Grantland

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I don't get the point of the Date piece, the sad thing is that there is probably a pretty interesting article in there, but I dont think the author actually developed any sort of thesis.

My issue with Grantland in a lot of the pieces keeps coming back to "why do I care about this article"? Why was it written?

The Date piece seems to be a realization on the author's part that Date's style is more enjoyable to root for now that she is older? Roddick is more likable now?

I think that story about the National is the best thing Ive read in a while not written by Joe Posnanski. But I'll keep waiting for the articles with beginnings, middles, and ends that make me understand why the piece was written.

I want to love Grantland.
 

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Is it possible that the pattern of awkward endings is due to writers who normally do longer pieces being held to some kind of word count limit, and they are simply cutting themselves off at the end instead of fundamentally changing how they write the beginning and middle portions of their columns/posts?
Normally, I'd agree with you about this, but I thought that was the point of the site; to have longer, more magazine-like (New Yorker, Esquire) type pieces that weren't strangled by word count or page count.

That National piece is what I thought that these columns were going to be like: it was awesome because it took a while to get going. And when it got going it allowed the story to develop and the ending came naturally and didn't feel rushed. To be fair, not all of Grantland's pieces are top heavy, the more established writers like Simmons and Klosterman seem to be able to write without losing steam. It's the other writers, the less-established authors that are barely making it to the finish line. And I wonder what the problem is.
 

dirtynine

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The Stanley Cup piece was allowed to go 6 pages long, and it was really good. But stylistically, that's been the exception.
 

JBill

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I've noticed the shorter pieces I feel are incomplete or just weaker overall tend to be these "blog preview" ones. Those writers haven't been really successful yet with what I assume are shorter word counts. Also, still not clear what "preview" means.

From the past few days I've liked the fiberglass article, and then the two Federer related tennis ones (written by the same author, Brian Phillips) the most. I don't even like tennis.
 

johnmd20

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I have been a big fan of Grantland thus far, it's had a number of excellent columns but the footnote thing is the one thing I can point to that annoys me quite a bit. I just read Molly Lambert's piece of Bad Teacher and it was decent. However, the footnotes are utterly awful and very unnecessary, to boot.

For example:

If the critical and box-office failures of Green Lantern and The Green Hornet don't stop the endless push of superhero movies, (footnote) certainly one less-than-stellar R-rated female-led comedy shouldn't stop the development of all R-rated female-led comedies.

Footnote says: It would be nice if it did.

You can't say that in the body of your piece? It is just a piece of commentary that could easily be added in the piece without the distraction of the number and having to avert your gaze to read what is actually a superfluous comment. The footnotes kill the momentum of almost every piece, generally for no reason. I don't get the strategy of the footnotes and it hurts the presentation overall.

Otherwise, I love the site but the footnotes are weak.
 

Marciano490

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I have been a big fan of Grantland thus far, it's had a number of excellent columns but the footnote thing is the one thing I can point to that annoys me quite a bit. I just read Molly Lambert's piece of Bad Teacher and it was decent. However, the footnotes are utterly awful and very unnecessary, to boot.

For example:

If the critical and box-office failures of Green Lantern and The Green Hornet don't stop the endless push of superhero movies, (footnote) certainly one less-than-stellar R-rated female-led comedy shouldn't stop the development of all R-rated female-led comedies.

Footnote says: It would be nice if it did.

You can't say that in the body of your piece? It is just a piece of commentary that could easily be added in the piece without the distraction of the number and having to avert your gaze to read what is actually a superfluous comment. The footnotes kill the momentum of almost every piece, generally for no reason. I don't get the strategy of the footnotes and it hurts the presentation overall.

Otherwise, I love the site but the footnotes are weak.
I agree that the majority of the footnotes are wasted on either sentences that could be incorporated into the body of the texts, or on ancillary thoughts that are just as well left out.

