Monday, February 25, 2008

How to Read

As a service to both my readers, I thought I’d provide a guide to the Page 2 columnists. I’ve been following Page 2 for many years now, having weathered everything from the Page 3 debacle to the dark days of Dan Shanoff.

For all you newcomers, here’s a handy style guide to what kind of article you can expect when you click on any of these writers currently serving in sportswriters’ purgatory.

Easy Like John Tesh
Just as John Tesh ruined the Olympics by focusing on the athletes’ “personal stories,” so these columnists prattle on over things we couldn’t care less about. Better still, they often try to negate any sort of joy you might feel about enjoying sports by finding downtrodden former players and sometimes hinting that it was sports that drove them to ruin.
Sam Alipour
Mary Buckheit
Jeff Pearlman

Let us discuss this word...
ESPN consistently labels these writers as humorists, despite the somewhat niggling detail that they’re not funny, except perhaps in some sort of Bizarro world.
[UPDATE from e-mail: “Bizarro think they funny! In Bizarro world, this mean they not make Bizarro laugh! They bad! Bizarro smash!”]
Jim Caple
DJ Gallo

Association of Carlin-Type Persons
These guys are living off a reputation for being scandalous, but they’re actually passé and not the least bit provocative. Kind of like your fat uncle who was a member of the Weather Underground but now works for Goldman-Sachs.
Bill Simmons (if your uncle had been neutered by his wife)

Larry King League
You know how you can always count on Larry for at least one “what the hell did he just say” moments during election coverage? Similarly, as you slog through the drivel of these so-called writers, you can be sure that you’ll have a difficult time figuring out what the hell they’re trying to say.
David Fleming
Scoop Jackson

Carmen San Diego Division
It’s inexplicable that these pictures don’t appear on the author’s page at the bottom, yet the articles do appear. Unless you invent some sort of wild conspiracy theory involving scandalous pictures, which I won’t do because I don’t know how to Photoshop.
Todd Boyd (often)
Jonah Keri

“Aren’t those just words dumb people use to sound smart?” Collective
Some writers believe that even if you’re writing drivel, if you throw in enough big words it’ll look profound and meaningful. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: obfuscation through elocution is not elucidation.
Todd Boyd
Jeff Pearlman

Pele Who? Relegation League
There are some things that no matter how much you push them on me, I’ll only resist them because I don’t care. I understand that it’s not their fault I don’t care, so I won’t insult them. I’ll just say that I never read what they write because I don’t care. Have I mentioned that I don’t care?
Patrick Hruby
Paul Lukas

Hoary old chestnut roasters
Great writers can help us to see something from a totally new viewpoint by bringing a fresh viewpoint to a familiar topic. That’ll never happen to these writers, since they ceaselessly rehash the same exact stories over and over and over again.
Mary Buckheit
LZ Granderson
Jemele Hill

Twister! Masters
I love this group, because they go through the most torturous contortions known to man in order to address some topic tangential to sports. Of course, it’s almost unanimously “Bush lied, people died!” but I’m sure that after the 2008 elections they’ll find something new to carp on.
Jim Caple
Gregg Easterbrook
Jeff Pearlman
(bonus points for his recurrent anti-Jesus theme)

The Peter Principle
Maybe they’ll develop into top-notch talent someday. As of now, that day has not yet come.
Jemele Hill
Patrick Hruby
Eric Neel
Kurt Snibbe

Walter Durantly Memorial Award
When ESPN needs a company voice to sally forth and defend the indefensible, they know who to trust to bring home the bacon. Whether it’s pumping up the AFL (partially owned by ESPN) or excusing Colin Cowherd’s latest excess, you can always count on a homer to look the other way as thousands of Ukranians starve in the gulag.
[Note: I am aware that I have earned entry in the Twister! division for that paragraph alone]
Le Anne Schreiber

Keep a defibrillator handy
As Bill Murray said to Punxsatawney Phil, “Don’t drive angry!” These writers should really remember that, as their palpable anger seethes from every word. Or go ahead and get angioplasty now, whichever one will bump up their life expectancy.
Jim Caple
Tim Keown

Caldecott Awards Honorees
These award-winning writers can always be counted on to provide well-written, thoughtful material on sports and society today or a humorous insight into the foibles of the sports world.
(This section closed until further notice)

Happy reading!

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