Monday, October 02, 2006
So I received a link to a Malcolm Gladwell blog post where he tried to stick up for our good friend Bill Simmons. In case you haven't seen it here's the link: Degree Of Difficulty
Are you done reading it? Good. Okay, first thing I want to get across is that I've read the book Blink by Malcolm and it was pretty darn good. It's not a book I would normally read, so the fact that I enjoyed it (or even finished it) says a lot. Second thing I want to get across is that everyone gets judged in every facet of their lives. Whether it be at work by your boss, at school by your teachers, at home with your family, or in church by the baby jesus. It's a part of life that you cannot avoid, and in turn I think it makes you a better person. Sometimes it's annoying as fuck, but you're going to take the criticism in one way or another and it's up to you to use the information or not. Third, I go by the principle "If you can't laugh at yourself...who can you laugh at?", so don't think for a second that I can dish it out but I can't take it. Now onto why I thought this post of Gladwell's was fucking retarded:
Bill Simmons does not seem like someone that Malcolm Gladwell would read. In my opinion, Bill Simmons never even "wrote" his book. It was a collection of short stories he wrote (blogged) over the years and made a one to two sentence comment about each. Some were entertaining, but the rest for the most part were uneventful. So if that's the case then why does he feel the need to stick up for Bill? Say what you want, but do you know what Bill's doing and has always done??? Blog.
I'd say over 90% of the catalog that is Bill Simmons is a form of blogging. In fact what I do every Monday night (live-blog) is somewhat directly attributed to Bill Simmons' running diaries. Simmons started in obscurity....he began his own website got noticed and is now probably the most famous sports writer there is. There's a reason the Page 2 gave him his own section. (Here comes the statement where you can jump all over me....wait for it.....wait for it...) BUT!....
Bill Simmons is the Dane Cook of Sportswriting.
Just like Simmons, Dane started in obscurity....put out good material.....got famous....and now sucks (see Employee of the Month). It's really that simple. It happens with everybody, and hell you can't even blame them. Of course a little bit of my ire is jealousy, but moreso it's disappointment. I probably would jump at the chance to write for ESPN (for six figures), and you could call me a sellout too. But here's the difference between Dane Cook and Bill Simmons....Dane Cook is at least trying. Even though he's making movies he still went out and did a comedy tour and a special recently. Bill on the other hand is putting out one good column every four months, screwing up stats left and right, stealing his reader's jokes (more on this later), formulaicly writing his articles (posts), and then acting wholier than thou to his readers and fellow bloggers. Back to Gladwell......
"I thought of this as well the other day when I read a long post on a sportsblog ripping into Bill Simmons. I know, I know, I'm totally in the tank for Simmons. But here's why: because the degree of difficulty of the kinds of columns he writes is sometimes off the charts. He recently did a really long account of a trip that he and two friends took to Green Bay. It was a kind of running diary. Was it the best thing he has ever done? No. Was it perfect? No."I even commented on this site that this was the best thing that he has wrote in a year....maybe two. So what's your point Malcolm? Every blog out there has at least one great thing that they've done so how does that separate him? You see Mr. Gladwell you are an intelligent, well read, calculated writer. Simmons isn't, or if he was (that's debatable) he isn't anymore. And you know what....I, nor Kissing Suzy Kolber, or The Big Lead are afraid to say it. This is the main reason why blogs will one day run the sports community. At most I get 500-1000 people coming to this site daily. And I would much rather them read the truth and relay my honest opinion over any other agenda I may have. And that just isn't the case with Sportwriters, Announcers, or SportsCenter Anchors anymore. Something happens when you take what you do for granted and start making everything about you instead of the players and the game. In your own book Blink you have this quote: "You can learn as much - or more - from one glance at a private space as you can from hours of exposure to a public face." Well within my one glance at that chat I (and many others) decided that Bill Simmons is an overrated, egotistical, mailing it in dick.
You bring up the point that no one can truly know the degree of difficulty that one goes through to do their job. well Simmons has been repeating stories, making bad pop-culture references, and throwing jabs at other for years. How difficult is that really? He's also been taking shots at other entities for years (Sklar Bros., WNBA, women in general) but in that same breath he says he doesn't "Get" people who sit around and rip others all day. That is hypocrisy and elitism at it's finest sir. And if you or anyone else doesn't see that then I feel sorry for you.
I will leave you with this......I'm guessing you did a shit-ton of research for your last book, and are probably doing so right now for a new one. Well here's the research Bill Simmons did for his latest column:
From The Chat:Yeah I guess you're right Malcolm Gladwell. I couldn't pull that off.
Bert (Philadelphia): There's a chance for an unprecedented "levels of losing: extreme nuclear holocaust edition" in Philly next Monday. IF the Phils play a one-game playoff, it'll be here on Monday. That night, the Eagles play the TAFKA Farve at the Linc.
Bill Simmons: Wow! Now that's one of the all-time great sports days... I hope that happenes (nice typo Bill). By the way, don't forget the Ewing Theory implications of the Abreu trade... Don't discount this for a second.
From Strength in Numbers:
"I'd have them No. 1 if they didn't blow the Giants game. Here's my theory: I'm feeling a sports renaissance in Philly that plays out a little like the one in Boston in 2001-02, when the fans were just broken beyond repair, and then some good luck turned everything around and erased all the bad karma. For instance, let's say the Phillies can somehow force a playoff game Monday. Do you realize it would be played at the same time as Monday night's Packers-Eagles game, or that Game 4 of that series (if they made it) would be played at the exact same time as T.O.'s return to Philly on Oct. 8? You don't see the symmetry here?"