Mikael Johnsson: Has it become ugly to know anything about cars? – Chronicles

“That’s not what’s strange. But both on radio and television, it’s not uncommon for people to brag about their ignorance on the subject.”

Has the subject of cars made a unique class trip in the wrong direction, wonders the test manager.

This is a chronicle. This means that the content is the writer’s own opinion.


Radio Stockholm’s traffic announcement tells about a car that got a puncture on Essingeleden and stopped. The driver apparently does not know how to change to the spare wheel and very long queues have formed behind the crew. A tow truck has just now changed the wheel for the driver who was able to continue rolling, but the queues are expected to remain for a while longer.

The traffic announcement ends and the regular morning broadcast takes over. Presenter 1 comments on the event:

“Poor thing, how lucky he got help. I would never have been able to do that either if it had happened to me, if I had had a puncture.”

Host 2: “No, God no. Neither had I. I don’t know anything about that kind of thing.”

I can understand that there are situations as you do not solve a puncture yourself. Man: is too old and frail, can’t get the wheel bolts off, lacks a spare wheel, has too old repair compound in the puncture kit, is wearing a white wedding dress. The location may also be too dangerous to work in – for example.

On the other hand, I have a little more difficulty understanding how people on the radio sit and flirt with the fact that they have absolutely no idea what they are doing and do not intend to exert themselves in the event of a puncture. Even though the incident just clearly described that significantly fewer fellow road users (ambulances?) would have been affected if only the driver could have put on the spare wheel himself, which was evidently in the car. This was also the second time in a short time that the topic of cars was clearly treated with marked disinterest in the program.

We look back to 2017 and SVT’s long-running “På spåret”. There, cultural journalists Johan Hilton and Kristin Lundell are asked what a valve, piston and connecting rod are called when these parts are pointed out on an engine sketch. The answer, served with a resounding smile, is “piston, catalytic converter and exhaust pipe”!

Program host Kristian Luuk can’t help but ask if they are joking. You can understand that, as the couple are by no means fools, but won the entire På spåret season 2016–2017.

In the exciting novel I’m reading at the moment, the following two sentences appear one after the other: “The white dimmer lights lit up the tarmac in front of him. He had placed the phone in plain sight with the screen facing up in front of the gearbox.”

The car magazine reader understands that fog lights are meant and that the phone is probably not inside the engine but rather in front of the gear selector. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy that the main character’s car and driving are described here and there, but with such details missing it shows that the editor that all authors have to ball their work with before publication has no interest in cars. There are probably finer topics?

On Sweden’s largest morning newspaper there are at least two otherwise good writers who obviously don’t know the difference between a trunk and a trunk. No, why should you? It’s only about cars.

Many plumbers, doctors, systems scientists, programmers, lawyers, etc. can understandably get angry at corresponding quirks when their area of ​​expertise is highlighted in a general context. But I wonder if the subject of cars hasn’t taken a unique class trip in the wrong direction since I started to understand what a car was as a little pal just under fifty years ago.

It is clear that the percentage of those deeply interested has plummeted from when the first pioneers in the country hit on the first Volvo in April 1927 to our everyday life today with what is disdainfully called mass motoring. It’s 95 years ago and that’s not the strange thing.

But both in radio and television it is not unusual that you really brag about your ignorance on the subject. Despite the fact that a driver’s license obligates a lot and despite the fact that traffic is not risk-free. (I don’t need to say what I think of the program idea “Sweden’s worst driver”.)

But how did the cars fall not just one floor down to some kind of normal level, but all the way to the bottom? Is it because cars emit exhaust gases that it is ugly to know something about them and then better not to? “Don’t blame me,” sort of. It’s something.

But then maybe the electric cars can slowly start to raise the status of the cars as a group again?

I doubt it – but we can hope!


Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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