Grantland

NatetheGreat

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Aug 27, 2007
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You could, however, call it the best network drama of the decade, because it was (not that "network drama" is a high bar for quality).

As for comments...comments suck in almost all cases unless you put a lot of work into monitoring them. Given how minimal the site design is, I'd be very surprised if they had the manpower on the tech side required to make a halfway decent comments sections.
 

PBDWake

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You could, however, call it the best network drama of the decade, because it was (not that "network drama" is a high bar for quality).

As for comments...comments suck in almost all cases unless you put a lot of work into monitoring them. Given how minimal the site design is, I'd be very surprised if they had the manpower on the tech side required to make a halfway decent comments sections.

I would do it sort of like ESPN does. Pick out a handful of the best comments to put below each story (maybe leave an option to turn comments off or on, and have a like button or something), and then a link to view the entire discussion.
 

Freddy Linn

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Where it rains. No, seriously.
I enjoyed this one from Katie Baker, about things she'll miss from the NY sports scene now that she's moving to California. But really only for the made up transcript in number 7 from a Mike and the Mad Dog regular segment guessing the ratings:

"IT WAS A TWO-TWO!"
This part was fantastic, and deserves to be called out:

...Mike and the Mad Dog (miss you guys) devoting what was legitimately several hours each week to guessing the weekend's TV rating numbers:

"OK, Mike! First up we got! The Green Bay Packers! At Carolina."
"What time was the game, Dog?"
"1 p.m. game, Mike."
"So that's noon in Green Bay."
"That's noon in Green Bay."
"Carolina. Well, there was no golf on …"
"No golf, no NASCAR. NBC was showing figure skating, which, talk about a sport that is an absolute disgrace …"
"This isn't the first time with the French judges. It's just an embarrassment."
"Packers-Panthers, Mike!!!"
"Two … not terrible teams, Dog, but you know, didn't the Jets play at 1? [sound of shuffling papers] The Jets played at 1. I was on the bench so I had no concept of time. Everyone's watching the Jets at 1, Dog. Bill Parcells, Dog … so back to that game, I'm gonna say two … two-seven."
"Mike IT WAS A TWO-TWO!"
"A two-two. I knew it. I knew everyone would be watching the Jets. We'll be right back after this."
 

Shelterdog

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I would do it sort of like ESPN does. Pick out a handful of the best comments to put below each story (maybe leave an option to turn comments off or on, and have a like button or something), and then a link to view the entire discussion.
They'd been talking about some kind of pay-to-play idea where only a few hundred special people get selected for membership and are allowed to comment.

And I'm sure that ripping Simmons would be a good way to lose your commenting status.
 

sibpin

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FWIW, I've been critical of the web design of the site, but there are two things I noticed today that I like:

1. They finally fixed "In Case You Missed It." It's great the way it is now. Wish they had tagging, but that's fine.

2. Footnotes move to the bottom automatically if your screen size isn't large enough for them, keeping the article's readable width large in smaller windows / mobile devices.
 

JBill

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I'm not familiar with his prior work at all, but the Colson Whitehead poker stories are pretty entertaining and funny, especially the second one posted today.
 

JohntheBaptist

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In what way? I'm not seeing it. I mean its not brilliance but they're batting around a marginal HBO comedy show.

I also can't believe they're both so in love with the "fleeting moment where you don't know if an actor is playing themselves/ someone else" thing and don't acknowledge where that and most of the positive "presentation of LA" comments they're projecting onto the show came from--Larry Sanders. That was always what I hated about the show, and its a criticism that, apologies to Klosterman, doesn't work in its favor. It takes a broad concept like the one used in Larry Sanders and just made it boring and myopic.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I think that Klosterman is talking over Lambert's head. He seems to want to go deeper into the meaning of "Entourage" and she wants to talk about his favorite episode.

And he asked her a question about what would you tell a friend who wants to come to Hollywood (from London) because she's enthralled with "Entourage" and the idea of the program. The first question she asks back is what would her friend want to be and answers with, "If she wants to be a cinematographer ..." When has "Entourage" ever shown the life of a cinematographer (which if I understand movie making is different than a Billy Walsh director type)?

The basic crux of Klosterman's question was, you (Lambert) live in LA. How is your reality (or your friends, etc) like "Entourage's" reality? Klosterman didn't want a literal answer.
 

JohntheBaptist

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Right, but I think what she meant by "if she wants to be a cinematographer..." was "if she doesn't want to be a famous person..." The show is about glamour and identity and fame, not so much "art," which is what she's using cinematographer to mean. As in, if she's coming to work and create things behind the scenes, its a 3 or a 4. If she "wants to be an actress," ie, famous, its pretty impactful. She answered the question pretty clearly I thought.

