Earlier this week ESPN cancelled Barstool Van Talk after just one episode, apparently because network president John Skipper was belatedly alerted to the fact that Barstool is Barstool. Now this is the part where I disclose that I am friends with co-host PFTCommenter, and I enjoyed his show, and I was sad for him even while I hope Barstool founder Dave Portnoy drowns in a frozen river.
We didn’t post much about Barstool here in the past, just as we rarely post about former Deadspin editor and current After-Shave Rights Advocate Clay Travis, the reasoning being that both Travis and Portnoy are deeply shitty men who crave attention any way they can get it, usually by race-baiting or screaming BOOBS in a crowded theater. Don’t feed the trolls, etc. But as much as I’d like to ignore both men, there is the harsh truth that they are good, in a sense, at marshaling a very specific and damaging niche of the Internet for their own personal branding and enrichment. They are catering, quite effectively, not just to white dudes, but to the white dudes who feel, wrongly, as if the greater Internet has left them behind. And I know this breed of fella quite well because, in some ways, I am one.
I have written for this site for a decade, and if you dip into my back archive, you’ll find posts that are just as shitty as some of the posts that Portnoy had thrown in his face after his ESPN deal surfaced. One time I wrote a post called “In Defense of Female Objectification,” which featured the standard frat bro logic of, “Don’t blame men for being horny! That’s just the way we are!” I also joined in the comments on a post that goofed on high school football player Holley Mangold (sister of former Jets center Nick) for her size and appearance. She was 16 at the time. And, of course, I wrote a post calling LeBron James a cocksucker. Three posts, actually. When GLAAD got angry about the first post, I remember going to my old boss and being like, “Why are they mad? Cocksucker just means asshole!” I considered only my definition of the slur to be valid, conveniently overruling the definition of people who rightfully take the term literally.
There’s more. I started my blogging career with a Blogspot site called FKS, with the motto “Now 10% less gay than other blogs!” I also co-founded Kissing Suzy Kolber, and if you find it objectionable to jokingly name a site after an incident where a drunken ex-quarterback hit on a woman and made her horribly uncomfortable live on national television, I can’t blame you. The first thing I wrote at KSK that really took off was “Fuck It, I’m Throwing It Downfield,” featuring then-Bears QB Rex Grossman getting hornier and hornier with each successive long incompletion (hence the little throwgasm thingies you see in the game write-ups below). That post is LITTERED with gay jokes. I remember a friend Gchatting me and telling me, “Drew man, you shouldn’t call things gay,” and I remember, again, only caring about my own definition of the word. “But to me, it just means lame!” That was my defense.
I would top posts with pictures of boobs and butts because I knew that would drive up the page views. Even if the subject of the post was unrelated, I’d find a way to connect them. “Here’s a post about fantasy football. Speaking of fantasies, how about these BOOBS?” One time we lost a bet to a women’s sports site and they got to run KSK for a day, and I was livid. I was like, “OH MY GOD, THERE ARE GIRLS ON OUR SITE!” Back at Deadspin, this very column featured a Halftime Masturbation Kit that included links to more boobs and butts, as if finding such things yourself online is a difficult endeavor. And so it’s a touch cynical of me to berate Barstool for doing caveman shit when I’ve posted things here that could appear on that site rather seamlessly.
(And here is where I pause to note that I started blogging AFTER I had a family. Yes, I have a daughter, but even if I wanted to do the gross thing and deploy her as a cheap talisman of sudden wokeness, I’d be fudging the timeline.)
My operating philosophy at the time was that I had the right to mock anyone so long as I was hardest on myself. But that’s bullshit. If I post a joke about the stretch marks on my belly (and for real, they’re awful … I’ve even broken open vitamin E capsules and rubbed it on them to try to get rid of them), that doesn’t give me carte blanche to make malicious jokes about women or minorities or anyone else who, unlike me, gets hassled on a daily basis merely for being who they are. One time I wrote a book called Men With Balls, which has a LOT of nasty lines in it. One female Youtuber reviewed it and politely said she didn’t care for it. So what did I do? I posted the review at KSK, of course, with the tag “come here, are ya ticklish?” She took the video down after commenters ripped her mercilessly. I used the money from the book advance to buy a Honda.
