Brandon just wanna drive his race car

My colleague, columnist John McWhorter, a linguist by training, Noted in a recent essay, the slogan was an American example of a euphemi...


My colleague, columnist John McWhorter, a linguist by training, Noted in a recent essay, the slogan was an American example of a euphemistic linguistic practice known in South Africa as hlonipha, in which a harmless word or phrase is substituted for a statement that may offend. “Let’s go, Brandon! Also works as a “group salute” for Republicans, McWhorter wrote.

It didn’t seem to suit Mr. Brown very well. “I don’t want this to be just a substitute for a swear word,” he said. Then he reconsidered his position, “I mean, if that makes it more polite, then by God I guess go ahead,” he said.

Part of his problem is that he faces a microcosm of what NASCAR sails. The “challenge of the motor racing association is to seduce a new audience without alienating the old one, even if it seeks to stand out from what was dear to this old audience”, Roy Furchgott recently wrote in the New York Times. NASCAR is trying to appeal to a new generation of younger and more diverse fans and to hang on as a cultural center of the conservative White South. Earlier on Mr. Brown’s victory day, a group of racing fans carried Confederate flags outside the freeway, the fourth such protest against NASCAR’s ban on Confederate flags from its events.

“This whole victory at Talladega was meant to be a celebration and then it was meant to be something that I could use to progress, and I really wanted to build on it,” said Mr Brown. “But with this meme going viral, it was more, I had to stay quieter, because everyone wanted it to go on the political side. I’m on the running side.

Before our round, we talked about racing, and Mr. Brown was lively and intense as he explained the basics: how the Xfinity Series is similar to AAA, the highest echelon in minor league baseball, and why the retention of the gas is crucial (you are wasting refueling time). After the ride, we sat at a picnic table near the Dominion Raceway. My stomach started to calm down and I started asking him questions about politics.

Mr. Brown looked away from me, over the runway, trying to make sure he was speaking carefully. He’s a Republican, he says. He makes sure to vote on election day and he would like to encourage others to vote as well, but he prefers not to say who he voted for.

And did he think we should, well, swear at Joe Biden?

“The problem is, I don’t know politics enough to form a real opinion, so I’m really focusing on racing,” he said.

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