January 26, 2004

Super "Blog"?!?

Posted by shonk at 02:42 PM in Blogging | TrackBack

As you may have been able to tell if you’re a longtime reader, abuses of language tend to raise my ire. So it should come as no surprise that the abuse of an abuse of language is guaranteed to make me angry.

What am I talking about? Specifically, the name of Bill Simmons’ Super Bowl project. Now, Simmons is one of my favorite sports columnists, even though he’s lost his fastball a bit since taking a job as a writer for the Jimmy Kimmel show. In any case, he’s in Houston for Super Bowl week to, basically, give the fans a sense of what being in town during the Super Bowl is like. The idea is that, instead of polished columns, he writes quick-and-dirty impressions and reactions, with the goal being to make the tone more like that of a series of e-mails from your witty friend than a sports column. All well and good and, given how much I enjoyed his columns from the Super Bowl in New Orleans two years ago, I’m looking forward to it.

The problem is that his editors at ESPN have decided to call the thing “The Sports Guy’s Super Blog”. AAARRGGHH! First of all, “Super Blog” just sounds stupid. “Blog” and “Bowl” aren’t nearly similar enough words for it to work as a pun and the phrase just generally lacks any rhythm or style at all. Second, the word “blog” sort of annoys me, anyway, even though I use it occasionally to describe this site. “Blog”, of course, is a shortened form of “weblog” (Peter Merholz was apparently the first to do this), which in turn is the bastard child of “web journal”, “personal log” and probably some even more sinister influences. In any case, “blog” is an ugly word (Merholz says, “I like that it’s roughly onomatopoeic of vomiting. These sites (mine included!) tend to be a kind of information upchucking”), made uglier by its trendy popularity. I tend to agree with the following from Why I Hate Personal Weblogs

The word “Blog” is fucking stupid. … I just hear it and I think about someone standing in a Starbucks ordering a “Half-caf Venti Latte with soy milk and no foam.” To me, the word ‘blog’ represents the type of mentality that goes into a weblog; a need to be trendy about something completely unnecessary and over-hyped.

Which brings me to my third and most important objection to the “Super Blog” : ESPN is simply trying to cash in on the popularity of weblogs by creating something that shares certain similarities to an actual weblog without really being very similar at all. The fact that Simmons is going (presumably) to be relating personal experiences and updating several times a day provides the similarity, but the fact that a whole slew of editors, graphics people and IT guys will be reviewing, editing, formatting, adding images to and ultimately posting each piece that Simmons writes means that this endeavor is simply not a weblog in any meaninful sense (and, of course, the fact that it will only last a week, won’t feature comments or Trackback, etc. sort of goes without saying). This isn’t personal publishing, or even small-group-of-friends publishing, this is more akin to when NBC sends a camera crew to walk around town and capture “local flavor”. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but let’s not call it something it’s not, alright?

Comments

Just don't take the punk-rocker attitude too far, i.e.: "it's only real if it's raw."

Posted by: Curt at January 26, 2004 04:17 PM

Once you start talking about abuses of language in football you're really putting the drinking-horn to the ocean. Hell, isn't "He Hate Me" playing in the Super Bowl?

Posted by: Curt at January 26, 2004 04:20 PM

Just donít take the punk-rocker attitude too far, i.e.: ďitís only real if itís raw.Ē

Don't worry. If I ever start doing that, you have permission to take my computer away.

Posted by: shonk at January 26, 2004 05:49 PM