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Calling Shotgun Is A Mistake

Carol and James Wolf


A wise man once said, “a journey well shared is a journey well enjoyed”. Truer words have never been spoken - there is no excitement quite as palpable as that of approaching the car with a few friends to begin a road trip. As soon as the vehicle becomes visible, an unknowing and naïve soul jumps at the chance to call “shotgun”, thus securing the passenger seat. He or she falsely believes this position still comes with the comfort and control it once did, looking down upon the unfortunates who populate the 2nd (or God forbid the 3rd) row of the modern car. We beg to differ, and as time goes on, the shotgun seat is losing its prestige. 


Riding shotgun used to mean you were the “map guy”, a title that came with well-deserved honor and glory. Driving through the Smoky Mountains as sun turned to dawn, you were the only person capable of discerning a road from a river. But in 2023, let’s face it, unless you’re a moron, there is nothing impressive about being the “navigator”. GPS put an end to this skill, and the driver often finds it easier to just handle on his or her own. Anyone can throw an address into WAZE and decide if carving 45 seconds off the trip by taking back roads is worth it. Sorry.


In addition, shotgun no longer comes with the power of overseeing the music. Shotgun doesn’t guarantee you radio control in an era in which all new cars have Bluetooth capability. Anyone in the whip can call “aux” and the illusion of controlling the airwaves is, well, just an illusion. Your buddy in the middle back seat (otherwise known as “bitch” seat) is effectively your DJ, and your proximity to the dashboard audio system doesn’t mean your fixation with The Chainsmokers will be shared or tolerated.  


One of the biggest benefits of the passenger seat is the comfort it affords, but even this is disappearing at a rapid rate. Pretty much every car now has seats that both bend and slide forward. That the shotgun rider will be move up to make room for those selflessly taking the back is no longer a question, but an expectation.


The most unimpeachable argument against the shotgun is that the backseat is the objectively best for chats, and in particular the middle seat (see definition above). In shotgun, you are essentially locked in to chatting the driver, who in all many, but not all cases, is the worst chat in the car because they’ve been bullied into driving, are sober, and hopefully somewhat distracted by the act of operating a motor vehicle.


If you enjoyed today’s moot, follow Carol on Instagram and James on Instagram. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to Sandy Hook Promise, Carol and James’ charity of choice.

*For each moot, we generate a cover image using  DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'Calling Shotgun Is A Mistake' in the style of Claude Monet, Carol and James' artist of choice.*

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DALL·E 2023-02-08 22.34.31 - a painting of two people sitting in the passenger seat of a c

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