We go to war and I ain't making a dime
I wasn't going to speak on this, but last night I felt an irresistible urge to do so. And what is FreeDarko about, if not the moral sancitity of irresistible urges?
I have no problem with Bill Simmons. FreeDarko has no problem with Bill Simmons. We've made it quite clear that we think he's fallen the fuck off, but I don't think there's anyone in our central chamber who wouldn't count him as a major influence, if not the influence, on their attempts to write about sports. And it's not just a style or attitude thing, either; so much of what I bother reading online more or less owes its soul and structure to that ingenious Page 2 genre that he more or less invented. Wiley was working at it, but Simmons brought it all together. I may be twenty thousand-times more capable of having a conversation with
That said, I'm more than a little steamed about some of what he said in the second part of
I'm sure most of you have seen the thing by now, but here are the salient passages reborn. Because you can probably imagine the feelings stewing inside of me, I'll keep my reactions brief:
Klosterman: I constantly see all these media blogs that just link to conventional "Old Media" articles and pretend to comment upon them, but they add no information and no ideas. They just write, "Oh, look at this terribly archaic New York Times story. Isn't it pathetic?" But that sentiment is being expressed by someone who's never done an interview and has no tangible relationship to journalism. It all seems kind of uncreative. My favorite blog was always
As THC pointed out, who the fuck do these people think we bloggers are? I'm not one to claim solidarity with the great, unwashed masses of amateur scribes out there, so for me, the only blogs that exist are intelligent diversions written by people that have a lot of shit going on besides this odd new form of self-assertion. Certainly FreeDarko isn't real journalism, but almost all of us have worked in the field. And while I don't see any bloggers getting a column in a Knight-Ridder paper anytime soon, certainly most of the content churned out by them could go toe-to-toe with whatever alternative weeklies are trying to pawn off on you these days (or Page 2, for that matter).
Most egregiously, and the reason why we're taking this personally: a Billups shout-out, but no love for FreeDarko? Don't get me wrong: Billups is the godfather of this nuevo hoops blogging, and if it weren't for him hooking us up with a link early on, probably none of you would have ever read this. But on the real, he's been "on sabbatical" forever. I like to think we've done something to fill the massive void he's left; at the very least, we do a convincing impersonation of him on a semi-regular basis.
Not that I'm expecting Simmons to stick up for us (he knows FreeDarko, trust me), but giving some credit to a quality sports blog that's active would have been nice. It's like they're making an exception that proves their point further.
Speaking of Simmons. . .
Simmons: I liked your point about New Media. Everyone keeps talking about the Blog Revolution, but what does that even mean? If you were in film school and wanted to make movies for a living, would you create a movie from scratch, or would you just make documentaries about other filmmakers and how much they stunk? You'd make the movie from scratch, right? Well, what's the point of writing about people who write about sports/movies/politics/music if you're not backing up your words with your own columns or features? How do you have credibility then? I could write for a living, I just choose to rip everyone else. What? How does that make sense? What's the ultimate goal there? Why not come up with your own material, angles and thoughts? Wouldn't that be more rewarding? How do you get better? That's what I don't understand.
Again, these things aren't our lives. We do other shit. We write credible stuff. This is just an easy way to get out material that, let's face it, mainstream media doesn't really understand or acknowledge that there's an audience for, partially because it's relatively small, partially because its constituency is elusive to all but itself. This is zines without the leaden cliche, DIY without the preoccupation and narcissism.
And then, the kicker:
I'm not killing all blogs here -- some of them are useful because they find me stories that I couldn't find on my own, and some of their comments or features make me laugh and think. When the goal is to keep everyone on their toes, have some fun, provide an alternate take on things and remain at least somewhat objective, that's great. If you're using a blog to constantly ream everyone else, that's depressing. Also, how can we have so many libels/slander laws in place for newspapers, and yet the Internet is like the Wild West? People can steal material, slander people, rip them to shreds, make up news ... I mean, you can get away with anything now. Do you know how many times an NBA Web site reported having sources that confirmed some trade that ended up never happening? It was embarrassing. I could go on about this forever.
So, as the Recluse put it: he'll shit on blogs and steal from them, without upholding the universally implicit code of credit where credit's due, but he's deeply disturbed that people talk shit about him.
(Making up news, though, we'll never do. . . lord knows the "official" rumor mill does enough of that anyway.)
This is where the venom flows from deep within me. His intern stole our shit. We know people are watching. He's gotten emails. I sent some shit to the ombudsman. I don't think we deserve a mention over Billups, or that this whole section is a thinly veiled attack on FreeDarko specifically. But seriously, if we're a highly visible example of something that clearly plays a role in his professional/emotional life, why not at least a Daily Link?
Simmons: Last question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how badly do you think we'll be skewered on message boards and snarky blogs for what just transpired over the past 7,300 words?
Here's hoping this is our "How to Rob," not a ball-blogging "Dear El-Pee."