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Simmons first-ever read

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by goalmouth, Jun 18, 2008.

  1. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    I've read a lot of contrasting opinions here about Bill Simmons, but never read his column. So today, I went over his recent tennis column, having covered the pro tours extensively in a prior life.

    As breathtakingly vapid, sophomoric, poorly written, too long, unimaginative, cliched and badly constructed as anything I've read in many years. If I didn't know the source, I'd assume this was amateur doggerel hacked out by a kid at some high school paper. And I mean that in a good way.

    The fact that he is wildly popular tells me a lot about just how low our expectations have plummeted for the written word, and for people in general.
  2. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    Only read Simmons re the NBA.

    Your disposition will thank me.
  3. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    It was also for the magazine. My take of him is: His stuff for the magazine is terrible, because it has to be structured as if he's a conventional writer. His more "casual" writing (NFL previews, NBA draft diaries, mailbags) are very readable and usually funny. When he tries to be serious, he's not very good at all. He's perfect in his niche, i.e., sports-related, pop-culture non-journalism.
  4. pseudo

    pseudo Well-Known Member

    And then only if you can tolerate the green-and-white pompoms.
  5. Stoney

    Stoney Well-Known Member

    Agreed. I like his observations about the NBA, he actually knows and understands that league better than most writers.

    But when he writes about other sports he's bad; and when he tries to be a serious or deep writer he's AWFUL.

    Mailbags, snark, pop culture and the NBA--that's his wheelhouse--there's nothing more to get from him. And even his snark and PC references have grown painfully stale and recycled, the NBA's pretty much all he's good for now. Unless, of course, you're a Boston fanboi.
  6. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    I have a problem with bloggers who develop a cult following, join up with a mainstream outfit and pretty much lose the handle on whatever it was made them a good read in the first place.
  7. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    It's like Shelley Long leaving Cheers, thinking she can be a serious actress. No, Shelley, you can't. You should have stuck to serving drinks and tolerating sexual innuendo from Sam. No one would have thought any less of you for staying right there.
  8. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Cheers -- good 80s cultural reference. I smell a blog in your future!
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    A lot of that also has to do with being spoiled by the success of the Boston teams. Before, when they were losing, his columns were like any frustrated fan. Now, it just comes off as boasting.

    Another '80s reference: The worst thing possible has happened to Simmons. He became civilized.
  10. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Simmons is like Ice Cube, who started his career angry at the world he was surrounded by. He wrote about it, found an audience and became hugely successful. Only, once he gained success, there wasn't much to be angry about anymore and it was difficult (if not impossible) to summon the fury that made him so great (he has admitted as much). He then successfully branched out into acting and found a new way to express himself.

    Simmons is similar. He started out angry at being snubbed by the mainstream sports media. He began writing from the perspective of the average fan, one who was often angry at the plight of his favorite sports teams (all from Boston, of course), which were mired in mediocrity, or occasionally nearly reached the pinnacle only to be swatted down once again.

    When he made it big at ESPN and subsequently moved to LA, he lost his voice, that of the average fan. He is no longer an average fan. He is a fan who gets better access than many journalists, one who runs in circles with celebrities and gets paid a ton to do it. He'll never be able to recapture that voice that made him so hugely popular.

    Unfortunately for him, his efforts to branch out haven't been nearly as successful as Ice Cube's. I'm not sure they ever will be. So be it. He still made himself a helluva career, as short or as long-lived as it may end up.
  11. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    Beat me to it, Baron.
  12. a_rosenthal

    a_rosenthal Guest

    Most of his NBA stuff is strong -- although today's column was pretty nonsensical.

    Success in general has ruined him, I think. He's making so much money now, hanging out with (b-list) celebs and just generally doesn't live the average fan's lifestyle. The fact that he can easily afford to fly cross-country several times during the playoffs to watch the C's is something I suspect he would have made fun of back in 1999.

    Can't fault the guy, though. He's making a boatload of money and gets to write about whatever the hell he wants. Pretty sweet gig.
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