Also, her point about favorite episodes was a good one, I thought. The show isn't about "the industry," its about the glamour. They could be medieval knights, they could be hobbits, whatever--the point is the lifestyle, not what actually happens to real people in the industry in Hollywood. People aren't focused on the episode with that deal, or that agent maneuver, or that observation on agency culture--they're watching for the crazy shit that gets to happen to people in such a lifestyle, presented as a fantasy. Someone here used to call it "reality porn," which I thought nailed it.

Not intended as snark, by the way, I just totally disagree. He's not talking over her head at all, if anything the "whats YOUR favorite episode?" was great because it dialed back the tone of dissecting such a vacuous show a little too seriously.

edit--I actually think its telling Klosterman doesn't remember the show "in an episodic way," most of his take on the show seems to be less reliant on what's actually going and more an external impression he's made and become enamored of. I thought Lambert dealt better with what the show actually was portraying/ saying.
 
Sep 27, 2004
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I think that Klosterman is talking over Lambert's head. He seems to want to go deeper into the meaning of "Entourage" and she wants to talk about his favorite episode.

And he asked her a question about what would you tell a friend who wants to come to Hollywood (from London) because she's enthralled with "Entourage" and the idea of the program. The first question she asks back is what would her friend want to be and answers with, "If she wants to be a cinematographer ..." When has "Entourage" ever shown the life of a cinematographer (which if I understand movie making is different than a Billy Walsh director type)?

The basic crux of Klosterman's question was, you (Lambert) live in LA. How is your reality (or your friends, etc) like "Entourage's" reality? Klosterman didn't want a literal answer.
This. (See my criticism of this woman from last week. She is plot-focused and literal and not in a good way.)
 

Clears Cleaver

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almost unreadable...but they are my two least favorite writers/talkers/emailers on the site. Closterman talking over someone? really? isn't that hsi whole schtick? these two are both insufferable
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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almost unreadable...but they are my two least favorite writers/talkers/emailers on the site. Closterman talking over someone? really? isn't that hsi whole schtick? these two are both insufferable
I don't think that's his schtick, but I'm a big Klosterman guy. He seems like the type of person that tries to raise the profile of what he's discussing or writing about even though he knows it's stupid to do so (his Saved by the Bell piece in "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" illustrates that very well). I don't know if he's doing this to be ironic or detached, but I don't think so. I think that Klosterman is the type of person who likes to have overly macro (or micro) conversations about stupid shit and hopes that people can keep up. Simmons does a pretty good job and mostly gets when Klosterman is being literal. Lambert did not, which is why this was a klunker.
 

JohntheBaptist

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I don't think that's his schtick, but I'm a big Klosterman guy. He seems like the type of person that tries to raise the profile of what he's discussing or writing about even though he knows it's stupid to do so (his Saved by the Bell piece in "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" illustrates that very well). I don't know if he's doing this to be ironic or detached, but I don't think so. I think that Klosterman is the type of person who likes to have overly macro (or micro) conversations about stupid shit and hopes that people can keep up. Simmons does a pretty good job and mostly gets when Klosterman is being literal. Lambert did not, which is why this was a klunker.
I agree--I think that's his best quality, doing a high-brow look at "low" culture. I think it occasionally gets him in trouble, though--because he was able to get something so clear-headed and refreshing out of, for instance, "Saved by the Bell" (still my favorite Klosterman piece), he thinks there has to be something similar to be gleaned from Entourage, for example. I really don't think there is. Or, if there is, its not that the show defies you to confront how you see it as a fictional world. It absolutely does not. Klosterman's experiences with shows and movies like Entourage (of which there are a bunch) that do this specifically are probably prompting him in that direction, but Entourage doesn't "force" you to do this. It barely even suggests that you do.

He argues that the show isn't about the guys or their relationships, and that he doesn't remember the show "episodically." Lambert at least acknowledged that the show is every bit the adolescent fantasy that it seems to be on the surface. But that's probably it and, in this instance, hit closer to the truth. Maybe her too-literal approach fits Entourage just fine.

Just out of curiosity, how should she have answered that question? "How much would my life be like 'Entourage'?" "Are you going to work behind the scenes? Nothing like it, your life will be much different. Are you looking to come out here to join in the nonsense depicted on the show and be a famous person--yeah, then its pretty close." What about that answer is "literal"? She got the question just fine. It depends what arm of the film industry, as this show shows the effects of one concentrated part of it on four "everymen."
 

