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Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday September 11, 2008
Every once in awhile, something is publicized that, when you read it, leaves you scratching you head (or other parts of your anatomy) wondering — just where the heck did that come from? Such is the case with the recent Rolling Stone article featuring Tony Stewart.
Normally, I never would have even read the article because, in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care. However, after hearing other members of the staff here at The Frontstretch going on about it around the virtual office’s virtual water cooler, I had to take a look for myself.
I will admit right now that the first thought that crossed my mind as I was reading it was how poorly it was written. I haven’t won any Pulitzer Prizes or anything but, damn! That was sad! If that is the quality of writing that is coming from a long respected rag such as Rolling Stone, the owners of Frontstretch and I will be re-negotiating my contract real soon! Among some of the blatant guffaws that jumped out at me were the author’s assertions that us rednecks come to a track weeks in advance of a race, no driver is assailed with as much hate as Tony Stewart during driver introductions, and the observance that smoke from a “celebratory rubber burn” is a greasy black color.
But aside from the obvious technical flaws of the article, my second thought was – why would Tony Stewart go out of his way to expose his own personal flaws in such a manner?
Now, some will say that the article was a great piece of literature that showed the “true” personality of the man known as “Smoke,” but do we need to know everything about him? Did we really need to know that he is such a womanizer that, according to Tony, “My parents are afraid my dick’s gonna rot off?” Or that upon realizing his “girlfriend” wasn’t the “one” that “Oh, we had to fire her?” What are you trying to say, Tony? You had to pay the girl to be your girlfriend?
Yes, Tony Stewart is a talented, rich young bachelor. His skill at racing just about anything that has wheels is undisputed. His fiery disposition and outspokenness is well documented; but really, Tony, did we really need to learn that you also have no shame?
I, as most everyone else on the planet (I say “most” because I have yet to meet everyone on the planet), have skeletons in my closet, too. I admit that I like doughnuts, fights, and women (back off ladies, I’m taken!), but when the time comes that I finally get my picture on the cover of the Rolling Stone, I want to be able to buy five copies for my mother… without her being ashamed!
I wonder how many copies Tony bought his mom.
Stay off the wall,
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I’m not sure, but given the source of the article, I wouldn’t be surprised if the writer took only the stuff he wanted from interviewing Tony so he can make the kind of point he wanted to make.
Think about it: here’s a hip/cool (or at least it used to be) magazine, and now you get to write for it, and (putting on the arrogant writer personality here, not my personal view) they have you do an article about some redneck sport you don’t care about (as evidenced by the technical flaws). You have to interview some driver you haven’t heard of since you look down your nose at the sport, that once he figured out you were clueless probably couldn’t help (given his personality) letting you know he thought you were clueless.
So what do you do, because some redneck driver has the nerve to give you a ‘tude? You do a hatchet job on him and his sport. You ignore the charitable things he does, the good parts of his personality, what he’s like when he’s not partying or at the track; you don’t interview his friends or other journalists – or Kyle Petty, since TS has done so much for Victory Junction that KP treats him like family. And of course, because Rolling Stone is less relevant than ever and needs to do anything to get people to buy magazines, they print it.
Tony is not a simple man, he’s got a lot of aspects to his personality, and this article just covers one of those aspects. Who among us isn’t a jerk once in a while? How many guys haven’t partied or (at least tried to) womanize a bit in the bachelor pasts? Sorry, I’m not in a position to throw stones here.
You do realize that Rolling Stone Magazine is strictly for and about entertainment don’t you ? Come on Jeff . The story was written to glamorize a race car driver in exactly the same way as they write stories to glamorize rock stars . The bios in Rolling Stone are always the same basic story . Have been for thirty years . All that changes is the names . Instead of Robert Plant being a stud and giving the establishment the finger , we substitute the name Tony Stewart and we’ve got our piece for this months edition .
Actually Rolling Stone has been a great publication for its’ entire history , but if you’re looking for absolute honesty in any bio , you’re going to be sadly dissapointed . The truth about people is rarely all that entertaining .
And watching the way NA$CAR is being run today, and the direction it is headed in, the next NA$CAR related article will be in the National Enquirer!
And that’s about where it should be, certainly not in any decent racing magazines!
A farce is a farce!
I’ve met Tony twice and each time he was a joy to be around. The first time I was able to get my picture taken with him and then the next time we met he autographed it.
And the second time I met him was at a Home Depot in Ann Arbor during one of the Red Wings Stanley Cup runs and no one came out. There were about a dozen or so of us left halfway through his session and no more where coming. So Tony just sat up there and talked to us. Answered questions, joked and even signed the dash of a couple of people’s car. It was a good time.
I just wonder if he was acting for us, his fans, or Rolling Stone.
Alot of his comments were actually him just talking to his buddies and joking around. The “reporter” at that point didn’t even have his pen and paper with him at least that is what Tony said. So it wasn’t like that guy sat down with Tony asked him questions and that was what he got from Tony. He got those quotes from Tony just joking around with his buddies.
Tony’s personality disorders are well documented. NASCAR does have some real class-act drivers, Tony isn’t on that list.
Tony says it and does it his way. Very rare in todays vanilla PC BS entertainment circle. In that RS article, we saw how he really is. Take it or leave it. Like him or loathe him. I kina felt some-what sorry for him – coming home to an empty house. All that coin and no one (wife and/or kids) to share it with.
If Tony were to meet his demise this weekend (God forbid, as I wouldn’t want that to happen), his legacy would be greater than those of Tim Richmond and Alan Kulwicki combined. We’d tell our grandchildren how he came up thru the ranks, what he drove, how well he road the yellow line in the corners, how he went side to side with the best, how many championships he won, how he mouthed off and how he lead a desperado lifestyle. Tony is who he is. We need more like him.
The RS article was hard to read/follow. It jumped around and I found myself re-reading paragraphs. It was not as smooth as yours Jeff :)
RS hasn’t been relevant in 20 years.
Exactly Melissa. I listened to an interview with Tony on the Dan Patrick show this morning. When asked about the RS article, he stated that he should have remembered that a reporter doesn’t stop when the pen and notebook are gone. That most of those statements were made when it was just a bunch of guys sitting around and kidding with each other.
I picture this “reporter” as the geek in HS sitting in the corner of the cool party he can’t believe he’s at. Then exaggerating the facts to anyone who will listen.
I have to agree, it rung of Tony just hanging with the guys, joking around….the usual exaggerations (i.e worrying about his dick falling off) that happens when a bunch of guys hang out. How do I know this? I have 2 brothers. I’ve been “just one of the guys” for years. :)
AND the total lack of knowledge of the sport shown by the writer just blew me away, too….
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.