From Warren St. John’s Sunday New York Times profile of Bill Simmons.
“Before Simmons you never got a feel for what the columnist’s life was like outside of the games,” said Will Leitch, the editor of the sports blog Deadspin.com and a longtime Simmons fan. “There was this large disconnect between reporters and their readers. Simmons threw all that out the window and said these are the conversations we’re having. It felt like you were all in on a private joke together, like you had discovered something.”
Dude (and I use that word as disparagingly as possible), if you’re an American male that has never in your lifetime been stuck in countless conversations with persons who have the same boring-as-shit aesthetics as Bill Simmons, you’re either a) incredibly fortunate or b) so desperate to bond that your critical faculties are absurdly low.
In Will’s case, the answer is most certainly “b”.
12 thoughts on “Now He Should Die In Pieces”
That’s weird — Simmons’ attempt to give readers an idea of the columnists life is exactly what rock critic Gina Arnold was doing in her column. I like the disconnect. I don’t care what you had for breakfast. And now that we have blogs, what’s the point?
I really don’t mind hearing about what someone’s real life, assuming there’s more to it than 90210 memories and sub-Nick Hornby musings about spurting fandom.
I have no doubt that Simmons’ observations — which range from the amusing to the annoying, but rarely revelatory — provide considerable solace to lonely individuals who see themselves as their own unheralded versions of The Sports Guy. Much the way there seems to be a whole new culture of feckless bloggers who are all too happy to provide Will Leitch with content, just so long as he invites them to his comments section. (eg. http://idiotolatry.blogspot.com/2005/11/blog-envy.html)
here’s something I posted last October 4 whilst quoting Simmons’ pal Chuck Klosterman :
“‘Arguing about sports is the ultimate cultural equalizer: I canâ€™t think of any subject that so many people know so much about. I feel like I personally know at least 100 guys who have a â€œnear expertâ€ understanding of the NFL. If you watch the games each week (and especially if you grew up watching the games each week), you can easily have a 90-minute conversation about pro football with a total stranger in any airport bar (assuming said stranger has had a similar experience). There is a shared knowledge of sports in America that is unlike our shared knowledge of anything else. Whenever I have to hang out with someone Iâ€™ve never met before, I always find myself secretly thinking, â€˜I hope this dude knows about sports. I hope this dude knows about sports. I hope this dude knows about sports.â€™ Because if he does, I know the rest of the conversation will be easy.'”
Itâ€™s a wide, wide world of people with different sensibilities. And I can say with full confidence that mine and C.Kâ€™s couldnâ€™t be more diametrically opposed. The great cultural equalizer would be ensuring that no one graduates high school without knowing how to read. Or making things like college educations and broadband access available to everyone free of charge. The notion that sports is part of a greater shared experience is too ridiculous to even contemplate. Knowing or having an opinion about sports is no more less a sign of a culturally aware person than saying the Crabby Appleton brings everyone together.
When I find myself having to hang with someone Iâ€™ve never met before, I find myself hoping this dude or non-dude has brushed their teeth. But seriously, I donâ€™t want to bond with them over USC football. the brawl at the Palace, the NHL rule changes and whether or not Barry Bonds is a cheat. In fact, Iâ€™m a-ok without bonding with them at all.
this is just another example of how weâ€™re living in a â€œcultureâ€ of lower than low expectations. Since we donâ€™t have any legit shared experiences or values to bring us together, we settle for having the same TV viewing habits. And Iâ€™ve got nothing against watching TV, mind you. The goddamn thing is giving me radiation poisoning right this second.”
Ahem. So the next time Will or someone else wonders “aren’t we all in this together?”, I’ve got to say “sorry, skumpockets, we’re not.” The devotion to finding bogus cultural equalizers, to finding something that-will-bring-all-dudes-together, doesn’t just leave me cold, it stands in stark contrast to everything I’m against as a free thinking individual.
I guess what I’m saying is that Chuck, Bill and Will oughta pray they never have to sit next to me at an airport bar. Gina Arnold can vouch for that.
I had dim sum for lunch. It was delicious.
please write back with a longer essay comparing Dave Matthews to Brett Favre, or failing that, Shannon Doherty to Antoine Walker.
“The notion that sports is part of a greater shared experience is too ridiculous to even contemplate.”
Seth Sanders and (?) did an interview with Greil Marcus on this “shared culture” concept re Marcus’ idea that music is a unifying, cross-cultural, progressive secret history in America that draws people together. They disputed this, given the experience of seeing Prince booed (in racist, homophobic terms) as the opening act for the Rolling Stones, a band that has supposedly gone some way in the “shared culture” business. I think it’s closer to Mookie and Pino in “Do the Right Thing,” where Pino still hates blacks no matter how much he likes Michael Jordan.
I also can’t tell you how many times people assume I am a football fan as a conversation starter (I’m not) where it’s my mom who can actually win the football pool at her office a few times a year.
Btw, what passes for “near expert” understanding of the NFL today?
I’m just against the idea of any entertainment being the great equalizer/unifier/common denominator. I don’t presume to know why anyone else is into this stuff —-unless of course they choose to bore me to death about it over the course of a book, film or weekly column.
I neglected to mention, by the way, that the writer of the Times piece, Warren St. John, is also the author of ‘Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer’ and the subsequent blog of the same name. Nothing wrong with that, except it is pretty interesting how frequent links from Will Leitch’s site result in reciprocation from the New York Times. Would it interest NYT readers (or St. John’s editors) that there’s quite the gleeful circle jerk taking place? Or is full disclosure the sort of thing that isn’t practiced at up and coming DIY blogs like the New York Times?
re : near expert understanding of the NFL. I nominate the little known Bill Belichick. I don’t think he has a blog, but seems pretty sharp just the same.
Btw, what passes for â€œnear expertâ€ understanding of the NFL today?
it’s been my experience that what most seem to need to consider themselves a “near exeprt” is a rudimentary grasp of the rules and the consumption of 6 or more beers.
To each of you, who just dissected/bashed Bill Simmons…Get a life. Simmons writes a sports columns. There is no dissecting of a sports column. Don’t read it. Go reflect on The Canterbury Tales you faux intellectual clowns.
it’s pretty awesome to be called a faux intellectual by someone who claims Bill Simmons “writes a sports columns”.
You are more than welcome to enjoy the Sports Putz’ many observations about 90210, Doc Rivers and the Counting Crows. Presumably, he’s excused from your advice to “get a life.”
Take yourselves more seriously dorks. Bill Simmons writes about sports and pop culture for a specific audience – people who like sports and pop culture. You’re not it. Noted. You can go back to your position atop the pedestal, we won’t notice.
interesting. tell me more about this “people who like sports and popular culture” stuff. I mean, I’ve never met anyone who fits such a description.
Most of you come across as unhappy and, one suspects, under-sexed.
Stroking my substantial e-peen,