I wonder if the presence of the footnotes is meant as some homage to, or cribbing of, David Foster Wallace, who Simmons apparently loved.
 

dirtynine

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Two very so-so US Soccer articles today. No deep dive, and nothing most fans don't already know. This would have been a great time for, say, a four-page look into the career and current crossroads of an aging USMNT veteran like Bocanegra or Cherundolo. Or to tell the weird Jermaine Jones story. Or come up with a fresh perspective on Adu. Something that couldn't run anywhere else. Instead, it's two warmed-over recaps with some scratch-the-surface analysis ("the US shouldn't be trying to win like they are; they need to - BOOM! - change the philosophy.") The second article was written in such a way that a word in almost every sentence had a "phrase" in quotes. Possibly more annoying than the sidenotes.

(I'm still pissed about the game, if it doesn't show.)
 

Trlicek's Whip

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Pretty much every post in this thread makes mention of articles or blog postings that have something to do with sports. This article about the TV show has no possible relation to sports or its part in popular culture.
And these 16 Simmons articles on ESPN's Page 2 are under the heading "Non-Sports Stuff."
And I guess articles there like his Vegas diaries or this starfuckery account of a Playboy party and celebrity go-karting are ostensibly sports-related, but that's a fairly flimsy branch to hang it on. But to post here shocked, SHOCKED that Grantland is more "E" than "SP" for ESPN is becoming increasingly more stubborn and unfathomable.

I guess what I'm asking is: who hurt you?
 

Average Reds

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Normally, I'd agree with you about this, but I thought that was the point of the site; to have longer, more magazine-like (New Yorker, Esquire) type pieces that weren't strangled by word count or page count.

That National piece is what I thought that these columns were going to be like: it was awesome because it took a while to get going. And when it got going it allowed the story to develop and the ending came naturally and didn't feel rushed. To be fair, not all of Grantland's pieces are top heavy, the more established writers like Simmons and Klosterman seem to be able to write without losing steam. It's the other writers, the less-established authors that are barely making it to the finish line. And I wonder what the problem is.
Here's where I think the site is still trying to figure out what their identity is.

Articles in Esquire or The New Yorker are written over a much longer period of time, which is a part of the reason they are as well-written as they are. Grantland may allow for a longer word count, but it clearly doesn't allow every writer to think about or develop their articles, because most of this stuff is being reported within days of it happening. So the authors are coming up with something of a hybrid - almost a long-form blog post - as their "signature" for Grantland. And some of the articles feel a little awkward for it.
 

JPA

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You can't say that in the body of your piece? It is just a piece of commentary that could easily be added in the piece without the distraction of the number and having to avert your gaze to read what is actually a superfluous comment. The footnotes kill the momentum of almost every piece, generally for no reason. I don't get the strategy of the footnotes and it hurts the presentation overall.

Otherwise, I love the site but the footnotes are weak.
I agree that the use of footnotes in Grantland is flawed, but mainly because they position them to the right of the article. Your comment about killing the momentum is spot on.

I am, however, a big fan of the way that Posnanski and Sepinwall use "footnotes." They insert them into the main body of the article, generally right below the paragraph that has the reference in it, and italicize the text. This doesn't break up the momentum because you don't need to avert your gaze. That being said, the content of Posnanski and Sepinwall's footnotes are also generally more interesting than the average footnote in Grantland's articles.
 

Soxy

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We have our first anti-sabermetrics column and it's pretty terrible. Typical "stats-guys can't see the forest through the trees" type crap and a bunch of straw man arguments. Pretty much what we've all come to expect from these anti-stats pieces.

