Bissinger's Buzz-Kill


Wow. I didn't think there was any sports-twit more irritating than Bob Costas, but along comes non-astronaut auteur Buzz Bissinger, on Bob Costas' show last night, blowing a gatekeeper-gasket at the very existence of unwashed, non-jocksniffing bloggers like Deadspin's Will Leitch (who is actually a very good writer in addition to running one of the most successful sports blogs on the planet). First segment here; then watch the mid-life crisis unfold in real time:

Leitch reacts here; world piles on. As always, few things are more hilarious than watching the defenders of a deeply degraded form (newspaper sportswriting? Are you kidding me?) bust veins about modernity they understand not, while the kids laugh and laugh….

I'd never really heard of Bissinger (though he's the author of the famous Friday Night Lights), until I picked up a copy of the International Herald Tribune on vacation a couple weeks back and beheld the single most rancid column you will probably ever read about the Olympic Games. Sample:

There is only one way left to improve the Olympics: to permanently end them.

True, in the world of sports, any plan that puts morality over money is unlikely to happen. Commissions are formed only once the problem is over (see Major League Baseball) and the cheaters will always find another angle—you can bet that some lab somewhere is working on the design of a new steroid undetectable to testing (see every professional sport and many "amateur" ones). The loftier the rose-colored rhetoric, which in the Olympics has become an Olympian growth industry, the worse the underlying stink. And this is an institution that is rotted in so many different ways.

Bissinger then goes on to list every (unrelated) bad thing that's happened at Olympiads over the past 40 years, and concludes:

Would some athletes become innocent victims with the loss of the Olympics? Yes. But it would be nothing close to the number of innocent victims killed in Darfur with Chinese-supplied weapons, or in Iraq during the American occupation.

Sounds like someone forgot to take his performance-enhancing sedatives!