I did gay jokes. I did rape jokes. Comedians, who are terrible people, prize the jokes you know you shouldn’t make, and I subscribed to that idea as well. That I always was a fairly liberal guy was hardly an excuse. In fact, that probably only made things worse because I tacitly believed that I had more permission to joke because I was on the “good” side of things. Anyone who was offended was being unreasonable. TRIGGERED. You’ll hear that word a lot from white dudes on the internet who believe no one else ever has the right to be upset about anything. Anyone who gets offended is overly sensitive. PC. Hysterical. Weak. They’re just pretending to be offended to get attention. White guys simply can’t imagine anyone getting truly upset over words, mainly because there are no such words that can traumatize them similarly. In fact, anyone triggered is a dick for impeding a frat bro’s right to make SICK JOKEZ. In the days when the internet was dominated by the likes of Tucker Max, and Maddox, and early Bill Simmons, and the now-disgraced Harry Knowles, it was easy to write shit like this and not expect much in the way of reprobation.
Obviously, it’s not like that anymore. The most prominent corners of the mainstream internet are a great deal more diverse than they used to be (though still not diverse enough; Deadspin’s editors heavily tilt male and white, and far too many gifted female writers and editors have left Gizmodo Media Group, our parent company, in the past year). And that diversity has been a surprising boon to some of us online white boys who were long in need of some goddamn manners.
I am not here to boast to you that I am a changed man. I’m not here to put my hand on my heart and declare the GMG elevators abuse-free, or scrawl ALLY across my chest in red letters. All I can tell you is that I’m not making sexist jokes here anymore. I’m not topping posts with the first Erin Andrews photo I can find. I’m not calling everything gay. And that’s not because I’ve been forbidden from it. I’m not screaming at Marchman to stet SLUT across articles. I just … I don’t wanna make those jokes anymore. They’re not funny. They’re not necessary. And they’re not true. I’m well aware that cultural sensitivity can sometimes careen into the realm of the absurd, but that does not mean I get to dismiss the very real hurt some posts can do.
You can go ahead and tell me I’m full of shit, and that I’m more interested in self-preservation than being a good person. But I’d like to think that my evolution as a professional has occurred naturally, thanks to getting older, and wiser, and working with more women and people of color and actively listening to them. I shouldn’t have needed this long to gain the ability to actually empathize with other human beings, but there you have it. And I don’t think I’m alone in changing. My old KSK colleagues certainly have, as have many of my old Deadspin colleagues (Lice Boy Travis notwithstanding). Even Jimmy Kimmel has!
Of course, there are people who aren’t terribly interested in trying to get better, and that’s where Travis and his ilk come in. If Trump’s election was the product of a “whitelash,” as Van Jones accurately put it, I assure you that same whitelash has been out in full force online. There’s a lot of money to be had in pretending that the internet is the same place it was back in 2006, or raging against the way it isn’t. Back then, white guys could run amok online. The disconnect between the freedom some of those guys had in real life versus online was staggering. Addicting. And so these same guys get VERY ornery when that online freedom is challenged in any way by valid criticism about racism, injustice, sexism, and privilege. They’re plunging even deeper into the online abyss now, such is their lust to operate unchecked. All that defensive shit I pulled back in the day? That’s an industry now. That’s a presidency now. It’s a bunch of obese Homer Simpsons complaining they can’t watch Honk If You’re Horny in peace. The punch in the frat house has curdled.
We are all, as a country, being forced to reckon with bad men who are unwilling to reckon with themselves. There’s a bad man in charge, and bad men in the government running amok at his behest, and other bad men who are currently either indulging in their abuses or being exposed for them. There are too many men out there who think if they can’t be bad men, they can’t be men at all. You see this in the language of the alt-right. Liberal men are pussies. Losers. Cucks. Considering the feelings of others is for hippies and eunuchs.
But that’s a huge lie, maybe the worst lie. You can be a red-blooded, beer-drinking American man who is also not a fuckhead. Portnoy is merely profiting off the endemic laziness of the male internet: guys unwilling to do the not-terribly-arduous work required to try to get better, instead codifying their sexism and racism into a full-on identity in order to lionize their own inaction. And yeah, maybe sites like Barstool and Outkick are flourishing in the age of Trump. But let me tell you something: There will be a reckoning. Maybe Clay Travis won’t pay professionally for his horseshit, but he’ll pay any time he’s got to look a woman in the eye. He’ll pay anytime someone on the street says to him, “Hey, I saw your tweet,” and he’s gotta worry about what they’re gonna say next. And he’ll pay at the gates of hell.