He says things like: "coaches and fans use the numbers as an excuse to ignore everything else," without giving any examples of this phenomenon in action. And typical dumb shit like: "After all, there is no way to quantify the fierce attitude of a team that feels slighted," and "Here's my problem with sabermetrics — it's a useful tool that feels like the answer." Who is claiming that stats are the answer? I'm pretty sure the so-called sabermetric crowd understands that stats are a tool towards finding a better answer and not the answer itself. I am so sick of anti-stats guys arguing this point. Seriously, people already fucking know that. If they don't, then they don't really understand the value and use of statistical analysis. I think tangotiger says it best here:

This is data, not analysis, not conclusions. This is data. Data that requires interpretation. Data subject to noise, to which all observational data are subject.

Don't dismiss data because you think data = conclusion. Data is evidence required to create an opinion.
He makes a fair criticism of advanced stats in team sports like football and basketball, and those numbers do have to be taken with a larger grain of salt. But he once again fails to grasp that this is not something new that stats-people don't already understand. Football Outsiders has always made it a point to say that their numbers need be taken in the team context. Tom Brady's DVOA is not merely a reflection of his play alone, but of his play in the NE offense, with the NE o-line, RBs, TEs, and WRs, and with their field position being affected by the NE ST and D. He's right to say those stats are a little more dubious on their surface, but again, we understand that already.

The cherry on top is when he uses the Dallas Mavericks and their championship title as an example of why stats don't matter. Really did your homework on that one, guy.
 

JBill

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That was truly awful. It won't happen, but I wish Bill Barnwell could take it apart. Or better yet, Ken Tremendous.
 

PBDWake

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That was atrocious. Allow me to point out my favorite bit for ridicule.

Instead of accepting the inherent mystery of athletic talent — or at least taking those intangibles into account — they are pretending that the numbers explain everything.

It's laughable, poorly researched, and even more poorly reasoned. "JJ Barea didn't have good PPG and +/-, ergo, the Sabremetrics crowd hates him and doesn't get him". A simple trip to basketball reference shows that on a rate basis (per/36), He was the 4th best scorer on the roster (with Roddy and Butler being out, and Steve Novak not counting for obvious reasons), and 3rd best out of everyone there for the entire year. His PER was (once again, since Novak doesn't count) 6th best, and deserving of the minutes he got. He had the 6th best Win Shares. All these "advanced" metrics point to, guess what? Him being utilized exactly as he was for the Finals. As a super effective 6th man. Which he was, as even though he was a starter, he played less minutes than Jason Terry.
 

PBDWake

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Also, I hate this assumption that Sabr folks are going to do exactly what the numbers say every single time. There's a big difference between "Carl Crawford sucked in April, but look at his numbers, he'll be fine eventually" and "It's April and Carl Crawford is sucking. But OMG my numbaz say he's WIN, so we're gonna keep batting him 2nd or 3rd every single night". I'd like to think that if someone was consistently performing well, they'd begin to see more playing time, which is what happened with Barea
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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The Jonah Lehrer saber article makes zero sense to me. He's way too smart to sound that dumb. Someone must have read his stuff about the balance between emotion and logic and convinced him to write about sabermetrics vs. traditional scouting as the same kind of push-pull. Then, when he didn't know shit about sports, it came out sounding as ignorant as it does. It's like someone said, "hey, there are these guys, they call themselves sabermetricians, and they make all their decisions based on pure stats. That's crazy right? Why don't you write about how that with some of your neuro-sciency stuff thrown in!" Then he just did it without actually researching anything.

This is his nut graph and where he really falls down (and never gets up):

This is largely the fault of sabermetrics. Although the tool was designed to deal with the independent interactions of pitchers and batters, it's now being widely applied to team sports, such as football and basketball. The goal of these new equations is to parse the complexity of people playing together, finding ways to measure quarterbacks while disregarding the quality of their offensive line, or assessing a point guard while discounting the poor shooting of his teammates. The underlying assumption is that a team is just the sum of its players, and that the real world works a lot like a fantasy league.
All of that is so lazy it makes my head hurt.

1. Personifying sabermetrics, as though the idea itself could be at fault for anything.

2. "The tool was designed" stretches things a little, I think. It's not a fucking slide-rule, it's a name that was applied after the fact to a basic practice of statistical rigor that involves a pretty amorphous application of different tools.

