The Wire’s David Simon : Not Nearly Finished Dumping On The Baltimore Sun

Posted in non-sporting journalism, The World Of Entertainment at 7:18 pm by

“If I want to find out what’s going on in this city, I’ve got to go to a fucking bar and talk to a police lieutenant and take notes on a cocktail napkin,” moans “The Wire” creator David Simon (above, third from left) to the Guardian’s Oliver Burkeman. “That’s what passes for high-end journalism in Baltimore these days.” Lest you think Season 5 settled all of the old scores for Simon, “The Wire”‘s recent UK success has afforded him another opportunity to take a shot at the American news media.

Simon doesn’t respond well to the criticism that perhaps things aren’t entirely bad – that his shows’ unremitting pessimism distorts a world where some people do defeat the crushing force of social institutions. Last year, the journalist Mark Bowden made that charge in the Atlantic magazine, and Simon hasn’t forgiven him. “This premise that The Wire wasn’t real because it didn’t show people having good outcomes in west Baltimore … I don’t know what to tell him. We didn’t spend a series in a cul-de-sac with people barbecuing; it was the story of what’s happening at the bottom rungs of an economy where capitalism has been allowed free rein. And if he’s telling me it’s not happening, I want to take his fucking entitled ass and drive him to west Baltimore and shove him out of the car, at Monroe and Fayette, and say, find your way back, fucker, because you’ve got your head up your ass at the Atlantic.”

Behind Simon’s general disillusion is a disillusionment with journalism, the only work he ever wanted to do. Raised in a secular Jewish household in the Washington suburbs, he wrote for his school magazine, then was so busy editing the University of Maryland newspaper that it took him five years to graduate (“with terrible grades”). In his final year he began stringing for the local paper, the Sun; his wife, the novelist Laura Lippman, is another former Sun reporter. The way he tells it, the central betrayal of Simon’s life is the gutting of the Sun by profit-obsessed owners and Pulitzer-obsessed editors. One of those reviled executives, Bill Marimow, gets an obnoxious police lieutenant named after him in The Wire; Scott Templeton, the weaselly fabricator of season five, is modelled on a Sun colleague. (Other former staffers describe Simon as a perpetual picker of fights.)

The collapse of the US newspaper industry has left politicians free to pursue their unethical schemes unscrutinised. “The internet does froth and commentary very well, but you don’t meet many internet reporters down at the courthouse,” he says. “Oh to be a state or local official in America over the next 10 to 15 years, before somebody figures out the business model. To gambol freely across the wastelands of an American city as a local politician! It’s got to be one of the great dreams in the history of American corruption.”

CP3 Oozing With Contempt For Knicks’ Mighty Mite

Posted in Basketball at 6:43 pm by

Hornets G Chris Paul and Knicks counterpart Nate Robinson exchanged pleasantries and shoves with about 9 minutes remaining in New York’s 103-93 win at MSG Friday night and afterwards, the former praised N8 as “the better player” to the Post’s Mark Hale. Sort of.

“What happened was, I went in for that layup over Larry Hughes, and he pushed me in the back, and I was just like, ‘All right now, Nate,’ ” Paul said. “And I’m thinking he’s going to be like, ‘My fault’ or something. He said something crazy. So then we went back down the other end, I tried to be aggressive and it happened. . . . Whatever. It’s our last time playing the Knicks.

“I don’t pay no attention, tell you the truth. I just play. Dunk contest champion.”

The “dunk contest champion” comment seemed to be a jab at Robinson, though Paul claimed he knows Robinson personally and insisted that the feisty Knick “didn’t get in my head.”

“They won the game. I guess that makes him the better player.” Paul said with a bit of sarcasm.

“I really like their team, to tell you the truth,” he said. “I know Al Harrington real well. Q-Rich [Quentin Richardson]. Chris Duhon. I’m a huge Chris Duhon fan. We played against each other in college.”

Irving R. Levine, Dead At 86

Posted in non-sporting journalism at 3:01 pm by

Who was the bow-tie wearing economics reporter that was like a sex machine to all the chicks?


Marlins’ Ramirez : Fuck Tha (Fashion) Police

Posted in Baseball, Fashion at 2:31 pm by

A couple of weeks back, Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria instituted what the Palm Beach Post’s Joe Capozzi calls “a new, clean-cut look” for the Fish. Amongst those displeased with the club’s new dress code ; All-Universe SS and hot pick for 2009 MVP Hanley Ramirez (above, left).

At first, players kept any complaints private. But Thursday, Ramirez let out his frustrations when he arrived in Fort Lauderdale and was told to remove his gold chains, another fashion no-no under the new policy.

