Monday, August 6, 2012

3 comments Here's a List of Things Buzz Bissinger Hates about the Olympics

Buzz Bissinger decided to kick off his columns about the Olympics by writing a column about all the things he dislikes about the Olympics. There are some things in this column I would agree with him about, but the things he doesn't like were so amusing to me, I had to post them. Buzz dislikes the Olympics in his crotchety "old man waving a fist at the sun" way that he seems to have perfected over the past few years.

Like the Burt Lancaster character in Louis Malle’s film Atlantic City, who gazes at the seedy resort shore and says wistfully, “You should have seen the Atlantic Ocean back then,” I too long for the Olympics back then.

"Back in my day, sprinters had to sprint 200 meters to complete the 100 meter dash."

"We couldn't use poles in the pole vault, we were given the branch of a tree, and we liked it better that way."

"Sometimes during an swimming event there would be fish in the pool...and it made our swimmers better than swimmers today."

"I miss the days when we could compete against Commies!"

Three of those are fake statements and one statement Buzz Bissinger really states in this column.

I miss terribly the 60s and 70s and part of the 80s when the Russians and the United States were athletically trying to kill each other, since by some miracle both countries realized that dropping the bomb was not a good option.

"Mr. Gorbachev, build that wall back up."

I'm not sure what kind of person would miss the days when two countries were at silent war with each other and one move by one country that drew the ire of the other country could cause a nuclear war...but that person who misses these days is named Buzz Bissinger.

It was fun to hate the Soviet Union.

Life for a sportswriter is better when there are black and white "good guys" and "villains." The narratives write themselves rather than having to create your own narrative or (if worse comes to absolute worse) having to use your brain to write a column without a narrative.

The medal count meant something then, not what it does today since the Chinese, being the Chinese, purposely excel in obscure sports that no one else cares about with the exception of gymnastics

We all miss the days when the world was on the brink of a nuclear war. The medal count did mean something then. Real quick without looking it up, which three countries won the most medals during the 1976 Olympics and how many medals they win? Because the Olympics meant so much back then.

Call me Ishmael, but I don’t care about the synchronized-diving competition the Chinese won yesterday, except trying to figure out how exactly one decides to go into synchronized diving.

Probably the same way one decides to go into sports journalism. Also, quoting commercials for AT&T where a dude runs while listening to an audio book makes about as much sense as why a person would run listening to an audio book.

Much like I wonder how one becomes a beach-volleyball official from Egypt—an economic outgrowth of the Arab Spring I suppose.

Because before the Arab Spring, no one from Egypt had ever thought of doing anything with their life other than herding camels and staring at huge pyramids all day. So I'm sure this Egyptian beach-volleyball official has a job opportunity because of the Arab Spring and for no other reason.

I even miss the East German team when it was fun to figure out who exactly was a woman and who exactly a man and who exactly was both or neither.

Other country's cultures are so funny. It's not like that in America where it is easy to figure who is a boy and who is a girl.

I'm not sure if this comment by Buzz is more sexist, ethnocentric, a combination of the two, or something I should just shake it off and chalk up to a guy who tries to write a column about the Olympics like he is an 80 year old living in an MTV world.

I am not in London. Like most of you I watch on television or my iPad, and I do so with great confusion.

Let me help clear up your confusion. The Olympic athletes you see on your television or iPad are not really that small and they can't hear you if you talk.

the NBC primetime version tries to give the deranged illusion that the events they are showing have not taken place yet, although they have, and you have to be an idiot not to know who has won. It strikes me as similar to the NCAA taking away 101 victories from Penn State even though they won 101 victories.

The NCAA took away 101 victories from Penn State as a punishment. Yes, Penn State won those games, but they will no longer get credit for those wins. We know Penn State won those games, but they don't count as wins anymore on the official record. NBC is not showing some events live and are pretending they are live. Again, smart people know they are not live. So I guess my remark to Buzz's remark is he doesn't have to mention Penn State in every column.

I have nothing against beach volleyball; America’s Misty May-Treanor is an incredible athlete. I find her instincts and dexterity and outstretched dives to keep the ball in play the single best Olympic performance, but I just don’t know if beach volleyball is a sport

If Misty May-Treanor is an incredible athlete and displays athletic skills while playing beach volleyball, then how is beach volleyball not a sport? It's clear it takes athletic ability, team work, and a competitive nature to play beach volleyball. So how is beach volleyball not a sport if it requires instincts, dexterity and athletic ability?

and there are virtually no rallies. Bing. Bang. Boring.

