After my weekend ride I spent most of Sunday catching up on non-writing news. Try as I might, however, I couldn’t stopping thinking about professionalism and amateurism, and whether there was any useful distinction between the two. As noted in previous posts, the corporate book business insists that amateurs cannot produce works of commercial quality or literary merit because amateurs are inherently unqualified to do so. But is that right? Is professionalism — whatever that word means — an inherent arbiter of quality?
I found myself thinking about that question while I read a New York Times piece on Toyota’s implosion as a brand synonymous with quality. While I already knew about the problems with the Pruis and runaway acceleration, I wasn’t surprised to run across this as well:
It also said it had avoided an investigation into the Tacoma, a pickup whose undercarriage could be affected by rust. Toyota offered to repair or, in some cases, replace damaged Tacomas built from 1995 to 2004. Toyota also said it had saved millions of dollars by delaying federal safety rules affecting other models.
Years ago I made enough money on a screenplay gig to buy myself the first new vehicle I’d ever owned. I took a long time picking it out, paying particular attention to ratings for quality as well as my all-season needs in the (then) upper-Midwest. The vehicle I settled on was a Nissan Pathfinder, which served me faithfully for close to a decade.
At which point the frame disintegrated: