05.08.08

Perhaps Bob Costas Should’ve Invited dwil To Appear On Camera?

Posted in Blogged Down, Racism Corner at 3:59 pm by

In the aftermath of the fateful Buzz Bissinger/Will Leitch (above, left) throwdown on “Costas Now”, the Fanhouse’s Ryan Wilson wondered why, with the exception of Big Sexy and uh, yours truly, hardly anyone had called attention to the skilled slice & dice NPR’s Scott Simon performed on Leitch earier this year.

The words “no comment” clearly not being part of his vocabularly, Leitch admitted to Wilson he was “embarrassed” by the exchange with Simon, the tendency to question the “blackness” of prominent public figures being “something that hadn’t even occurred to me”. When asked by Wilson why the NPR story received relatively little play in the sports blogosphere, Leitch replied :

I’m not so sure that people are afraid of pissing off me, or Deadspin. I think I’ve been pretty level-headed in giving plenty of play for all viewpoints, even those that aren’t fans of what we do (I’ve even linked to CSTB on occasion), and if anyone thinks I”m going to blackball someone because they criticize me, they are mistaken.

Indeed, Will has linked to CSTB nearly a half dozen times in Deadspin’s 33 months of existence. Almost as many times, actually, when Deadspin was still in beta mode, but that’s fair enough. It probably took a little while for the full splendor of the cultural mosaic that is modern sports blogging to be fully absorbed by our hero. Though if you buy into D.K. Wilson‘s line of thinking, it might take just a bit longer. From Monday’s National Sports Review :

Ten million pages, or so, of Deadspin are œturned every month. The vast majority of which are written by a man who tells us that his Internet raison d™etre is due to the fact that œsports have been essentially hijacked by a sports entertainment industry that hyperbolizes to promote itself.

And yet that statement is exactly what exists in the pages that constitute the weblog that is Deadspin.

Perhaps that is Leitch™s private joke. Perhaps that™s why he stumbles and stutters each time he is confronted with the material within his blog that so panders to the white frat boy sports blogosphere – and the people of other colors who love them, or whore themselves to achieve the infamous œI was linked by Will Leitch status (oh, the t-shirt sales¦).

That this mirroring of the mainstream, under the guise of being its antithesis, is not grossly apparent to even the youngest reader of Deadspin, is, in the vacuum of lighter circumstances, a hoot. However, because it actively courts, thrives and is dependent on people who find commonality in who can œout Henny Youngman each other (to borrow a phrase about Deadspin commenters from MODI), people who openly loathe people of color, particularly black people, and people who openly hate the fact that athletes make millions of dollars to play what they consider œchildren™s games, Deadspin has become serious business.

For black people who do not share the overreaching opinions of Deadspin or its visitors, the image is particularly harsh. We are not œinvited to join the legion of œLeitch™s Leeches – not that we particularly aspire to – Leitch largely refuses our websites and blogs.

It is equally no accident that the writers who work for AOL Fanhouse, Deadspin, and their favored blogging minions, all write in a similar dumbed-down fashion. It is no accident that they have all gained popularity by largely eschewing serious sports analysis, tackling serious sports-related issues such as race and racism in and around sports, or taken any stances that would jeopardize their oh-so-close to Big Box status.

And for their purposely acting to further dumb down sport watching audiences, they are lauded rather than laughed at and dismissed by too many mainstream journalists. It is these same mainstream sports writers who privately wipe their brows in relief knowing that as long as rumor, innuendo, and opinion and analysis based on reductionist thinking rule the day on the Internet, they are safe from one less set of marauders on their collective space.

2 Responses to “Perhaps Bob Costas Should’ve Invited dwil To Appear On Camera?”

  1. TC says:

    Excellent point from the National Sports Review. Costas can bluster and fulminate all he wants at an easy target like Leitch but I don’t think Leitch is a very good example of sportswriting in the blogosphere. As the National Sports Review article says, as long as this jock-targeted material is the key element of Deadspin, it’s a straw-man argument for Costas. Leitch does write lowest-common denominator stuff. If Costas had really wanted to survey the blogosphere (he obviously doesn’t), there are PLENTY of excellent, thoughtful blogs, analyzing just about every sports team in the States (and around the world), about the social trends exemplified in sports, and about how sports might be a microcosm of the world. But Costas didn’t want that discussion.

  2. GC says:

    I think the more we trade in generalities the more any individual runs the risk of aping Buzz. I don’t think Deadspin is 100% LCD-style, and we’ve seen evidence that Leitch is capable of actual reportage, analysis, etc. (though usually in another forum). There OUGHTA be a blog or 200,000 with some kind of humorous take on things. There’s plenty of room for cruelty and irreverence. I’m less bothered by the tone of D.S. and it’s various offspring than I in whether or not any of ‘em are actually funny (and some of them are). And that’s totally in the eye of the beholder.

    On the other hand, Dwil is justified in pointing out the absurdity of a pro blog that purports to offer an alternative to the status quo, but in reality, fits in very nicely alongside the ranks of Jim Rome, the Whiner Line, etc.

    But i would agree that calling Deadspin or KSK or With Leather wholly representative of the sporting blogosphere would be as inaccurate as interviewing David Pinto and stopping there.  In terms of traffic, it’s generally the faux smoking gun/TMZ-esque stuff that daily newspaper dudes are either bemoaning or linking to themselves. I think it’s often a fair criticism that many blogs (including this one) would struggle for content were it not for facts generated by the MSM. On the other hand, we’re also seeing print journalists following up stories that were either originated or largely popularized by blogs more and more often.

    There’s way more to sports blogosphere than bong pix. But if that’s what people wanna look at, good luck stopping ‘em.

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