2. figurative. Something which is disastrous, messy, chaotic, or embarrassing, esp. in a manner which compels one's attention. Frequently with of.
1992 USA Today 16 Oct. 1 b/3 IBM has slashed its manufacturing capacity a whopping 40% since 1989... ‘It's a car crash in slow motion that's going to last for two to three more years.’
1993 Musical Times Jan. 53/3 John Mayer's embarrassing Kriti, a cross-cultural car crash of a piece mixing tanpuras with Brideshead revisited, was simply dreadful.
2001 M. Blake 24 Karat Schmooze vii. 72 He read out the label in a French accent that was a car crash of aspirated vowels and glottal stops.
2007 R. Coleman Mommy by Mistake (2009) 268 You are..far, far too nice and kind to get involved with me and my car crash of a life.
Chiefly British (in sense 2).
a. attributive. Designating television that is considered to be gratuitously shocking or sensational, or of embarrassingly poor quality (in terms of dialogue, acting, etc.).
1993 Daily Mail 16 Jan. 35/4 He knows that millions of TV fans..love the tackiness of this so-called ‘car crash television’, although he's not entirely sure why.
1995 Herald (Glasgow) (Nexis) 8 June 13 Channel 4 was yesterday reminded that car-crash television is not without its drawbacks when The Word was issued with a formal warning by the Independent Television Commission.
2009 A. Field Discovering Statistics (ed. 3) xiii. 463 It's cruel, voyeuristic, gratuitous, car crash TV, and I love it.
b. General attributive.
1997 Select June 119/4 Add to that..the car-crash spectacle of his xenophobia..and not going down the pub suddenly becomes a viable proposition.
2002 A. Holmes Sleb ii. 16 It's the English version of Jerry Springer, where guests with car-crash private lives are ferried on to make the rest of us feel happier about ours.
2007 Daily Record (Glasgow) (Nexis) 24 Feb. 3 The star, once nearly as famed for her car-crash fashion sense as for her vocal talents.
2010 Scotsman (Nexis) 28 Sept. 68 The club's own official website did not mince its words when describing the defeat a day earlier as a ‘car crash performance’.