Ed Driscoll

Bias--And BDS--In The Strangest Places

James Taranto spots this online chat involving a Post reader and Warren Brown, the Washington Post’s car columnist:

Clifton, Va.: Warren, my wife and I are considering a minivan in the near future. I like the idea of the Mazda5–truly a “mini” van–but saw that it’s basically a Mazda3 with more seats and more metal. How woefully underpowered is the 5?

Warren Brown: Ah, Clifton,what do you mean by “underpowered”? For many people, the 153-hp offered by the Mazda5 is quite enough. For others, it isn’t. Again, you can go to hell or to jail in a 153-hp vehicle just as fast as you can get to either one of those places in something with more horsepower. My thing is this: Horsepower should be taxed. The more you get, the more you pay. That seems fair to me in a world where only a few of us, mostly in military uniform, are paying dearly to secure oil for the horsepower the rest of us want. Or, is it that you accept the myth that we’re fighting for “freedom” in Iraq?

Astonishing, but as Taranto adds:

You see this all the time: writers who cover sports, technology, the arts or in this case cars, but wish they were political pundits, apparently believing their actual beat isn’t “important” enough. But almost invariably the political rants they insert into their work are as insipid as this Brown bit. C’mon, Warren, wouldn’t you rather be a first-rate car columnist than a fifth-rate Molly Ivins?

In one paragraph, Brown manages to make the NPR Car Talk guys to sound like actual automotive buffs, which really takes work.

Is it safe to say that just as Deborah Howell, the Post’s ombudswoman, dubbed William Arkin as one of the best-known “anti-military military bloggers“, that Brown is the anti-car car guy? Or is he simply anti-reader? Sometimes it’s hard to tell these days with newspapers.

Update: Related thoughts from Victor Davis Hanson and Glenn Reynolds.