3. To say that tool is now being "widely applied" is just stupid. What's the difference between points per game and points per 36 minutes and points per possession? Nothing really. They're just ways of looking at things. Just because one is more traditional than the other doesn't mean a different tool is being a applied. It just means someone decided to divide one number by a different number.

4. "finding ways to measure quarterbacks while disregarding the quality..." is such a strawman it's ridiculous. Who would ever do that? Rather, what they might be trying to do is assess the quality of the quarterback INDEPENDENT of the quality of the offensive line. You're not disregarding it - you're doing the exact opposite. You're taking into account the fact that offensive line strengths vary and affect the quality of the quarterback. Thus, when you're evaluating quarterbacks, you might want to be able to judge them independently of the line. Pretty simple.

5. "The underlying assumption is that..." Come on, Jonah. There's no way you're that stupid. Rhodes Scholars are taught to debate slightly better than that. You're going to tell me what people in the front offices of major sports franchises are assuming? You think people who make their livings (and very good ones at that) putting together teams are so stupid that they view their teams as fantasy squads? No one has ever made that underlying assumption, I would wager. Not once.

I'm actually fairly shocked by how flawed and moronic that piece is. That an editor wouldn't have sent more than a few questions back his way shows that Grantland still has a LONG way to go before it can rival and of the more serious journalistic institutions out there. The New Yorker would laugh at a piece like this. So would Wired actually, which makes me really curious as to what Jonah's pieces look like when they show up on the Wired editor's desk.
 

dirtynine

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Agreed on all points, except

The New Yorker would laugh at a piece like this.
If this exact piece had a Gladwell byline (and it could, given what he publishes), it would fly. Sadly.
 

Shelterdog

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Agreed on all points, except



If this exact piece had a Gladwell byline (and it could, given what he publishes), it would fly. Sadly.
I'll disagree a bit. Gladwell would at least have some vivid anecdotes to prove the (extremely dubious) point and his typically specious reasoning. Make Mike Nolan's 49ers your stats driven team and Rex Ryan's Jets your non-stats team and, regardless of how much stats work each team actually did, you've got yourself a story.

Gladwell's underlying points are inane and often wrong but he's a glorious bullshitter.
 

Toe Nash

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Colin Wyers from BP has a pretty good response to the article:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=14385
 

NatetheGreat

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The only stathead I can think of who is as myopic and silly as the caricature painted by Lehrer is John Hollinger, and I think thats mainly a result of basketball data being ridiculously hard to parse, which can lead people trying to draw sweeping, statistically-based conclusions to frequently get egg on their face. Naturally, someone pegged as ESPN's basketball stat wizard would be under pressure to come up with those kind of sweeping declarations more often than not, hence the exceedingly silly Hollinger player ratings that get trotted out annually. Most non-Hollinger basketball stat guys are much more hesitant to make definitive pronouncements.

However, even if Lehrer did have that sort of statisticall murkiness in mind, there's already been a damn good article on the difficulties of advanced stats in basketball, Michael Lewis' "The No Stats All Star", about Shane Battier http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/magazine/15Battier-t.html

All that said....

I liked the Klosterman piece on Zep.
 

LTF

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I loved the Klosterman piece on Zeppelin. And the article was a great example of how to use/misuse footnotes. Rating the band's album covers provided a neat, little aside. But then the four in one paragraph seemed to derail the piece for a bit.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I'll disagree a bit. Gladwell would at least have some vivid anecdotes to prove the (extremely dubious) point and his typically specious reasoning. Make Mike Nolan's 49ers your stats driven team and Rex Ryan's Jets your non-stats team and, regardless of how much stats work each team actually did, you've got yourself a story.

