so on. I can mumble that into a microphone to the accompaniment of an electronically generated beat track. So could anyone.

      What I cannot do – what very few people can do – is compose (and sing) “Born to Run,” or play a saxophone like Clarence Clemons (or a guitar like Eric Clapton).

      Music – vs. deliberately ugly, cacophonic noise.

      It is not a question of taste. I can respect Blue Grass, jazz, almost any form of music – even if it’s not personally to my taste.

      Bur rap? It’s crap. Nothing more than the soundtrack of the sunset of Western civilization. An uglified modern take on Gotterdammerung.

      Listen to this:

      And then, this:

      • Chris
        March 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

        Rap’s not music, because music involves instruments.

        And often times, talent.

        Though these days, one could quite credibly say that, “These guys aren’t musicians. They’re a band.”

        This is just my personal opinion, but I firmly believe that music is not supposed to be a spectator sport. I say leave it to people with talent, equipment and skill.

        I draw, I can write, but I can’t THINK musically. I know I can’t couldn’t up with a song, so I don’t make the attempt. I think the world is better for that.

        Now, I’ll admit to a prejudice here. I like Hair Metal, J-Pop & anime themes, techno, trance, bluegrass, modern country (not the old stuff; that’s more Commiseration than Music) and I couldn’t care less what a song says if I like the way it sounds.

        I have no patience for the Appeal to Authenticity in music.

        Okay, now that I’ve established myself as completely unqualified to comment on music…

        • Fred
          March 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm

          I like modern country music. But let’s not make it out to be more than it is, Top 40 music with a cowboy hat and boots.

      • Freedom
        March 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

        Nothing brings out classism, racism, and just plain out and out rude snobbery then unqualified opinions about art.

        So, when were you elected the grand art puba that gets to tell everyone what art is an is not?

        You’re just another self-absorber narcissist who thinks they have the market cornered on cultural opinion.

        It’s a good thing noone gives two turds about yours.

        • March 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm

          Before you begin to argue as to what constitutes art, you might want to learn the difference between then and than.

          • Texas Chris
            March 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm

            Perhaps, Eric, you should make a differentiation between “music” and “bad music”.

            Music is defined loosely as organized sound designed to evoke an emotional response.

            To me, rap is music in the same way that a crucifix in a glass of urin is art.

            • March 29, 2012 at 5:22 pm

              Amen, Chris – you said it better than I wrote it!

        • March 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm

          Personally, I think any entertainment delivery mechanism that requires practice, study, and involves some difficulty for the untrained to learn, qualifies as “art”.

          I like classical, jazz, rock (all forms), rap, dance, Irish folk, country, techno, and many others. I have a very eclectic CD rack.

          If we want to get technical, classical, opera, and many other similar genres are actually “false art” — because they were originally generated due to the patronage of the nobility (eg governments) and to this day are still largely lucrative for performers due to state subsidies.

          It is correct to say that government policy has encouraged the creation and perpetuation of “ghetto art”, but it has also created and perpetuated the hoity-toity arts the elite favor (classical, opera, ballet, etc).

          I call for the end of almost all government policies as a matter of principle; but until they are ended, I like music and if something arises due to that government policy, and if I find it interesting, uplifting, danceable, or in some other way worthy of listening to, then I’ll give it a listen.

          • Scott
            March 30, 2012 at 1:18 am

            I like the general definition of “art”, but in contrast, there was a review over on Endgadget a few days ago of a new Sony DJ Mixer that claimed to be an “instrument”. The peanut gallery (as in the Comments section) took up the debate on whether or not a mixing board could be considered an instrument.

            Now, I have my own opinion on the subject since I’m a guitarist/vocalist and I also own a mixer but I’ve never thought of it as one of my instruments.

            I guess Sound Engineers are artists right? So a mixing console is an instrument? I had trouble wrapping my head around it. Does this mean the guy scrubbing records back and forth is a composer? I suppose it must.

            I think I’m getting closer and closer to the time it would be best for me to just take the black pill and give it all up…

        • That One Guy
          March 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm

          “Freedom” the Clover Troll telling others they’re wrong for saying others are wrong sez:

          It’s a good thing noone gives two turds about yours

          There are two problems with this statement:

          1) “No one” is two words.

