Well, not sure if this is the proper place to have this discussion -- or that there are many who even want to have this discussion, but let me start with stating unequivocally that I cannot in any way, shape or agree with this statement: "All the good research has been done and there are no more hard questions left." On the contrary, I feel that we have yet to even begin to scratch the surface when it comes to the history of automobile racing. There are no end of questions and issues and topics which cry out to be given their due with proper research as well as considered thought and discussion.
Nor do I find myself in agreement with this statement: "The Nostalgia Forum has become a victim of its own success." I am not sure that it really has been a success in many ways even if successful in some areas. If anything, TNF is less a "a victim of its own success" and more a victim of its own complacency and a general lack of attention for items smacking of "academic" or "scholarly" interest. Indeed, I would suggest that reaching back to the very beginning of TNF back in November of 1999, that about seventy-five percent -- at least -- of the threads and their contents could disappear with no loss being suffered to The Record of the history of automobile racing.
Having said that, however, it should be noted that is merely the nature of the beast known as an internet forum. That as much as "only" twenty-five percent might be deemed worthy of retention is a remarkably high percentage, an extraordinary percentage when you think about. A worthy reflection on the many valuable and priceless contributions that have been made to this enterprise. One need only to examine the annual listing of the doctoral dissertations in history to grasp this idea.
It is not, of course, all doom and gloom despite an inclination to view things through the "half empty" portion of the glass. Fortunately, there are those who continue to plug away and enrich us with the fruits of their research and considered thoughts.
While La nostalgie n'est plus qu'elle était ("Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be") seems to be taken as some form of perjorative by some, that is also an appropriate thought because in some ways TNF must be considered as a success -- even if a qualified one -- simply because it has changed the idea, the notion, the whole concept, of how an internet forum can make real contributions to the discussion of various topics and subjects related to an area of history which might otherwise never get their moment of consideration before a broader audience, if you will.
I do not spare myself from any of my criticisms voiced above. I often have problems treating this as anything but just another internet forum, simply one that happens to have a lot more history on it than others. Worse of all, I have allowed myself to become discouraged when topic or subjects I find interesting seem to sink like a stone when the lack of interest expressed is such as to be almost sad at times. Also, like others, a certain complacency has set in: why bother? no one cares? just make the usual inane remarks on the bubba threads and save your brain cells for your other work.... Indeed, it is often more a case of just marking time here until something else comes along that is more aligned with my original -- and obviously misplaced -- aspirations for TNF.
At any rate, this is one of the very best examples of TNF living up to its promise and doing what I hoped it would do. However, there are still many other topics, some related to this one, still needing attention....
Don’s post has been in the back of my mind for some time and now, after a recent exchange I had with Doug, I think I know why.
The quality of this thread depends a lot on how we deal with history or at least with a story history has left us behind. The most thought provoking post to me was Tony Kaye’s somewhere on page six because he was looking for a story line and the logic behind the story. This set me off thinking about the incident at the Eifelrace and no matter what it is, true, false, or a figment of imagination, it is or would be a story of imminent failure.
Myths usually are about extreme human efforts or they glorify specific traits representative of desirable or undesirable human activities. No matter, the incident at the Eifelrace hardly qualifies. Maybe two cars were painted white, turned out to be overweight and had to be scraped clean, again. Big deal, one would think; yet a big enough deal to keep us posting for 18 pages.
The first half of the story has not been discussed much: Why would anyone want to paint the cars white in the first place? The second part of the story has been massively dismissed. Here I would like to suggest that we have lost sight of the story itself under all the evidence and opinions which have been exchanged. Thus this: I think the story is a bad one in the first place and Doug says as much when wanting to save Neubauer’s reputation as a “racer” in his last post. It would have made a lot of sense to forget the whole story.
Yet, in 1955 Ernst Rosemann brings it up. I assume he did it because he wanted to enlarge his reputation as an insider and maybe he had a hunch that people would look at the story from a very different angle as indeed they did: People did not think that the paint scraping bit was a perfectly silly because unnecessarily self-inflicted incident. To the contrary: the story was (well, almost) as good as Ulysses` wooden horse; what a clever thing to do!
Thanks to this forum I think to have gotten a much better grip of the story and the way we deal with history.
Oh, having said this and looking at the story from this angle: Would or could anyone make it up? I don’t think so.