Gladwell's underlying points are inane and often wrong but he's a glorious bullshitter.
Gladwell also likes sports, so even if he's going to come up with an intellectually dishonest opinion, he'll make sure to cover his tracks much better than this guy did.

Seriously, a Kendrick Perkins mention? Was this article spoon fed to him by Simmons?
 

backpeddling

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I loved the Klosterman piece on Zeppelin. And the article was a great example of how to use/misuse footnotes. Rating the band's album covers provided a neat, little aside. But then the four in one paragraph seemed to derail the piece for a bit.

Agreed. I really enjoyed that piece.

I usually skip the sidenotes and go back and read them afterwards. It's way too distracting otherwise. They added value to the Zep piece- like the Jimmy Page food note- which I had never heard before.
 

tims4wins

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Not linking because the piece does not deserve to be clicked on, but just a pathetic "column" of a fake Derek Jeter DL diary has been posted on Grantland. This is so against what I thought Grantland was going to be about that I was blown away. Seriously, a fake DL diary? Is Rick Reilly new editor in chief?
 

PBDWake

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Not linking because the piece does not deserve to be clicked on, but just a pathetic "column" of a fake Derek Jeter DL diary has been posted on Grantland. This is so against what I thought Grantland was going to be about that I was blown away. Seriously, a fake DL diary? Is Rick Reilly new editor in chief?
Yeah. It was pretty bad. Although, the Masked Man had another good column. He was a solid pickup, even if wrestling is a bit of a niche market.
 

JBill

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Also the long Weinreb piece on Renee Richards and the Royals piece from Rany, of the Rany on the Royals blog, were very good.

Also starting to feel a little bad for Lehrer. He is getting ripped to shreds everywhere, Deadspin (of course), Slate, ESPN even, and countless blogs. He linked to a couple of the criticisms on his Wired blog and opened it up to comments, and is also getting ripped there. I've gone from reacting in disgust after reading his piece to feeling a little bad for the guy. Yikes.
 

Shelterdog

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Also the long Weinreb piece on Renee Richards and the Royals piece from Rany, of the Rany on the Royals blog, were very good.

Also starting to feel a little bad for Lehrer. He is getting ripped to shreds everywhere, Deadspin (of course), Slate, ESPN even, and countless blogs. He linked to a couple of the criticisms on his Wired blog and opened it up to comments, and is also getting ripped there. I've gone from reacting in disgust after reading his piece to feeling a little bad for the guy. Yikes.
He wrote a shitty article about something he appears to know nothing about and he did it with a sneering, condescending tone. Screw him.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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He wrote a shitty article about something he appears to know nothing about and he did it with a sneering, condescending tone. Screw him.
100 percent agree with this. You can't hold yourself up as some kind of hyper intellectual and then just shit the bed as badly and in as public a forum as he did there. Really, a good editor would have protected him from himself there. To just let that crap go out to the world unquestioned is a crime.
 

Shelterdog

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100 percent agree with this. You can't hold yourself up as some kind of hyper intellectual and then just shit the bed as badly and in as public a forum as he did there. Really, a good editor would have protected him from himself there. To just let that crap go out to the world unquestioned is a crime.
A good editor wouldn't have let him talk about a player's OBS.

Jonah if you're reading this, be warned. We were minding our own business in the corner just contemplating BABIP a little too diligently and you decided to take a big steaming dump on our hobby for no reason whatsover. You started this nerdfight but it's on like donkey kong and by god we're going to end it. This isn't the American Oxonion anymore-you're in mom's basement bitch, get ready to get schooled SABR style!
 

Clears Cleaver

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Grantland hired John Cho from the Awl was its new head of business development. people within the media industry seem to think this was a home run type hire
 

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Jonah if you're reading this, be warned. We were minding our own business in the corner just contemplating BABIP a little too diligently and you decided to take a big steaming dump on our hobby for no reason whatsover. You started this nerdfight but it's on like donkey kong and by god we're going to end it. This isn't the American Oxonion anymore-you're in mom's basement bitch, get ready to get schooled SABR style!
Sweet Georgia Brown.
 

