You could tell Craggs thought he was the best writer at Deadspin because he never wrote, and when he did write, it was on the crappiest subject possible. Roll back through his scanty archive (by the time you get to page two, you're already in August): It's Peter King Quarterly, little pull-top cans of the lowest-hanging-fruit salad. Anything serious or challenging was going go out under somebody else's byline, even if he had to work his puppeteer-hand so far up the writer's backside it ended up hitting the keyboard.
Craggs was the best writer, which was why he never
You could mistake this reticence for humility, if you weren't careful. This is the trick that the great editors pull off—alchemizing their own neurosis and laziness and incompetence as writers into managerial virtue. Not for Craggs the pursuit of writerly glory. That would mean he had to sit down and write something.
No, he would be behind the scenes, jamming his favorite jokes and opinions and crusades into the writers' work, to make them look good. To make them look good because they looked like Tommy Craggs.
Craggs could never get his ideal writer to write a piece. His ideal writer was T
The editor sacrifices all this. The editor's only reward is the glory of the publication, and the poachers from more prestigious outlets sniffing around the staff, and—above all—the ability to get out of writing something oneself. Procrastinate from sunup to sundown and it becomes an honest day's work. Noble work, even.
Craggs had the perfect abundance of self-regard and self-loathing to make the deal work. His wasn't the egomania of a David Remnick, perpetually bigfooting his own staff to write the biggest stories, unable to imagine the most important news without his own name on it. His egomania was the neurotic kind of egomania, the kind that won't even grant the public the chance to judge him.
What makes an editor
Craggs never announced his refusal to write. Quite the opposite. If you listened to Craggs's mouth, you heard all the time about what he was going to do. Finally, now, he was mad enough. He was going to do it. Now there would be blood and fire. He would hunker down at his computer.
He would hunker some more.
You would look over his shoulder and see a really amazing paragraph in progress, the Full Craggs, going in—furious, lyrical, informed, hilarious. All around it would be scraps of other paragraphs, aphorisms, devastating insights. He would hunch down so you couldn't get a better look. He'd still be hunched there when you left the office.
A week later, you'd realize that no story had ever appeared. Joe Gould, except inside his ratty portfolio there was the entire staff, thriving and flourishing.
a cross between Joe Mitchell and Genghis Khan
Also meanwhile he had taken over so much of every other site's business that they eventually had to hand him the whole editorial operation. What you can accomplish as a sportswriter who never writes.
MARCHMAN — SORRY, THIS SUCKS. I'M BORED WITH MYSELF. I GIVE UP. IT'S NOT INTERESTING OR WORTH IT.
JUST RUN WHATEVER DICKEY CAME UP WITH.