Buzz Bissinger — writer of Friday Night Lights, chronicler of Barbaro, inventor of high school football racism — was on Costas Now last night on a panel with Will Leitch (editor of Deadspin) and Braylon Edwards (Cleveland Browns wide receiver).
If you didn’t see it, Bissinger went on a rant about blogs, asked Will Leitch if he had ever read W.C. Heinz, called him full of shit and also said this: “This guy, whether we like it or not, is the future. The future in the hands of guys like you is really going to dumb us down to a degree that I don’t think we can recover from.”
Let me write about the W.C. Heinz reference for a moment. Heinz is famous for writing “Death of a Racehorse,” a 1,000-word piece about how a dying racehorse. In contrast, Bissinger’s column on Barbaro was 13,000 words. (Update: Hey, I made the comments of Fire Joe Morgan!)
I will say that I don’t — can’t! — believe that Bissinger was serious last night. This whole ‘blogs-vs.-newspapers’ debate is so, uhm, 2005, maybe earlier. By 2006 Phillymag (Phillymag!) had given my blog a B+ rating and that was back when PWD was even worse. Blogs are a medium: Most of them suck, some of them are good — just like newspaper columnists and TV shows and movies and penny-farthings and cheeseburgers. (The only two things that are mostly good are sex and pizza.) Right? Right?
Then again, maybe not. PW Music Editor Brian McManus was recently on a music panel with Tom Moon; the former Inquirer music writer read the Pitchfork review of In Rainbows and angrily ranted about it afterward. And this is another good ex-Inquirer writer!
It might just be as simple as what a friend told me this morning: “They’re all just bitter that they didn’t think of writing The Wire.” Well put.
Update 2: Jon Weisman has more on this. And Enrico has more too.