I'm going to take Gregg Doyel to task over...something. I know it involves sexiness, which is a glorious, beautiful thing that I just don't trust in the hands of someone who spells Gregg with three g's.
Danica Patrick wants it both ways, and please -- please -- get your mind out of the gutter. That wasn't a sexual reference...
It's been a long time since I've seen writing that classy. And by classy, I mean middle school classy (OOH! BURN!!!). Look, I'm as male as the next fella - I actually considered changing my name to Joe Six-Pack but I just didn't feel it was stereotypically manly and American enough - and even I didn't notice the double entendre there until ol' Greggy (Gregggy?) pointed it out. Nothing says "quality journalism" like making a juvenile sex joke and then calling your readers perverts. Because that's what he's calling all of you right now: perverts. And I know for a fact that some of you aren't. Well, at least I hope we have a non-pervert readership. Honestly, I just hope we have a readership.
Like I said, she wants it both ways -- she wants to be treated like a serious racecar driver, but she also wants to be seen as a sex object -- when her body of work suggests she is only one of them. Assuming you find her sexy.
I dunno, I think this is reasonably sexy. Maybe not first-world all-hottie (man, I'm so proud this is the subject of my first post) but still perfectly decent. And doesn't she get extra points for driving fast cars? Guys like fast cars, right? I mean...GRR!!! VRRM VRRM!!!
So yeah, I think Danica Patrick is pretty sexy, certainly by the standards of race car drivers. But hey, what do I know? I think Sanjuro is superior to Yojimbo! (I mean, really...)
Considering she hasn't won a race in her three seasons on the IndyCar circuit -- a tiny, elite series where getting a ride is the hardest accomplishment -- she's still a novelty act. Patrick is the pretty young thing trading paint with the men.
People who have raced on the IndyCar circuit in 2007: 32
People who have won races on the IndyCar circuit in 2007: 6
That means there are six real racers and twenty-six novelty acts on IndyCar at the moment. And that seems really unlikely, unless they've all got great gimmicks on a par with being reasonably sexy in a male-dominated sport (I know for a fact that Ryan Hunter-Reay yodels while he races, but you can't really hear it over the, you know, race cars).
Also, Danica Patrick is seventh in total points - that's the best of anybody who hasn't won a race - has four top-5 finishes and eleven top-10s. I honestly had no idea what I'd find when I looked up these IndyCar stats, and I must admit I was deathly afraid Danica would be the second-worst racer or something. But no - she's seventh-best. Which is really pretty reasonable in a thirty-two driver league, especially one as supposedly prestigious as IndyCar, right? Right?
OK, I have to admit: I know nothing about IndyCar racing. I don't even really care that much. But I DO care about what is sexy, and in the name of defending that which is reasonably sexy, I'm willing to go out on a limb and say Gregg Doyel is full of crap. Crap I say!
To be fair, Doyel does deal with this later in his article, where he basically says only seventeen people really race in IndyCar and that being seventh out of seventeen makes you mediocre. Whatever. Being seventh best in a premiere racing league still means she's competing on a par with men in a men's league, which I think means it's valid to find her story compelling. Certainly, I see no need to write a long, drawn-out attack against her. And neither does Gregg, because he's about to make one massive right turn into Tangent Town. Gregg?
This could change, but as of now Patrick barely deserves to be called an athlete. She's certainly not Anna Kournikova, another sex object from the sports world who was mocked for never winning a tournament in her eight years on tour. That's a lie, by the way. Kournikova won 16 doubles events, including two majors. If you're going to tell me that her regular partner, Martina Hingis, carried her to most of those titles, I'd counter with a question: When Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were dominating in men's doubles a decade ago, who carried whom?
Now that's a great question. I've got some more!
1. When Jesse Block and Eva Sully were dominating husband-and-wife Vaudeville comedy acts in 1930s New York City, who carried whom?
2. When Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner were writing the acclaimed screenplay for National Lampoon's Van Wilder, who carried whom?
3. When Quintus Fulvius Flacus III and Appius Claudius Pulcher were dominating the Roman consulship in 212 BC, who carried whom?
4. When Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein were showrunning The Simpsons, who carried whom?
5. When Spider-Man and Killraven dominated the Martians in Marvel Team-Up #45, who carried whom?
The answers, of course, are that they were all equally codependent, except for Spider-Man, who quite clearly was carrying Killraven against the Martians. (Incidentally, it is my sincerest hope that the only comments I get pertain to my unprovoked attack against Killraven. Make it happen, people.)
Doubles tennis is the second thing in this post that I gleefully know nothing about, but I will point something out that may or may not have anything to do with anything...