According to a team source, Ramirez reacted by complaining loudly about the hair-cut policy. He walked around the clubhouse with the words “I’m sick of this ”-” written across the front of his shirt and reportedly said, “I’m angry! I want to be traded.”

The protest prompted a meeting between Ramirez and top team officials after he left the Marlins-Baltimore game in the sixth inning.

Manager Ferdi Gonzalez was asked if Ramirez’s protests Thursday prompted the manager to address the team. “Now you’re putting me in a bad mood,” Gonzalez said, refusing to discuss the issue.

Ramirez wasn’t talking about it, either.

“That’s in the past. No more comments about that. New day today,” he said Friday in the clubhouse while wearing a ball cap that covered his buzz cut. “I’m happy today.”

The Owner With A Boner’s Embrace Of A New Medium (For Bitching About Officiating)

Posted in Basketball, The Internet at 2:14 pm by

An item in Friday’s New York Times warned that Twitter-ville is heavily populated by ghostwits filling in for persons as varied as 50 Cent, Britney Spears and Barack Obama.  Mavs owner Mark Cuban, as you might expect, takes a more hands-on approach to the new technology, continuing his feud with Denver’s JR Smith after Dallas’ 103-101 loss Friday night.  From the Dallas Morning News’ Tim MacMahon :

Antoine Wright and Smith got in each other’s faces by the Denver bench after Wright’s missed jumper with seconds remaining essentially sealed the Nuggets’ win.

Cuban took his frustration out on his keyboard minutes after the loss, posting twice about the incident on his Twitter page, questioning a refereeing crew headed by Ronnie Garretson.

how do they not call a tech on JR Smith for coming off the bench to taunt our player on the ground ?
scary part of that play: Same crew chief from game in Denver where they missed call – last play of the game & 1st JRSmith/Wright issue.

Cuban was fined $25,000 for “inappropriate interaction” after his confrontation with Smith earlier this season. It’d be stunning if David Stern didn’t order Cuban to cough up some cash for finding a new way to question NBA officiating.

At Least Billy Gillispie Didn’t Pull A Jacket Over His Face

Posted in Basketball, Sports TV at 7:50 am by

Does WAVE TV3 have an ombudsperson?


Marina Hyde Probably Hasn’t Placed A Deposit For England’s New Shirt

Posted in Fashion, Football at 11:38 pm by

I want you to remember that this is not a polo shirt,” insists the Guardian’s Marina Hyde of tomorrow’s unveiling of England’s new official jersey.  “It is nothing less than an attempt to restore hope to a nation via the medium of sportswear.” Couldn’t the same thing have been accomplished by Burberry going bankrupt?

I confess to having developed something of a horrified fascination with the official campaign leading up to this momentous launch. Whether you believe replica England shirts to be a tax on stupidity is irrelevant. Even by the standards of preposterous hype, this one redraws the blueprint.

One can only assume it is a deliberate and frankly biting satire on the whole business of England, and all the vainglorious pretentiousness that has characterised the set-up in recent years. This thing is the veritable Emperor’s New Strip. It may look like a polo shirt to you and me, but it is the very essence of tragi-comic self-regard.

Unconvinced? Then do proceed directly with me to one of the lengthy interviews with the senior designer David Blanch.

“The detail is in the minutiae,” he declares, “even down to the spacing on the ventilation holes. The configuration of the holes is actually taken from the position of some of the roses on the three lions crest. It’s a bit of a Da Vinci Code, a ‘rose code’ if you like.”

Jesus wept… Just when you think you understand performance synthetics, you realise that some amazing twist has derailed your assumptions about the meaning of Aertex or whatever.

Asked if there is any detail of which he is particularly proud, David declines to cite a state-of-the-art booing deflector shield, and instead mentions “the care label”. The care label! Clearly, we are invited to read this garment as though it were the last act of The Tempest, as opposed to something Ashley Cole is going to sweat in.

Forde : Gillispie “Screwed Up The Opportunity Of A Lifetime.”

Posted in Basketball at 9:52 pm by

Hours before Louisville blew out Arizona in the NCAA Men’s Midwest Regional Semi-Final, the Herald-Leader’s Chip Cosby quizzed the high & mighty about the shock dismissal of Billy Gillespie at Kentucky.  Why can’t someone deny Bobby Gillespie the right to earn a living instead?

“I was shocked that it fell apart this fast,” Forde said. “One minute they’re 16-4, 5-0 in the SEC and you’re thinking Sweet Sixteen. The next thing you know, they’re in the NIT and firing (Gillispie). It’s wild.”

