Will Leitch has had the pleasure of editing me for two years, which may be the longest relationship he's had in his life. I wish I could tell you it was a joy to edit him but he was the most high-maintenance, prima-donnish, whiny bitch I've ever come across in my long and glorious publishing career and that includes Shannon Doherty, Jenna Jameson, and Skip Bayless.
That whole aw-shucks-I'm-just-a-simple-country-girl-from-Mattoon pose is total bullshit. The guy wakes up (at about noon in his mother's basement) and thinks, "Whose life can I ruin today? Do I have any more pictures of Daulerio jerking off Matt Leinart that I took the night before? Can I crawl up Albert Pujols' ass any deeper?"
But by far the biggest dick move I've ever seen the guy make was backstage before Bob Costas' HBO show. You all saw what happened on the air but I'm here to tell you what went down (and on whom) before the cameras started rolling. There we were in the Green Room and Leitch walks up to Bissinger— he comes up to his waist , barely— and says "Oh Mr. Bissinger, sir, I'm such a fan. Is there anything I can do before the show to take the edge off?"
He then proceeded to mime the thing he was talking about with his mouth so skillfully that I can only assume it wasn't the first time he had done it. That day.
Needless to say, Bissinger looked at him quizzically and said "Son, you don't have to do that. You're a talented blogger and I'm about to go out there and tell the world you're your generation's W.C. Heinz."
Leitch snapped back at him. "Fuck you, Buzz. You want the blowjob or not? This is what I do every day for Ankiel and this is what I'm offering you. Take it or leave it. Now or never."
Knowing I was Leitch's editor, Bissinger turned to me and said " Your author has some issues." Just as I was about to respond, Leitch uppercuts Bissinger—in the balls—and the PA tells them that they're on in ten seconds.
I don't have to tell you what happened after that but let's just say you might have appeared a little testy on camera yourself if some closeted little blogger from Mattoon took a swing at your swingers.
Suffice it to say, this method of ingratiating himself to his elders must be how he got his new lame gigs at New York and Sporting News. If only he were better at this particular activity maybe he wouldn't have to slum it in the MSM. Either way, it sucks that he's leaving Deadspin.
Dearest Will: Welcome to the other side, sellout.
My long, personal nightmare is over.
After three years of enduring the massive ego trip called "Will Leitch, editor of Deadspin," I won't have to feign interest in this incomprehensible website, its sycophantic readers, or its misaligned (but blinding) sun, William Franklin Leitch.
No more will I be forced to attend commenter events that exist only as an opportunity for poor, deluded readers to learn the hard way about Will's social limitations. (Until Will's career reaches its likely conclusion, in which case I'll meet you by the merch table at SpinCon. I hear it's at the Valley Forge Convention Center next year. Right near A.J.!)
I relish Will's future, filled with editors who gleefully cut the 250 throat-clearing words he insists on inserting in every post. His prose will be fished from a sea of indecipherable italics. His interviews will focus more on the As, not line after line of Qs, lest we forget how smart he is.
Welcome, Will. You're in my house now.
WHERE THE FUCK WAS SI'S HOT CLICKS FROM 2006-2007?!?! It's gives you about 10x the hits from Deadspin, it's easier to read, commenters don't pick apart your posts (and call you a "fucktard") and you don't have to deal with post after tiresome post about the fucking Cardinals!
Thank you for all that you've done for me, my site and every single asshole that just wanted to share an opinion on Sports. It's not easy to be the figurehead and scapegoat for ever single thing that a group does and like I said after the "Bissinger Incident" (and still feel today).....I've never been prouder to call myself a "Sports Blogger". If they can't take a joke....fuck 'em. Godspeed and good luck my overly caffeinated friend.
Like so many other of you internet creepshows, I've never met Will, and I've only interacted with him via legendary burrito threads and soccer live blogs. I bet you think that makes him your friend. Well guess what: it does. Feels good, right?
Anyway, Deadspin-era Will will leave many legacies, but the most important of those is not the rise of the intelligent fan, or the slow legitimization of sports blogs. No, the one thing I'll take away is how Deadspin made me functionally retarded. Thanks to Deadspin's "sheesh"- and "gosh"-littered 100-word skittishness, I discovered sports blogs, and then other blogs, and then Google Reader, and then Netvibes, and then Twitter, and with all this quick information my attention span is so shredded I can't make it halfway through an episode of Robot Chicken. While high.
So thanks a lot, Will. You really fucked me over here.
It's tough roasting a guy when:
1) You've never roasted anyone before,
2) You've never met him in person, and
3) He could take away your audience in a heartbeat,
But that didn't stop Al Roker from roasting Matt Lauer, so let's give it a whirl.
