This is a new semi-weekly column from Leitch. It has words, and pictures. It's called Ten Humans Of The Week. It might or might not work. But here it is.
The most depressing thing I've read all week? This post by Anil Dash. Basically, he was traveling for a couple of weeks, away from the Web, TV, whatever, and he asked his readers, "What did I miss?" The response was chilling.
The overwhelming consensus? I didn't miss anything.. There were some funny and/or amusing replies in there, of course, (you're a clever bunch!) but for the most part, I was kind of disturbed at how few things that are truly significant happen in any given two-week period. There were the usual bevy of internet memes, some fussing over, of all things, a policy change at Facebook, and a couple of pop-culture items of note.
So, it's not exactly the most profound observation, and I'm far from the first to make it, but it's worth noting again: There isn't that much going on. While the constant flow of information is entertaining and addictive, it is, by overwhelming consensus, primarily filled with bits that are of little to no value. I'm recording this as much for my own future reference as for anyone else's.
I thought about this when I was reading this Slate piece about Twitter, which points out that even though it might be exciting when something big happens that makes Twitter look prescient, very rarely does anything big happen. This does not bother me about the Internet. It bothers me about life.
As we get older, we have so few moments of real consequence that we usually don't even notice them until they're long gone. I swear to God, 67 percent of conversations at parties in the last year have gone exactly like this:
Me: How's it going?
Other Person: Good, good.
Me: What's been going on? Haven't seen you in a while.
Other Person: Same shit.
Me:: Yeah, me too.
We have entered the Same Shit stage of our lives. I used to get this from my friends who married early, or had children young. Now I get it from everyone, and I give it to everyone. I might have to accept that the person I am now is the exact same person I will be 30 years from now. Same Shit. Happens to everybody.
You might say the Internet exacerbates the problem. I would argue that it distracts us from it. In the last two hours, I have seen Cats That Look Like Wilford Brimley, perused pictures of drunk/dead stuffed animals, enjoyed a Lego Camcorder and discovered retro Mac iPhone applications. Did any of this have a tangible effect on my life? Will I remember any of them by the time I finish this paragraph? No. But it sure did make the last two hours go faster.
So: Thanks, Internet. You continue to be the motorized walkway easing our brisk glide toward death. It's so much easier than actually walking there ourselves.
Frank Caliendo. It is telling that in the world of actual entertainment, Frank Caliendo is a guy who can't keep a show on the air. In the world of sports, he is the Funniest Human Being Alive. I know, I like to think I'm fancy pants entertainment writer guy, fine, but honestly, our sports media is entirely to blame for Frank Caliendo. The rest of earth thinks he's a fat Rich Little, but, man, Terry Bradshaw and John Saunders just think he's uproarious! I would say that Caliendo is destined to just host the ESPYs every year, but honestly? Look at the ESPY hosts. He's not even qualified to do that! By the way, take a look at that ESPY Wikipedia page. It's enormous, and deep, and awfully well researched. (There's intricate detail on how voting works for the Best Outdoor Sportsman ESPY.) Anybody who claims that sports bloggers have too much time on their hands should look at the people who diligently update the Wikipedia pages for the ESPY Awards. I cannot fathom of a more pointless activity. We must document what happened for future generations!
Vladimir Guerrero. So, this Saturday, I'm heading out to Tampa for a week to write a story about the Yankees for the magazine. I'm pretty much assuming nobody's going to tell me anything interesting. They don't tell the beat guys anything interesting, and those guys are there all the time. I somehow doubt your average Yankee is going to say, "Well, I know Mark Feinsand has been working his butt off every day out here for a month ... but I think I'll just spill my guts to this new dude who just popped in for a few days!" And as if I wasn't worried enough, now athletes have another reason to shut up: The possibility of costing themselves millions of dollars by accidentally revealing their actual age. I'm trying to think of something I could say in casual conversation that would cost me millions of dollars. I don't think there's anything. I find it vaguely disconcerting that not only will I never be a millionaire, I'll never even have the opportunity to foolishly cost myself millions of dollars.
John Hart. Guess what? More MLB Network shilling! Of all the "new" analysts on the network, my favorite is without question John Hart, former general manager for the Texas Rangers. His continued excellence is proof positive of the theory that fans' ability to tolerate a baseball analyst and retain insights is indirectly proportional to the number of seasons said analyst spent in the major leagues. (Hart never played in the pros.) And, because this will amuse only me, here is how I'd rank the MLB Network's analysts:
2. Joe Magrane (it's amazing how much he looks like Bruce Campbell)
3. Harold Reynolds (a little sycophantic and Joe Morgan-clubby, but unlike Morgan, he actually seems to like baseball. Makes a difference)
4. Mitch Williams (not only buddies with Daulerio's dad, but also surprisingly alert and sane. There's hope for Kenny Powers yet!)
5. Dan Plesac (seems smart, but actually picked the Astros to finish second in the NL Central)
6. Barry Larkin (it's funny how everything in baseball today somehow relates to the mid-90s Cincinnati Reds)
7. Billy Ripken (the only reason he's on TV is because he kind of looks like his brother. Fuck Face!)
Tom Izzo. Considering trashing the Big Ten is the fun college hoops rage these days, allow me a humble retort. I've been watching the Big Ten all season, and it's pleasing to watch actual defense in a basketball game. Isn't the lack of defense what people who (dumbly) dislike the NBA always cite? I saw some of those mid-major conference championship games, and they certainly don't play any defense in there. Imagine what the NBA would be like if no one could score, but they kept shooting like crazy anyway. Illinois is the worst supposed "offender" — they'll never, ever live that 33-point game against Penn State down — but the Big Ten is full of teams with average scorers and vastly above average defenders. And coaches, of which Izzo is the best. (Even if, sorry Dash, I never quite understand why he has decided East Lansing is the best city on earth.) It's not like people watch college basketball for the amazing athleticism anyway. Isn't good coaching and solid fundamentals the reason college basketball is thought to be better by so many? Well, the Big Ten has been outstanding in both those all season. Every few years, the Big Ten stuns everybody by putting four or five teams in the Sweet 16. I bet this is that year.
Dan Leone. I'm of two minds on whether or not the Eagles were justified in firing the part-time stadium employee. On one hand, the Eagles should probably relax, particularly when a firing like that guarantees terrible press once people find out about it, which they inevitably do. On the other hand: In this economy, it's probably not wise to do anything that might even slightly upset your employee, considering they're just looking for an excuse to can your ass. (I assume, in three years, by the way, Leone's job will actually be filled by Brian Dawkins.) Not everyone can be Bill Simmons, you know, and thrive under the iron fist of an oppressor. By the way, kudos to the Philadelphia Inquirer for coming up with a new way to shoot the Guy At A Laptop Photo. He's actually holding his keyboard. Clever!