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Page 3 of 5 pages
Why couldn't he just say "There is no record that she attended MIT, and no one at DOD or any of their contractors can confirm that she worked on the B2B"? Seriously - that covers it, doesn't it? "There is no record that she did X, Y, or Z." You say absolutely everything pertinent about her background without implying that changing her name/gender identification is somehow part of the scam. Adding anything about her name change seriously prejudices the story.
Do you have an example of his "terrible" writing?
And actually, I gave several examples, which I'll repeat. His 90s columns on the MOs of the Cubs and White Sox organizations were almost uniformly very good to excellent.
If you're truly interested, find one or two of them, and explain to us why you find them "terrible."
Let me guess (since the link didn't work): "Another bitter loss for we Boston fans, the best fans in the world, how dare the Gods loathe us so vigorously and thoroughly, Grady Little sucks, how can such a super-swell fanbase be saddled with such a dolt."
Preaching to Boston Sports Bro does not a "good article" make.
I think people underestimate the impact he had on mainstreaming sabremetrics, for example. Two, he's capable of self-reflection. He'll admit when he's wrong and he's willing to take criticism seriously.
If Mariotti had written that story about the dog, it would have ended with Jay beating the animal on a street for not being sufficiently obedient.
Almost all of them.
For my part, I can't imagine that they weren't aware of it. This might be plausible if Kahrl had only gotten into the sports journalism business as a woman, but she was one of the founders of Baseball Prospectus in the mid-1990s (as a man) and was pretty well known under her old (male) identity. I find it very hard to believe that people in the business of sports journalism wouldn't know about her transition.
Bullspit. At the beginning of 2010, Simmons wrote an article about how he was getting on the sabermetric bandwagon, saying "I stopped writing about baseball these past two years when the sabermetrics movement became too complicated for my liking". In this article, his "fun stat #1" is, drumroll please . . . OPS. Sure, some frat-bros who worship at his altar may have finally seen the light, but we were long down the path before he decided to jump aboard. Sabermetrics were becoming mainstream whether he decided to get a free trip back home to Boston under the guise of Sloan or not.
And two, there are few writers out there more thin-skinned than he is. The man-child Rick Reilly comment made earlier is perfectly apt. Simmons bows his neck to the people he's desperate for access from, but he can't deal with actual criticism.
Yep. Isn't one of the reasons he doesn't write about baseball much anymore because he electronically threw up his hands and said the stats community was taking the fun out of having opinions and thoughts on players/teams that might notactually be true?
For instance, how can someone so interested in sports betting be so terrible and consistently uninformed?
Citing that article and then later saying he can't deal with criticism is sort of funny.
There's a whole bunch of targets there for target shooting. Let's see you hit them. Should be easy.
And in the article he fully admits the only reason he got on board was because it was the best way to convince himself that the Red Sox were going to be super-awesome that year. And then when they finished 3rd (despite winning 89 games) he jumped back off.
As said here, the only reason he wrote it was to convince himself to be optimistic about the Red Sox. There was no seeing the light, there was just an excuse to be a raging fanboy, his only trick.
Whether or not he's on the stats bandwagon or not, two of the main baseball writers at Grantland are Keri and Rany who definitely are, so at he least he's giving space and recognition to people that are.
And the reason why Grantland's baseball writers are Jonah Keri and Rany Jazayerli and it's main basketball writers are Zach Lowe and Kirk Goldsberry is clearly because Simmons has rejected advanced stats.
I can only read two paragraphs of it (and the "skunk" part doesn't really work). Generally speaking, he properly called out the White Sox for stupidly surrendering a season and pegged Reinsdorf for the cheapskate he's always been (Luol Deng says hello) and did so in a straightforward, pull no punches style.
The White Flag trades are seen as genius or something approaching it amongst "analysts."
That's a bizarre conclusion, since this column doesn't prove he was a "hack."
They were 3 games out and Cleveland played .542 baseball the rest of the year. You don't surrender a season when you're three games out.
Hannan could have simply stated, "It turned out that Dr. V wasn't even her real name" and left it at that, but then he'd be skewered for sloppy, incomplete reporting. The story of who Dr. V was and how she came to fabricate those credentials could not have been told without acknowledging her earlier life. The story would have been incomplete.