          2) Stick around for longer than one day and you’ll see there are dozens of regular commenters and untold numbers of folks who read but don’t comment who will see your foot straight into your mouth. You’ll be forgotten long before people stop coming here because they enjoy the opinions of the authors and commenters. Know that.

          The only thing worse than the “I’m not racist but…” people are the idiots who scramble over one another to climb the highest on the martyrdom cross to show they love the blacks the mostest.

          Methinks you doth protest too much, Freedom.

          • Scott
            March 30, 2012 at 1:02 am

            1) “No one” is two words.

            Ha! That explains why I can’t ever find it in the dictionary! Thanks!

            Now, answer me this; if “no one” is two words, why is “nobody” one word? It drives me nuts! :)

      • getch36
        March 30, 2012 at 2:00 am

        I have to disagree with you about rap music and think your way off on this one.I don’t know how much rap music you have heard and if it’s just the stuff heard on the radio then you are right it does suck.But the rap music I listen to is done by some very talented people.Public Enemy has three albums on Rolling Stone’s top 500 of all time and they are near the top of the 500.If all you have heard is the commercial radio shit then it would be like just hearing the “Born in The USA” album and saying Springsteen sucks.

      • Luxomni
        March 30, 2012 at 2:51 am

        That isn’t even one of the REALLY BAD rap songs.

  34. BrentP
    March 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    20 years ago it was small diameter rims that stuck out from the frame. This too will fade away.

    However you are correct, it is like watching an episode of “Wild Kingdom”. Ever wonder into a cruising spot? It’s just like one of those nature programs. Showing off who had the loudest (in more than just noise) car or the biggest rims or whatever to attract a mate. My question is, since questionable car customizing goes way back, was it always like this?

    Watching these displays really makes one think about the ruling elite’s underlying attitudes about the population at large. It seems to confirm all the worst things of their writings and attitudes. Then again could it be a product of the dumbing down of people? It’s the behavior. The feather display and so forth that is odd. Modifying a car to one’s own tastes for oneself sure… but doing this mating ritual display seems like some technological version of nature show.

    Also, big wheels were originally intended to go around big brakes. Of course such brakes are typically offered with or added to the vehicles in question in this article.

    • March 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm

      My generation was into modifying cars for performance. That is, to actually make them go faster. We cruised McDonald’s on weekend nights back in the ’80s, but it was to check out the cars, see who had what (and who had done what). Often, this was a preliminary to a street race. Not usually for money – just to see who had the quicker car.

      The idea of just driving around in a car that doesn’t do anything except make a statement about how low your IQ is would have had us rolling on the ground laughing….

      • Brandonjin
        March 27, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        ROFL ROGL!

        Yeah its all about size and sound now.

      • Tor Munkov
        March 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm

        Not only these three things, but most everything about American violator and violatee pop culture makes us personae non gratae everywhere decent and fun.

        We flood the world markets with bland panem and tone deaf circenses.

        The answer is to fear no Deebo, feed no Deebo, and be no Deebo.

        • Tor Munkov
          March 27, 2012 at 10:50 pm

          Clip of Deebo from all time ghetto classic Friday.

          300 generations ago, you find only dark skinned genotype AABBCC people with a protective outer layer of dead amino acid melanin in their skins.

          Northern mutations of white genetic X-men able to synthesize Vitamin D and other vitamins through pale eyes and skin didn’t survive to reproduce.

          We are all from the same tree. Technology like the great wall and middle eastern walled cities like Babylon were built to keep out brute savage mutants such as us.

    • BrentP
      March 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      should have read “aren’t typically offered with or added to”

      What I have seen in recent years is these dufuses driving past girls trying to get their attention with this nonsense. There are some cars with hp but those guys are usually parked off in a corner by themselves.

  35. Chris
    March 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Eric,

    As the great Canadian sage and philosopher Red Green once asked,

    “Have you ever noticed that when something’s BAD, they just make it LOUD?”

    You know that old term that has been displaced by the newer one, Afro Engineering? Well, it seems that the old term is far more applicable to THIS stuff than the old definition of shoddy repairs.

