No Need To Convince the Unconvincable

Joe Drape seems to be on some sort of radio tour, talking about his piece in the New York Times. Yesterday he entered the friendly (to him) confines of the NPR studio to chat. My reaction to that was "bleh", he is speaking to an audience that likely isn't with racing in the first place. A non-starter.

There's a whole lot of chatter currently in our sport, with those trying to convince people that things really are not that bad. The problem as I see it, is that we're wasting time with public relations, trying to convince people who are not convincable.

When I was a kid I went to University, and this school had a huge share of uber-lefties. Not regular left-of-center people who may vote a certain way, but really militant folks. I remember the first or second week I was there, the teaching assistants were on strike for more money, and this group of sympathizers was really upset. They picketed with them, brought them coffee, and did whatever they could to help. I worked at a mine throughout high school for $9 an hour to pay for school, and thought the $25/hr they were getting was pretty good, especially since it was a job that had line-ups through the quad to land. I didn't say so of course.

There were four or five such strikes during the year, and they worked for them all. After the people they were supporting got raises, tuition at the end of the year went up (because, of course, someone has to pay for higher wages). Then they started protesting the government because tuition went up. I wasn't in tune with these folks. They just didn't make much sense to me.

I had attended the track one afternoon and went to a party that night, off campus. I was chatting with a couple of friends and mentioned that I had missed an exotic, or that a trainer was winning with everything. Small talk. I was overheard by one of the really mean lefty women. And she had already consumed a few beers, or bongs, or whatever she was having.

She asked a couple of questions about where I was, then got about two inches from my face and said "You realize you are a part of a blood sport, don't you?"

Within a half minute I was surrounded by a swarm of crazy lefties. A couple of the guys were harmless - I think they were pretend militants, trying to sleep with some of the girls - but these folks were pretty mad.

If you go to a Tea Party thing and try to place a rational thought about a social issue, you likely won't get anywhere. Well, with folks like this you won't either.

So,  I made up a pile of stuff about horse racing.

I told them that manure from horses was used to grow grass and prevent urban sprawl. That grooms and the people that worked with the horses got paid huge money. That they had a union. That horses had the government looking over them each day. Total BS.

It didn't work, but a couple of my friends had a laugh.

To this day they probably remember the dude at a party that was "in that bloodsport". They probably listened to NPR yesterday and said "I told you  racing was that bad!"

It's why I wonder why we even bother with PETA. PETA, in their platform, has a plank that animals should have the same rights people do. That's nonsensical. In 10,000 years if you encroach on a beaver dam on your property, you won't be in court being sued by a beaver. Judges, for as long as the Earth is still spinning, will never utter the words: "Will the plaintiff please paddle". It's crazy.

So why do we even engage them? It's a waste of time. They'll never be convinced.

Racing, I guess, has to worry about Joe Drape, or whomever. But time is much better spent doing something to move us forward: Take what Drape says that is correct, and do something about it. If so, maybe someday, somewhere, at a party at a left wing University, a kid who loves horses and all animals won't be getting called a fan of a "blood sport" for going to the racetrack.


Anonymous said...

I listen to NPR, and I work in the horse industry. When you lump everyone who listens to NPR into one category, how is that different from when the liberals thought that they knew everything about horse racing? Fresh Air, the show that featured Joe Drape, also had several shows promoting the HBO series LUCK. But, I guess that was only so that they could condemn it later for killing horses.

I agree with you, we need to move forward, but I'm not sure why you need to resort to name-calling and stereotyping to do it.

Pull the Pocket said...


The time I mentioned NPR in the article I typed:

"... he is speaking to an audience that likely isn't with racing in the first place"

I don't see any name calling there. I also said "likely isn't with us".

Opinion polls show the public believes NPR is left of center, so I don't think I am going out on a limb there.

Regardless, it really doesn't have much to do with the piece, but you are free to express yourself as I am.

Have a nice Friday!


kyle said...

Yeah, you can't convince the crazies but for the benefit of the vast, uninformed, but generally reasonable, middle you have to counter the misinformation. As Twain said,"A lie is have way around the world before the truth even puts on its pants."
Aside, why the gratuitus swipe at The Tea Party? Granted, there were some nuts among the throngs ( which, by the way, was generally a model of good citizenry), but to say the movement lacks reasonableness I don't understand. You might disagree, but the idea that lack of revenue is not the problem but profligate spending is hardly unreasonable. On a related point, it always surprises me when those who understand the benefits of supply side economics when it comes to racing ( that is lower taxes equals increased economic activity and usually greater revenue)resist acknowledging that dynamic as it applies to the economy as a whole.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hey Kyle,

I am getting swiped here from the left and the right. Does that mean I did a good job with a piece I wrote in less than ten minutes? :)

I used it as an illustration. When you are in the "heart of the lion", whether it be on the left or the right, good, honest debate can be put on the backburner.

If I was pro-racing, I choose not to speak with people at a party with entrenched positions. If I was pro-gay marriage, a tea party is not where I'd go to try and sway hearts and minds.

I find life is far too short to argue with people who've already made up their minds.

You make a good point though, and anyone who quotes Mark Twain is good people in my book :)


kyle said...

Just to be clear, I'm not the right. I'm a liberal in the classic sense.

Cool World said...

PTP, why the swipe at bong users? Some of them love the races.

JD said...

This day in age, it's sad that politics cannot be mentioned in any sort of context without people taking something the "wrong" way or feeling like they've been "classified" incorrectly. It's about time we all start taking ourselves a little less seriously and not dissecting small portions of a good blog piece because of minor political sensibilities.

Steve Zorn said...

Just couldn't resist. Guess I was one of those allegedly crazy lefties (though you couldn't have been at my school -- Wisconsin -- because there was no racing in the state). I was President of the teaching assistants' union there for two ears and learned such useful skills as how to throw teargas canisters back at the cops without getting burned and how to shoot holes in a Nobel prize-winner's liquid nitrogen containers as a way of increasing the pressure on university management; as I'm sure you know, big research universities don't care about teaching, but the do care about Nobel prizes.

And I love horses and racing, and I listen to NPR, which is way too far to the right, and to WBAI in New York, a more legitimately left station.

And I think we shouldn't get id of Lasix -- precisely because I do care about the horses.

So don't put us all in one box, please.

Pull the Pocket said...

Hi Steve,

Geez, you lefties are almost as sensitive as the righties lol.

My story is a story, not a blanket statement. The PETA types at my school (like most PETA types) were "animals should have human rights" left wingers (some communists, if I am being honest). I used them to illustrate.

Not all lefties are horse racing haters, and before the righties get after me, I'll posit that all righties are not all anti-abortion gun toters.

I'll never get invited to Real Time with Bill Mahar with such out on a limb, incendiary statements, but I never liked Mahar anyway.




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