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Sports, in a way

Tuesday 10/29/19

I saw that the company that bought Deadspin told the Deadspin writers to write about sports, granting to those writers that sports conceivably covered a lot of ground beyond, strictly speaking, the ball that bounced off someone's chest, the sack that was registered. Makes sense to me. But umbrage has ensued, from staff and their coterie of followers. What's the problem? There are ways to range far with that directive. True, I don't like Deadspin. I think it's glib, shallow. It's faux-connection.

That house-brand writing style smacks of limited voice and paucity of substance, it's a lot of ostentatiousness and attitude. The attitudinal pose. Holier-than-thou. Elitist, but not intelligent. I find that combination dreadfully off-putting. You see it in some of the late night punditry. A lot of people using the same kind of phrases, the same kind of glib humor. It's insulting to me, condescending, and if it appeals to anyone, I think it mostly appeals to people who get a charge out of being that way themselves.

Which is to say, largely--though I am sure there are a great many exceptions--insecure people who like the word "snark" and view it as a virtue, with some smattering of education, people who didn't go for much in life, coast in things, but know some words, get what they regard as their intellectual cachet from three or four sites, would never look further than that, or at least have not to date (part of the problem is that for all of the options out there, there is so little out there that is outstanding), and would say this is because they are so busy if you pressed them on it, but that's not it. People with a big disconnect between their persona in life and their persona online. People who spend way more time than is healthy, I would suspect, looking at memes and Twitter. They talk in the phrases they all seem to use. It just becomes one giant repeat. Like when you're sick in bed, watching TV, and you see the same commercial 350 times. This is the language version of that, the thought version of that.

What is dangerous to me about this form of writing is that it purports to be interconnective (as in, I am one of the good ones, are you? By which I mean, you best think how I think, or am pretending/posing to think), but it's really hierarchical, and a form of peer pressure of hipness, glibness, preying on the feeling people have that that other person out there in cyberspace really gets it in ways you don't, they have it together, you need to not fall further behind, impress impress impress. You are not as with it as me, is the prevailing vibe. I can out-sarcastic you. It's very passive aggressive, and there's little sincerity. The design is also bad. Looks like it's from 1973, only it's a web product.

(I just read a piece on their site about a guy who sees three dogs. It's not smart, it's not poignant, it's not touching, funny, thoughtful. It's passive. But with some photos of dogs. Cute dogs. What dogs are not cute? What's the point? What are you trying to do with this? What's it for? This is one of your non-sports pieces? And this has to stay? There needs to be more of this? I'd love for someone to tell me why this is amazing. Because dogs are great? There are a trillion dog photos on the internet. We all see cute dogs every day. Why, I saw this little fellow crossing Hanover Street last night in the rain who was the size of a sneaker, proud, warrior look on his face after he came through a puddle and did not break stride. Another piece was an itemization of things that were found in people's rectums one year. Awesome. That is some major league entitlement to think that a boss, a new boss, might not want any more of that.)

But write about sports and make it interesting and transcend sports? Seems pretty easy to me. Then again, I do it a lot.

Speaking of which. I composed a 2000 word short story this morning, about a black high school kid who fists a white girl at the home of his dad's new employer. Basketball story. Story about sexual assault. But: Not the way you might be thinking. Flips it on its head. Or does it? Completely new, completely surprising. The story is called "Rodin." The sculptor is also in the story. Story about a 2-guard. And there's Willie Stargell as well. The kid's dad was a big Stargell fan. See? Easy. Another story of our age. Like "Fitty," "Patriarchy," "Net Drive," "Take a Leg," but also transcendent of our age. I can only imagine the discussion about this story.

Sold a piece to JazzTimes. Sold an essay to The American Interest as well.

I printed out some stories for my buddy Emma. At a loss. Can't reach her. I know she's pretty bogged down in this depression and you can't speed someone out of something like that. She told me she doesn't feel like seeing or interacting with anyone. She stayed after school yesterday to work on her art project, so I think that is a good outlet, but it's also guess work on my part. I don't have a good sense of where she's at. I bought her a package of Junior Mints and left those outside for her, to take to school. She likes those. Just a little thing. I was at CVS and thought maybe it would make her smile. I told her I missed her, and she was, of course, still my favorite person. Tonight there is a free screening of The Tingler--pretty neat Vincent Price horror film--and I had suggested that perhaps she should invite some of her new art school friends to go with her--they sound like they're that kind of kids--but school runs late today and she wouldn't have time.

Shaved for the first time in ten days. Let's do some Monument climbs now. Is that a sport?


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