March 28, 2013

Project much, Buzz?

A continuing theme here is that much of the conventional wisdom is generated by individuals with, as they say, issues -- personal, family, and ethnic -- which they tend, as Dr. Freud used to say, to project on to others. 

Buzz Bissinger is one of the more influential sportswriters of the last generation, with his 1990 book on high school football players, Friday Night Lights, beloved for its denunciation of small town racism and hate. Buzz's second cousin Peter Berg directed the movie version a decade ago, and it has twice been made into a TV series. I saw the movie, although I don't recall specifically reading anything by Bissinger before. He appears to have been a pretty standard issue Voice of Our Times, denouncing all the usual suspects.

Currently, Bissinger seems to be undergoing a mental breakdown in which he drops the mask and reveals some of his issues. (I suspect he has more). A fair number of celebrities are more or less bipolar: they became famous when one of their up cycles happened to correspond with a window of opportunity. 

He just published a long essay in GQ that he plays for both teams and spends $200,000 per year on clothes, much of them women's clothes.

This adds an interesting perspective on much of his Voice of Conventional Wisdom output. For example, here's an excerpt from a sequel book he published following up the Texas high school football players from his biggest hit.
After Friday Night Lights (Excerpt) 
When the games ended, real life began. An unlikely love story. 
by Buzz Bissinger  
Byliner Apr 2012
Boobie and I didn’t know it when we first met twenty-four years ago, but one day we would form the ultimate odd couple. A brash Jew from Central Park West in Manhattan who comes up to the chest of a black man from the bad side of the tracks in Odessa, together in the American forgotten. Boobie and me. Me and Boobie. I grew up in privilege and he grew up in poverty. ...
But we shared a year in our lives that forever changed us and created a bond that, no matter how elasticized, will never break. It is the most lasting legacy of Friday Night Lights, or at least the legacy I care about the most. Which is why I’m driving on Farm Road 1788 to Kermit, on my way to draw from him as he draws from me. I speak to him on the phone all the time, but I haven’t seen him in four years, and the time has come to see him again. 
Boobie became iconic to many Americans because of Friday Night Lights—he was the book’s most talked-about character and a symbol of everything that was wrong with high school football because of the tragedy that befell him as a rising senior and the virulent racism directed against him afterwards. ... 
Every teammate said he was a helluva football player who could pretty much do it all. But his coaches felt differently—they saw a powder keg with a fuse. And I think they wanted that keg to go off, just as long as they had another running back to replace him. 
I remember the first time I talked to Boobie. I didn’t know how he would react to me, so obviously an alien, with glasses and a thin reporter’s notebook dangling from my right hand. He was all chisel and sinew, beautiful in the distinct way high school athletes are beautiful, their bodies ripped with the grace of the last days of their youth. ... He was in the trainer’s room. It was August of 1988, a few weeks before the first game. He knew that all eyes in the bleachers would be on him. ... 

... Okay!

Or, then there's Buzz's denunciation of professional athletes as ignorant hate-filled Christians in "Major League Homophobia Isn't Going Away:"
Outside of mandatory meetings, one of the most popular group activities in the clubhouse is the Sunday morning prayer session, and I have a feeling that gay rights is not something that comes up a lot. It’s a guess, but I think it’s a pretty damn good one that most straight athletes’ image of gays is based on the religious right's handbook—predatory creatures who, even if they are professionals, are only in sports for the drop of the towel to the floor after the shower and the root revealed. Not only is the attitude insulting and offensive; way too many straight athletes, particularly pitchers over 30, with their sagging stomachs and scraggly beards picking up bits of food like lint, are kidding themselves. Were it not for the fact that most of them make millions of dollars for doing little or doing it badly, nobody would want them, whether straight, gay, or crustacean. As for their carrot, not the stuff of legend, with or without shrinkage. 
... A two-week suspension is a tiny slap, particularly since most pitching coaches do nothing but go to the mound and give the pitcher a pat on the rear and then take the ball from him (am I the only one who smells something homoerotic in the air?).

... Okay!

47 comments:

DYork said...

...beautiful in the distinct way high school athletes are beautiful, their bodies ripped with the grace of the last days of their youth. ...

Yes, that would be the girls on the volleyball team and the swim team. LOL.

DYork said...

"Tell us about the game, slugger", he asks the hulking guy wearing nothing but a towel. LOL.

You have to wonder about grown men who want to interview naked men in a locker room after playing a silly game.

And notice how the reporters and so many fans are so horribly out of shape.

The passive/spectator sports culture is really pathetic and creepy.

Anonymous said...

Freud projected the pathologies of the jewish community into the gentiles... and it worked for him and his American nephew Edward Bernays.