JohntheBaptist

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I used to do it in college all the time too, and it was fun if everyone knew how to play along. Also even more fun if no one in the group was "that guy" that would start forcing silly readings on things that just weren't there just to keep life in said game.
 

JohntheBaptist

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That's a fair point. I did always get shit for drawing arbitrary lines. :)

I'll come clean--I'm reading it again and I think the fact that he didn't credit my binky Larry Sanders on that first point just pushed me in the wrong direction. I liked his part a lot more the second run through.
 

Mo's OBP

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I thought it was oddly too short, given the premise. But I guess it is Entourage....and I will watch this season after reading that, ignored last two seasons.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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That's a fair point. I did always get shit for drawing arbitrary lines. :)

I'll come clean--I'm reading it again and I think the fact that he didn't credit my binky Larry Sanders on that first point just pushed me in the wrong direction. I liked his part a lot more the second run through.
I will answer your question a bit more tomorrow (how she should have answered his question) but I wanted to respond to the Sanders comment because I felt that it was overlooked by both writers too. Especially because Sanders did an awesome job about showing the behind-the-scenes stuff more realistically (I suppose) than "Entourage" could even hope to.
 

Clears Cleaver

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I used to do it in college all the time too, and it was fun if everyone knew how to play along. Also even more fun if no one in the group was "that guy" that would start forcing silly readings on things that just weren't there just to keep life in said game.
yeah, in college it might have been cool and hip and fun. Klosterman's about 25 years removed. its the 180-equivalent of a 45-year old former football player going to a keg party every weekend and throwing up on his shoes. funny once, after a while you jsut hope the guy goes home Klosterman comes cross as a total weenie 95% of the time.
 

jmcc5400

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He seems like the type of person that tries to raise the profile of what he's discussing or writing about even though he knows it's stupid to do so
Which is why Clears is right - he can be insufferable, as is the case with most people who are fascinated (or feign fascination with) mediocre pop culture. Everything is "really weird" with the guy. He seems like a nice enough guy, but just a little "off." I was struck by his interview with Al Yankovic when he asked Al if he had been in the Mayo Clinic because a friend of Klosterman's had seen Al in Rochester, Minnesota and "no one famous is in Rochester, Minnesota unless they're at the Mayo Clinic." It came across as incredibly insensitive - Al handled it a lot more gracefully than was deserved.
 

Leather

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Which is why Clears is right - he can be insufferable, as is the case with most people who are fascinated (or feign fascination with) mediocre pop culture. Everything is "really weird" with the guy. He seems like a nice enough guy, but just a little "off." I was struck by his interview with Al Yankovic when he asked Al if he had been in the Mayo Clinic because a friend of Klosterman's had seen Al in Rochester, Minnesota and "no one famous is in Rochester, Minnesota unless they're at the Mayo Clinic." It came across as incredibly insensitive - Al handled it a lot more gracefully than was deserved.
Well, he's pretty much right. Famous people come to Rochester for the Mayo Clinic, and that's about all. A friend of mine was offered a job at the Mayo and turned it down after visiting because there was nothing else going on in that town.

And given that Klosterman is from North Dakota, married a chick from Minneapolis, and spends a lot of time in Minnesota, it's basically the equivalent of Simmons making a joke about Lowell (or, would be if he still lived in Boston).

I think people assume Klosterman takes himself more seriously than he really does.
 

jmcc5400

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Well, he's pretty much right. Famous people come to Rochester for the Mayo Clinic, and that's about all. A friend of mine was offered a job at the Mayo and turned it down after visiting because there was nothing else going on in that town.

And given that Klosterman is from North Dakota, married a chick from Minneapolis, and spends a lot of time in Minnesota, it's basically the equivalent of Simmons making a joke about Lowell (or, would be if he still lived in Boston).

I think people assume Klosterman takes himself more seriously than he really does.
Whether he's right wasn't really my point - how is it his or anyone's business why Al Yankovic was in Rochester, Minnesota, or, more to the point, if Al Yankovic was in Rochester because he was sick. Aren't there some personal boundaries that should be respected?
 

Shelterdog

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Fair enough. This is the first I've heard of her.

She seems to get Entourage better though.
But she's had such a tough life, not getting her spec episode of Entourage picked up because she doesn't know anyone in the industry.

The struggles she's had as a rich, pretty 27 year old brown graduate.
 

Joe D Reid

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Brian Phillips (the guy who wrote the Federer/Wimbledon stuff for Grantland) just announced on his blog, The Run of Play, that he is joining Grantland as a FT contributor. Excellent hire--his stuff is uniformly great. He's like what the Free Darko guys would have read like if they weren't quite as in love with their own personas.
 