Singles career of Laender Paes: Runner-up in four majors, won one career title, highest ranking ever no. 73
Singles career of Mahesh Bhupathi: Never got past the second round in any majors, no career titles, highest ranking ever no. 217
Singles career of Anna Kournikova: Once reached the semifinals of Wimbledon, no career titles, highest ranking ever no. 8
Singles career of Martina Hingis: Won five majors, 45 career titles, highest ranking ever no. 1
A couple things strike me - one, Laender Paes was clearly carrying Mahesh Bhupathi, and two, this is a really silly comparison. Gregg Doyel is comparing two very mediocre (and that's being charitable to Bhupathi) singles players who combined for an unstoppable doubles team. That doesn't illuminate anything about a pairing of an above-average player (Kournikova) and all-time great (Hingis).
Doyel goes on to make some arguments that Kournikova was actually underrated as a player, which I actually find relatively interesting because I'm always intrigued by unconventional wisdom, especially when it involves giving credit to people who are sexy (I only read Moneyball because I like getting lost in Scott Hatteberg's eyes). But his argument is so shoddy and anecdotal and generally unconvincing that I remain unmoved. Also...
What the hell is this article supposed to be about? Oh, that's right, Danica Patrick, and how Gregg Doyel thinks she's a total hussy. The rest of the article is basically a long-winded description of her spread in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and her disgustingly sexy answers in an interview in the same issue.
There she is, peeling off her racecar suit to reveal the bikini. In another she turns to the camera so we can see her rear end as she holds a racing helmet. In another she's pouring out of her racing suit as she lies in the sand. And finally there's a full-page photo of her wearing only her bikini bottom -- no racing suit, no helmet, no bikini top. She's covering her breasts with her left hand while lips part suggestively and her right hand fluffs up her flowing mane of silky brown hair and ...
I think that Gregg Doyel is going to the trouble of writing he's aroused by all this as part of a clever ploy to concede that yes, these photos are having their intended effect on red-blooded American men like Gregg Doyel. But really it just makes him sound like a vaguely puritanical moron who, having awoken from his five-decade cryogenic slumber, still finds the swimsuit issue the height of public erotica when I'm pretty sure googling ANY word in the English language will, within twenty hits, provide you with more shocking images than that (although any of you poor fools who google "tadpole" have only yourselves to blame). Also, this passage forced me to imagine Gregg Doyel aroused, and there are certain things you just can't unsee.
On the back page, an interview with Patrick is wrapped around a photo of her sitting on a bed, covering her presumably full-frontal nudity with a pillow. In that story Patrick says she hasn't seen the swimsuit edition yet and asks her interviewer if she's on the cover. (No.) She asks if she was given a pull-out centerfold. (No.) She hints that she has raced nude under her racing suit -- underwear "gets in the way," she says -- and she says she'd like to see fellow drivers Tony Kanaan and Helio Castroneves in swimsuits.
Huh...she sounds like fun. Is this going anywhere? Incidentally, since I know Danica is reading this blog, I'm more than happy to oblige on the Helio front. No luck with Mr. Kanaan, unfortunately. Dude must be a prude or something.
Also, I'm really glad all this criticism is coming from a guy who very clearly has a horny high schooler's (in other words, a high schooler's) view of anatomy:
She can take off her clothes for Sports Illustrated and appear in a GoDaddy.com commercial where an actual beaver is used as a euphemism for, well, you know what a beaver is a euphemism for.
Heh, heh...heh. Man, I miss all the best commercials when I don't own a TV. Gregg, it's called "a vagina", and everybody's got one...well, except dudes, of course. They have...well, I believe the term you prefer is "man-a-ram."
Over the years Patrick has admitted to using sex to sell herself. "It really doesn't matter to me," she has said. "Whatever sells tickets. Whatever brings them back. ... I use my femininity, which is nothing that hasn't happened before and nothing I'm opposed to. I want more TV viewers, too, and I want more fans in the Indy Racing League."
Terrific. She'll get what she wants. Every time she drops her trousers, a few more men will tune in to watch. But as her novelty on the track wears off and her desperation for a headline increases, how low will those trousers go?
Oh, I get it - this is really all about protecting Danica from herself. Gregg Doyel has seen one too many starlets flame out and flame away - it was one of the Spears sisters that finally did it, he's not sure which - and now he's going to save them all from their wanton sexuality and savvy self-marketing. Gregg Doyel: moral defender, American hero.
At this point I'm wondering what we're going to see first from Danica Patrick:
Her car in Victory Lane ... or the beaver.
I am SO glad this guy is a self-appointed moral arbiter. And I am SO glad this is my first post.