You had to have been paying attention, but long-time readers of Deadspin may have heard Will mention once or twice, in passing, that he is from a town called Mattoon, Illinois.
Not that Mattoon isn't a great place to grow up, if a bit segregated. Recent census results list it as 97% white, which makes it only slightly less white than the Deadspin commentariat. Will's signature black t-shirt isn't just a minimalist fashion statement. It's a subconcious manifestation of guilt.
If Mattoon has any sense, they will one day build a statue honouring Will. He is, after all, their most famous son. And as an added benefit, it would be a nice change of pace to see him being shit on while not on the set of Costas Now.
I would be remiss not to mention the Buzz Bissinger incident. Even my mom has seen that video, and she thinks Deadspin is a Jewish high holiday. That was Will's most awkward exchange with a Pulitzer Prize winner since he angrily wrote Toni Morrision to tell her she ruined Rocky V.
In absolute seriousness, anyone who writes a sports blog owes Will a massive debt of gratitude. Not just for opening so many doors, but for his tireless efforts to bring credibility to the blogosphere. Though laudable, these efforts were hardly surprising, as Leitch has always been a bit of an activist. In 2001, he successfully lobbied to have the movie "Jeepers Creepers" given an "R" rating. Not for excessive violence, but because he found the title offensive.
In closing, thanks to Will for starting his own little revolution. A revolution of the pale, over-educated and sexless, but a revolution nonetheless. I'm speaking for myself when I say that the only reason my tiny little site has a tiny little readership is because of his (and KSK's) links, and I can never thank him enough for all the hours he has helped me kill at work. Best of luck at New York Magazine, Will, you will (pun intended) be missed.
Oh, and I wouldn't fuck Will Leitch with Robert Weintraub's dick.
We all know Will is as amicable and polite as they come. But how can someone be this nice? What's really going on here? Last time I saw Will in person, he was rocking the Obama tee, and anyone with the Internet knows that Barry is the Anti-Christ. . . is it possible that Will's whole m.o. is, in fact, totally sinister, a way of lulling us all into calm and submission before he seizes the five states of Zordar and brings about the Apocalypse? Would that make him Obama's running mate? '
Like for instance, one time, Will was in my home city of Seattle on some official Deadspin business. I couldn't make it to said official business, but I suggested we meet up for a drink that night. It turned out that my friend was having a birthday party at a totally really exotic non-Western karaoke spot that night–half the choices were 15-minute long Vietnamese medleys, and there was some well-connected older guys in suits who just sat in the balcony ordering food on a never-ending tab and smoking cigars all night (Leitch's real interest in showing up?). So anyway, Will was out with two of his oldest friends in the world, and yet refused to definitely say to me "no, I can't make it to your friend's stupid party."
The mere possibility of his appearance got around, and worked several male attendants into a frenzy, and they hung on every drunken update I got. Finally, communications broke down, and the party was never the same after that. Now, I'd always seen that as pure charity on Leitch's part. But looking back, how manipulative was that? He got a bunch of strangers on the edge of their booths, thinking they were this close. Then he let them down graciously, breaking their hearts while only strengthening his hold on them. I mean, is that Machiavellian or what? That's how you build an empire of the mind without lifting a finger. This is where interactive branding meets fascism.
So who is Will Leitch? Angel? Devil? Ingenue? The Phil Jackson of web publishing? If we truly knew, if the answer were simple, he wouldn't be where he is today. Congratulations, friend, foe, brother, and supernatural force.
Since most of my first-person stories of non-electronic interactions with Will involve him talking very passionately and very quickly and me not understanding anything he's saying, I guess I'll just say that one of my blogging dreams is that Will would one day be asked to create a brief yet critical review for Gizmodo, and would submit the following:
We wee on Wii, oui?
Wouldn't sound too terribly different from many Deadspin posts, near as I can tell.
/Waiting to see how many other of your contributors focus their remarks on the first-person plural.
/Yeah, seriously, that's all I've got.
I am probably not alone on this, but I always felt that you were writing specifically about ME and to ME. It must be because you are a great writer. Or, perhaps it was due to your gratuitous use of "we."
Will Leitch is way too polite a guy to really roast.
I mean, I'm 33, and we both live in the New York area. Yet he calls me "sir!" Unless you're Buzz Bissinger, how can you possibly yell at a guy like that?
Plus, I couldn't possibly roast a guy who, after that January NPR interview with Scott Simon, comes already self-roasted. Listen at about the 3:40 mark. He was ambushed — and I don't buy for a second that he's racist — but if you diagram the sentence of Will's response, I think you'll find about fourteen digressions and thirteen ums, followed by the sound of a soul melting.
Stay tuned. More roasters on the way. All day long, we encourage you to add your own Leitch jokes and tributes in the comments.