The LH Paradox


Podium Finisher
One thing I learned from a fella called D4thIncarnation is that the biggest weapon against a competitor's popularity is a tunnel visioned, die hard fan.

There was a humble, exciting, brave little boxer who went from 3rd world beginnings to becoming an international celebrity and national hero and P4P #1 in his sport. What's not to love? Each day, D4thincarnation would post and post and post about said boxer, singing his praises at every corner, relevant or not, and trashing his main rivals. Eventually people got so used to arguing with D4, that the exciting, brave, humble boxer became the most despised name on the whole forum! Folks get so used to disagreeing with a fan of a competitor.

I see the same thing happening here, even though Hamilton's entertaining in style and undeniably talented, people get so used to making sure everyone knows they're more varied in opinion than Poster X they slate his favourite as a matter of habit because internet people are so smitten with responding to wums.
Speaking as a McLaren fan first and foremost, no matter who drives for them, the bile and vitriol aimed at Hamilton started in 2007 with cries of 'he's never proven himself in a slower car', way before any 'Hamilton fans' could upset anyone.
And, i've said this before, there is just as much bullshit spouted by people who wish to decry Hamilton at every opportunity, however this is conveniently ignored. These people get on my tits just as much as 'Hamilton fans'.
sportsman, EvilWhippet.......155 pages on the Hamilton thread, 23 on the Alonso thread. Even more amusing considering Alonso is one of the best the sports seen, and is currently driving better than he's ever driven in his career, the current topic of conversation on his thread is his bad taste in sunglasses and his eyebrows. What can we expect considering. Where have all the fans gone that truly appreciate ALL the leading drivers? I'm having trouble finding them. :givemestrength:
Kewee Fora represent the talking points that people have. If it upsets you that people are not talking about Alonso, maybe it is simply because he is not as strong a talking point? the number of pages on the respective threads would seem to indicate that. And, I know I do not need to say this, but please feel free to add whatever discussions regarding Alonso that you like, in the relevant place, maybe you could try and get his thread up to 24 pages :)

As for the other debate, I have come to the conclusion for many reasons, that people seem to just like being indignant.

Please do not take this the wrong way, as I include myself in everything that I am about to say.

When there is a subject that one feels passionately about, there can be a tendancy to lose objectivity in any ensuing discussion. The greater the passion, the more worked up things become, and essentially it ends up like being in a centrifuge, where things all spin to the outside over time, with little left in the middle.

I agree that Lewis has always had his fair share of detractors (more than most other drivers? possibly, but I am not sure) but I think that the way he had such an impact on the sport that was always likely to happen, as I cannot think of another sportsman who impacted the sport in such an immediate and high profile manner.

That said, all sportsmen have detractors, and lo it will always be so, and the more popular the sportsman (or more succesful?) the more people follow, and the more the extremes of behaviour become prevalent.

I believe that this pattern can be seen all over the world, the web, in sporting venues throughout the world.

The real trouble comes when the passion over-rides the objectivity, which is when the red mist has a tendancy to descend, and the good mannered banter turns in to something altogether more unpleasant, with neither side of the debate seeing what is going on as they are only defending their fave, or getting fed up with the constant defence.

So, to summarise Lewis Hamilton polarises opinion like no other, due in no small measure (imho) to the level of support that he has, the tendancy of the media/some people in general to knock the successful (not just LH, but many other sportsmen too). This is exacerbated by the fact that some people love to get indignant about stuff, and feel compelled to respond, and the cirlce is complete.
The Pits.....I think your taking what I said far too seriously. I'm not in any way upset, I was just making a factual observation. I have contributed to the Alonso thread but when it descended into comments about aspects of his appearance I lost interest. I would feel exactly the same if another driver had disparaging comments made about their appearance regardless of who it was.
I'm just glad that the Internet didn't exist during the height of the Senna/Prost years. I can't help thinking "If you think this is bad". Could you imagine what the board would have been like at the climax of the 89 or 90 seasons?

Having seen the site grow from almost year dot, I've seen the number of fun threads that had to be stopped due the lack of objectivity making sensible debate almost impossible and the large bulk of it was down to support for a driver beyond what could be described as rational. The driver of the weekend thread would see votes for drivers who were clearly off the boil all weekend but fell victim to the if you say up and I'll say down syndrome.

The one thing I'll always fail to understand is the inability to debate the rights and wrongs of aspects of Hamilton's career without his most ardent supporters taking it as a personnal insult. Every sportsman no matter how great has some falibility that makes them a more rounded individual. Senna polarised people as much as Hamilton does but the extent of the debate 20 years ago didn't get much further than the pub door. I defy though, any fan of Senna, no matter how much to justify some of his darker moments in F1. For whatever reason, that can not be said of Hamilton supporters. It's this bizare blind faith that I've commented on before. Part of me believes that it may be a bit of a wind up but it runs a lot deeper than that at times. Read the number of posts where people talk about the haters, the followers, the the's, theys and thems. Of course the poster never considers themselves to be in that catagory. I wonder how foreign motorsport blogs talk about there heroes? Are there as many pages on Vettel on Das Clippen Das Apex? It would be interesting to know how far the LH effect has spread.
155 pages on the Hamilton thread, 23 on the Alonso thread.

