Tuesday, February 21, 2017


I saw Bryan Curtis' story at The Ringer, "Sportswriting Has Become a Liberal Profession — Here’s How It Happened." It's got some interesting history, and the observation that more sportswriters are liberal now than in the days of Dick Young has to my knowledge not been remarked on before, so good for him.

 At the same time: So what? It's not like it gets in the way: If I want to follow a sports story I go to the New York Times and, though the Good Grey Lady is supposed to be the nerve center of the Liberal Media, I don't receive any discernible propaganda with my box scores. Look at this story about the DeMarcus Cousins trade, for example: There's nary a call to resistance nor an #IAmMuslimToo hashtag in the thing. I understand they put a little more mustard on the stories at Deadspin, but if I want straight sports I know where to get it.

Well, at The Week Michael Brendan Dougherty bursts a blood vessel over this because
Predictably (and perhaps self-interestedly), I think the increasing ideological uniformity of sports writing is bad for sports journalism and for sports themselves. And in the way that it encourages conformism and intellectual laziness, it is probably bad for causes dear to liberals in sports.
We might have stopped at "self-interestedly" -- Dougherty does some sports journalism himself, and he's no less inclined than any other type of wingnut scribe to indignation over how the Lefties run the intellectual professions. And that "bad for causes dear to liberals in sports" is concern trolling you could spot from an airplane. And the bit about "conformism and intellectual laziness" -- this is sportswriting we're talking about, right? It's not all Grantland Rice; hell, it's at least as loaded with hacks as any of the other departments. Besides, to the extent someone tries to bring social perspectives into a sports essay, he's actually doing more work, not less, so I'd hardly call it lazy.

Dougherty seems to sense he hasn't got much there, so he tries a twist on the old Liberals Are Soulless Technocrats spin, claiming that liberal sportswriters are all front-row tryhards so they identify with manicured college-boy front-office types ("the liberalism on offer on sports pages is rather infatuated with the norms and aspirations of the class of people from which journalists are drawn") whereas, one supposes, conservative sportswriters like Dougherty come from dockyards out of an old black-and-white Warner Brothers movie and get along so great with the players that they all go to titty bars together.

On and on it goes, and like all wingnut liberal-media bitchfests reaches the point where the author, in his righteousness, disgorges a howler:
The lack of intelligent conservatives in sports, or at least their relative shyness about their ideas, also allows progressive sportswriters to advance ideas without challenge, sometimes all the way into dead ends. Take the debate about Native American mascots in logos. Of course it makes perfect sense to remove or alter any logos that offend people. But all mascots are reductive caricatures. Was the problem that the logos were offensive or that there is so little representation of Native Americans in our culture that their presence as mascots seems mocking by default? 
He's got a point. Look at the '40s White Sox logo -- that's one weird looking honky! If white people can take that, what are all you injuns complaining about? Hang on, sports fans, Dougherty ain't done cogitating:
Has no one stopped to notice there is something odd about an anti-racism that will cause an evermore diverse country to declare rooting for white-faced mascots the only safe thing to do? How will this deletion of all non-white faces look in 50 years?
You all remember how, when politically correct liberals chased Stepin Fetchit out of the movies it wiped out opportunities for black actors, and a starstruck kid named Sidney Poitier had to pack up his "Lay Z. Shine" character, move back to the Bahamas and sell insurance.

Yeah, the sports pages are really missing this guy. But to prove it can always get worse, David French picks up the theme at National Review:
Sure, [Curtis is] tolerant enough to leave room for a “David Frum or Ross Douthat of sportswriting,” a person with “wrong-headed but interesting arguments.” But here’s the caveat: Curtis is tolerant “as long as nobody believe[s] them.” If the Ross Douthat of sportswriting developed a real following, would the profession unite to excise the political malignancy?
"Ross Douthat here, calling the Michigan-UCLA game, a paradigm in which we may perceive the fallen state of man. As Chesterton once said --" [sound of massive wedgie]
I bring up Bryan Curtis and sportswriting because you simply can’t understand Milo Yiannopoulos...
HOOOONK oh sorry there goes the buzzer!  Tune in next week when Charles C.W. Cooke denounces the media for not employing more rightwing fashion writers. 

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