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Value of reading Bill Simmons

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RickReilly'sDentist, Mar 26, 2015.

  1. RickReilly'sDentist

    RickReilly'sDentist New Member

    Yeah bro, another post about Bill Simmons.
    I've been a Simmons fanboy for years now (yeah, the username and overly long parentheticals probably give it away) and I've always been a blast to read. His voice is cool, I dig the references, enjoy the overall candor.
    I write columns myself now. They're about 600 to 1,000 words at the most.
    And the influence of Simmons has been hard to rub off.
    Me, like I assume a lot of fellow young writers, can sometimes lapse into Simmons impressions.
    Rarely does any of Simmons' staples work.
    If you talk about your childhood memories at the Garden relating to Serge Ibaka's last two weeks for a 1,000 words, you come off self-indulgent. If you set up gimmicks, the explanations run too long. If you make up nicknames for stuff, the jokes always fall flat. It's not that imitations can't be funny/smart/insightful, it's just that it's clearly a Simmons impression.
    You can sniff out Simmons imitators like a smoker in the subway. You know, like when some stand-up comics started acting spastic mid-aughts to mimic Dane Cooke. You could just can kinda tell.
    Add that with the unrealistic word limitations, and what is the benefit of reading Simmons regulars for youngsters?
    And please refrain from snarky comments on the quality of Simmons' columns. It's like, we get it, you're hating.
  2. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Simmons' staples don't often work for Simmons anymore.

    He's an average, postmodern, upper-middle-class, middlebrow writer. Always has been.

    My advice: Read more. A lot more.
  3. CD Boogie

    CD Boogie Well-Known Member

    You should read Simmons to know what you won't get away with yourself. He is unique in that his editors let him ramble. He came to ESPN with that schtick and it's worked for him. I used to really enjoy his stuff, but he went from being an outsider writing from the fan's perspective to a name-dropping insider. I no longer read him, though if I was gonna tell young writers to read stuff by him, read the stuff he wrote for ESPN before he moved to LA.
    RickReilly'sDentist likes this.
  4. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    It is funny that Simmons writing clearly suffered with success. He built his persona around being the average fan who loved talking about his sports experiences growing up, making schlocky references to the movies and music of his childhood, etc. But with success, he was no longer that person and the schtick just doesn't work as well for a guy who hangs out with celebrities and has "made it" by achieving his dream of covering the NBA and working for the largest sports network in the world.

    It's not much different, I suppose, than someone like Ice Cube, who gained his success by rapping about his street life. But the more successful he became, the further he was from being that same angry young man. He'll never be as good as he was then, but he no longer has to be. And that's just fine by him, same as it is Simmons. We should all be so lucky.
    Songbird likes this.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    I said this one other time here, and I'll say it again. The worst possible thing happened to Simmons. He became civilized.
  6. JackReacher

    JackReacher Well-Known Member

    And.....Boom Goes the Dynamite!
  7. JC

    JC Well-Known Member

    I never read him anymore but do enjoy his podcasts.
  8. RickReilly'sDentist

    RickReilly'sDentist New Member

    I've read maybe 2,000 words of his the past two years (a quarter of a column) and listened to 200 hours of his podcasts (BS Report mostly, Carolla's occasionally, Do You Like Prince Movies once). He's funny and he gets great access. Dude got 25 minutes with Obama. I wouldn't mind if the BS Report just turned into Millennial Larry King. When's Simmons' contract up? Piers Morgan still on?
  9. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Intellectually, he always has been. His ideas are as sportswriter-y as any of the middlebrow as any of the sportswriters.

    He used to write with more humor and an appreciation for the absurd, but he's ceded that ground. Why I don't know. I suspect he's too full of the NBA, if I had to guess. The NBA is a pretty absurd thing, at its core -- the league's version of "those guys at the YMCA" won the title last year -- and ESPN/Grantland now treat it like Scientologists regard L. Ron Hubbard.

    WWE is treated like a real thing now, too. It's not baffling -- ludicrous emotional investment in a plotted, roided-up, violent soap opera might as well be on page one of the postmodern playbook -- but when you start looking at that sport head on, we're drifting a bit.
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