Monday, November 2, 2009

Larry Woody, Sociologist-at-Large

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 2:54 PM

click to enlarge carrace2.jpg
At the risk of showcasing my own effete jet-set noblesse, I'm going to pick a fight with Larry Woody about auto racing. In today's City Paper, Woody waxes sociological about the impending demise of racing at the fairgrounds as some kind of conspiracy by egghead elitists with "fancy degrees" who "don't know Coo Coo Marlin from a corn dog." Actually he could be right about that. But he's dead wrong when he gets to the matter of noise:
Is racing noisy? Of course it is. It was noisy when the first race was run at the fairgrounds in 1904, and it's been noisy ever since. But as third-generation racer Sutherlin Marlin reminded the Fair Board during a recent meeting, only residents older than 105 have a right to complain. All others knew racing was there when they moved in. "It's like somebody buying a house by the airport--usually at a pretty good bargain--then complaining about the planes flying over," [racetrack operator Danny] Denson said. "There's not a single person living in this neighborhood who wasn't aware that there was a racetrack here when they moved in."
You don't need none of them fancy degrees to know what a loopy argument that is. As neighborhoods grow and change, the people living in them do get to decide what they do and don't want contaminating ears and lungs. It's not at all like an airport, which is a core civic necessity. And let's not pretend this is an issue only for those who live directly in the shadow of the fairgrounds. We hear those engines roaring every weekend from a neighborhood three miles away, and on a good night when the wind and atmospheric conditions are right, we can hear it inside with windows closed. A huge piece of the city has to put up with that racket week after week.

So you tell me, Larry: How is one supposed to study for that advanced degree whilst savoring a glass of cabernet when you can't even hear the Mozart concerto on the wireless? (And is it okay to dip the corn dog in the cabernet?)

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