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Racing with God

NASCAR has merged with marketing and Christian fundamentalism. The opening ceremonies for the Pepsi 400 in Daytona were televised as a bizarre admixture of Pepsi-Britney-Spears-music-video-advertising and Christian sermonizing, with lip service paid to the possibility of other religions -- but only those that recognize one God. Dale Earnhardt, jr., not surprisingly, had what the announcers called a "very fast car." Could it be that, anointed by the media-marketing sector in the run-up to the 1st anniversary of his father's big-crash death, he was granted the ling a ding dang a lang a long ling long of stock cars? Not to worry, the beer- loving Republicans at the speedway, who also mostly believe that professional wrestling isn't rigged, will assume that Dale jr.'s win was a sign from above.

Meanwhile, all piousness aside, the strong possibility that a bunch of cars will get smashed up and that bodies will be mangled is a key attraction in this circular advertising derby. Never mind. NASCAR is natural. The folks believe that if they mouth a prayer, and the national anthem (led by a mullet headed country music star), the ensuing carnage is on God's conscience and not theirs. This rationalization is the perfect ideological complement, as the B-1 bomber and F-11 fighter fly-by during the anthem attested, to the light-hearted, imperialist, and mercenary military patrol of the persian gulf, which, incidentally, helps secure the enormous quantities of cheap petroleum that auto racing ignites in a perpetual fuel injected potlatch.

It's a spectacle the futurists would have appreciated. God bless chevy and bombs away...

Last updated July 8, 2001