Monday, June 11, 2012

OUR FAIR CITY:  Nathan Heller explains why we'll miss Car Talk:
[W]hat saves Car Talk’s backward striving from condescension and minstrelsy is—has always been—the honest yearning that appears to underlie it. The show holds a place in a broader nostalgic tradition, one that praises the local work of hands over the shady reach of corporate industry, the mechanical over the abstract. Craftsmanship is a dying skill, we sometimes hear, and in some sense Car Talk was one of its last public defenders. To host a car show heard largely by people in their cars is to underscore the physical fruit of physical work; to talk about the failures of cheap recent models is to emphasize what’s lost. There’s not a lot of Detroit in Car Talk but enough to make us realize what has gone.


  1. J. Bowman6:30 PM

    I used to live two blocks from their garage. It was actually fairly easy to schedule an appointment, maybe because they only took cash. I always appreciated them fixing my slowly-disintegrating '88 Civic, as opposed to simply collapsing in laughter every time I brought it in.

  2. Meghan7:57 PM

    I'm sort of sad about this in the general, "Aww, there goes a piece of Americana!" sense but, when you get right down to it, they annoy me.  I didn't take any pleasure in how funny they found themselves.  I do appreciate the service they offered but, yeah.  Not gonna miss it.

  3. The Pathetic Earthling3:16 AM

    Thank you.  The hagiography of this show really surprises me.  I mean, it was occasionally mildly entertaining, but I don't think it was very good radio.  I never felt particularly engaged in what they were talking about because they'd never miss an opportunity to break away from the subject matter to talk about themselves and remind the audience that they were funny guys.

    It would be as jarring as if Ira Glass stopped half way through a sentence:  "On Interstate 80, in the crowded frantic Friday night rush to get from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe ahead of the storm, a small group of men and women -- chain monkeys -- DID YOU KNOW I GRADUATED FROM BROWN UNIVERSITY? I AM FUCKING SMART -- who, for twenty bucks will put on your tire chains."  Well it would be jarring, except that was what they did in the middle of every single phone call.

  4. Genevieve2:51 PM

    When I went there, they didn't tell me they only took cash till after they'd done the repair.  Not a great business practice.  (Not to mention the fact that the problem they repaired kept recurring afterwards.)