The unfortunate conclusion I draw from these criticisms is that Dr. V should never have been the subject of a story because she was a closeted transsexual. I think that's problematic.
The idea that input from whatever special interests are involved determines which facts can be included in a story is a turn away from journalism and toward advocacy.
I'm kind of baffled by the consensus that there was some self-evident obligation to run this by Kahrl or similar before publishing. The idea that input from whatever special interests are involved determines which facts can be included in a story is a turn away from journalism and toward advocacy.
I think there's consensus (here at least) that they should have run the story by someone familiar with transgender issues. That's entirely different from a consensus that they should have allowed that person to determine what facts were included in the story.
In a story focused on the identity and suicide of a transgender woman, it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect the author to make some attempt to familiarize themselves with transgender issues.
I've read two very different criticisms of the article, which kinda contradict one another. The first criticism is that the story really wasn't about transgender issues, so V's status shouldn't have been mentioned at all. The other is that transgender issues are at the core of this story, so the writer or the editor needed some input from the trans community.
Wasn't Dr. V a criminal? Yeah, transgenders Jews can lead a tough life but at the end of the day she was a criminal and I'm not really sure why a reporter needs to consider the ramifications of outing a criminal on said criminals psyche.
Wasn't Dr. V a criminal? Yeah, transgenders can lead a tough life but at the end of the day she was a criminal and I'm not really sure why a reporter needs to consider the ramifications of outing a criminal on said criminals psyche.
A reporter needs to consider the ramifications because stereotyping isn't just lazy it's wrong. Helping to create a stereotype ("transgenders change themselves so they can hide from their past") is even worse.
Do you really object to the idea that a reporter has an obligation to be informed about the subject of their story? The identity of Dr. V is pretty much the core of the story. Once Hannan outed Dr. V. to an investor and she subsequently killed herself, that also became an important part of the story. In fact, Simmons's apology basically confirms that they weren't going to run the article until she killed herself. In a story focused on the identity and suicide of a transgender woman, it doesn't seem unreasonable to expect the author to make some attempt to familiarize themselves with transgender issues.
And Jay Mariotti's a "terrible writer" and bad analyst because he questioned a team owned by a skinflint trading its two best starting pitchers and its closer for a package of meh prospects when it was 3 games out on July 31. Makes sense.
in fact have only known 4 Jews well my whole life
How certain are we that Vanderbilt's suicide was a result of her bring outed as a transsexual, as opposed to the numerous other damaging disclosures of the article?
Just to throw this out there: How certain are we that Vanderbilt's suicide was a result of her bring outed as a transsexual, as opposed to the numerous other damaging disclosures of the article?
A gay guy who gets beaten up by gay-bashers isn't somehow more of a victim than a guy who gets beaten up for a gang initiation or just by a random a-hole who doesn't like Giants fans. Not less, but not more.
The notion that an LGBT person is less of a person is patently offensive, but why isn't the opposite idea just as offensive?
Someone who has a greater likelihood of getting beaten up just for being gay is more of a victim than you for a random beating for no reason, yes. Because they had to live with the fear and reason for being beat up that you didn't.
Your other example, gang violence, is something we do view as a significant societal problem, and we have all sorts of special laws to deal with gangs.
Not entirely certain. But transgender people attempt suicide at a rate so much higher than the general population that I think it's an acceptable assumption that it was involved.
The suicide rate is SO high (i see up to 41% bandied about) that to me, it implies that transgenderality(?) is a symptom of a deeper psychiatric problem.
Alternatively, 'zop, it could be that the trauma of being born with a body of the "wrong" gender creates the tremendous psychiatric problems.
Alternatively, 'zop, it could be that the trauma of being born with a body of the "wrong" gender creates the tremendous psychiatric problems. That would be the charitable assumption.
But since gender is a social construct
This is a very big idea to sneak into a very little conditional phrase.
The lack of empathy in the last few paragraphs — our collective intent, and only because we believed that Caleb suddenly becoming introspective and emotional would have rung hollow — now made it appear as if we didn’t care about someone’s life.
We made one massive mistake. I have thought about it for nearly three solid days, and I’ve run out of ways to kick myself about it. How did it never occur to any of us? How? How could we ALL blow it?
That mistake: Someone familiar with the transgender community should have read Caleb’s final draft.
