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June 08, 2016

So Bill Simmons Is Annoying Me

Bill Simmons is a sportswriter known for being snarky and, allegedly, funny. I wouldn't know. I could care less about sports, ESPN, or Bill Simmons.

He also did a podcast.

I know people like Bill Simmons. I've been hearing Oh you have to listen to Bill Simmons for like 15 years.

I know he leans slightly right or at least "isn't a huge liberal SJW idiot like the rest of them." Update: commenters tell me he's a standard Democrat douche, just not super-duper ideological.

I know all that. I mean, I don't bother listening, because if I want to do gay things I have better options than listening to dudes talking about other dudes -- that's why I took up French -- but I get that it's generally accepted that Bill Simmons is good at what he does, whatever the hell that is.

But then, there's this:

I realize that what I'm saying is hypocritical in the extreme. I know that. I know this complaint is insane coming from me, and in this post, in particular:

But haven't we reached Peak Smug Snarky Opinion?

I remember a different day. Or at least i read books about it. I remember when Men defined themselves by what they actually did, and did not adorn themselves like ladies with ornamental opinions and #HotTakes on every fucking thing.

I remember when Men were actually Men and not just Nick Hornsby Boyman Protagonists, defining themselves by what was on their eighth-grade-level "I do like this/I do not like this" what's hot/what's not lists.

I remember one of the most amazingly mean and true things a woman said to me, years ago. I was in a period, if you can believe this, of sloth and lack of ambition. My girlfriend at the time jilted me, for those reasons.

I protested, I whined: "But we like the same things."

She responded, with deadly truth: "But who cares?"

So cutting: And so true. Who the hell cares what one's trivial list of preferences is? Especially in man, for crying out loud, for whom minor consumer choices and band preferences are supposed to be completely irrelevant?

I'm just so tired of this Age when Men sit around offering one edgy-campy observation after another.

As if the new heterosexual male ideal was Mr. Blackwell. (For those of you too young to know: Mr. Blackwell was an outrageously gay Fashion Bitch who infamously put out a Worst Dressed list every year, and bitched cattily about people's clothing choices.)

A couple of years ago, I was at some mixed event with strangers and I was making the ladies roar with laughter. I was doing my sort of David Spade Arch Bitch sort of put-down cat-attack humor.

I thought to myself, "My goodness, these women are just loving me."

Then I realized: "Ah, right. They love you because they're not sexually threatened by you. They think you're gay, dude. And who could blame them?"

Aren't we better than that?

Well, I know I'm personally not better than that.

But shouldn't other guys be better than that?

If the species is to have any hope of persisting?

Theory: A commenter points out that Dave Letterman offered this years ago, and we ate it up. He suggests, I think correctly, that this is an age thing: young people like this, older people don't.

If I can expand on this, and offer a secondary theory: It could be that this is about the acquisition of sophistication. Young people don't have much sophistication, so they seek out older people (you know, like seasoned, weathered 34 year olds) who can offer them their first set of pretenses of sophistication. (I don't mean that in as negative a way as it might seem: but borrowed sophisitication is always, inescapably, the pretense of sophistication.)

Meanwhile, as one gets older, one has a mix of the sophistication modules acquired in youth (as some of us acquired from Letterman) and those we acquired from elsewhere, or just sort of came up with ourselves.

So to someone older, this all looks rather absurd: It looks like a 50 year old man offering 22 year olds a Cheat Sheet of how to seem cool and sophisticated and cosmopolitan and daring in one's thinking, when, of course, one can only be those things when one has done most of one's thinking for oneself (or at least traveled with borrowed sophistication for so long that one knows the ins and outs of it, at which point it effectively becomes one's own, whether one originated it or not).

And so yeah, I might just be showing my age with my increasing intolerance for 50 year old idiots like Simmons and Olbermann or 37 year old idiots like Ezra Klein offering ersatz, borrowed-on-the-cheap costume jewelry sophistication.

Then again: It could all just be turf-protection and competitor-denigration too, couldn't it?

BTW: When he was composing the list of Mind-Blowing, Water-Cooler-Conversation Opinions That Would Induce People to Dive Deeper Into the Ocean of Bill Simmons, this was the best shit that made the final cut?

digg this
posted by Ace at 03:22 PM

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