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Wright Thompson on McGwire

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by goalmouth, Dec 13, 2006.

  1. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    There you have it.

    Thompson's stories seem to be consciously overwritten to mask their defects -- some of us cynics call them fatal errors (such as, oh, not pursuing the subject and object of your story).
  2. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member


    The difference is that Alma offered a well-constructed, coherent argument complete with examples from the work in question. It was a very nice review of the piece, one which brought up several valid points.

    You're posts, though, come across: "Wright Thompson is over-rated. This piece sucks."
  3. daemon

    daemon Well-Known Member

    I'm a huge Wright Thompson fan. I think he's great. I think he's also been blessed with editors who have made the concious decision to let him what he does best.

    For the most part, I think this piece was excellent. But I was uncomfortable with the instances, many of which Alma detailed, in which Thompson tries to climb into McGwire's head.

    I don't think the quality of the story or the writing would have suffered if any of these lines were subtracted from the piece (Like, for example, "He feels safe here."). In fact, I think it would have improved the quality of the story.

    Take the following line that Alma cited:

    "By rejecting his past and creating a new future, McGwire is altering the arc of his family. He is changing all of their futures, and the way they will all view their past. Instead of the Hall of Fame defining them, his disappearance will. These are the decisions that shape a family."

    There is no reason to write that. Leave it up to the readers to decide what McGwire is "doing."

    I think a lot of this stuff would have been cleared up with a good editor, someone who would challenge Thompson on a few of these things: not in an adversarial way, but in a way that would result in a more powerful piece. I'm guessing Thompson doesn't really have a strong editor at ESPN the way he would at a newspaper. ESPN just wants him to do what he does. And I'm guess Thompson is happy with that.

    But as far as the basic premise of the story goes: I think it works. I like the plaque imagery, I like the sources he spoke to....I think talking to the people who McGwire doesn't talk to anymore is pretty important. The guy doesn't talk to a good friend who was in his first wedding. I think that says a lot.

    But Thompson needs to let these instances do the "saying." He takes it one step too far with some of his observations.
  4. Herbert Anchovy

    Herbert Anchovy Active Member

    daemon, do forgive me if I don't have the time or wherewithal to construct 300-word responses. I really wish I could, but others seem to have that covered. I try to save my live rounds for when I'm getting paid or otherwise rewarded.

    What is there to say about Thompson that I haven't said or that anyone else hasn't already said? The idea is the same -- there's a lot of hocus pocus going on with language, reporting gadgets and literary conceits thrown in for good measure to persuade you you're getting something good to eat. But like even the best of Chinese food, it all leaves you missing something a few hours later.
  5. BigRed

    BigRed Active Member

    Looks like the *cough* Cal State Fullerton student newspaper didn't have much of a problem at least getting McGwire to talk for its story on him.......
  6. Montezuma's Revenge

    Montezuma's Revenge Active Member

    He didn't exactly bare his soul.
  7. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    The article was pretty good, but it also underscores why I'm glad I don't have a reporter following me around.
    In the last five years, I've talked to two people that I graduated with from high school. Does that make me intensely private and trying to build a wall? Or does it mean that I just don't talk to many people I went to high school with.
    I don't have kids, but my oldest brother, he's always said that once you get kids and start raising a family, hanging out with your friends becomes secondary at best.
    And so what he doesn't show up for USC alumni games. He knows, and we know, if he shows up, somebody makes a call and they make a call and a little bit later cameras and reporters make their appearance and suddenly it is back in the spotlight. If he doesn't take questions and appear cordial or even the slightest bit angry somewhere out there, the headline or graphic will say "'Roid Rage" and maybe he just doesn't want that.
  8. steveu

    steveu Well-Known Member

    Doesn't matter. That little s*** just wrote his ticket to the LA Times. :)
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