JBill

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Brian Phillips (the guy who wrote the Federer/Wimbledon stuff for Grantland) just announced on his blog, The Run of Play, that he is joining Grantland as a FT contributor. Excellent hire--his stuff is uniformly great. He's like what the Free Darko guys would have read like if they weren't quite as in love with their own personas.
That is great news, loved his tennis stuff. I checked out Run of Play, maybe Grantland can hire their web designers...they even use side notes!

Enjoyed this one, Statis Pro Baseball: An Instruction Manual
 

Seabass

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I always felt bad bitching about Drew because his son had health problems, and because it wasn't his fault that he lacked the everyday fire of, say, Troy Nixon.

Goddammit Simmons, get an editor. Or don't be wrong so much. Both would probably be ideal.
 

Dehere

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I'm going to post some comscore data on Grantland readership for the month of June and I'm going to keep my own commentary to a minimum. Apologies in advance for terrible formatting. Below are June readership figures for ESPN.com, Deadspin, and Grantland. I list the ESPN figures purely for the sake of context. Obviously nobody would expect Grantland to generate anything close to the readership figures of ESPN. I'd also caveat that Grantland launched on June 8, so while the gap between Deadspin and Grantland may look pretty substantial, you're also seeing 30% more days of Deadspin readership. A final caveat is that all measurement of media usage is imperfect. ESPN's internal numbers may be substantially different that what I've listed below. All I can tell you is that these are the best figures that are available to the industry in general. Most of these metrics should be self-explanatory. "Reach" refers to the % of all US internet users who visited a particular site. 12% of everyone in America who has web access went to ESPN.com at least once in the month of June, according to these figures. Here you go:

Total Unique Visitors (thousands)
ESPN 25,824
DEADSPIN 1,451
GRANTLAND 946

% Reach
ESPN 12.0
DEADSPIN 0.7
GRANTLAND 0.4

Pages Viewed (millions)
ESPN 1,726
DEADSPIN 27
GRANTLAND 6

Total Visits (thousands)
ESPN 268,042
DEADSPIN 6,574
GRANTLAND 3,236

Average Minutes Per Visit
ESPN 8.5
DEADSPIN 2.5
GRANTLAND 2.3

Average Visits per Visitor
ESPN 10.4
DEADSPIN 4.5
GRANTLAND 3.4

Average Pages per Visitor
ESPN 67
DEADSPIN 18
GRANTLAND 6
 

Bdanahy14

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I'm going to post some comscore data on Grantland readership for the month of June and I'm going to keep my own commentary to a minimum.

I'd say a couple things after reading through those:

1) I think those numbers are promising for Grantland. During the month of the launch (not event a month, 3 weeks really), they had nearly 1 million unique users. While Grantland wasn't promoted that heavily, it was to Simmons readership - but it certainly wasn't beat over your head with the typical hammer ESPN breaks out for new media outlets within their family (i.e. ESPN Magazine)

2) I think the revenue generated from Grantland is much closer to a "sponsorship" than a typical digital ad buy. They sold integrated packages to very few partners... they aren't rotating banner ads throughout the site. I'd say that anyone who reads Grantland can instantly name the two major partners. Klondike and Subway. That is rare in the cluttered world of digital advertising... hell, that is rare in the cluttered world of sponsorship.

3) I'd imagine July grows substantially. It takes time to build readership - they started with a strong base.


All and all, I am guessing they are looking at the first month as a really big success. I have no doubts in my mind that Subway and Klondike are through the moon - more and more savvy marketers are understanding in the world of new media reach is not as important as "response". Making a stronger connection with fewer, more loyal fans, can ultimately be worth more than having a rotating banner ad on the bottom corner of ESPN. Especially when ESPN offers all of the above. Grantland is a great addition to the ESPN family... something they didn't have before. It diversified their offerings and it will be interesting to see if what happens when the current sponsor contracts come up. I imagine Subway will stay in, but I think ESPN raises prices considerably.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Average Pages per Visitor
ESPN 67
DEADSPIN 18
GRANTLAND 6[/size][/size][/size][/size][/size] [/size][/size]
All of that is pretty much what I would have expected. For a good site, at least 30 percent of the traffic is coming from search, and Grantland doesn't have any back archives to create that long tail that leads to search results. I think you can look at that and say that Grantland is kind of kicking Deadspin's ass right out of the gate actually. With a full month, and some archives, I have no doubt they'd be ahead of Deadspin.