I am pretty confident that on every UK forum you will find a similar ratio. And even more confident that on Spanish F1 Forums you will find the reverse.

Before the advent of Lewis Hamilton I used to frequent an Australian F1 Forum and spent years reading an inordinate amount of unreasonable and vitriolic comments and posts directed at Jenson Button. Fortunately Jenson's popularity grew or infamy declined very sharply the instant Lewis got the drive with McLaren.

I am pretty well rounded and appreciative of Formula 1 drivers who don't habitually punt other cars off the circuit. But Lewis is my favourite and I can't seem to be enthusiastic about other guys winning. Even Jenson winning in Spa was slightly disappointing for this reason. 5 years ago I would have been leaping about the house in joy and elation. This is how people are, they empathise, affiliate, love, loathe, scare easily and get defensive. The amount of attacks on Lewis makes his fans and appreciators that much more verbose and defensive. Even when their idol is not being attacked they will leap - knee jerk like - to his defence. It is a facet of human nature that is reflected on a global scale outside US Embassies around the World as I write this.
The Pits......You may not have noticed but I'm a fan of Hamilton, Button and Alonso, I try not to draw favorites and have made numerous on topic contributions on the Hamilton, Button and McLaren threads. In this case the thread had already been taken off topic and I was just responding to two other members comments. Just to add a little clarity regarding my original posting, it was not about Alonso or Hamilton it was more about the comparison of the quality of comments on the two threads.
Topic is bound to end in accusations and counter accusations. Both sides are equally guilty as charged.
Could not agree more!

Spare a thought for the moderators who have to try and deal with it all. All the while simultaneously being accused of favouritism and being haters, by the various detractors and supporters.
Here are just a few of the many, many reports which are submitted, from both camps. You will note how most of them relate to Hamilton centric threads.

Brogan, ah the memories.

One of the points I raised above is right there in @Quintessentially's post. "both sides are equally guilty". Why is it that only Hamilton can have either lovers or haters? We don't apply the same to Rosberg or Vettel. The need to polorize the debate makes the gulf between opinions too wide for reasonable comment.
The Pits......You may not have noticed but I'm a fan of Hamilton, Button and Alonso, I try not to draw favorites and have made numerous on topic contributions on the Hamilton, Button and McLaren threads. In this case the thread had already been taken off topic and I was just responding to two other members comments. Just to add a little clarity regarding my original posting, it was not about Alonso or Hamilton it was more about the comparison of the quality of comments on the two threads.

Kewee – You are a big fan of Alonso, more than Jenson or Hamilton. This is patently obvious and there is nothing wrong with it. To suggest you like all three equally would be living in denial.
Quintessentially......If you want honesty I like Alonso and Button in equal measure but I'm in no doubt at all that Alonso has reached a level that puts him above every driver on the grid, possibly with the exception of Hamilton. I say possibly because I still think Alonso would have the edge based on what we've seen from him this season. I'm not sure there's another driver in the sport that could have dragged the results Alonso did out of the car Ferrari put under him in the first part of the season. What I will find fascinating is can he maintain his current level for the rest of his contract at Ferrari. It's a hell of a lot to ask but it's not often we get to see a driver this much on top of his game and I'm going to appreciate it while it lasts. McLaren fans can like a Ferrari driver you know. :) Anyway I'm meant to be asleep, I've got a big weekend in front of me.
Personally, I lay most of the blame on the media. The attitude "if you are for (A) then you have to be anti (B) is everywhere in the media. Look what it has done to politics in the U.S.! Added to that is the fact that VERY few fans will ever get to actually meet the person they are a fan of. Therefore, all they know of their favourite, beyond their on-track (or on-field) performances is what their publicists put out. How anyone can be a devoted fan to someone they know virtually nothing about eludes me.

I was fortunate enough to have grown up in a time when the drivers were much more accessible than today. In the late. lamented Tasman series, I actually got to meet Clark, Rindt, Hulme, McLaren, Hill and lots of others. Thus to me, they were real people. As I grew older and followed F1 in the 60s and 70s, I still could meet the drivers. That was when I met Stewart, Siffert, Rodriguez etc. They actually had time for the fans and weren't making mad dashes to their planes the instant their car stopped, as drivers do today.

I also think nationalism plays a greater part in people selecting their favourite than it used to. You would think that, being Australian, I would have been a big fan of Brabham, but I wasn't. I met him and found him too taciturn to be fond of in any way. My fave was a Scot, followed by an American (Gurney) , two Kiwis (Amon and McLaren), a Swiss (Siffert) and a Mexican (Rodriguez)!

As I said in the beginning, I think the media is largely responsible for the changes in fandom, and I, by and Large, dislike the changes that it has brought about.
As the saying goes, you never miss it until it's gone away. I can't imagine a time when the drivers would pop down to abar in Monaco for a post race drink. The sad thing is that the drivers would be mobbed if the so much as left the paddock today. You only have to look at those little autograph windows in a mesh fence that currently exists for fan interaction. I have a feeling that it can also work both ways as well with drivers not too bothered about meeting a throng ofpeople all trying to thrust a pen and paper up their hooters.
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