There are plenty of rallies and the rallies are more exciting in beach volleyball than team volleyball because there aren't two other guys jumping up in the air pretending to spike the ball every time the volleyball goes in the air. Ding. Dang. Dumb.

It receives inordinate attention on NBC because men like it, praying no doubt that the training bra the competitors wear will fall off and breasts suddenly assume that sexy sandy look. It receives high ratings, but so does that weird show in which celebrities like Howard Stern and Howie Mandel hit a big button.

Of course nearly all of the primetime Olympic events get high ratings...even the ones where a boob popping out of a uniform isn't possible. Beach volleyball doesn't even receive inordinate attention compared to other primetime events shown like diving, swimming and gymnatics. Beach volleyball only receives any attention because Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh had not lost a set or a match in three Olympic appearances. Every time they play, they have a chance of continuing their historic run.

So no, beach volleyball gets a primetime spot, but doesn't receive inordinate amount of attention.

Things become more aggravating when I tap the Olympic Games’ iPad app that is supposed to give me video highlights of the previous day’s events. But I surrendered after two days of getting messages that the video doesn’t work.

Ugh!! Technology. Things were so much better when viewing yesterday's highlights wasn't even technologically possible. Buzz misses those days when he didn't even have a chance to complain about video of the previous day's highlights since that wasn't something he ever imagined he could do. My diamond shoes are too tight and my wallet isn't big enough to fit all of my fifty dollar bills!

The big events during this first week are in swimming, and unfortunately I have to say that the big guns of the men’s teams not only seem unlikeable but also choke artists.

Good job trying to be Skip Bayless. Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps are just huge choke artists. Maybe they can think about this as they weep their choke artist tears into the gold and silver medals they are bringing home.

He didn’t train very hard for London, and it showed in his first race Saturday, leading any reasonable person to conclude that he didn’t want to be there in the first place and just should have retired.

Of course Phelps' following races completely disproved Buzz's theory based completely on one race. A reasonable person would give Phelps more than one race to prove he was in good shape. We all know Buzz doesn't exactly seem like a reasonable person. I don't like Michael Phelps that much, but he's spoiled us all with his performances. Collecting just a few medals at the Olympics feels like a let down for him, but it really isn't.

France for some reason has a very good freestyle-relay team, which given France, makes no sense to me at all. Skiing yes, but the performance in World War II is still hard to forgive.

Remember, Buzz gets paid to right things like this. Apparently Buzz believes France doesn't have access to chlorinated water in order to field a swimming team and World War II is what all athletic judgments should be based upon.

I am still searching for a personality that actually seems like a personality.

Buzz Bissinger only believes an athlete has a personality if he hates technology and believes the French are a bunch of weaklings who have no business fielding a swimming team. What's ridiculous is Bissinger complains he is still searching for a personality that seems like a personality, yet he talks about American athletes who have just seems he doesn't like these personalities. Here's what Buzz had to say about Ryan Lochte:

He seemed a shadow to his competitive nemesis, Ryan Lochte. The Florida native does have a certain charm, except when he drapes about on his skateboard during those insipid NBC bits with John McEnroe, who is wearing an undershirt for chrissakes. And when Lochte puts that silver contraption in his mouth, he looks like he's auditioning for Hangover 3.

What Buzz had to say about Michael Phelps:

Michael Phelps’s official Olympic photo, with scraggly beard and hair sticking out like professor Irwin Corey, was insulting. He does irritate me when he talks, a little bit too cool for school and obviously (also rightfully) thinking he is superior to everyone else, given his incredible past performance in Olympics. During an interview with Ryan Seacrest on NBC during the opening ceremonies that was unconsciously played instead of a tribute to the 52 victims of terror attacks in London in 2005, Phelps was asked if he would consider himself the best Olympian of all time if he won his 19th medal. He could and should have been gracious and contrite.

There are/were plenty of good personalities that NBC rammed down our throats. They rammed Missy Franklin, Gabby Douglas, and Rebecca Soni down our throats over the first week of competition. Of course what Buzz wants is flamboyance...

So far, my favorite has been the Italian fencer Diego Occhiuzzi, who after beating his opponent in the semifinals to guarantee a medal, went into such paroxysms of joy that I thought he might be having an epic Italian death rattle in the style of poisoning by the Borgias. The man knows how to win with complete ungraciousness.

I like that.

Unless you are Michael Phelps, in which case his lack of graciousness is a complete turn-off for Buzz. If you are Italian and not gracious, that's showing some great personality. Buzz is never very gracious with his consistency about athletes who show a lack of graciousness.

The games are not a bust. Lochte and Phelps can still find redemption.

