Buzz: YOU are Full of Excrement
Not you, my friendly reader … I’m referring to H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, who by now you may have heard went postal on Will Leitch of Deadspin during the CostasNow show on HBO. If you didn’t see it, the video segment is available on Awful Announcing (luckily, it wasn’t filmed in Wrigley Field so MLB can’t take it down), FireJoeMorgan has a great synopsis of the event, and Matt Cerrone had some choice words. In addition, Joe Posnanski wrote a long but enjoyable treatise on the “roundtable discussion”.
In case you don’t have the time or desire to follow those links, I’ll give you my own quick rundown. In short, Bob Costas hosted what was supposed to be a roundtable discussion, with the goal of having Bissinger, Leitch, and Braylon Edwards discuss the future of blogs and sports journalism. That goal was not quite reached, because 15 seconds into Leitch’s first comments, Bissinger cut him off, saying, “…I really think you’re full of sh*t …” Bissinger then condescendingly asked Leitch if he’d ever read W.C. Heinz (no one’s sure why) but Leitch answered in the affirmative, and that seemed to really send “Buzz” off his rocker. Bissinger was a raving lunatic from then on, trying to make the point that “blogs are dedicated to cruelty, they’re dedicated to journalistic dishonesty, and they’re dedicated to speed”. Costas supported Bissinger by readingly aloud the most profane READERS COMMENTS he could find on Deadspin (actually that’s not true; Costas probably doesn’t know how to use the internet, and had one of his production assistants or maybe the key grip find the worst comments for him).
It got uglier, but the best description I’ve read of the exchange was from Posnaski:
The rest of the conversation seemed to me to be Buzz hitting Will about the head with an umbrella, and Will saying, “Would you please stop hitting me with the umbrella,” and Buzz continuing to hit Will about the head with the umbrella, and Will saying, “Damn it, ow, stop hitting me you crazy old man,” and Buzz hitting him about the head some more with the umbrella. I love the phrase “about the head.”
Why am I addressing this roundtable-turned-altercation here? Because every “important” sports blogger is covering it, so I figure I better, too, if I want to be “important”. Also, it’s a day off for the Mets, and I’m trying hard not to think about yesterday’s 13-1 loss.
Although Buzz Bissinger did a fine job of making a mockery of himself, I’m still offended by some of the things he said, and will take the time now to lash back. First, a personal offense to start off: Mr. H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger, what kind of a pompous arse goes by his first two initials AND a nickname? “H.G.”? What’s that? A subliminal method of aligning yourself with H.G. Wells? Reminds me of a former colleague of mine who referred to himself as “W.P.” in his byline instead of Bill or William. Annoyingly pompous, in my opinion.
Bissinger insinuated that bloggers were not of the same intellectual level of Pulitzer Prize winning sycophants such as himself. I use the word “sycophant” because I can — although I’m a lowly blogger I have a B.A. in English, authored several books that have been translated into dozens of languages, and used to work as an editor for a highly successful international book and magazine publisher. However I have not won a Pulitzer Prize (yet), and have never read the books of W.C. Heinz — though I have read Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Ring Lardner, John Steinbeck, Anton Chekhov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, John Kennedy O’Toole, John Barth, Raymond Carver, David Halberstam, Jim Bouton, Homer, Ron Sukenick, Flannery O’Connor, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, Charles Einstein, Bill James, Daniel Okrent, Michael Lewis, Roger Angell, Roger Kahn, Bernard Malamud, Voltaire, Pat Jordan, Philip Roth, Jancis Robinson, Eliot Asinof, William Goldman, Charles Bukowski, Vladimir Nabakov, Jerzy Kosinski, Thomas Pynchon, Ovid, and hundreds of others. I like to consider myself “well read”, and feel my library is “eclectic”. But apparently it’s incomplete without W.C. Heinz (and Bissinger, for that matter … but hey, I saw the movie).
Here at MetsToday, I rarely — if ever — include profanity in my posts, and even hesitate to use the word “suck” (though I admit I have a few times). The people who comment here uphold a similar level of respect, and though the discussions get heated, they’re never cruel. We may criticize performance, but do not make personal attacks. I’d like to think that the content is entertaining and somewhat intelligent without being ostentatious or inaccessible. But to hear it from Bissinger and Costas, every sports blog on the internet is exactly like Deadspin — a wild party of potty-mouthed degenerates who are degrading sports journalism.
In truth, Deadspin is not that bad — it’s entertainment of a different sort, and not for everyone. This event reminds me a lot of the early days of the world wide web, when some people pointed at the porn sites and decried the internet as the gateway to hades. Let’s get serious — if you’re going to lump all sports blogs into one pile represented by Deadspin, then you don’t understand the medium, you’re ignorant of the true realm of sports bloggers, and you have no business going on HBO spewing your opinion. Bissinger and Costas are no more qualified to speak about sports blogs than I am about rocket science — and you don’t see me on the Discovery Channel blaspheming NASA, do you?
I’m off the soapbox … more Mets stuff coming soon.