Earlier this week, the Washington Post’s Leonard Shapiro — previously described in this space as a “heartless, gutless prick” — launched a defense of Pulitzer winner Buzz Bissinger, applauding the blog-baiter “for not backing down from his main point.”
Some of the sports blogs, with Deadspin at the very top of the list, have gone way out of bounds on the common decency meter. And the comments that often accompany some of those posts — virtually all of them written by anonymous cowards who don’t have the guts to put their names on their despicable swill — truly don’t deserve to see the light of day.
We’re not talking about a First Amendment issue here; it’s really just a matter of common decency.
And none of the above is even remotely meant to suggest that blogs ought to be banned. On the contrary, bloggers are certainly entitled to their often uninformed opinions, sometimes based solely on information gathered by the working press with far more access, sources and scruples than most of them. But it’s a free country, and blogs — responsible or not — surely are not going away any time soon.
Still, Bissinger’s concerns should be all of our concerns. Do we want our sports-infatuated kids to grow up reading Deadspin and Kissing Suzy Kolber (don’t ask), or would we prefer them to peruse the internet or their local library to read the wonderful work of Red Smith, Shirley Povich, Jim Murray, Dan Jenkins and yes, most definitely Buzz Bissinger?
Hey, much as I love the notion of kids reading Smith and Murray, the latter’s been dead for nearly a decade and the former shuffled off this mortal coil in 1982. Never mind the new medium(s), there might actually be some voices worth hearing from that were born within the last 50 (fucking) years.
But by all means, Post readers, do not ask Shapiro about Kissing Suzy Kolber, or the veteran columnist might have to explain how his newspaper fired a KSK contributor on the most specious of grounds.