Believing that Mr. Hannan suddenly being introspective and emotional would ring hollow?
There are basically two risks with this move:
1. You say nothing and people accuse you of being insensitive and callous and so forth; or
2. You say something and people accuse you of trying to make someone else's suicide about you, and worse, you've made a transgendered person's suicide about you, a straight white guy from America with a college degree and who are YOU to make this about YOU and OHMYGODYOUMONSTER and so on and so forth.
Suffice it to say a lot more energy gets put into the latter one, and it hurts worse because we all want to think of ourselves as basically good and not self-centered and not benefiting too much from our own advantages and whatever.
It's about 50% a 21st century US humanities department fart-job. Like most of US humanities anything.
Except that the topic at hand (the transgender community) is about the clearest expression for the concept that one could possibly hope to find. A single human being goes from being a man to a woman based on a name change, some bodily modification, and behavioral changes. Same person, but he becomes a she. If that's not a social construct, then nothing is.
With a little bleach, a brunette can become a blonde, but that doesn't mean blonde hair is a social construct. Perhaps being "a blonde" is, but that's a crucial distinction.
And that's what bugs me the most. With all due respect to Ms. Kahrl and other transgender people, I don't really care too much about the transgender issue here, I care about the suicide part. What bugs me the most is that Mr. Simmons, Mr. Hannan, and Grantland are so conceited, callous, and thoughtlessly cruel that they can't spare even the most minimal iota of their ego to give some humane consideration to a person who took their own life.
If you don't care about the transgender issue, what is it you think Hannan/Simmons/etc should have done differently? Should they have not published the article at all?
Mr. Hannan acquiesced to this, and commenced interviewing with her. I never took a journalism class and I am completely ignorant about the standards of conduct for journalists. Nonetheless, I find it personally objectionable that Grantland published an article which largely focused on Ms. Vanderbilt despite the (at the very least) implied promises Mr. Hannan made to Ms. Vanderbilt.
I would appreciate it if someone with professional knowledge of journalistic standards could enlighten me as to this point.
Though she had insisted that she would only talk if the focus was on her putter and not herself, Dr. V willingly volunteered some background information. She had been born in Pennsylvania and later moved to Georgia. She had lived in Boston while attending MIT, and she had also spent more than a decade in Washington, D.C., while working on top-secret projects. All that moving around had resulted in what she called a “mutated accent.” The pitch of her voice was strange, too — deeper than expected. She said it was the result of a collapsed larynx she had suffered in a car crash. She also revealed why she avoided the golf course, preferring the life of a “lab rat.” The woman who had invented the newest, greatest putter not only didn’t play golf very often, she also was practically allergic to the sun. If she spent more than a few hours outside, she said, she got crippling migraines.
There were two outings. One was of Dr. V as a professional fraud. The other was of Dr. V as a transgender woman. Some people are saying that she shouldn't have been outed as a transgender woman. Whether one outing was possible without the other is up for debate.
And don’t tell me about page views, unique visitors and Twitter followers — the biggest ongoing scam in the web media is how people buy and fabricate numbers, in some cases by the hundreds of thousands. Ignore numbers.
No idea whether this is true, but Simmons is pretty clearly popular among sports bros, and there are a lot of sports bros out there.
That was the case for me, until her transgender odyssey was brought up here in another thread, which means had I not been on this site I might not have known she was transgender until... well, now.
Christina Kahrl is one of the co-founders of Baseball Prospectus. She is the former executive editor of the think tank's website, BaseballProspectus.com, the former managing editor for their annual publication, and is currently writing and editing for ESPN.com. She is a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Kahrl is an activist on civil rights issues for the transgender community in her hometown of Chicago and a member of the Equality Illinois board of directors. The story of her publicly coming out as a transsexual sportswriter in 2003 was part of a GLAAD award-nominated segment entitled "Transitions" on HBO's Real Sports that aired in 2010.
Unless you want Simmons to cut off his ear or something. Maybe that's it.
Given the number of people named Christina I've met who go by "Chris", and the fact that most interactions people had with BPro was by reading articles instead of actually seeing the people who wrote them, anyone who had been reading Christina Kahrl back when she was known as Chris Kahrl could easily have missed the transgender aspect if they had missed the one article she wrote about it. That was the case for me, until her transgender odyssey was brought up here in another thread, which means had I not been on this site I might not have known she was transgender until... well, now. I'd know that Kahrl had been going by the name "Chris" then later went by the name "Christina", but that kind of name change is not necessarily a signal of transgender.
