Thursday, 25 October 2012

A prat by any other name

I suspect I’m not alone in finding the term ‘boy racer’ as irritating as the antics of those it’s used to describe.  Most aren’t ‘boys’ and, for the most part, nor are they ‘racers’.

They are poseurs whose cars are the equivalent of a body builder’s fake tan, baby oil and G-string. The size and sound of a car’s exhaust, the cost of its wheels and the decibel level of its sound system are what matter to them. The baldness of its tyres due to incessant ‘burnouts’, and the inadequacy of its handling due to modifications to increase its street cred, attest to the inaccuracy of the term ‘racer’. 

A true racer would sacrifice the flash for added dash.

No, these are indeed poseurs and I think we need a new name for them.

We could simply run car and poseur together – carposeur has a satisfying Latinate feel to it.

The Yiddish term ‘schmuck’ has a certain gender relevance and onomatopoeic appeal, and as their behaviour is both self-motivated and involves a vehicle, autoschmuck is both punchy and punny. 

The good old English word 'prat' is apt, given the schmucks spend most of their time sitting on that part of their anatomy. Prat also has the advantage of being gender neutral thus satisfying political correctness by reflecting the growing involvement of women.  It lends itself to other amusing puns like praternity and - given they think they have the right to do whatever they want, when they want - autoprat is a definite front runner.

It seems bizarre that so much time and money is invested in dealing with this phenomenon when it would be easily fixed by making people pay directly for third party insurance. Specialist insurers may well boast about how they will insure modified vehicles – but that’s for vehicle insurance which is never more than a few thousand dollars. Let a few multi-million dollar law suits for third party personal injury and death happen and see how quickly the underwriters leave town.

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