Monday, July 13, 2009

An Opportunity For Good Writing Sails By Like Dust In the Wind

Last night, I wrote a long, rambling, angry post about ESPN. I am replacing that with this, the most talked-about e-mail from Bill Simmons' most recent 'mailbag':

Q: I was getting on a plane to Vegas recently for a guys' weekend when I noticed some schmuck in first class who looked like a perfect cross between Pat O'Brien and Danny Bonnaducci [sic]. I was fascinated the whole flight and couldn't wait to tell my friends when we met up. We ultimately named him Bon O'Briduchi and for 72 hours of liver-killing shananigans, he was the invisible fifth guy in our group. We even tried to find similar real guys on the Strip and would make jokes like "Sure, that guy looks like he enjoys drinking, fighting and getting crazy with hookers, but he's no Bon O'Briduchi." In fact, my friend actually bought a round of five beers instead of four and justified it by saying, "Bon just went to take a leak, he'll be back in a minute." We ultimately decided that Bon now resides with such legendary fictional alcoholics/sex addicts such as Norm Peterson, Glenn Quagmire and Joey Buddafucco [sic].
-- Dave, Denver

Bill Simmons: I loved everything about that e-mail. Even told my editors, "Don't clean up the grammar, don't fix the spelling, just let it run free like a dove in the woods." Bon O'Briduchi would have wanted it that way. Do you think Bon would have enjoyed having a few drinks with Brian Logan from my Lambeau field trip column?

A few quick thoughts:

1) "Let it run free like a dove in the woods" is one of the more clanking mixed metaphors I have read in some time. Its just brutal, especially since Simmons poked fun at the questioner's grammar in the first part of his answer.

2) This e-mail has nothing to do with sports. I understand that part of the appeal of Bill Simmons' sportswriting is that he mixes in jokes and pop culture references, but, on, sports shouldn't take a backseat to stuff like this. That's just my opinion, but ESPN is beginning to go the way of MTV, and I don't think any sports fan wants to see that.

3) Admittedly, this e-mail is pretty funny. But do you think that a writer actually sent it in, or does Simmons (or some assistant) spend all day coming up with funny 'reader' e-mails? And if this was sent in by a reader, do we think that any of this actually happened? Is it possible to look like a cross between Pat O'Brien and Danny Bonaduce?


Jake said...

I don't even think the email is that funny. I mean, I'm sure for those dudes it was hilarious to actually live it, but in my opinion it doesn't really translate all that well for the rest of us.

Oh well.

Paul Smecker said...

part of the appeal of simmons, as it were, is a pretty open contempt for parts of his audience. do i am sure the "dove" line was intentional, and used to play off one part of his audience against another. i guess i skipped the letter entirely, as am annoyed by the whole bill simmons vegas schtick. it's so bad, i often think he has a side deal with vegas's corrupt establishment to play up vegas. come to think of it, i wonder is he's getting paid under the table by internet gambling sites too...


Wade Garrett said...

Paul - I would like to agree with you, but, if you're right, it would be by far the most subtle joke that Bill Simmons has ever made in his column. That isn't saying much, but still.

Jake - I'm sure it was funnier in person, but I still think the idea is funny, even if Simmons got there three years ago with Brian Logan.

Ben said...

I've always believed that 'Brian Logan' would be a great nom de plume in case Common Sense Dancing ever adds another writer.

Wade Garrett said...

I've been in negotiations with Dr. Kenneth Noisewater for years, but these days he is too busy with his . . . medical practice to find much time to blog.

Wade Garrett said...

Barry Saggittarius is another name that would be great to use, because you know that anybody who gets the reference is a cool kid.