I have tried to reckon with my online past here, but I know the job is incomplete. There’s no “I’m sorry” for men to offer to make everything right. There is only the action … the will to take a good hard look at the man you’ve been, and ask if that’s really the man you want to be. You can either reckon with that now, or you can double down on your assholery. I promise you the latter comes with a bigger price tag.
All games in the Jamboroo are evaluated for sheer watchability on a scale of 1 to 5 Throwgasms.
Cowboys at Skins: Speaking of Harry Knowles, I gotta tell you that I was once banned from the Ain’t It Cool News comments section a million years ago for basically saying that Knowles was an insufferable shithead. If you’re unfamiliar with Knowles, consider yourself lucky. Back in the day, AICN was the preeminent geek site. Knowles would report directly from the set of the Lord of the Rings (Peter Jackson even paid for his hotel) and serve essentially as the franchise’s hype man. He’d write ENDLESS, gushing reviews of pretty much everything, all of which invariably included a 5,000-word prologue about how he got to the theater, followed by 5,000 more words of name-dropping. He guested on Ebert & Roeper. Rainn Wilson played his doppelganger on Entourage, his character begging for freebies and screaming out gay slurs at Adrian Grenier. He was genuinely insufferable, and now it turns out he was a predatory shitbag to boot. People have already been posting his grosser reviews in the wake of his downfall, but I just wanted to show you this hilariously fawning review he once did of The Flintstones: Viva Rock Vegas:
Mark Addy IS Fred Flintstone. At all times, his voice and face do that Ralph Kramden/Fred gargle commanding tone thing. When he’s whispering... he sounds like Fred. When he’s exclaiming... he’s Fred. He is FRED FLINTSTONE…
Stephen Baldwin.... Barney Rubble... I don’t know what sort of ‘act of God’ occurred, but Stephen Baldwin became Barney Rubble up there.
I bet he did.
Texans at Seahawks
Steelers at Lions: You know how tight ends have been hot for the past few years or so? That’s over now. Go look at the list of available fantasy starters. These tight ends all SUCK. Even Jordan Reed sucks now. With so many shitty tight ends, it is way past time to bring the run-and-shoot back to the NFL. I don’t even care if teams call it a spread offense so that no one laughs at them for using the run-and-shoot, but it’s gotta happen. Remember when Ron Erhardt was the Steelers’ OC and they would have four- and five-wideout sets trot onto field? They gotta do that again. There’s no point to Jesse James. Flood the field with wideouts and leave Big Ben out there to get killed. Now that is what I call a plan for success, folks.
Chargers at Patriots: I swear the Patriots get 12 home games every regular season. I’ll prove it somehow.
Panthers at Bucs: I’ll say this for Cam: He sure as shit knows how to keep the take mill going. Every time you think he’s done inspiring takes… BOOM! He leaves a press conference in a huff, or he goofs on a female reporter, or he wears a strange hat. The man is addicted to cultivating and maintaining takes. It is his gift.
Broncos at Chiefs
Raiders at Bills
Falcons at Jets
Bears at Saints
Niners at Eagles: Carson Wentz is now a legit MVP candidate, which means this is the week he somehow breaks both arms on a non-contact play.
Dolphins at Ravens: I don’t think I fully grasped the extent of the Ravens’ injuries until I saw them play last week. Holy shit, they have NO ONE. They’re basically a scab team. By the end of the season, Flacco is gonna have to dress his kids for games. He’ll throw five of the most adorable picks you’ll ever see.
I really don’t think there’s a simple explanation for the incredible number of major injuries that have happened already this season apart from sheer, rotten luck. Sometimes football is football and everyone has their pelvis snap in unison. But this means you ARE gonna see a weird team playing in the Super Bowl, maybe even two. I am 100 percent ready for this season to be redeemed by a strangely fun, all-L.A. Super Bowl.
Vikings at Browns (London): DeShone Kizer stands as living proof that you can start your rookie, or you can redshirt him, but you can’t do both. The second you decide to throw him to the wolves, there’s no going back. Name me another QB who got benched early in his career and recovered from it. YOU CANNOT.
Colts at Bengals
“Desert Fighter” by Truckfighters! Up until now, I was unfamiliar with Sweden’s premier stoner rock band. Reader Taylor is here to correct that oversight:
The perfect song for literally fighting trucks. I’d request to have this song played when the fascist apocalypse forces me to fight the Kushner/Cantwell version of Master Blaster in Thunderdome.
