A sorry comment on our craft; and a brilliant combination of holidays
Everyone have a nice weekend?
I’d like to thank Dwane for giving us Sunday totally off, was a nice day of rest in a long stretch of Days With No Games.
This arrived Sunday and I’m sure it’s a question on a lot of minds, and a perfect way to get into today:
Q: Doug, how, really HOW, could the racist slur by ESPN re Lin happen? How many eyes must have seen the headline? I cannot imagine this appearing in any of our regular newspapers. What do you think it means? Is it a commentary on the seemingly impossible task of erasing racism in sports (see recent events in British soccer ); is it a commentary on certain kinds of journalism in an electronic age?
Charles N, Mexico
A: Obviously I don’t know the specifics of how it happened since I’m not privy to ESPN’s staffing and editing system but it does suggest to me one of the true failings of our craft these days at so many levels I’m not sure where to start.
First, it speaks to the fact papers, and websites, and whatever, have cut staffing levels to the bone so much that there is no true sense of checks and balances anymore. We often let too many people with no true sense of the business work unedited, all too often we leave them to their own devices and, in this case at least, it was one person with no brain or true measure of common sense working on something that would be seen by potentially hundreds of thousands of people. If we’re going to rush to get things up or get them published somehow, there have to be senior editors, people with experience, to vet everything. That’s the shame of our craft today.
But the bigger problem is why anyone – senior, junior, male, female, what have you – would think to write, or even say, something as obviously racist and blatantly hurtful and stupid as that, especially someone purporting to be a journalist, someone who should be in tune with the times in which we live.
I am cynical enough, if that’s the right word, to realize that things haven’t progressed as far as we’d like because there are far too many people who don’t see the blatant racism in the use of such phrases, either in the search for a “tee-hee” moment or in lashing out in anger, as happens far too often in the heat of competition. It is wrong, it is not explainable but it is, sadly, still too much a part of society; we’re better, we’re just not entirely good at the moment and that’s a shame we all have to bear.
Journalists -- and that goes for me and other writers to editors at papers and people who work the graveyard shifts at websites – have a huge responsibility to think about the impact of our words, on the people they are about and the people that read them.
Sadly, sometimes too many of us don’t think before writing something and it diminishes us all.
Happy Family Day to those living in Ontario, and Alberta Saskatchewan, I believe; and happy Monday in the other provinces.
(Oh yeah, happy Washington’s Birthday to our American friends and, sadly, I don’t think our European Irregulars have anything to celebrate today; not sure about the folks from the other continents)
Think I’ve missed every other Family Day going because it’s always been the day after NBA all-star weekend and there’s been a flight somewhere.
Anyway, since it really has no traditions – nothing that’s been around as few years as it can should have any “traditions” – not sure what to do to celebrate it here.
It’s not too often I’m able to simply lie around for hours watching NBA games on TV, any idle time I have is usually reserved for other pursuits.
But, I tell you, watching Oklahoma City and Denver on Sunday night – Durant with 51, Westbrook with 40, Ibaka going all Mutombo all over the place – was as much fun as I’ve had watching a game this season.
It was, of course, an aberration. Most nights the play is so ragged, the players so tired, so many injured and not even around that the league and union – which is complicit in this stinky season -- should be ashamed of themselves for foisting 66 games in 124 days (actually 120 because four are dead for the unnecessary all-star weekend coming up) on a ticket-buying and TV-watching fan base.
But that one was truly fun to watch, great players doing great things in a game not decided until overtime.
Kind of restores some faith in the season; right until there’s some turnover-filled, 40-point rout that bores the crap out of people forced to watch it.
Milos Raonic wins the big tennis tournament in California?
Good on him.
Wonder if they played O Canada at the end?
Hang on a sec.
It’s amazing what ideas can pop into a fellow’s mind at 6:45 a.m. while sipping coffee (and it’s Costa Rican and thanks to the Irregulars who suggested that) and figuring out what to put in here.
Since we have no true Family Day traditions – no trees, no cards, no carols, no flowers or chocolates or anything – why don’t we petition the Tall Pucks Foreheads to move Trade Deadline Day to the third Monday of February?
That way Moms and Dads and sons and daughters can sit around as a family glued to the TV at 8 a.m. watching people make stuff up and talk into their phones while checking their e-mails and BBMs and tablets. And by 11 a.m. the family’s collective eyes will be so glazed over and their level of boredom off the charts that they’ll run screaming from the TV room like their hair’s on fire and really go and spend some quality time together.
Man, we need to make that happen, don’t we?
The Question of the Day queue is somewhat bare over at Inbox Central and my friend Jenni who does the Faceoff thingy will be getting antsy if I don’t have stuff for her later this morning to fill out the week.