Friday, June 20, 2008

Now He's In For It

It's one thing to have jackass bloggers mad at you, but now Buzz "defender of Letters" Bissinger has composition professors after him too.

UPDATE: Buzz responds to Sara Kniffen's letter. It's quite a civil exchange, actually. Check it out. Of note from Buzz:
I do appreciate very much the thoughtfulness of your email. I am trying to be
more open-minded and may well start writing an online column for the New York
Times. We shall see of course if I can practice what I have been preaching.

I have this feeling that there will be plenty of people watching to make sure he does just that.


mahnu.uterna said...

Thanks for the link, Craig. In the interest of accuracy, I have to mention that I have yet to earn the title "professor." Still, we TAs can be plenty tough.

Craig Calcaterra said...

Forgive me, Sara. I'm a blogger, and you know how we can play fast and loose with the facts.

Robert Rittner said...

I wish I could be as measured in tone when considering Bissinger as you folks are. But he rankles me so that I find myself sputtering obscenities rather than formulating reasoned responses.

Part of the reason for this is that I read "Three Days...." before his rant on the Costas show and while I did think there was merit in it I also considered it dishonest and snide. It was clear to me then (and I had no idea who he was or what his background was on picking up the book) that he had a ulterior purpose throughout which was to attack progressive statistical analysis (and analysts) by inference and insinuation.

Even that would have been ok had he at least demonstrated some elementary knowledge of what sabermetrics does and what its claims are. But instead, he set up straw men that he then knocked down with faulty logic and incendiary rhetoric. An awful performance.

He repeats the error again in his responses to Sara. By suggesting that FJM represents the analytical community in its focus on numbers rather than the "human face" of baseball, he misdirects our attention. That is FJM's schtick. It would be like criticizing the NY Times for not giving front page coverage to the tribulations of Paris Hilton or for suggesting that People Magazine represents mainstream journalism because it does.

mahnu.uterna said...

Worse in my mind is that BB makes excuses regarding Neyer and FJM, but totally ignores our friend Shyster who, more than the others, represents the kind of blogger that is most at issue - a *fan* with no *writing creds* offering *analysis* on a *blog.*

Another funny thing - I read "Three Nights" when it first came out solely out of Redbird fandom, knowing nothing about sabermetrics (as opposed to the marginal knowledge I now possess), and I remember exactly two things about the book: In the section where he blows sunshine up LaRussa's butt for using the dreaded hit and run, he italicizes "hit and run" every time, as if it's a Latin phrase or something. Also, there's a place where he uses the word "androgynous" twice in something like a 500-word span, and he uses it to describe the interior of a taxicab. An androgynous taxicab, you know, unlike those *femmy* taxicabs you run into now and then, with the pink leather and the boobs. I don't dare speculate on the features of a masculine taxicab, although I presume it wouldn't have automatic transmission. Anyway, now the world probably thinks I really loved his book, when I only started my letter that way to get him warmed up to my entreaty. Really, I do have more taste than that!

Craig Calcaterra said...

Sara -- I didn't take any issue with him leaving me out. Rob and FJM are famous so he probably felt he had to respond. I'm nobody. I'm sure he's never read me, and I'm sure he didn't care to take the time to check me out. On some level that may speak to his willful blindness about the good stuff in the blogosphere, but it also may speak to the simple fact that there is a lot of content out there and none of us has the time or energy to check it all out.

As for his book: I've never read it, but everyone who has has told me that it was awful. When I read your email to him -- knowing the few things I know about you from your blog and out handful of emails -- I got the strong sense you were wisely spreading some conversational lubricant as opposed to expressing your genuine feelings about it. You seem to have taste. Buzz? Well . . . .