Saturday, July 3, 2010

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

by Andrew Sean Greer

I've been working my way through the 33rd issue of McSweeney's, the newspaper issue, and was going to save all my comments and thoughts until I'd finished the entire thing (it's massive), but upon reading this long article by Andrew Sean Greer in the New York Times Magazine-like Panorama supplement, I figured it was more appropriate to talk about some of the articles on their own.

In this article, Greer and his husband travel to Michigan to take in a week-end of NASCAR racing.  Greer knows nothing about cars and racing, although his husband is an enthusiast of both, and figures that it might even be dangerous for a pair of gay Californians to attend such an event.

What he finds instead is a strange sub-culture of generous, big-hearted and welcoming people like Lucky and Jennifer, their campsite neighbours, who take them under their wings and show them around the massive campgrounds, as they search for Sin City, an area of the grounds known for, well, 'Sin', the details of which are never explained.

Greer's outsider take on the entire NASCAR culture is quite amusing, as he tries to fathom the thrill people get from watching cars drive in circles for two or more hours.  Also knowing nothing about cars, racing, or Michigan, I could relate throughout.  In the end, the article details a positive experience, as Greer tries to look past his deep-seated snobbishness and simply enjoy himself.  His prose is clear, and he makes interesting use of the second person.

No comments: