Sunday, May 4, 2008

Naturally, Buzz Blamed The Irish. Hanged More Than A Few

I know I had promised the second half of my team review, but I changed my mind. I did so for a few reasons. One, the first half took so long, it resulted in the premature depletion of my beer reserves, and with the nearest open beer store twenty kilometers away, that's a chance I just can't take on a Sunday. Two, it was really fucking boring, even to me. Three, the prospect of a closer examination of the play/character/issues of Messrs. Emery, Redden, Meszaros, and Gerber, not to mention re-hashing the bloody reign of the Teflon John, filled me with a sense of nauseous dread and shame, the intensity of which I hadn't felt since being publicly rejected by my Grade 8 crush after asking her out to the spring dance (do they even have those anymore?). Four, it's my site and I can do, say, write anything I damn well want, so nyaaah! (I keed! I keed from love! No, wait! Come back! Shit...). And finally, did I mention it was boring?

No, what I'd like to do here is to add my infinitesimally small two cents to the "Blog vs. MSM" maelstrom now raging through the interwebs following the appearance on HBO's CostasNow of Will Leitch, founder, editor and Dear Leader of that most magnificent of cults (of which I am a proud, occasionally funny, card carrying member),

Aside from the pitiable sight of a Pullitzer Prize winning author losing his mind to the point of destroying virtually all of his once formidable credibility (if you're going to scream at an author for the "full of shit" content of something you've found egregiously offensive, it's always good to make sure the author you're screaming at actually, you know, wrote it), the piece has mainly served to re-open all of the same (and now rather tiresome) arguments between the Old, "cigar chomping dinosaurs banging away on their old Olivetti typewriters" and New "bunch of unemployed slackers living in their mom's basement" writers.

Notice I didn't say "media" or "journalists" but "writers". It's an important distinction that I think has gotten lost in all the chest thumping. Do I consider myself a journalist? Of course not. I don't have the education or the training. I haven't a clue about the rules that govern the profession other than "if you're going to put out something bad about someone, you'd damn well better be able to back it up." I have no "sources", no leads and certainly no "scoops". Hell, almost all of the issues that I opine on here (aside from my game recaps) are drawn from stories written by...gosh!...journalists.

Okay, so do I consider myself a writer? Yes. Yes I do, if only a fair-to-middling hobbyist. I mean really, why the hell else would I be doing this if not to see my own words in "print" and share them with a larger audience? After all, sites like Blogger or WordPress are nothing if not the world's biggest vanity presses. Otherwise, I'd just hang out on the HF message boards, typing things like "WooOO!! OMg! LeaFS SUXX!! LOL!!" with my elbows.

It's that distinction that seems to elude Buzz and those of his ilk who decry the "death of sports journalism by blog" and insist that the rise of an amateur class of writers signals the death knell of western civilization as we know it. They're using the medium to dismiss the message. If I could, I would ask them how what I'm doing, or Four Habs Fans or anybody else who cares passionately enough about a given subject to say something, and say it well in as public a way as possible is any different from what you'd find in any sports section in any newspaper in North America. The short answer is nothing (except I can, and often do, swear. With enthusiasm). It's opinion, plain and simple. The fact that it doesn't appear in a newspaper renders it no less valid. It's my opinion and if you don't like it, you're free to tell me so, and/or move on.

Costas makes an interesting point at about the 11:50 mark of the segment (although Buzz buries Will's answer to it almost immediately) in which he says that his problem isn't with the "well written, insightful and funny sports blogs" but with "the very large percentage that where the quality is poor and the tone is abusive". It's true that there is a majority of blogs, especially sports blogs, that are absolute crap. Hell, some may even count me among them. But Will is correct. The bad ones will eventually die away, just as, a hundred years ago, glorified gossip rags dressed up as newspapers were displaced by The New York Times, The Globe & Mail or the Washington Post.

The mystery to me, is why well educated, smart and for the most part, admirable people involved in "serious" journalism, can't see the difference, to mentally separate the wheat from the chaff as it were, just because the delivery device doesn't leave ink on your fingers.

p.s.: I'll be heading off to the lovely city of Halifax for the next week (on business, not for the World Championships unfortunately), so my posting ability may be somewhat limited. Not because you can't access the web from Halifax (although that may well be true) but because Her Majesty may not like my using her computers to post dick jokes and rants about douchebags. So, I'll see you when I get back. If I'm lucky, I'll run into a few drunken Latvians.)

1 comment:

LeNoceur said...

You're right, of course, SLC. The problem/source of confusion for the cigar chompers is this:

1) Traditional media outlets (i.e., where they've invested their lives and careers, and what pays for their kids' college) are losing readers, and money, and shedding jobs.

2) A certain cheap, instantaneous media distribution and advertising system, commonly known as the Intertubes, bears some responsibility for this threat to their livelihood.

3) Blogs appear on the Intertubes.

4) Cigar-chompers, generally speaking, don't use the Intertubes all that much, and don't really understand them.

5) Blogs is bad.

I used to be a "journalist." I got out of the biz several years ago because, even at 25 I could see that print was a rapidly shrinking medium, and that the 50- and 60-somethings who run the show don't really understand the tubes or have any idea how to either compete with them or use them to their advantage (with a couple of exceptions).

/ Longest comment ever