Looking at what happened during this bootleg-version of H20i in Wildwood, it’s glaringly obvious that we have a severe culture problem in this country… and now it’s spilling over into car culture. What we saw in Wildwood was not ‘a little disruptive,’ it was totally destructive. There’s a difference.
Historically, hot-rodding culture has always been a bit disruptive, right?
But… there’s always been some level of charm to the light disobedience. Meaning, there was always enough morality, good judgement, and overall intelligence to respectfully ride-that-line between bad boy & good guy. That’s the sweet spot.
What we’re seeing now though, is truly ugly.
It’s not car culture anymore.
It’s… trash people in trash cars doing trash things. In these cases, ‘the car’ is just an excuse for destruction. In fact, this video below looks more like some riot/protest than a car event. See – this is gonna sting a little bit, but frankly, let’s look at where we’re at. Automotive culture already has a target on its back. The current administration wants to push an EV agenda – hard. And the kind of ignorance we saw at Wildwood gives them the silver platter to wake the woke & vilify car culture as a whole. People… died.
Let’s look at how this plays out time & time again: When a criminal commits a crime these days… we blame law enforcement, or even white privilege it fits the narrative. When a psychopath shoots up a school or a mall, we blame guns. Americans never stand up anymore, take accountability, and blame our diseased modern American culture that’s at the root of all of this. And when I say ‘modern American culture’, I’m talking about the one that glamorizes ignorance, violence, sin, & the breakdown of family. So to circle back, what do you THINK is gonna happen when these takeover events turn into riots & start getting innocent people killed? They’re gonna blame car culture. And they’re going to do it loudly with a broad brush.
Admittedly, what I’m about to say next has my own personal career bias lathered on it…
But I’m gonna say it anyway because I believe, in large part, it’s true. An undeniable part of this infection that is ‘the new generation of car culture’ – is fallout from the automotive industry abandoning its own traditional/established media. Hear me out.
When I say ‘traditional media’… I’m referring to MAGAZINES and CAR SHOWS/EVENTS. Traditional media of yesteryear had the integrity to INSPIRE the culture in a positive, inspirational way. Anyone over 35 knows… that’s what magazines did. In addition – aftermarket companies used to sponsor legitimate car shows & events that were hosted by responsible, professional, well-staffed organizers. These types of things built-up the culture; not destroyed it. And what I’m calling ‘traditional media’ was able to exist, because it was funded by the automotive aftermarket through advertising budgets. In other words, advertising dollars were invested back THROUGH the culture… and it made one hell of a strong culture! Call it… teamwork. A tribe. A culture.
But about a decade ago…
The automotive industry really started pulling their advertising budgets from traditional media (magazines & events), in order to put that budget into their own social media pages. They fixated on becoming their own media. It was a selfish play in regards to the broader strength/health of true car culture. But it was one that was easy to justify, because they could count the likes & be the master of their own domain. Many of these auto-aftermarket companies started doing their own car features, Youtube channels, even hosting their own events and/or making their own online mags themselves. The thing is – can you call it true media if it’s really all just self-promotion to sell products? I don’t personally think so.
And as a result, there was a line of integrity & authenticity that was crossed. The true culture began to wilt when the aftermarket industry did not reinvest into the aftermarket industry to make itself a better place. It became all about attention on the gram… and not so much the love. Simultaneously, it put marketing-dollar steroids into all the social media platforms, and fed them daily to make them into the giant monsters they’ve become. That was the real downfall.
Cut to present day…
And ‘the kids’ now go to social media to learn about car culture. There’s really nowhere else to go anymore. And in this new world, algorithms decide what’s gonna be seen. On social media, car culture is not represented by passionate professionals who have a real interest in building the future & strength of car culture. Rather, it’s overrun with attention-seekers who have a vested interest in their own popularity – that’s it.
See… the automotive industry has now lost the ability to control the conversation.
There’s very few leaders anymore… but there’s a huge over-saturation of empty-calorie influencers. And the potential to go viral is bigger than the block… it’s global. Do you know what kind of peer pressure that puts on an idiot who needs attention? If there’s one thing we’ve learned… it’s that social media is Miracle Grow for ignorance & stupidity. The algorithm will always favor ignorant content being watched by ignorant people. So here we are. I guess… welcome to the new generation of car culture. Now it’s on all of us to somehow defeat the monster we’ve created.