Rocco Graziosa

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A good editor wouldn't have let him talk about a player's OBS.

Jonah if you're reading this, be warned. We were minding our own business in the corner just contemplating BABIP a little too diligently and you decided to take a big steaming dump on our hobby for no reason whatsover. You started this nerdfight but it's on like donkey kong and by god we're going to end it. This isn't the American Oxonion anymore-you're in mom's basement bitch, get ready to get schooled SABR style!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wrL9z3Kvww
 

8slim

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Am I the only one who has no problem with, and at times likes, the footnotes? It seems obvious to me that almost everyone is using them as parenthetical asides. They read like little winks to the reader -- often snarky, message boardy type comments, or bits of statistical minutiae.
 

Fishercat

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Also the long Weinreb piece on Renee Richards and the Royals piece from Rany, of the Rany on the Royals blog, were very good.

Also starting to feel a little bad for Lehrer. He is getting ripped to shreds everywhere, Deadspin (of course), Slate, ESPN even, and countless blogs. He linked to a couple of the criticisms on his Wired blog and opened it up to comments, and is also getting ripped there. I've gone from reacting in disgust after reading his piece to feeling a little bad for the guy. Yikes.
I'm going to pile on the editing train here, so feel free to ignore if you don't want editor rants.

I don't feel bad, but some of the onus is on the editorial staff (I don't want to say Simmons, but I'm guessing some of it came down to him) to make sure his point gets across. If Lehrer's main point was, as he says in his response

That's exactly right, of course. My sole point is that our newfound reliance on data and statistics naturally leads to their misapplication. Because we're so enamored with the numbers, we tend to undervalue what can't be compressed into numerical form, even as we pay lip service to the lingering importance of intangibles. This is a cognitive bias we all need to watch out for.
Do the editors or collaborators have any responsibility to point out the potential for this trainwreck of an article? Let's just take Simmons, his sport specialty is the NBA. He has done several podcasts, has links to a slew of great NBA minds, wrote an entire book about basketball, and he's recently gone from anti-sabermetrics to understanding them on a basic enough level. How can he read this article and not see that there could be a problem? If he did and Lehrer said he wasn't changing, maybe it's a different story. But I don't see how he can let the Mavericks example (which many has pointed out as flawed) and not have someone on Grantland not make a comment about it.

I'm not saying Grantland shouldn't put up controversial articles, that would be just as much of a waste, but if the author is looking to make a particular argument and this is the article that represents that argument (one that produces so much ire and has so many issues that the point needed to be explained in another, separate response piece), I think some of it falls on a person outside of the author.

As for the footnotes, I enjoy them, but I can see how it would really annoy someone.
 

Alternate34

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Am I the only one who has no problem with, and at times likes, the footnotes? It seems obvious to me that almost everyone is using them as parenthetical asides. They read like little winks to the reader -- often snarky, message boardy type comments, or bits of statistical minutiae.
I agree with you. I think having them on the side is more convenient. If you want to read them while you are reading the article, it is very easy to do so. It is also very easy to skip reading them if you are just plowing through the article. As for their content, it is hit or miss, usually based on the quality of the writing in general.
 

joe dokes

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I loved the Klosterman piece on Zeppelin. And the article was a great example of how to use/misuse footnotes. Rating the band's album covers provided a neat, little aside. But then the four in one paragraph seemed to derail the piece for a bit.
I thought it was sort of a yawnwer, primarily because I think any 18-year old in 1979 (hey! that's me!!) would have told you that "In Through the Out Door" wasn't very good. Perhaps I'm not the target audience. :(

Speaking of editing, the song is spelled "Kashmir" (with an 'h'). I think Physical Graffiti was both their peak, and the beginning of the end -- and, consistent with Klosterman's ideas -- Plant's favorite (which is why it might have been the beginning of the end for the band).

