Monday, September 17, 2007

Sports Blogosphere Bounty

Over the weekend, there was a blogger fight over at the group place where I hang, Epic Carnival. (You may know them for the quick hitter list work I do there five days a week, which gets a link every morning.) The gist of the slap fight was that a couple of guys who write "edgy" where bent because the publisher made the executive decision to not allow profanity, so he could better monetize the site for advertising. So they wrote a series of posts where they more or less tried to get canned, and then they got canned, and wrote about that, too.

I don't much care to discuss the choices being made. Instead, I wanted to hit the double standard that's present when you work on controversial topics.

Here at FTT, we did something similar when we added ads on the site, and considering that the site had maybe a dozen uses of profanity in the first 350+ posts, it really wasn't a terribly hard sacrifice to make. Frankly, you get more people bent at you when you make a joke in borderline or questionable taste, or you wave a stick at a particularly rabid hornet's nest of partisan fans, then when you work blue.

Something struck me as I waded into the timewaste (because, no matter how you slice it, nothing about one blogger arguing with another blogger has a thing to do with sports) -- if you want to go for edgy / extreme / "real" and antisocial stuff in your blog, there isn't anybody stopping you. You might lose your advertisers (really, at this level, not such a big deal in the short run), and also get blowhards getting on a soap box about you and your awful, awful mind. But really, it's all about whether or not you've got the chops to work without a net.

This blog is unabashed in its manlove for Big Daddy Drew, the first among equals at Kissing Suzy Kolber. BDD's small email of encouragement, along with the kind words of a few others, kept us going in the "Is Anyone Out There" stage. Today, he wrote a remarkable piece where he was offering up a bounty on Tom Brady's knees. Tasteless? Of course. Morally objectionable? Definitely. Something he may regret if, next week, Brady goes down with a gruesome injury? Well, probably not -- BDD has thick skin, and his hatred of Bill Simmons is so great right now, I'm amazed he didn't offer up the $20 to anyone who'd take out Billy's typing fingers.

Was what BDD wrote more tasteless than what the guys who are no longer with Epic Carnival wrote? Probably not, but only by a matter of degree. But since BDD is, simply, a better writer, he's one of the best-read writers in the sports blogosphere, and if KSK took ads, he'd probably be making reasonable coin from his stuff.

Because, independent of what was written, the plain and simple fact is that BDD's piece is freaking funny. It reads well, rips through the paragraphs and ends when it should, rather than overstaying the welcome. In the hands of a lesser writer, the idea would've been a big Eh, So What. With BDD, it's something I'm forwarding to friends and hype in this here blog. The other guys? Not so much. (And if they take this as a reason to have another blog to war with, well, whatever. I haven't taken their bait before.)

And that's it a nutshell. Life isn't fair, because talent is not evenly distributed. Good writers can take more chances, and will. Charismatic people can get away with more questionable taste. And if you're in the position of looking up at someone else, getting bent, and thinking it's not fair.. you really need to work on your craft some more. Or just learn to live with it.

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