Fuck me, this song RULES. I also now want to fight a truck. Bring it on, truck. I will punch clean through your engine block. I HAVE THE POWER OF RIFFS WITHIN ME.
Internet, meet meet Dave Asprey, founder of bulletproof coffee and a man determined to live to 180 years old using the power of TECH.
When Asprey wakes up, he makes Bulletproof Coffee for himself, his wife, and his kids. He says it gives them all energy to start the day. The coffee also serves as his breakfast.
If you’re unfamiliar, Bulletproof coffee is coffee with butter in it. If you wanna be a psycho who butters your coffee, knock yourself out. But come on, don’t make your kids drink that shit. Give them a bowl of Cookie Crisp, for crying out loud.
As part of his morning routine, Asprey also picks a “biohacking practice” to work on.
“Today, I think I’ll work on nipple clamps.”
These include lying underneath an ultraviolet light for 10 minutes (which he says slows down aging)...
LOL sure buddy. “This black light will extend my lifespan by exposing all the semen stains on my body.”
…standing on a “biovibration platform” that vibrates 30 times a second (which he says burns calories)...
…or standing inside his cryotherapy chamber that spews -260-degree nitrogen-iced air for about two minutes (which he says reduces muscle inflammation).
This guy totally makes up therapeutic benefits of things and then believes them, huh. It’s like Tom Brady if Tom Brady had accomplished exactly NOTHING. “Putting broccoli in your pillow actually reduces fatigue by nine percent.”
Having an assistant helps Asprey not waste time or think too hard about his schedule, which he says helps boost his performance at work. He tries to minimize the amount of decisions he needs to make throughout the day.
“I don’t have to plan or memorize my calendar,” Asprey says. “All I have to do is execute.”
“Dave, you have a sales meeting at 4 p.m.”
“THANK YOU BEVERLY I AM NOW IN EXECUTE MODE LET’S FUCKING DO THIS.”
Asprey’s diet features a lot of vegetables and little gluten, sugar, legumes, or dairy. At lunch, he fills his plate with veggies (which he picks from his own organic farm) and avocado, or a salad with carrots and fennel, featuring a homemade dressing with avocado, olive oil, herbs, and his trademarked Brain Octane oil.
Let’s see about this stupid oil. “Accessible quality fats on-the-go.” FINALLY! I always needed fat on the go. This website also says this oil keeps the “belly slim.” It really is amazing how Silicon Valley can dress up virtually any shitty As Seen On TV product and make it sound fancy.
He tracks his sleep and gets about six hours a night.
On an average night, Asprey sleeps six hours and two minutes. The night prior to our chat, he got about four hours of sleep, though he usually shoots for seven a night.
“Healthy people need less sleep,” he says. “It’s not about sleeping less — It’s about getting a higher quality of sleep and having more resilience.”
Listen man, I’m not saying I WANT this guy to accidentally die young by slipping on a banana peel at the top of the staircase. But it would be fairly amusing.
“Men! MEN. Oh men, today I’m gonna castrate a live bull to show you what kinda WATERMELON BALLS you need to get out there and destroy your opponent! Now… where can I find a bull?
(looks up bull prices on the internet)
“HOLY SHIT I AIN’T PAYIN’ THAT MUCH FOR A BRO COW! Let’s get a mouse instead. I will call the mouse BULL so that you can picture its large balls in your mind!”
Ryan 2017 record: 6-1
Reader Cliff is not too happy with Beast Mode:
I swear to god if Marshawn Lynch isn’t your fantasy player deserving of an excruciating death this week I don’t know who is. .9 fucking points! And why? Because this dumbass has to sprint on to the field to go shove a fucking ref and get ejected in the first quarter. I’ve always enjoyed Marshawn and his trolling of the no fun league. Dear fucking god though; I can’t wait until Monday when I lose by three points and should have started Bilal Powell to secure the win. Post or don’t post but fuck Marshawn.
That is tough but fair. I know Beast Mode is the internet’s darling, but for real: don’t shove a goddamn ref.
Is there anything more exciting than a coach losing his job? All year long, we’ll keep track of which coaches will almost certainly get fired at year’s end or sooner. And now, your potential 2017 chopping block:
(*-potential midseason firing)
I’m still in awe of the Falcons calling a jet sweep to Taylor Gabriel on fourth down against the Patriots. Leave it that team to take one of America’s favorite plays—who doesn’t love themselves a good jet sweep? OMG THE GUY WHO NORMALLY CATCHES THE BALL IS RUNNING WITH IT NOW!—and run it in the worst possible game situation. The Falcons should have choked Dan Quinn to death in the fog after that. Who would have seen it?