    I don’t know what it is about Ghetto Culture that seems to give it a perverse ability to find the WORST, TACKIEST and MOST TASTELESS things to spend money on and run with them.

    I think we who comment on this site can agree that the stuff of this article is all about ATTITUDE, LIFESTYLE and CULTURE, and has nothing to do with RACE.

    • March 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm

      “I think we who comment on this site can agree that the stuff of this article is all about ATTITUDE, LIFESTYLE and CULTURE, and has nothing to do with RACE.”

      Agree.

      Go back and watch TV shows/interviews, etc. with “average black people” 40 years ago. Most spoke normally – that is, coherent, grammatical English. What’s happened since then is the deification of low-class (underclass) black attitudes and conduct – which amounts to nihilism and violence.

      The interesting question about that is, whose interests does this serve?

      • Chris
        March 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

        Eric,

        Exactly.

        Race is utterly irrelevant to any discussion of the myriad deficiencies of Ghetto Culture.

        Race is routinely used to shut down discussion of the topic by those who don’t want to talk about it.

        And you’re right about those old shows.

        I mean, I HATE HATE HATE Norman Lear sitcoms because of their garish video quality and liberal slant, but the black people in those shows weren’t savages. They were just normal people.

        George Jefferson didn’t have a ghetto accent, nor was he trying to Keep It Real.

        Whose interests does the cultural destruction of the urban black lower classes serve, you ask?

        Who else?

        Call them what you want: Statists, Cultural Marxists, Coercive Utopians, Socialists. Those people who want only one thing.

        Power.

        Power they didn’t earn and aren’t worthy of. Power to twist and distort man and society into whatever they want.

        No one should have such power.

      • mithrandir
        March 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm

        One can look at black people from other countries. Most of them (from English speakings nations) speak in clear English. (I can not speak for those from other (French, Arabic, etc.) countries, but I assume that they probably speak their respective language as well as any other people in those countries.

      • MTW
        March 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        No, Eric. No, no, no. When you talk about “High Ebonics” pronunciation and “gold-toofed thugs,” you ARE talking about race, and in a nasty way. I read your columns at lewrockwell.com, and this is the first hint I’ve read of any sort of nasty race stuff from you. I’m hoping it’ll be the last.

        • March 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

          No, I’m talking about the underclass (and underclass stupidity and poor taste). The fact that blacks constitute a larger share of it and currently have more influence, culturally, is entirely beside the point. It’s not about race, per se.

          Is Eminem black? Vanilla Ice?

          That annoying white teenager sitting beside you at the light – his bzzzzzzzz….booooom boooom boooom rap blaring into the next county?

          PS: It’s fascinating that few have charged me with “white hate” for mentioning the god-awful Van Dyke beard thing… or the stupid barbed wire arm tattoos almost every white kid sports these days.

          In other words: It’s fine to make fun of stupid white people. But any criticism of anything done by any black is… you know it’s coming… racist.

          Please.

          Do you suppose Neil deGrasse Tyson has ‘dem twennies on his car?

          PS PS: Do you know who invented the term, Ebonics?

    • That One Guy
      March 28, 2012 at 12:50 am

      Never knew until today that I was supposed to be referring to the conflicts that have existed throughout history any time you have different races living in close proximity as “attitude, lifestyle, and culture wars.”

      Nobody buys it anyway, when you denigrate the attitudes, lifestyles, and cultures of given races and say they’re not about race in an effort to combat the programming of the multiculturalist state that triggers the feelings known collectively as “white guilt.” Western whites are the only people on the planet who put up this pretense.

      The people who benefit from the spread of ghetto culture and mindset are easy to identify: they’re the ones who make their living off of the grievance train. Think the SPLC and your friendly neighborhood social services office. What I’m far more interestedin is the fact that the people who’s ancestors created and nurtured the concepts of liberty and freedom to maximize the fruits of your labor for yourself have been trained to hate themselves when they realize they’re better at it than anyone else. One could say that as a result of this, a large enough collective has rejected it that it’s now an endangered concept. I’m sure many here would agree. Here’s my query: who benefits from that?

