Tuesday, January 8, 2008
A darned shame
I lost a good RV building buddy today, and you probably did, too. Darwin Barrie is one of my favorite people. He's also the straw that stirs the drink on the annual RV BBQ at Oshkosh. I can't imagine an Oshkosh without him.
Darwin ran into a developing problem in the RV community, and has decided to pull out of it, except for giving advice and being available to local RV builders in the Arizona area.
The atmosphere on Planet RV has gotten poisonous in recent months, I've noticed. There was a time, you young whippersnappers, when the RV community was a group of like-minded individuals in matters of airplanes, who were smart enough to know that politics, religion, and primer were three subjects to stay away from, because most of us valued the joy of being together too much.
That was then, however. And this is now. Increasingly, it seems, one can't offer advice on the many bulletin boards without a flame war of some sort breaking out, each clinging to the misguided belief that there's only one true way to build these airplanes.
Darwin ran into it on a VAF thread and, as a result, decided to pull out of VAF and all of the other bulletin boards where he's been such a helpful voice for years. He also let me know he won't be involved with the RV BBQ at Oshkosh this year. I can't say that I blame him. As the RV community becomes more like the world at large, the joy it brings is markedly reduced. For that, I blame ... well... us. I suspect we'll see more of this as the "old guard" moves on. What a pity!
I feel his pain and, frankly, I've been wondering lately whether it makes sense to have the RV BBQ anyway. There is more and more bickering taking place as hundreds of new builders come into the community, and maybe it's better if we try to remember the BBQ as it was, and remember a time when everyone got along and enjoyed being with one another.
Those were certainly the days.