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and President Lee Todd cited Gillispie’s inability to deal with the public, his players and the media as a large reason for his dismissal. Forde said it became clear that Gillispie didn’t fit the mold.

“There’s no doubt that the Kentucky job requires a unique person. Obviously Billy didn’t have the main characteristics it took to be successful. It’s a hard job, but they pay you a lot of money. He screwed up the opportunity of a lifetime.”

“It’s a shame,” former Wildcat Kenny Walker said. “If he would have been just a little bit better guy, a little easier guy to deal with, I think he would have deserved another year. But (public relations) is a big, big part of the job. You wonder how much that was discussed with him when he got the job. You also wonder about the background check (UK) did. It seems like there should have been some things that raised some red flags.”

But several in the national media felt like Gillispie got a raw deal.

“What Billy said at the SEC Tournament about all the things that weren’t in his job description, that was a misdiagnosis,” Sporting News columnist Mike DeCourcy said. “But to make a huge issue of how he picked apart an ESPN sideline reporter, that’s entirely ludicrous.”

“It’s a panic move,” Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples said. “I disagree with the whole ‘fit’ thing. I know that’s a major issue at Kentucky, but ‘fit’ is only an issue if you’re not winning games. Is Nick Saban a good fit at Alabama? Not necessarily, but he’s a good fit because he’s winning games.”

Sandomir On Hal & Hank Steinbrenner’s Bad Cop

Posted in Baseball at 8:19 pm by

“In recent years, as George Steinbrenner has faded from view as the principal owner,” writes the New York Times‘ Richard Sandomir in Saturday’s paper, “(team president Randy) Levine has emerged as the strongest voice of the Yankees…no other Yankees executive ” not Steinbrenner™s sons, Hal and Hank; Brian Cashman, the general manager; or Lonn Trost, the chief operating officer ” is as willfully aggressive.”  Not even Tony Pena asking for a date comes on as strong!

œPart of Randy likes to fight, said Hal Steinbrenner, the managing general partner. œHe has a history of not backing down. He likes to be the bad cop. I™m the good cop.The family has never asked Levine to restrain his style. Hal Steinbrenner said he has œabsolutely applauded Levine™s castigations of Assemblyman Richard L. Brodsky, a persistent critic of the stadium™s financing. Levine has angrily accused Brodsky, a Westchester County Democrat, of attacking the Yankees name for political ends.

Levine™s occasionally choleric behavior is not an act, he said, but evidence that he can change speeds on his rhetorical pitches.

œI get angry, he said, œbut I try not to let anger color my job.

The brusque Brodsky sees Levine as œsomeone who thinks the world responds to bullying and verbal violence. After a public hearing at which Levine, 54, turned red while yelling at him, Brodsky said: œHe couldn™t have been acting. His face was too purple.

At a hearing about stadium financing this month, Levine accused Brodsky of being on a œwitch hunt and of using œSoviet-style tactics in subpoenaing him, and told him that he is œnot the dictator of the state who can overrule everybody else.

Brodsky countered, œI will remind you, Mr. Levine, that the Giuliani years are over.

Levine turned from the witness table with a smile, his morning™s joust over.

œEntertaining, wasn™t it? he said as he left the Manhattan hearing room.

Like the Versus Commercial Says, “Hockey Fans Are Not Like Other Fans”

Posted in Get Out Of Jail, Hockey at 3:52 pm by

This story seems have crashed the Columbus Dispatch for the moment, so, from SLAM! Sports and Sun Media:

According to a Columbus police report, a man wearing a Calgary Flames jersey has been arrested and charged with inducing panic after placing at least three threatening phone calls to the Blue Jackets — specifically targeting [rookie goaltender Steve] Mason — during Thursday’s 5-0 win over the Flames.

Charged with the misdemeanour, Peter Stenzel, 52, was picked up at his Dublin, Ohio, home.

“They got his number from caller ID, and it was given to special duty officers,” Columbus police Sgt. Rich Weiner told the Columbus Dispatch Friday.

“When they got to his residence, he was upset. He’s a passionate hockey fan.”

Security was on edge at the Nationwide Arena, and there was a beefed-up police presence because of the phone calls that came in between 7:45 and 8:11 p.m., between the end of the first period and start of the second.

Special-duty officers were placed around all the arenas entrances.

Sources told the Dispatch Stenzel threatened to “shoot” and “bomb” Mason during the game.

“It’s nice to see a fan who cares,” writes Deadspin. Hilarity!