Against Buzz Bissinger

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.


5 Responses to “Against Buzz Bissinger”

  1. Purple Charlie Says:

    I wonder if Buzz and Fran Tarkenton are buddies ??? They have the same appeal to them… None

    You and Vikings Gab ( Adam & Company ) and other Viking Blogs, Keep up the good work!!! Fellow Bloggers like reading Positive stuff not trash like what Buzz writes…

  2. FloridaFan Says:

    I love it when writers use Brett to get attentiion for their work and then bash Favre for being an attention hound. Exactly what has Favre done to suggest he only wants attention? He’s taken time to decide if he still wants to play, just like alot of other players. the difference is the other players don’t have the media writing daily articles about them to garner attention.
    Regarding Brett’s Interception, please stop the ” I knew he would throw one in a big game” nonsense. Did it cause the vikings to lose? no. did the saints score points from it? No. Did manning throw one in a big game? yes. Has he throw one in other playoff games? yes. Do we have endless articles about Manning throwing Interceptions in the playoffs? No. Reality check. every QB throws Interceptions. It’s part of the game. The vikings did not lose because of brett. they lost because of the fumbles, lack of protection,and horrendous penalties.

    • Vikings UK Says:

      FloridaFan, I think you may have misunderstood what I meant about Favre’s INT. I know that we lost that game because no-one on our offence could hold on to the ball when we really needed them to and we couldn’t count 12 men. All I was saying was that I accepted the risks that Favre brought to the team when he first joined, but was more interested in the positives he could, and did bring to the team, I do not blame him for us losing to the Saints.
      Good point about the lack of press around Manning’s interception in the SB too, I wonder if the press will ever turn on him like they have on Favre?

      • FloridaFan Says:

        My apologies, I did misunderstand. I am so sick of writers focusing on interceptions with Brett that I’m a little sensitive about it. I don’t think the press will turn on Manning. Love him or hate him, fans feel strongly about Brett, there’s no middle ground. A lot of that comes from the feeling that you know Brett, that somehow he’s part of your family. Manning doesn’t command that kind of passion from his fans that Brett does. Manning has his fans, but if you’re not from Indy, fans can take him or leave him. He’s a great Qb but if you’re not a colts fan do you go out of your way to watch him play? no. Brett’s fans are all over the world. EVen if you hate him, you drop everything to watch him, listen to him, follow his every move. Manning is a star, Brett is a rock star. To put it another way, Manning is Sinatra, Brett is Elvis. The press try as they may cannot elevate Manning to Rock star level.

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