Rat rodding actually requires stupidity…..
Why do I loath, even hate rat rods? Why am I so vociferous in my objections to what it is these people do? To put it bluntly, and in deference to those of you who participate in building such questionable vehicles and your accompanying monosyllabic dim wittedness – the only way to shake things up enough to force a change is to rock the boat a little bit. Make people mad, and get them to THINK. Thusly then and only then can you begin a dialog in which someone like myself can get people to listen to reason. Or at the very least to hopefully begin to encourage a serious self accounting as to why it is one would believe that rat rods have any redeeming value what so ever.
Traditional rodding- in its current form- began as a knee jerk, grass roots reaction to the overbolwn excesses and runaway economical silliness of street rodders who had more money in paint jobs than some people had in their homes.
Initially what began as a return to a more simplistic, common sense approach to car building- indeed it was nearly parsimonious in its scope- ie: the traditional kulture, soon was seen as a threat to the street rod faithful. But what made it so was the kultures overall beautiful simplicity. Traditional kulture in the early days possessed the sinewy economy of a beautiful suspension bridge. Build your car, with what you can get your hands on, and do all the work yourself [that you're capable of] but do so in a way that honored and acknowledged the time honored practices of the past.
The rat rod “theory” -for lack of a better term -is not just a bad theory, it turns out it is IN PRINCIPAL incapable of doing the job required of it. That is to say, to try to return to our kulture a common sense approach to car building.
Built seemly only to elicit a reaction from what amounts to ignorant savages, there is no redeeming value in anything that a rat rod “builder”, (for lack of a better term) does.
So, returning to tactics- and the pro rat rod lobby, I want to argue that rocking the boat, may be just the right thing to do. My approach to attacking this morally bankrupt and desperately stupid manner of car construction then is to confront the movement as a whole. To single out individuals or their cars serves only to alienate each person as they are so criticized. In short, there is nothing to be gained in ad hominem attacks. I want to address the entire spectrum at once, since because I feel the movement is flawed at a molecular level. I argue not for a return to formula, but rather for an abolition of the work entirely. There is little, if anything, to be gained by gluing plastic rats to your instrument panel, and less still redeeming value in purposely shooting holes in the body of your car, or sanding it to bare metal and allowing it to rust, simply to support some misbegotten belief that a car that appears barely capable of simply holding its own shape, (let alone drive down the road) is somehow inherently possessed of some heretofore unknown value or street credit. It is, in fact, stupidity personified.
For the most part, the rat rod topography, if you will, is by in large populated by johnny come lately know nothing hopefuls. In my view, not only is rat rodding corrosive to our kulture, it's corrosive to the automotive hobby in its totality. It teaches people to be satisfied with sub par construction, poorly executed design (assuming any of these idiots actually give even a momentary passing thought to what it is they are about to do, when in the midst of construction of these “cars”) and disregard, in large part anything to do with safety, or practicality. Let alone just simple good taste.
Moreover it blinds themselves and worse yet, other people to the wonderful, reaffirming and positive things that TRADITIONAL car building embraces. That is to say, elegance, common sense, true creativity and the glorification of historically significant time honored methods of actually building something that you wouldn’t otherwise be immediately compelled to defecate on.
To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson; "In every country and in every age, the rat rod has been hostile to intelligence.”
More disturbing now, is the wider acceptance of the rat rod phenomena ( I refuse to acknowledge it as a “movement” as it will be proven, over time I believe, that this is only a fad, induced by the uninitiated, and propped up by such things as reality tv, and low I.Q’s ) Magazines –both new and long established- have taken the opportunity to parade such stupidity time and again, in a desperate effort to cash in on a quick buck and an ignorant undifferentiated ego mass of mouth breathing, PBR swilling , copycats. As to the new publications one can only wonder why it is these people put more effort into a magazine than their own cars. To the established periodicals, I say SHAME ON YOU! You should know better. Stand for something, just once, (beyond that of making more profit). . . stop pandering to the lowest possible common denominator.
The apparent popularity of such magazines stems from the misbegotten belief that badly built, ugly cars, are somehow desirable. I am here to tell you different. NO ONE with an automotive IQ above 50 revels in the fact that people are now engaged in a race to see who can be the stupidest person at a car show, in the least amount of time or to put it another way - who can assemble the most shocking or maladjusted car out of the least likely combination of parts all under the guise of “origianal creativity.”
Make no mistake, this is a call to action. It is your DUTY to passover shows that support or encourage this kind of automotive expressionism. It is your DUTY to never support in a financial sense any of these publications that try to promote or extort the “value” of rat rodding. It is you DUTY to proselytize against shoddy workmanship, and lack of design. And lastly it is your DUTY to build, drive and take pride in your own project, be it hot rod or kustom. Regardless of what stage of construction its in. It is one thing to drive an unfinished car, that is ever moving forward to a clearly stated goal or level of completion. It is quite another to simply toss your hands up and build garbage and expect to be rewarded for it, from anyone that actually knows anything about what it is your fucking with. Namely, my kulture.
The battle has only but begun my friends. I have many weapons at my disposal. A top selling, well respected magazine, a weekly radio show / podcast that has thousands of listeners, and a soon to be revealed tv show. I will in fact, use everything in my power to encourage and force the debate forward, until such time as the term RAT ROD has been stricken from the lexicon, and we remember the entire debacle as only a fading pair of headlights attached to a non functional car stranded in a ditch, along histories roadside in our rear view mirrors.