Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying Everything

(Video via Awful Announcing.)

Everyone’s up in arms today over last night’s Costas Now, in which Will Leitch basically fended off H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger and Bob Costas as they ranted about blogging’s abusive tone and profane writing.  Bissinger’s particular diatribe reeks of a noxious sort of desperation, one that a writer of his talent should never have had to feel so insecure as to express on television.

Blogs are basically a means of open expression, whether used for journalism, comedy, or opinion, and this applies to the sports world.  I am mystified by folks like Bissinger, Costas, and MIchael Wilbon, who seem to be threatened by the medium, considering it part of the downfall of society (how amusing is this hyperbole when it rolls around every decade or so from a generation that cannot stand to see a loss in power, anywhere?) when, by all accounts, the methods and medium of journalism will change dramatically in the upcoming decades, but quality writers and journalists will always be in demand.  This misconception of blogs seeking to “replace” the mainstream media in any form is absolutely ludicrous and really ought to be nipped in the bud.

I can only speak for myself now — as this particular blog is little more than a means to express opinion based on what I watch on TV.  No, my opinion isn’t any more valid than the beat reporter or columnist; I’m a 25-year old liberal arts major whose only print journalism/sportswriting experience is a stint on the high school newspaper.  That’s not why I write about sports or participate in discussions about them online. I don’t think my opinion is any more or less valid than yours. I do it because it’s fun, and it’s part of the interaction of being a fan. Do I (and others) get profane? Yes, although I make an effort to avoid abusive.

The irony of Bissinger’s missive and Costas’ ploy to paint the Internet as a massive repository for the basest impulses of people online is that there are oh so many folks, in print and on your television on a regular basis, who have the capacity and have been more abusive and profane towards athletes than any blogger ever could — and with a significantly larger audience than Deadspin could attract on even its best stats day.  Skip Bayless, Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom (how ironic is it to have the sports world’s Jayson Blair lecture about the ethics of sports journalism on TV; it’s as if everyone forgot he faked a column), Bill Conlin (some pleasant language used towards sabermetric-loving folks), Wallace Matthews (Mr. “15 is the new 30” in trying to brush off Clemens-McCready), and damn near every columnist, commentator, and pundit who gives credence to Roger Clemens yet would not dare give Barry Bonds the benefit of the doubt.

Also include Leonard Shapiro and the talk radio blowhards who gave two cents to the concept that Sean Taylor’s past off-the-field troubles had something to do with his death last year, when he really was protecting his family. Jason Whitlock’s entire oeuvre about the Black KKK, his double-speak and hypocrisy about hip-hop and the misogyny and violence in rap affecting athletes deserves special mention.

Add in every columnist who employs a mindset that allows him or her to slap a thug label on the majority of the NBA because players have tattoos and some even dare to have cornrows or dreadlocks, and who blanches at every incident of violence on the court as a sign that the league as a whole is out of control.

If you don’t mind me saying so, that’s a fuck of a lot of profanity and abuse heaped on by those supposed guardians of the Right Way of doing things.  Glass houses, stones, throwing….right, you know the deal.

Takes on the program: Both Will and AJ from Deadspin, Orson at EDSBS, Brian at Awful Announcing, D-Wil at Sports on My Mind (who agrees with Bissinger), FJM’s Ken Tremendous, The FanHouse’s Michael David Smith, and BDD at KSK (yes, vulgar and profane).

3 Responses

  1. I don’t understand how journalists can fail to understand that every blog of consequence in America depends on their product to generate grist for their own particular mills. Saying that blogs are trying to replace MSM journalism is like saying that movie critics are trying to replace movies. What purpose would a movie critic serve without movies to review?

    To be fair, many bloggers are guilty of similar myopia. Tony Romo is not going to take an interview with KSK but will happily take one with SI. That’s not unfair, that’s just a stark reality: an interview with SI will reach an awful lot more fans than an interview with KSK, and a guy with limited time and a duty to generate as much positive exposure as he can needs to go where the eyeballs are. C’est la guerre.

  2. P.S. I’d like to see more of Braylon Edwards when he’s finished with football. He was thoughtful, measured, and comfortable in that setting despite the fireworks.

  3. Skip Bayless, Mike Lupica, Mitch Albom . . .(how ironic is it to have the sports world’s Jayson Blair lecture about the ethics of sports journalism on TV; it’s as if everyone forgot he faked a column), Bill Conlin (some pleasant language used towards sabermetric-loving folks), Wallace Matthews (Mr. “15 is the new 30″ in trying to brush off Clemens-McCready), and damn near every columnist, commentator, and pundit who gives credence to Roger Clemens yet would not dare give Barry Bonds the benefit of the doubt.

    I’ll piggyback on Ajax’s comment and say that blogs aren’t a threat to newspaper and magazine reporting, but they are a real threat to the above mentioned overpaid columnists. Blogs such as S2N provide thoughtful commentary on sports in a far more incisive, intelligent, and understandable way than these writers.

    I really admire Buzz Bissinger as one of the top nonfiction writers today, and I heard him give an amazing speech a couple years ago on the future of book publishing and the arts. But he wrongly conflates the sophomoric Deadspin with the hundreds of other quality sports blogs out there who are propelling a more dynamic and informed sports fan culture.

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