It would have been interesting if he'd seen Plant recently in his latest incarnation, leading the Band of Joy (as I did a few weeks ago), and doing entirely re-worked versions of songs like Kashmir, Black Country Woman, and Houses of the Holy 35 years after they were released. Although I understand that wasn't the point of his piece, Plant's current stuff should give some pause to those who say he can't really sing, or was a less-than-talented screamer back in the day.
 

deanx0

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From Simmons new column--everyone's complaining about the summer movies this year, and it's probably the worst crop ever? Is this true?

I loved Super 8 and X-Men: First Class, and would argue that they're two of the better "blockbuster" summer movies since Dark Knight.
 

mgoblue2

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Also, since we're talking editing, Simmons spelled Galifianakis wrong in today's column.
 

Clears Cleaver

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Darren Rovell or thebiglead tweeted that Grantland is already doing $10M in ad revenue and is profitable already for ESPN.

I liked Simmons column on Hollywood. The point was valid, but it took a little while to get there. But Smith and Reynolds were both well characterized
 

The Social Chair

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This is a personal opinion, but I think Simmons overrates Leo. His movies have all been solid, not great (Inception and The Departed are heavily overrated). He doesn't have much range either.

I liked the column though.
 

Dehere

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Darren Rovell or thebiglead tweeted that Grantland is already doing $10M in ad revenue and is profitable already for ESPN.
Hard to know what to make of that number. Does it mean they have $10m in commitments through the calendar year or maybe through year one of the site? I did some back of the envelope guessing and came up with Grantland being a $7-10m/yr business. Even allowing for some exaggeration in the $10m number - ad sales figures that get into the press are invariably inflated - it looks like they'll be at the high end of my guess or even better.

No idea how many other people feel this way but Grantland is very quickly falling off my radar. It feels like one of those TV shows that has a big star and a ton of promotion and premieres to a big rating, and then within a month or two it's lost half its audience and nobody's talking about it. I'll be curious to see where their numbers are by around Labor Day.
 

Shelterdog

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Hard to know what to make of that number. Does it mean they have $10m in commitments through the calendar year or maybe through year one of the site? I did some back of the envelope guessing and came up with Grantland being a $7-10m/yr business. Even allowing for some exaggeration in the $10m number - ad sales figures that get into the press are invariably inflated - it looks like they'll be at the high end of my guess or even better.
As long as they don't let that assclown Jonah near a keyboard again, I hope the site does well (there aren't enough outlets for people to get paid to write good stuff as it is), but figuring out if the site is doing well or not has to be a little more complicated than straight ad revenue-I'd assume they're losing revenue on page 2 as a result of Grantland and you wonder how they measure the opportunity cost of promoting Grantland on ESPN/espn.com.
 

teddykgb

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Jul 16, 2005
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Am I the only one who has no problem with, and at times likes, the footnotes? It seems obvious to me that almost everyone is using them as parenthetical asides. They read like little winks to the reader -- often snarky, message boardy type comments, or bits of statistical minutiae.
I'm with you, i think they're great at letting the writer insert him/herself in a way that isn't appropriate to the text. I generally love them and love having them on the side...I find going to the bottom of the page so disruptive. I like reading them in the context of hte paragraph as i'm going, it seems like those who prefer them at the bottom also prefer reading them out of order or something.
 

Wimmy Jilliams

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Aug 23, 2002
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Here's my reaction to The Killing finale, which touches heavily on Simmons et al.
Interesting, if only because what you wrote was so very Simmonsesque, a man whose minutiae and writing you put under constant scrutiny in these threads. Your piece is full of broad, inaccurate assumptions and reveals itself to be both tremendously self-involved and thin-skinned.

Basic, unbiased information (Level 0) and nuanced, thoughtful reaction (Level 6) never have much of a chance to balance that tone once it’s been established.
Guess who was in Level 6 (hint hint: dirtynine, because no one gets it or has a "nuanced, thoughtful" reactions except people who agree with him).

