Monday, September 10, 2007

What a tangled Web

Every morning I walk into the office, grab a cup of mud, sit down and Google up news searches to see what’s going on with drivers, truck emissions regs and border initiatives.

The stories I find range from the bizarre, to the sad, and finally, the obvious.

As any trucker will tell you, aside from the occasional feature about a feel-good story, most of the trucking news isn’t good. Too many headlines seem to blame trucks and truckers for accidents or crimes even before police investigations are completed.

It doesn’t take too long to realize that truckers are up against a lot more than red tape, Mexican truck competition and safety problems on the docks and in shipping yards. News Web sites and blogs are growing in their power to persuade and focus debates on every topic.

Visit YouTube and type in “Mexican trucks” or “OOIDA,” and see what you get.

Click here and watch a topless guy in his dorm room give his opinion about the Mexican truck debate. YouTube’s flood of videos also lends itself to a bit of trucking glorification, as in the “Trucking in Texas” video.

Then every once in a while, I’ll come across a blog that truly illustrates the wide-open nature of the Web. Here we see an example of someone with his or her head stuck firmly in the sand. This person, who uses the name Yori Yanover and calls him or herself a “militant anti-trucker,” blasts away at trucks as “the foundation of all that’s wrong with America. They kill people, they ruin roads, they deprive working men and women of millions of work hours.”

Yanover proceeds to post pictures of “an 18-wheeler” that “tried in vain to make the turn into Rivington from Pitt” in insert-the-urban-center-of-your-choice-here-ville. It seems Yanover snapped camera phone shots of the truck, and posted them onto “Made a Trucker Flinch” blog.

It wouldn’t do much good to explain to Yanover that the laptop computer they likely uses while sitting at the corner Starbucks, nor the $18-a-pound “fair-trade” coffee Yanover drinks, nor the cell phone they used to snap shots weren’t brought to their doorstep or major retailer by camel.

Those same “gas-guzzling” trucks Yanover hates that blew “bits of carbon” into the air in the neighborhood to bring Yanover the technology they so crave. Trucks and their role in America’s economy during the last half of the 20th century probably had something to do with them having time (through vacation or retirement) to take snapshots of trucks Yanover purports to be wreaking havoc and also gives them time to urge others to do the same.

Of course, Yanover’s real expertise was revealed in the one comment someone cared to post below “Made a Trucker Flinch.”

“That’s a 14-wheeler, not an 18-wheeler,” it read.