…all men are brothers until the die they die.” So wrote Randy Newman (above) some years ago, though he could’ve been talking about Bob Costas and Will Leitch. Deadspin’s founder isn’t quite done using his highly publicized 2008 appearance on “Costas Now” as some sort of cultural currency with a piece in this week’s New York that David Roth calls “as well-written as it is bizarrely unnecessary. And I think it’s pretty well-written.” I fully agree, though I do take considerable pleasure in reading Will’s account of a pre-taping encounter with Costas at a midtown Starbucks (“for about an hour, I became Costas™s personification of the internet. I knew that his understanding of the web was rudimentary, but I had no idea just how clueless he really was.”) The latter, it seems, had great difficultly putting public criticism of his work in any sort of rational context. Have you ever heard of such a thing?
Costas railed about bad language on blogs and blog comments (œYou shouldn™t say things online you wouldn™t want your children to say), cowardly anonymity (œYou wouldn™t dare say any of this stuff to my face), lack of access (œYou™ve never covered an Olympics; I™ve covered five), and, amusingly, whether he was funny (œYou know, I go on Jon Stewart™s show, it™s clear he finds me a riot). I was struck by how willful Costas was in ignoring evidence against his central point: that everything written on the internet was meant to personally denigrate him, and that I had written it. I explained to him that I wrote the post, and afterwards, readers were allowed to comment. (You know, like in that Bernie Miklasz column.) He was unable to grasp this; at one point, he actually said, œWhy do you think me being dipped in Rosie O™Donnell™s pussy is funny? I explained to him that I had not written that, carefully disguising (I hoped) my opinion that, well, it is a funny image.
Costas was not screaming and sputtering; he was calm, collected, smooth ¦ he was Bob Costas. Listening to him insult me while acting as if I was somehow the Grand Poobah of the Internet and Its Mandated Conspiracy to Destroy Bob Costas and All He Has Worked For was made all the more unsettling by the whole thing being done in the Bob Costas voice. He was like this all the time. I tried to imagine how his children dealt with being grounded in the Bob Costas voice. Did he order pizza this way? Did he sound like this while having sex?
œDo you realize how stupid someone has to be just to keep making short jokes? Costas barked (as much as Bob Costas can œbark), pounding his empty coffee cup on the table. œDo you ever hear anybody say, ˜Paul Simon can™t make music because he™s short,™ or ˜Woody Allen can™t make movies because he™s short™? Is that really the best you can come up with? So you think I™m short? I™ve heard it before. It doesn™t bother me. It just tells me something about you.