You’ll notice I’ve placed myself in the final level - don’t confuse this for denoting intelligence or skill at critique. I’m certainly worse than most, especially the pros, by those measures. The levels represent not critical talent, or writing chops - but simple rationality. Or better, how I feel increasingly sophisticated human beings should respond to entertainment - sports, TV, somebody playing accordion on the street, anything.
He is an increasingly sophisticated human being. Enlightened, even. He is...the Rational Man. Civilization has been waiting for him for 300 years.

It’s plain that The Killing - flawed and worthy, feast and fodder - was and will be the kind of program that prompts some in its audience to indulge base, reactionary tendencies. That means it’s getting to something near the core of those who watch it. Some react like mature critics; other react like, well, vengeful brats. Some, like something has been given to them, and some like something has been taken.
The Killing provoked a strong reaction not because it got to near the core of something but because it misrepresented itself as something intriguing when it was something hackneyed, something poorly executed, and something that was ultimately a failure. It got near the core of something because the network that backed it also has two of the best shows of the last decade on it (Breaking Bad and Mad Men). It got near the core because the show it was based on was apparently really good (and also apparently much better than the US version, but that was only known after the US version had demonstrated its quality). It bit off way more than it could chew and fell on its face. Your analysis is off.

It's the opposite of mature to say that people who disagree with you are "vengeful brats" and that people who agree with you are "mature critics." I hope this is clear without having to explain why. You're channeling sg33 with that thin-skinned crap. I say this as an inveterate vengeful brat. You lost focus on the actual underlying material and sat down in the meta-psychoanalysis chair, projecting what you imagine Levels 0-6 thought. Focus on the material, not the reaction. The material is weak for specific reasons (which people have listed with supporting evidence all over), not because most people just didn't get it or are vengeful brats, nor because of some sort of internet-meta reaction, but because most people, as individuals, thought it fucking sucked and failed in several major areas (plot sense, characterization, the contract with the viewer, it was a tour de force in fuckup by the last minute, it makes one yearn for quality flawed shows like Flashforward).

And as to your actual writing, too long by half.

Here is a quote by you earlier in the thread:
The Simmons style, in contrast, is to rapidly expurge a high volume of content as a quick reaction to an event.
Sounds familiar!

If you spend a thread picking apart a writer (Simmons is no doubt flawed, I'm not interested in taking up an apology for him) for minutiae, don't post in the very same thread links to your own pieces which fall apart under even casual scrutiny.

___

Glad Grantland exists so far. It's an interesting menagerie of talent and different viewpoints. Molly Lambert in particular is someone who I would not otherwise come across in my internet reading. The footnote shit though, it's a sappy homage to DFW and making it the site's signature feature doesn't mesh with an homage to DFW. Not that he didn't do thing for effect or to have a signature thing or things, but because he wouldn't do it for an ESPN subsidiary site and force it on other writers who otherwise wouldn't see the point, because, well, there isn't one.
 

Bunt4aTriple

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I loved the boxing article. For someone who doesn't pay much attention to the sport, it was the perfect primer to pique my interest for tomorrow. I was going to watch the fight anyway, but now I've read the cliff notes.

Not everything they're putting up is groundbreaking/award winning, but it has been a satisfying smorgasbord of topics. I'll take Kimmel's father's advice to avoid the mashed potatoes and save room for the higher quality fare.
 

dirtynine

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Dec 17, 2002
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Wills, thanks for reading. We disagree about the show, but that's cool. My long-form writing definitely needs to improve - especially if it is indeed channeling SG. Good feedback.

I have yet to read a Grantland article better than the Stanley Cup piece - hoping for many more like that.
 

4 6 3 DP

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Oct 24, 2001
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SI gets the feature on Major League 22 years later.

That should have been up Grantland's alley, similar to the National piece.