Generally speaking, in journalism, if a source lies to you, then all promises to that source in return for cooperation are off. If memory serves, at least one of the national society ethics codes (Canada?) explicitly makes this suggestion (along with informing your sources that no promises will be honored if they lie).
Bill Simmons's problem isn't that he's not a trained journalist; his problem is that he needs a more solid background in the humanities. I have often felt that his frat-boy persona reflected an inability to empathize with others unlike him.
There are definitely some fairly serious issues with the Hannan piece. Though I think it generally out of ignorance rather than actual malice. Some of the more awkward parts seem to be the source of poor style choices. For example, the "troubled man" sentence looks like it's meant to play off the sentence before it, but it's too sensitive a topic to get cute with phrases like that.
I had an idea for a book - I'm convinced it's a very good idea for a book, actually, so good that I expect that other people have had the idea and that some version of my idea will be published, if it hasn't been already. The book involves writing about people without their approval or knowledge. And when I sat down to try and sketch out the first sample chapter, this bothered me so much, and seemed so hugely unethical, that I shelved the entire project.
Dr. V claimed to have revolutionized the putter (maybe, she did, the article doesn't seem to resolve that)
The original piece didn't debunk the putter?? Then what was it about? Just that it's inventor created a new identity?
This wasn't a Simmons-specific failing, as much as people really seem to want it to be. The initial reaction from virtually everyone within the industry was positively glowing reviews from everyone... until the blowback started. Yes, it was clearly a mistake to run the story as is, and as the ones to make the mistake, they get to own it. But the notion that some more reputable, or experienced journalistic entity wouldn't have made an equal mess of it is batshit insane.
The simple truth is that this is an issue that the vast, vast majority of people in our society are completely incapable of handling with the nuance it requires. If you aren't dealing with people inside the community on a daily basis, and are familiar with the problems and issues surrounding it, you are going to blow reporting on a story like this.
Assuming that you're not talking about public figures, shelve it. It'll never get past editing; frankly unless you're a well-known author and it's a guaranteed hit, the lawyers would never allow the publisher to put it through; too much legal exposure.
I think people are misreading the author's comment about the "chill down the spine" as an "ugh, yuck" when it reads more like "Wow, a weird story just got weirder", which is what the author and editor say was intended.
In this case, being a transgender was part of the story -- Vanderbilt explicitly chose a transition name that was utilized as *part* of the con. She didn't change her legal name to something like Stephanie Krol, she changed her name to something that became part of the deception. At that point, I feel that it becomes a part of the story -- this was not a private person that a journalist sought to out, but someone who was selling a product to the public based on her identity. You can't make your identity public interest and then be shocked when people investigate the falseness of your public identity.
Hell, a good three quarters of the "OH MY GAWD" chorus of commenters here have no nuanced grasp of that either. They're just running with "someone should have called Christina Karhl" because she happens to be a public, out member of the community that overlaps with stat-dorkery.
But to explore it a bit more - I made this sound like an expose, but it's more along the lines of a travelogue. Travel writers record minor interactions with dozens of people. Are they changing the names? Do they just not care? To speak to people and know that their words and actions might end up in your book seems at least ... rude.
Simmons mentioned her by name, and a column by her now appears at the top of this article.
This wasn't a Simmons-specific failing, as much as people really seem to want it to be
The point being made about Simmons was that elements of the persona he presents in his work, which I think most people assume is at least part really how he is, and elements of his demographic and professional background, indicate that this this is the kind of thing that he would not deal with all that well. And he didn't. Like I said in Post 87, if people don't want to make that connection, as I did, that's fine. There is no right answer--which is the point. So declaring that "This isn't about Simmons and everyone else would have done this the same way" is the same thing as declaring "This is all about Simmons and only an assbag like Simmons would have done something like this." The second one is what Mariotti did, based on his own agenda.
The biggest problem with the story from my perspective (*) is that even fraudulent marketing of a magic putter isn't worthy of a 7,700 word expose on the marketer. It's one of those stories that exists only because of the internet and the relentless need for "content" and our unhealthy obsession with anything sport.
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