      It’s one of the basest instincts of humanity, to prefer what is familiar to what is unfamiliar. Stop apologizing for this. It used to be called survival instinct. Now it’s called racism, but only when white people do it.

      • Chris
        March 28, 2012 at 1:11 am

        TOG,

        I don’t apologize for anything I say. I just prefer to start out with bullets and save the nukes for last.

        I once had a conversation with a black co-worker who was a real cool guy. Somehow we ended up talking about race, and he said that in 20 years, white people would be a minority in this country.

        I said “Great, that means I can get money from the government!”

        He thought that was hilarious.

        • Roger
          March 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

          So..this is hilarious? Whites becoming a minority in the U.S., everyone getting more money from the government?

          • March 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm

            No… the crown air freshener thing!

    • Jay
      March 29, 2012 at 9:57 am

      They should be spending the money on their bastard children in the 80% illegitimacy rate areas where this is prevalent. I do have to admit the 18″ chrome wheel package option for my GM crossover SUV looks very clean and nice. The 19s look really ghetto and cost $3000 more.

      • March 29, 2012 at 10:20 am

        Agree –

        Except of course that would fly in the face of policy – the policy of encouraging as many low IQ, irresponsible people to breed as possible. This helps lower the overall Bell Curve, creates a ready-made class of dependents and thus enhances the power of the government.

    • Tinsley Grey Sammons
      March 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Really? Since having my cataracts removed it is obvious to me that it is mostly a Black Thing. Unfortunately, George Carlin is no longer alive to rule on the issue.

      Tinsley Grey Sammons {1936 –)

    • Dixie
      April 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      Ahhh, I believe the term “Afro Engineering” has now become politically incorrect. The new expression is, “…found a Presidential solution.”

  36. Vincent Mohan
    March 27, 2012 at 11:45 am

    I have two reactions when I see things like the “twennies”:
    1) Thank God I’m not like them, and
    2) Damn, but I’m superior to them!

    • curly
      March 30, 2012 at 1:27 am

      Eric, Thanks for this article.

      Had a good laugh, and this is from a guy who still has one of those van dyke (really French beards?) face hair thing, to hide my extra chins.

      I smile and shake my head every time I see those ridiculous rims on an old beater. What a waste of money, but it’s their money (we hope), and PT Barnum was right. They look ridiculous and probably perform worse.

      It’s also a good opportunity to explain to your children about wasting money, real value, and what’s important.

      And thank you for mentioning rap/ghetto culture. Whether it’s racist or not, whether you like the dress code or music, rap/ghetto culture does drag down, and dumb down, way too many young people, of all races. I don’t know if it’s sadder to see black, white, Asian, or other kids w/the droopy pants, hoodies (OMG!!), stupid ‘tood, and silly gang hand gestures.

      My sense is that previous generations knew enough to enjoy fads, but this really is a very negative cultural thing.

      And you and your readers can decide whether it really is the elite creating a new, multi-culti plantation with lower expectations and lower intelligence.

  37. damon
    March 27, 2012 at 11:18 am

    I’m of two minds. One, I find it all culturally abhorrent. Two. Thank god for the free market.

    I remember I saw a honda crx. Some dude had put a bigger exhaust pipe on it and slapped on a “turbo” decal. I assume he put a turbo in that <98 HP 4 cyl motor. Assume, but not sure. It sounded racy, but moved just like a CRX HF, so I don't know. But hey, if you wanna drop that kind of cash into making your car look good (in your opinion), knock yourself out. I'd rather save the cash or spend it on performance AND looks.

    • Boothe
      March 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

      Damon, a few years back I saw adds for a device you put in your exhaust pipe to make it “sound like a turbo”. I expect “yo’ boy” had the sticker, the coffee can tailpipe tip *and* the exhaust whistle (which would help explain the decreased performance). The whole thing reminds me of the fringe tassels on bicycle handlebars and playing cards clipped to the forks to make “motor” sounds when I was a kid. I think Eric’s assessment above…demented…sums it all up.

      • damon
        March 27, 2012 at 4:33 pm

        :)

        I will refrain from mentioning “spinners” o.0

        • MoT
          March 29, 2012 at 7:29 am

          Oh lord! Don’t get me started with that sort of brain damaged nonsense. Please!

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