“It’s sort of like grantland”

I was with a friend who ran into a friend. I asked the friend of the friend, “what do you do?” He said, “I write for a sports blog that also engages with other things like pop-culture and politics, into the world of sports–it’s sort of like grantland.”

Yep.  It’s sort of like grantland. It’s like when I go see my favorite band, who I like in part because I think no one has ever heard of them, and I show up at the concert hall, and I see 500 people who look equally perturbed by the fact that we all look alike and we all thought we were the only one’s who knew about this band.  (Like who? What band is known to more people than their neighbors and yet totally totally obscure (CSS? The Veils? Frank (Just Frank)? John Maus? Each one has thousands of fans, sadly, including Paul Shirley, the grantland writer/reader’s almost favorite, almost NBA-er.) It’s like Bruno Maddox’s funny moment in his book, My Little Blue Dress, “One moment he was sitting there marveling at what deluded, inferior scumbags the other patrons seemed to be…the next he had noticed that the horrible little shit at the adjoining table was quote unquote “using” the same brand of pen as he was, as well as being identically as stubbly and wild-haired.”

So, I’m not going to try and be different. The moment has passed. Even if I had this idea before grantland; I’m still a cliche. Even Finn Andrews is just playing a role that’s a bit cliche. Life is just about realizing which cliches we fall into. The only difference is that I’m lazier than the grantland writers, and I don’t get paid for this, and I don’t have research assistants.

So–here’s two links to great grantland articles.

First: this captures last night’s game: I’m watching the KG interview over and over, only occasionally interrupting myself to watch Paul Pierce’s shot. I think this article, btw, was a really nice way to capture the brilliance of this game. Nice job–as always–grantland.

Second: the genre of this article ought to be mentioned in the “stuff white people like” blog. (I think that whole swpl thing is stupid, btw, and racist–not against whites because it isn’t about whites, but whatever). But this article by Jonathan Abrams on Stephen Jackson is of a type: articles on people who are a little bit crazy, often in trouble, but always loyal, and– most importantly for hipster counter-culture– incredibly authentic individuals who most often are in trouble for being themselves….And in today’s hipster white society looking for authenticity, most people who are seemingly truly authentic aren’t white, because to be counter-hegemonic and thus truly ‘authentic’, it’s hard to be a part of the dominant hierarchy. Stephen Jackson has all of these qualities. And, being completely inauthentic myself, I enjoyed the article immensely, and I wish I had Stephen Jackson as a friend.

Here’s a third grantland article, which has some really interesting quotes about KG and Rondo. But equally interesting is that Malcolm Gladwell, with a reputation as a smart but not terribly deep thinker who tends to have a pretty standard riff, comes across as a lot more sophisticated, intellectual, professionally trained, and deep than Bill Simmons, who just seems like he’s… riffing. Everything is top 10 this, top 10 that; Gladwell shows how smart and well read he is, at least in comparison. Maybe I’m just more familiar with Simmons riff than Gladwell’s. (Btw, for a great example of what real sports journalism looks like, compare the comments coming from ESPN commentators like Chris Broussard to the insightful article about the Heat by Howard Beck in today’s New York Times.)

And, in the effort to try to be “like grantland,” here’s a really smart article by two of the smartist people who write about politics, Taeku Lee and Zoltan Hajnal, published this week in the New York Times. I actually disagree with a lot of what they say, but the main point and spirit can’t be faulted.

Oh, and believe me, I can do dumb pop-culture references, too. I watch shows so dumb, they don’t even make it to USA. Watch out grantland because this site is going to be “sort of like grantland.”

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