The only stat that makes no sense to me is the above. Is that pages per visitor per month, or pages per visit? Pages per visit is the stat I'm more familiar with, but this doesn't jibe with that. No one's going through 67 pages on ESPN every visit. So I'm guessing it's pages per month per visitor. Deadspin beating Grantland there isn't a surprise, since so many of Deadspin's articles are snack-sized. However, the time on site stat for Grantland is much lower than I'd expect. I bet that's affected by a lot of people being one-page visitors - supposedly, since the metrics are generally tracked by time between pages clicked on that same site, they can be thrown off by one-page visits. Since so many people probably read a longish article that was linked from somewhere else, then leave, that might explain it. Otherwise, that low number is a little bit of a disaster.
 

Gravistar

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The final part of Colson Whitehead's WSOP journal is up today, which is disappointing since this has been my favorite piece on the site. I could probably keep reading his "Dispatches" for another month or so, even if he just started a blog and wrote about walking around Brooklyn and being a mopey, depressed black man in his 40's. Which is to say, time to read Sag Harbor.

What I found especially funny about the series is how effortlessly Whitehead outstrips Simmons at Simmons's own game, the retrospective journal. Dude is simply head and shoulders above TSG.
 

JBill

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With all this Grantland v. Deadspin stuff, this article talks about the soaring numbers of Yahoo's online mag, The Post Game, which debuted in January:

Grantland, which officially went live on June 9 after a soft launch, reached 946,000 unique users in June, according to ComScore. Not bad for a site with a URL that most sports fans would have a tough time deciphering. (It’s named after an old-school sportswriter.) But Grantland needs to escalate its traffic significantly if it wants to catch up to The Post Game, which Yahoo unveiled in January. Despite maintaining a low profile since then, in June The Post Game reached over 10 million unique users, per ComScore -- and close to 15 million based on Yahoo’s internal numbers.
That difference appears to be bearing out in the early time spent differential. Per ComScore, Grantland has been averaging 8.0 minutes of time spent per visitor, while The Post Game has been averaging just 2.1 minutes. The knock against Yahoo Sports is that it attracts a less engaged, drive-by audience, a dynamic which The Post Game is supposed to help mitigate.

Still, according to sources, Yahoo executives are thrilled with The Post Game’s performance. The site has landed campaigns with Toyota, Dodge, Gillette and Chivas, with multiple renewals.
http://www.digidaydaily.com/stories/espn-039-s-grantland-battles-yahoo-039-s-post-game/


3) I'd imagine July grows substantially. It takes time to build readership - they started with a strong base.
I think it might trend downward, at least initially. Still, regardless of whether it meets ESPN's goals or not, the site isn't going anywhere for a while. And they seem to be hiring the entire internet to write for them, so I'll take that as a good sign for now.
 

Clears Cleaver

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Bill Barnwell said on his appearance on the BS Report that he is going to move to Vegas and will be writing a blog/column for Grantland about the experience (gambling, etc). I was surprised to hear he is only 27. He will also continue to be their football columnist
 

denilson3

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Jul 14, 2005
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Carles latest Entourage article was unreadable, even though I agreed with the basic premise I think (I skimmed). I'm almost more surprised they have run multiple articles about the show already. I don't know anyone that I respect who still watches after the debacle of the past 2 seasons.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Carles latest Entourage article was unreadable, even though I agreed with the basic premise I think (I skimmed). I'm almost more surprised they have run multiple articles about the show already. I don't know anyone that I respect who still watches after the debacle of the past 2 seasons.
I agree. This article was a tough read but I think that was because he used the word "Bro" roughly 900 times during the article. It was getting to the point where Carles was entering "Family Guy" anti-humor territory. I get what Carles was trying to do, it still was incredibly annoying.
 

shlincoln

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Can Wright Thompson do something other than maudlin remembrances? It's starting to get a little same same.
 

ThePrideofShiner

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Can Wright Thompson do something other than maudlin remembrances? It's starting to get a little same same.
Wait, you are bitching because he wrote a wonderfully moving essay about the last living link to William Faulkner? A woman who obviously meant so much to Faulkner, Thompson and the city of Oxford.

Really?
 

johnmd20

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I agree. This article was a tough read but I think that was because he used the word "Bro" roughly 900 times during the article. It was getting to the point where Carles was entering "Family Guy" anti-humor territory. I get what Carles was trying to do, it still was incredibly annoying.
The bro's killed the column's chance to be great.

What's up with the one named Carles, by the way? Cher, Madonna, Pitt, Clooney, Carles?