Ladies and gents of the Purple. This is my response to a venomous article on Brett Favre that I read recently. If you are after my usual news roundup for today, scroll down the page or just click here.
Up until I started this site and began to start following various sports journalists around the web and on Twitter, I’d never even heard of Buzz Bissinger. This morning he came to my attention after seeing some of his recent tweets concerning an article he’d written on Brett Favre about a week ago on The News Republic. I read it, I hated it, but who the hell was Buzz Bissinger? A quick YouTube search quickly answered this:
Following a little more research into the guy, a picture started to form in my head… Buzz is a journalist with a very illustrious career. He’s won a Pulitzer, written several books, had his work adapted for screen, and now believes that you are only worthy of his option if you can do the same. The clip above, in which he expresses his total disdain of bloggers, screams of someone who is upset that they aren’t getting a slice of that pie, jealous that someone can put in (apparently) less work than he has, and yet still gather a strong following of readers.
He quite clearly doesn’t get blogging. His distaste for foul-mouthed, venomous blogs is something I share, but I also understand that they are blogs that a lot of people like to read. He feels like it’s a sign of the dumbing down of readers, meaning that people no longer appreciate his more intellectual work, when in fact it is more a sign of the fact that more people from different areas of society are taking an interest in sports news and opinion, and don’t want to read stories from the same old faces.
As much as it might pain Buzz to admit it, his audience has changed and grown, we still like well written articles which go deep into the veins of sport, but we also enjoy posts written by every day fans who write blogs because it’s what they love. The blogs vary from being every day news reports like my site, to hilariously off-beat pages like The Purple Jesus Diaries, and the only thing that keeps them going is the readers. Write something dull, no-one reads it, write consistently poor articles, or neglect to update, people won’t come back to your site. It may not be Pulitzer prize-winning stuff but it was never meant to be.
Buzz’s attack on blogging was back in 2008, and since then he’s released another successful book in collaboration with LeBron James. But what I can’t figure out is why he decided to write the article he did on Favre. It’s like a red rag to a bull, aimed squarely at the sports blogging community. For someone who apparently hates the blogosphere, he sure wants its attention.
The article on Favre centres on the idea that Favre is a fame whore. Someone who exists only to massage their ego, and who acts in the best interests of their public image because they crave it. This isn’t new; other journalists have cited Favre’s ego as the reason he will come back for yet another season, but Bissinger, in trying to make his article stand out from the crowd, takes it a step too far:
“…when he decided to play a football game the night after his father died in 2003, it would not be perceived for the act of self-absorption it was, but as an act of courage after he carefully spun it as that’s what pappy would have wanted.”
Wow! For someone who complained about the vicious nature of bloggers on national TV, he certainly enjoys a bit of sadistic writing himself. This is stinging, vicious, cynical journalism at it’s best, and one which has already drawn a lot of attention from fans of Favre and bloggers alike. But what else did he expect it to do? The man clearly loves attention. He loves to make explosive, yet idiotic statements and wait for the attention to come flooding his way.
He goes on to drop some serious mind bombs on those who hold the Silver Fox in high esteem. For example:
Favre’s ego threw that interception and ended the dream of a Vikings’ Super Bowl…… BOOM!
He’s done it before when he was with the P*ckers…… BOOM!
He has a beard…… BOOM!
Erm… sorry, what was that? Oh yeah, stuff we already know. The thing is that those who look up to the old man do so knowing full well that he is flawed. When we took him on, all the little voices going off in my head said he’s going to throw an interception in a big game. But would I have traded that heartbreak for all the amazing moments he gave the team? No way!
Bissinger’s parting shot at Favre is his horror that the old man is a role model for the kids, but all he seems to be teaching them is that you shouldn’t put safety first. He reiterated this point on Twitter today saying “his play in NFC Chpshp. only encourages kids to think they should play thru pain. And he is hubristic fool.”
Sadly for old Buzzy, he’s the one who come across as the hubristic fool. His article kicks a broken man while he’s down, boasting hyperbolic opinions, designed to shock readers and draw attention to the author as some kind of Oracle, who is shedding light on someone who has deceived the readers and taken them for idiots. Unfortunately, in my opinion, by crossing certain lines which should have never even be approached, particularly criticising someone’s actions following the death of their father, he has exposed himself as nothing more than that which he once declared disdain for.
The article is a disgrace, but ironically says more about its author than its target.