Reader Anonymous sends in this story I call CHILDREN OF POOP:
The year was 2016. My kid was two. She had been sick for a few days but was getting better. Four days of some nuclear diapers had turned my hair greyer, but I had survived. Unfortunately, I was not out of the woods, myself. I knew by noon that day that I was not well, but denial got the better of me.
Anyways, I’m getting chills and am wearing sweats when I smell the familiar smell and see the familiar bulge in my kid’s diaper. I knew that it probably wasn’t solid due to the immense odor and the pattern of puréed shit over the past several days. As I stood up, the bubble guts hit. I broke out in a sweat, but as a father, I had to do what I had to do. Diaper rash was a guarantee if I didn’t get the toxic waste off my daughter quickly.
I whisked her off to her bedroom, where the changing table was. Beside it, I had a box of ziplock bags to contain the biological weapons my daughter was producing and an industrial quantity of Costco baby wipes. My innards were collapsing and felt like they were on fire. I knew I’d have to be quick.
I opened the diaper to find a fecal hellscape. I got right to work cleaning up the tsunami of waste that coated my daughters backside. Two wipes and two scoops of excrement into the ordeal, I get a pain down under. In the heat of the moment, I decided to relieve a little pressure to buy more time. Pure fire left me burned and a putrid smell overpowered the child in front of me, but I pressed on. Halfway through, it happens again. Time to repeat and buy another minute or two.
At 27 years old, I should’ve known better.
I couldn’t stop it. What had started would certainly finish as I became mount Vesuvius, but upside-down. Tears welled in my eyes and my daughter looked on, confused as I clenched every muscle to try and stop the disaster. Nothing could stop the deluge of liquified hatred emptying into my sweatpants.
Resigned to my fate, I finished up with my daughter as quickly as possible and replaced her diaper, my pants full of the former contents of my aching colon. Upon completion, I waddled to the bathroom, miraculously leaving no evidence of my failure on the floor. I showered in my clothes and disrobed as cold water washed over me. I must’ve been in there for days, I think my water bill contributed to the national debt that day. One garbage bag later, I rested on the couch in basketball shorts and a t shirt.
My wife (at the time) returned home from work 45 minutes later, greeting us with a gag and an exclamation of her displeasure of the noxious atmosphere inside our small apartment.
Fried grasshoppers! I tried these this week and they were pretty good! They’re just fried crunchy bits. I was EXTREMELY proud of myself for eating them, especially given my virulent hatred of bugs. I plunged right in. No hesitation. I said to my friends, “Hey! We’re eating crickets! HOW FUCKING WILD IS THAT?!” And they were like, calm down, bug boy. No one gives a crap. I just want it known that I had the stones to pay $12 to eat five cents worth of vermin.
Sprint Light! From reader Taylor comes what is either the greatest deal in beer or the worst:
Sprint Light! 20 dollars for a case of 48. Thank goodness for Lidl for selling this generic brand Natural Light. I bought a case and now I have no room in my fridge.
A case of 48! Holy shit, that is a commitment. Look at how utterly nondescript that case is. No mountains. No bears. I’m glad they promise smoothness but I dunno if I can trust it. I MUST KNOW.
By the way, this is the part where I tell you I’ve never heard of Lidl, which appears to be an even more generic version of Aldi grocery stores. You can probably buy a Lidl IN an Aldi. I fear our new German private label overlords.
“Everybody’s all World Series this and World Series that. Those guys don’t play hard, okay? They got their nice pants and their condos to live in. You want REAL baseball, you go down to Armfart Station. They play a game there every morning using a broom handle and a dried tomato. Winner gets the tomato. I’ve seen people bitten on the basepaths. Now THAT is desire. You don’t flip your broom handle after a homer because then Sneaky Pete will steal it. That’s why we call him Sneaky Pete.”
It is time again to endorse Spanish Dracula. When they filmed the original Dracula back in 1931, they ALSO made a Spanish version. Same script. Same sets. Different actors. Our Spanish teacher put this on for class one Halloween. Easily the best Spanish class of my life.
“Richard Dean Anderson will be in my dreams tonight.”
Enjoy the games, everyone.