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November 27, 2007

What The Hell Is It About The Media? Philly Sportswriter Praises Hitler's Efficiency In Killing Off Political Dissenters In A Ludicrous Attack on Bloggers

The only positive thing I can think of about Hitler’s time on earth–I’m sure he would have eliminated all bloggers. In Colonial times, bloggers were called “Pamphleteers.” They hung on street corners handing them out to passersby. Now, they hang out on electronic street corners, hoping somebody mouses on to their pretentious sites. Different medium, same MO. Shakespeare accidentally summed up the genre best with these words from a MacBeth soliloquy: “. . .a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. . .”

That's a quote from a Philadelphia sportswriter responding to a baseball blogger who, fairly politely and rationally I think, wrote him an email telling him that his pick for MVP was wrong. The blogger based his conclusion on Sabermetric stats (Sabermetrics are just a non-traditional way of analyzing stats which seem to be far more indicative of actual performance than traditional baseball stats; they're being used more and more by clubs to make personnel decisions) and told the sportswriter his choice was second-best.

Not exactly the sort of discussion you would think would call for praise of Hitler in response, but that's what happened.

Know what, pal? Bash this. . .Tell your bloggers, my career against theirs. . .

Unable to argue against the blogger's conclusions, and also unable to say something mundane like "Well, obviously the two men are pretty closely ranked in statistics, whichever way you cut it; I just think Rollins was more deserving," the guy, as is so typical, makes his stand on the fact that he is, in fact, In The Media and therefore right. The Media has deemed him worthy; ergo he is worthy. The Media is always right in their evaluations; that's why they're The Deciders, after all.

He also mentions his multiple layers of editorial oversight, as if that matters in this argument, when facts and stats are not in dispute.

Let me offer my own Hitler analogy. Hitler appealed most of all to the "insecure class," those who had a little something of a life going but not so much of one they didn't fear losing what they had. They were somewhat comfortable economically and socially, but not comfortable in retaining that position. So Hitler offered them a narrative and an enemy and convinced them that under his plan, they wouldn't have to worry -- their identity as true-blooded Germans would be enough to sustain them in the position they feared losing.

It seems the media offers its lesser lights a similar reassurance. Join the party, chant the slogans, hate the chosen enemies of the party, and the party will take care of you. You need not fear the grasping lower classes and interloping foreign-types who want to take what you have away from you.

It's always the weakest, least members of a group that are the most passionate about their membership in the group. The group gives them what they do not have of their own merits: a somewhat undeserved sense of personal value.

Just saying, since Hitler was brought up and all.

Thanks to AndrewS.

More... A reader writes in to say this guy is a total dick:

Clarification/Correction: I misread this email; most comes from a reader, but the part at the end -- about Conlin attempting to get a guy fired from work -- came not from him directly but from a fellow poster on a Phillies chat forum. I trust my reader but not this other guy's claim (well, I do, but...) so I'll delete that part and keep it just to what DaveR. tells me.

Apologies for clogging up your inbox, but I can't comment on your site from work. I live in Philly, so let me tell you something about Bill Conlin.

In addition to reading his columns for years, I've had several exchanges with him over email to discuss various Phillies-related points and . During one of our email exchanges, I had the audacity to suggest that Doug Glanville actually sucked during his time as a Phillie and wasn't one of the best leadoff hitters we ever had, as Big Bill was trying to tell me. What followed were words my friends and I still quote to this day when we argue baseball....

"Me: 4,500 major league games covered. . .Access to some of the great minds in baseball history during 40 years. . .37 straight World Series. . .150 plus IQ. . .Your baseball credentials, please?"

We went back and forth for a while, but I think he called me a moron and banned me from his email shortly thereafter when I came back with some smarmy response asking why Doug Glanville wasn't a better ballplayer with his UPenn Engineering IQ. Basically, Conlin just exists for effect so people like you and I will respond to his ridiculousness and he'll derive psychic income from it because he's obviously so much better than we are, sitting on his lofty throne among the halls of the ever-prestigious Baseball Writers Association of America. He also suffers from Olbermann-itis as you'll notice in his columns, in that he always has to use fancy words and obscure historical/cultural references to demonstrate his intellectual superiority over us peons.

If you're ever around during one of his internet chats, I really recommend the entertainment. The questions are probably split 50/50 between people asking him serious baseball questions and people asking questions like, "Will Utley hit higher than your cholesterol?" and telling Bill that they'll see him in the buffet line at Spring Training. Hilarious stuff.

That's from a reader whose name I'll withhold until he gives me the okay.

There's something the water they're drinking. And I think that something is Kool-Aid.

As far as disciplining him... Well, the guy praised Hitler's wondrous efficiency at killing political dissenters. I'm not big on firing people for an ill-advised remark, but isn't it usually a rule you're not allowed to praise Hitler? Especially when you're praising him specifically for killing dissenters? That's not a full-blown endorsement of the Holocaust, but it is edging right up to that line. I mean, Good God, the "pamphleteers" Conlin is so jazzed about Hitler executing were propagandizing against Hitler. And Conlin's all in favor of that.

I'm sure he'd say it was a joke and perhaps it was. But a lot of jokes are out of bounds, especially according to the multiple-layers-of-editorial-oversight media he's so keen about.

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posted by Ace at 12:34 PM

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