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Old 26-02-10, 06:43 AM
Claude Claude is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 153
Default Critique of the critique

Originally Posted by gjaf View Post
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I did read the whole document, although I did not study some of the drawings to the point of total comprehension.

In science, there is a problem when the objective observer brings his own mask of what passes for reality and therefore produces his evaluation and interpretations based on that mask.

In philosophy I have always been fascinated how Plato understood this problem, and therefore wrote his dialogues as a mirror so that the academic who would interpret them would write about their own view of reality rather than that of Socrates. I tend to think this is why his works have survived.

In this same vein, I must commend Mr. Farquar for his hard work, but at the same time suggest that it fails to accomplish what it represents to achieve.

We have come to define reality in a particular way, which among other things, sets a particular standard for what constitutes a good web site, a subject that Mr. Farquar critiques with a scathing review. He presents as the model of excellence the work product of top photographers, graphic designers and advertising agencies. The reality of course is different. Most land rovers, for example will not be found on a low tide beach, breathing the brisk fresh air of the seaside, but in an upscale carpark or picking the kiddies up from school. Most upscale 4 wheel drives are never put through their paces; it's all about image. Especially among the young, the blurring of reality with image is such that the derivative reality is becoming more real for them than the physical. To put it bluntly, the web site is irrelevant to Bristol or Bristol reality. It is important to Mr. Farquar because he believes it is important. He is of the derivative reality generation.

I found the reference to Robert Farago's on-line review of Bristols to be inappropriate. Mr. Farago was unable to get any interest from Bristol Cars or any owner of a reasonable condition late model car. So instead he borrowed a junker. The balance of the quote would have revealed:

"What are the two things that can be seen from outer space?" the owner asked rhetorically. "The Great Wall of China and the panel gaps of a Bristol." True enough, despite the fact that this particular Blenheim had recently enjoyed a body-off restoration– to eliminate rot. Which was discovered after the car's paint had cracked (necessitating a total re-spray). Whereupon the owner's mechanics addressed a veritable laundry list of mechanical ailments: inoperative air conditioning, "inappropriate" shock absorbers, a failed exhaust system, two blown window motors, axle whine, insufficient engine cooling and more."

Inappropriate shock absorbers, a failed body off restoration... the reviewed car was a scam, and the owner a hapless victim. From the description, it sounds as if the car would have been in a scrap heap had it had an ordinary badge on it. Instead it is a bodge, a tarted up old car bought by an unsuspecting fool.

Quoting Robert Farago's review is at the same level as quoting the Sun. Gossip not news.

I would rather have facts. Please measure the gaps of a new Bristol in the showroom. Are they consistent? How do they compare to other cars... and is there some standard about how wide or narrow the gap should be? Is it evidence of bad manufacture? Proof please, not gossip about a worn out heap.

The death trap page again shows the mask through which the author writes. He believes in computers. He believes in anti-lock brakes, traction control and air bags. I do not know if the statistics have changed, but Tony Crook used to claim that only three people have died in Bristols... one pulverized by a lorry, another drove off a cliff. In fact, I inspected and photographed a 410 that fell off a mountain in New York state and went through the roof of a barn. Not only did the occupants survive, the car did. Bristols are extremely strong cars that use a separate chassis and an energy absorbing aluminium body to protect the occupants.

"...completely irresponsible" is a nanny-state view of life. It is a belief that we must rely on engineering rather than skill, that we do not need to learn to drive, but only to operate the joystick; that the software will keep us out of trouble. This is a view of reality, indeed one very strong both in England, and in my country of New Zealand. However, it is not the reality of Bristol Cars or its customers.

Bristol sells cars in which the software is wired into the DNA. The driver learns how to brake in ice, snow or gravel so the wheels do not lock. The driver learns how much gas to give so the tyres do not lose traction. The driver learns how to avoid crashes, and for safety buckles up. In short, the buyer of a Bristol is mature, has learned to drive the car, and selects it for these very virtues. Again, we have a clash of realities

Question Mr. Farquar. Have you ever been in a car crash and been hit by the airbag? If not, try it. It may cause you to re-evaluate page 50.

Finally, I note the owner's survey has a fundamental flaw in it. I may have missed it, but it is important to state the average age of the cars covered in the survey. The 412 came out thirty-five years ago. The Brigand shortly thereafter. These are not "cars" in the sense of the review. These are antiques. Their owners are not car buyers, they are collectors. There is a world of difference between a buyer of a new or late model Bristol and the gentlemen (and occasional lady) of our various clubs. While it is more fruitful to send a questionnaire to the collectors, it is worthless in a document focused on the future.

Overall, Mr. Farquar, it was well assembled document, looks like you have mastered InDesign and Photoshop, and you have a good career ahead of you in the world of virtual reality.

But next time, if I may suggest it, do the story on BMW, Ford or another manufacturer who shares your reality mask.