Redemption for exactly what I don't know. Maybe Buzz thinks they need to find redemption for not winning gold in every single event they enter.

And remember that the mainstay of the Games, track and field, hasn’t started yet.

Why do we need to remember this? Buzz is the guy saying the Olympics are boring, have no personality and things were better back in his day when Russia and the United States hated each other. Buzz is the one who things the games are a bust, yet by telling us the game just started he reminds us just how stupid the premise and complaining, by Buzz himself, in this article truly was. Good job. You just outed the stupidity of your own column.

So stay tuned.

If you can figure it out.

Figure what out? Figure out why you like writing like an old codger? Figure out why the days when potential nuclear war made the Olympic games better?

What kind of editor reads this column and thinks, "Man I can't wait to post this. Great insight and great writing. Boy, he's right technology sucks and I wish Russia was still the United States' main enemy."


jacktotherack said...

"the NBC primetime version tries to give the deranged illusion that the events they are showing have not taken place yet, although they have, and you have to be an idiot not to know who has won. It strikes me as similar to the NCAA taking away 101 victories from Penn State even though they won 101victories."

Fuck Buzz Bissinger and fuck Penn State. How is NBC's tape-delayed Olympic coverage and PSU's NCAA mandated penalties even remotely related? And why would it make any sense for NBC to run all of their live coverage during the day when the vast majority of America is at work unable to watch? How wilfully dense does one have to be to be befuddled by why NBC airs the premiere sports on tape-delay?

In a business full of insufferable pricks, Buzz Bissinger may not win the gold, but he would certainly medal.

rich said...

since by some miracle both countries realized that dropping the bomb was not a good option.

Yes, neither country wanted to drop nukes on each other, but given that we gave the Afghans a ton of weapons to fight the Russians, while waging war in both Korea and Vietnam due to Russian and Chinese influences...

What a great era!

It was fun to hate the Soviet Union.

Yes it was fun to hate them, but Buzz also doesn't seem to remember that the reason the US hated the soviets was because there was a huge nuclear war that might have happened.

I'll take boring Olympics over the threat of nuclear annihilation.

It strikes me as similar to the NCAA taking away 101 victories from Penn State even though they won 101 victories.

Adding to what Jack said: the NCAA took away the wins because, and this is confusing I know, because it means that Paterno is no longer the winningest coach in NCAA history.

You can't erase people's memories that Penn State won those games, but in 20-30 years a new generation of people will know Bowden is the NCAA wins leader and Paterno isn't.

Oh and what is NBC supposed to do? "Hey guys, we're going to show you the 100 meter sprint, Bolt breaks the Olympic record and wins no one else was really that close. It's riveting, so stay tuned and watch".

If you want to know what happened, get on the internet. If you want to watch the events as if they were live, you can avoid hearing about who won and the tape delay is fine.

I just don’t know if beach volleyball is a sport

Volleyball is a sport... so why the would putting it on the beach disqualify it from consideration?

It receives inordinate attention on NBC because men like it, praying no doubt that the training bra the competitors wear will fall off and breasts suddenly assume that sexy sandy look.

Um... I don't follow the Olympics or volleyball (like at all) and even I know that they don't wear training bras anymore, they wear full on outfits now.

And it gets a lot of attention because they have a ton of airtime to fill and not very many events that:

1) take a lot of time (the 100 meter was over in 10 seconds)

2) are watchable (Imagine watching the shooting events?)

and 3) aren't too long (soccer/tennis/basketball).

Volleyball isn't a short event so it fills time, it's not overly long as to require special programing and it's actually watchable, that and soccer and basketball have their own channels.

but also choke artists.

I don't know if a guy with what 17 gold medals can be considered a choke artist...

Lochte and Phelps can still find redemption.

What's funny to me is that this is after the first race.. which Lochte had won.

So a guy who had just won a gold medal and a guy who was close to breaking the record for most medals ever needed to find redemption?

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, that last sentence made laugh. I would give him a silver at least.

I wish NBC would show more sports on delay to be honest. I could go w/o the diving and trampoline events live, but would love to see women's soccer on tape. Either way, there is no comparison b/w the Olympics being tape-delayed and the PSU situation.

Rich, what do you have against nuclear war? It was fun and quirky!

I don't see how volleyball isn't a sport. How does it not take athletic talent? Buzz is very wrong about that.

The idea of Phelps as a choke artist is just so laughable, I almost didn't even merit it a comment.

Phelps/Lochte need to find redemption because they are boring and Buzz doesn't like them. Buzz hates everything though.