Sports Un-Illustrated

What’s left for my generation of sports magazine readers?

I’ll tell you what’s not left.

No more ESPN the Magazine.

I was a charter subscriber back when it first came out in 1998. It was promoted as a hipster alternative to the venerable Sports Illustrated (born 1954, so even older than me). There were more in-depth features. Of course, it kind of had to be that way given it was published bi-weekly (that is, once every two weeks as opposed to twice a week; funny that it has the same meaning).

To be objective, they did develop a lot of fun ideas over the years. Entire issues were devoted to a single topic allowed a real deep-dive into the topic de deux-semaines: music, movies, “one day, one game,” and, of course, “The Body Issue,” which, coincidentally or not, was the final published version.

ESPN MAGAZINE OCTOBER 2019 - THE BODY ISSUE 2019 - KELLEY O'HARA - BRAND NEW

Of course, ESPN wants you to believe this is a good thing, obviously catering to younger readers/visitors/subscribers, whatever the terminology is these days. Now they can concentrate wholly on their online content. What this means to the people who actually worked on the magazine is unclear at the moment. According to an April 30 article in The New York Times, there were no “immediate” plans for layoffs. Uh-huh. To be honest, I didn’t even notice that much when they changed their format to a monthly. Meh.

So how long can we rely on Sports Illustrated to carry the ball? Four years ago, they fired their entire photography staff, choosing to go the freelance route. They also seem to be in trouble. Perhaps the only thing that has kept them in the conversation for the past few years has been the swimsuit issues which regularly drew condemnation from religious and conservative outlets, as well as feminists who objected to the objectivism of women.

From a recent Deadspin article:

Now that Sports Illustrated’s three owners, Meredith Corp., Authentic Brands Group, and TheMaven, have completed the callous layoff of half of Sports Illustrated’s newsroom and finalized a deal that gives control of the publication to TheMaven, a wannabe tech company helmed by notorious scumbags Ross Levinsohn and James Heckman, the future of Sports Illustrated is coming into focus. It’s not pretty.

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It’s not pretty for any weekly news magazine these days. Why wait that long to get your news Jones on when you can look at your phone (assuming younger folks are even interested in the news)?

I’m not going to wax nostalgic about SI. Suffice it to say I enjoyed it for the most part, primarily during baseball season. I have most of the season preview issues but not going back any where near enough; will have to work on that.

I just hope ESPN doesn’t keep charging me the automatic annual subscription fee.

Damn you, CNN!

Every day, I tell myself I am not going to watch CNN. I am not going to read the paper. I am not going to listen to the news. Just gonna listen to my pop culture podcasts and read my baseball books.

Well, that didn’t last long.

God forbid I should miss the latest scandal involving the president or one of his minions.

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I wonder if there are grounds for a class action suit against Trump for inflicting grievous harm on a majority of this country for all the agita he and the GOP have foisted upon us for the last few years? Rather than enjoying life, we have to worry about how he and his retinue have been trying to profit at the expense of so many issues a great number of us have long thought of as given: clean air and water; finding common ground with our international allies on climate change; peaceful relations with those foreign allies; freedom from worry about white supremacists; and the respect we have lost around the world; among other things, including a general sense of “malice toward none and charity for all.”

Now you’ll excuse me, I need a nap. Maybe when I wake up this long national nightmare will be over.

Trust

One of my Jewish New Year’s resolutions is to cut back on social media. My job allows me waaaay too many daytime hours to hang out on Facebook — and watch CNN — to follow our favorite “Orange Train Wreck” and his goofy gang.

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The Facebook posts about Trump come from a number of sources and one thing everyone — supporters and opponents — has to pay attention to: the dateline of the item they’re sharing. Oh, here’s another headline about Hillary’s e-mails. And another how how Trump’s family is guilt of ethics violations. All well and good, but sometimes the stories are months, if not years, old. It doesn’t help your cause if a) you don’t pay attention to what you’re posting or b) you do it in bad faith on purpose; the only people who will believe you are those who are already in the bag for your POV. I’ve come across some really loony things, but then, Trumpers would say the same thing.

Which leads me to the topic of this post: trust.

You have to have a lot of trust in your source. Liberals feel that CNN and MSNBC and The New York Times are 100 percent correct, while Trump supporters/conservatives believe in FOX and similar print and TV outlets are right (oops, no hidden meaning intended). I can tune in to a CNN show an immediately identify the Trump supporter. Am I generalizing, when I pick out any glassy-eyed, overly-loud humorless, white male (almost always a white male with a couple of notable exceptions) as a supporter? Perhaps.

I don’t watch FOX enough to know if they do the same thing: find someone on the left who looks and sounds a bit off kilter to bolster their own views.

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Image result for trump apologists on CNN
Image result for trump apologists on CNN
Image result for trump apologists on CNN, paris dennard
Image result for trump apologists on CNN, jason miller

In watching the latest cock-up about the whistleblower, you have a lot of “liberal media” asking Republicans if/how they can really get behind their leader, pointing to “the evidence” in the transcript. It’s all in the interpretation. Republicans say there was no quid pro quo while Democrats argue the threat doesn’t have be explicit to get the point across. The transcript has Trump saying he wanted Zelensky to do him a “favor,” meaning, according to people who can, you know, read the rest, that he wanted Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son in “return” for financial aid, even though previous attempts refuted claims of corruption.

That’s if the Republicans are even answering the questions put to them at all. How many times have the shows’ hosts asked a simply yes/no question without getting a yes/no answer? Of course, you actually have to have read the transcript to make a half-informed decision (::cough:: Kevin McCarthy).

This whole Late Night segment is great, but if you’re in a hurry, you can skip to about the 3:50 mark.

Just a couple of asides:

  • God bless Chris Wallace, who brings at least a tiny bit of journalist integrity to the rest of FOX’s “fair and balanced” crew.
  • Does Rep. Jordan think he’s a “man of the people” because he eschews a jacket?

I trust my sources, just as Trumpets trust theirs. I just hope I’m right (as they do).