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With Reilly's exit, the column in the back of SI goes to ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by ondeadline, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    ... a rotation of writers, the first being Peter King, and is called "Point After." Still nothing from Dan Patrick, although there is a full-page ad for his radio show imploring readers to demand that their local station carry him.
  2. Boobie Miles

    Boobie Miles Active Member

    I know he was the Sportsman of the Year in the issue, but any surprise that King's first/only story in that spot is a gushing piece about Brett Favre?
  3. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    You should read the front of the issue, where Terry McDonnell has a column explaining that it will be a rotation, and credits George Plimpton (RIP) for the idea of Point Afters.
  4. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    That's a good idea. Give King the spotlight during football, Verducci during baseball, college hoops, college FB -- I like it.
  5. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    King is ill-suited to this column format. How is he going to work in the "so-and-so told me via cellphone" shtick?
  6. Boobie Miles

    Boobie Miles Active Member

    For all the Reilly bashing around here, I know I always opened SI to the back page first. I don't think that'll necessarily be the case anymore.

    Edit: This post can also serve as a response to those talking about what was written at the front about the new back page plan. I've only taken one dump since my SI arrived. Hence, only made it to the back page.
  7. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    You know buckdub, sometimes I wonder if I'm just shouting at the moon with my posts.

    So that we don't have non-SI readers railing against Peter King getting the back page column for 10 pages, here is McDonnell's Editor's Letter:

    The Point After

    BYLINE: Terry McDonell

    WHEN I knew him best, the only occasionally irascible George Plimpton, who had written for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED from its freewheeling birth, liked to warn fellow writers of the "tin-eared butchery" they might suffer at the hands of the magazine's editors. This was harsh and baffling because it was Plimpton who had concocted the brilliant April 1, 1985, hoax, The Curious Case of Sidd Finch, with then managing editor Mark Mulvoy, the two of them pushing the fool-around quotient in the traditional writer-editor compact to a new level. But then came the editing on Plimpton's personal piece on George H.W. Bush, which had started out as an assignment to play horseshoes with the President-elect and wound up as a survey of the Bush family as athletes. Zzzzzz.

    Plimpton's complaints became infamous. In private, however, shortly after I was hired here, he would praise SI as a writer's magazine which, when finely tuned, could soar like a great tabernacle choir or "a troop of chacma baboons in full-throated roar." He would then add, "You should do more of that."

    Plimpton was talking about different voices of various and eccentric writers lifting sports to reflect the broader sweep of culture. As an example he cited POINT AFTER, a back-page column that Mulvoy introduced to the magazine the year after Sidd Finch, supplanting THE 19TH HOLE, a collection of letters from readers.

    The first POINT AFTER, by senior writer Frank Deford, made clear the magazine's position that the challenge symbolized by Jackie Robinson needed to be mounted again and again. Deford took readers back to a black Ohio Wesleyan baseball player in 1906 who was denied registration at a team hotel in South Bend, and who in anguish had "pulled at his hands, like Lady Macbeth, as though he might somehow wring the blackness from them." It was painful to read, and then Deford threw the story forward to underline "how little, really, we live up to the homilies we love to recite at sports banquets."

    This was a voice of conscience, but it was not the only voice, and as the back page was handed off from writer to writer many more came blasting out including Martina Navratilova and Jesse Jackson to find new connections with readers. Some were hilarious. Here is senior writer Leigh Montville on what happened in 1995 after he put Michael Jordan's number 23 on his clothes: "Cooked four-course dinner while speed-reading collected works of James Joyce. Learned to speak French fluently in hour after dinner. Ran five miles at five-minute-mile pace. Cleaned basement. Painted den. Learned to play guitar. Wrote dozen songs. Yodeled while taking shower. (Never had yodeled.)"

    There were almost 600 POINT AFTERS published between 1986 and 1998. Some were compelling and others confrontational, telling readers to sit down and listen or to kiss off. But even then they were a long heave from the narcissism and relentless self-promotion creeping into journalism. This is because they were written, not barked.

    That said, SI is reintroducing POINT AFTER. On page 148 you will find senior writer Peter King with a private story about SI's Sportsman of the Year, Brett Favre. In coming weeks you will read other SI writers on the back page. The byline you will not see is the late George Plimpton's, which is too bad because his horseshoes story has a coda. He was invited to play again, this time at Camp David. After the horseshoes there was a game of tennis with the President, which was interrupted by the ringing of an ominous red phone. The President's face darkened as he crossed the court but brightened after he picked up the receiver.

    "It's for you," he said, holding the phone out to Plimpton.

    Whenever Plimpton told this story to writers and they asked him, as they inevitably did, who was calling he would whisper, "Mulvoy, wanting a Point After."

  8. ondeadline

    ondeadline Active Member

    I had just picked it up out of my mailbox and didn't look at that column. A rotation makes more sense.
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Works for me. Maybe someone will eventually stand out and take over that space, but for now some diverse voices will be nice. Wonder if everyone will get that artsy b&w headshot too.
  10. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    I never complained it was King's to keep. I just opined that he is ill-suited to this particular format.
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Peter King can't write an 800-word column once in a blue moon? C'mon. This one was fine.
  12. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    SI's problem is that it still thinks of George Plimpton as an admirable cultural and literary model.

    Plimpton was an unabashed elitist. preppie, Ivy League, paris review, summers on the vineyard - all the post-war tropes of upper-class snobbery.

    that was the SI culture, too. mark mulvoy was a wannabe. and that's why SI got left in the dust by espn, which rejected all that snobbish shit. as most of america does.
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