Tom Magliozzi, one of the “Tappet Brother” hosts of the popular public radio show “Car Talk” has died. Magliozzi was known for his infectious laughter and his ability to demystify auto-repair for the NPR crowd.
Writing in Studies in Popular Culture, Claude J. Smith Jr. analyzed the cultural significance of the show, outlining how it healed our collective auto-angst:
The Tappet Brothers prove the historian Livy’s axiom that “We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.” Car Talk is especially significant because it targets an affluent FM audience that tends to be college-educated but technically ignorant. While they regularly descend into the facetious, the ludicrous, and the irrelevant humor, Click and Clack also provide a valuable public service by alleviating the audience’s deep seated fears about diagnosing automotive trouble and detecting both the incompetence and what the hosts call the “sleaze” associated with all aspects of the auto industry.