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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

First... technical difficulties other than 404 Whiskey Not Found have forced the further delay of the UFR for Ohio State. I will get it up as soon as I possibly can, probably late this week.

Yeah, so that EDSBS post clearly hammered a big ol' nerve. You've got my addendum, Mark Hasty's addendum to my addendum, SMQ's nod to the good things ESPN does, an EDSBS follow-up, the original post's comment thread (now at 225 replies and counting), plus links from everywhere under the sun. Even Good Old Heismanpundit chimed in, citing Rich Eisen as "reason number 53" to dislike ESPN. Eisen, of course, left for the NFL Network a while ago. How's that gang thing doing again?

Snark and anger aside, the larger point here is the vile things being said are interesting from a higher perspective. I doubt many people go around posting thousands of words about why HGTV sucks. Not so ESPN. Why is this so? No doubt it has something to do with the nature of sports fandom, which is prone to over-the-top invective. But also there was a golden age during the Dan & Keith / Dan & Kenny years when ESPN really was man's best friend. Now it's just a dog in a lot of highly visible, infuriating ways. SMQ's post and the Raftery-McDonough tandem I had the pleasure of listening to last night serve to remind that what ESPN does well it does very well and invisibly. We take our sports information explosion for granted now, as we should: it's a commodity just like any other piece of news off the AP wire. What was revolutionary 20 years ago is now old hat; ESPN's response to that was to freak out and attempt to grab whatever eyeballs it could via whatever means it deemed necessary, which is hurtful to people who were emotionally invested in it. This investiture is an impressive accomplishment, as creating users who care about you is both difficult and critical. ESPN did that with a run of innovation and brilliance once exemplified by the "This is Sportscenter" commercials which now linger on as a taunting vestige of glories past. Personally, I feel jilted. ESPN sexed my demographic up and then started two-timing me with the soccer moms.

The problem boils down to the following.

1) Read this post on the blindness of passion. I'll wait.


2) ESPN 1997 == Apple, if you pretend I'm a Mac person. I was an ESPN person.

3) ESPN 2005 == Microsoft. Monopolistic, bloated, evil-smelling corporation that I've turned against for doing nasty things; all positives minimized, all negatives emphasized.

Thus, well, this...

Speaking of ESPN being all bad and stuff. I have a coworker who often talks about a previous job where he added the sentence "I will give a dollar to anyone who reads this" at the end of long emails or slide sets. No one ever came to collect their dollar.

I bring it up because I read Scoop Jackson's latest column and it's clear he is following the same policy after ending it by quoting... wait for it... wait for it... it's totally worth it... Rent. Yes, that Rent, the foofy musical favored by unicorn-loving livejournal preteens nationwide. Seriously:

So when asked how the last 365 has affected, again, the most important basketball player in the "bombs over Auburn Hills" and the aftermath of it, the most important professional basketball player alive today, you have to sing these rented words to yourself:

"Five-hundred, twenty-five thousand, six-hundred minutes. How do you measure a year? How do you measure the life of a man?"
The mind... boggles! Does he have jammies? Does he read Anne McCaffery religiously? Does he wear sweatshirts with Pooh on them? America demands answers!

Golden Tornado has a smurfin' interesting post on the inaugural Super ACC season as interpreted via the lens of said Smurfs. It is, as they say, smurftacular.