Please join me and the rest of the blogosphere in taking an enormous Duce Staley on the corpse.
Bill Simmons once said that the reason he started blogging – which is basically what he was doing back in the days of the Boston Sports Guy, even if he didn’t realize it at the time – was because he wanted to write about sports, and there were a limited number of slots in the field, held by cranky old guys who were never going to leave the position until six friends carried them out of it by the handles. So he struck out for the Internet in hopes of making something happen for himself. Some say he sold out. I prefer to think of him as our man on the inside.
That’s why guys like Will Leitch, Orson Swindle, and their pale imitators are currently pwning the hell out of the sad-sacks who write the column in your local fishwrap. The bloggers are winning because bits are cheap, publication is just a matter of hanging out a URL, and – in the case of 95% of sports bloggers – they’re not doing it for the kind of wealth that lets them sit on a mound of gold, drinking Cristal out of a stripper’s brassiere. They’re doing it because they really and truly care about the things they write about. They’re not filled with the kind of self-loathing that makes columnists get all serious and one-word-paragraph pompous about “perspective” and “what really matters” everytime something awful happens in the real world. They know exactly what their place in the food chain is – somewhere between the Twinkie and the beef jerky – and unlike the print guys, they don’t have to be any more than that. Spencer Hall knows what’s important – the man’s career is working with international refugees – so when he tallies the scores for the Fulmer Cup and loops together a funk theme for it in Garage Band, he knows how important it is in the grand scheme of things; he doesn’t need some buffet-hoovering J-school washout telling him what truly matters.
We let absolutely anybody vote in this country. The fate of the United States hangs perennially in the hands of 100 million lightly-informed amateurs. The problem is, the print columnists think that what they do somehow demands a higher standard than that. Somehow, they’ve deluded themselves into thinking that they have to set a bar for what is, at the end of the day, the journalistic version of wanking.
Which is why it’s appropriate that their dying yelp came from a man named after the sound a vibrator makes.