June 20, 2008

Exhibit 1 concering the decline of blogging: Jemele Hill. Not the fact that she blogged that rooting for the Celtics was like being sympathetic to Hitler. But that her employer, ESPN, suspended her for that banality.

Let me put this as simply and succinctly as possible: any blog that is run under the aegis of a newspaper, magazine, opinion journal or any other journalistic organ of Big Business is a compromised piece of shit. It's not even a blog, really; it's an inauthentic, corporatized version, a fauxblog. Once a blogger allows a third party to pay his salary and provide him with a larger megaphone to reach the audience, he is allowing that party to limit where he can go, or what opinions he can express. In short, he is not a blogger, he's a company man, giving a pitch.

A good blogger can never be afraid of offending others, of embarassing himself, or of revealing his true nature to the reader. If the reader doesn't like it, there are plenty of other bloggers out there to make him comfortable. What ESPN and some easily offended Bostonians don't seem to understand is that real sports fans have opinions like Ms. Hill's, and a good sports blogger is going to express those opinions in an unfiltered manner. By putting limits on what a blogger can think or say, ESPN is basically announcing that those employees who don't get suspended are safe and inoffensive hacks.

And no, I don't believe that rooting for the Celtics is like believing Hitler was a victim, or that the Soviets should have won the Cold War. I wish Ms. Hill had shown a little more originality in that regard, since 90% of all bad blogging combines Nazi analogies with accusations of deceit by the other side. And everyone knows that pulling for the Celtics is like saying you'd vote for Robert Mugabe....

June 15, 2008

I really have to wonder which Finals Matt Yglesias has been watching. In many respects, the 2008 Finals have been as one-sided as the 2007 Finals, which the Spurs won in four. The big difference was the Celtics' atrocious performance in Game 3, where both Pierce and Garnett were MIA the entire game, and Boston still had the lead entering the final quarter. There was also the Lakers' comeback in Game 2, in which they almost overcame a 24-point deficit in the final seven minutes. But the difference between the two comebacks is telling: the Lakers' run in the 4th quarter of the second game was sparked by a smaller lineup forcing turnovers against a complacent Celtics team that had yet to be challenged, while the Celtics' comeback on Thursday reflected a return to the normalcy of the way the other five games (both regular season games were routs, notwithstanding the participation of Andrew Bynum) between the teams were played.

To believe that the Lakers have a realistic chance to overcome a 3-1 deficit, with two of the games to be played in Boston, is to assume that somehow that dynamic is going to miraculously change, and that the Lakers will, for the first time this season, play like they belong on the same court with the Celtics. They don't, and we shouldn't pretend that Boston's struggle to get past Atlanta one month ago is in anyway germane to this point. The Lakers should consider themselves lucky not to have been swept.