Anonymous said...

"Freud projected the pathologies of the jewish community into the gentiles"

What are you projecting with that comment?

Jizz Jizzenger said...

Those hateful white male Christian baseball players, filled as they are with their hateful homophobia (and let's be honest, no doubt with anti-Semitism!) and their hateful paranoid delusions that we scribes might only be in sports journalism so that we can ogle naked athletes in the locker room...

What a bunch of creepy, hateful homophobes!!! As if I'd be turned on by some tall, athletic, 30something, alpha male multimillionaire! Ha!

Listen Mr. "I handle balls for a living"...

Lemme tell ya, you're kidding yourself if you think I get turned on when I see you saunter out from the shower with your under-muscled chest, traps and lats, with your slowly-dissipating abs and quickly-emerging love handles, with your scraggly beard filled with dried tobacco juice, with your hairy chest, stomach and buttocks, and ... can we be real here!?! ... and with your ... ahem, shortcomings downstairs!!!

I mean, He-llo!!! If you think you're my type, then I've got some swampland in Provincetown to sell ya!

What a hate-filled, paranoid homophobe you are. I mean SRSLY, if you think I'm secretly checking you out in the shower and that I'm somehow turned on by you and your aging white body, then you should see what happens to me when I lay eyes on a gloriously chiseled teenage black boy, whose beautiful body is ripped with the grace of youth, and whose looong, smooth one eyed anaconda makes my heart race as it beckons me like the sirens' song.....

Now if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go rub one out!!!




Bobby said...

Closeted Jew writer secretly lusts after the athletes he writes about, and blames white Christianity for everything he feels is wrong. The poor victim LOL.

I remember reading Friday Night Lights as a kid; I might have to go back and take another look knowing what I do now.

Orthodox said...

Is gay sex with a 16 or 17 year old considered pedophilia or just statutory rape?

Cail Corishev said...

Probably the most depressing thing about homosexuals is the way everything -- everything -- is about sex for them. Every word anyone says, every look, every action, suggests sex to them somehow. Everyone else is defined as what kind of sex he wants, or doesn't want, or is in denial about wanting, or doesn't think someone else should want.

It's tiring to read, like reading a book where the author takes several pages to describe each character's hair every time he appears in the story.

Anonymous said...

I read the article and you do not seem to be accurately representing it. He does not claim to be bisexual, but rather says he tried it, seemingly for the first time, in his late 50's, and concluded it was not for him. He also is not a transvestite in the normal sense, but is going for a glam rock look where clothing for women may need to fill gaps in the look he wants.

Rather he has developed an extreme fetish for leather clothing, and somewhat more bizzarely for the process of shopping for leather clothing.

Anonymous said...

am I the only one who smells something homoerotic in the air?

Who smelt it, dealt it! (Just couldn't help)

ATBOTL said...

While looking up some of Buzz's writings, I came across this line:

When it comes to Pistorius, go back in the archives of The New York Times Magazine to January 18, 2012, and read the piece by Michael Sokolove, for my money the best long-form journalist on sports in the country.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/15/the-unwarranted-mythology-of-oscar-pistorius.html

These people always promote each other.

Anonymous said...

" (am I the only one who smells something homoerotic in the air?)."

nono after reading a PhD dissertation on the unbearable homoeroticism of soccer, anyone with IQ higher than what two brain cells result in, would agree.

Well, it started in Vienna not so many years ago / When not enough folks were getting sick / A starving young physician tried to better his position...

DYork said...

Buzz's (bee sound effect) Jewishness and bi-sexuality didn't stop him from marrying a shiksa and having three sons.

And his anti boring heterosexual White Christian manism didn't stop him from endorsing Mitt Romney over Saint Barack.

Cail Corishev said...

Is gay sex with a 16 or 17 year old considered pedophilia or just statutory rape?

If a Catholic priest does it, it's pedophilia, worth anywhere from $10,000 to $3 million. If a well-known writer or movie person does it, it's helping a flowering youth to discover his true self, possibly worth an award or two if he tells the story well enough.

James Kabala said...

"beloved for its denunciation of small town racism and hate."

Can anyone here who has actually read the book comment on this? I have never read it either, but I have never got the impression at all that it was primarily about racism. The TV series (which I have also never seen) seems to be practically worshiped by a number of writers who came from the very milieu it describes (and not interpreted as a denunciation, either). (Of course I mean it was worshiped by critics and writers - it was a ratings flop.)

Chubby Ape said...

I hadn't heard of this guy until very recently but his name rang a bell when I read about him here. Buzz Bissinger is the same one who "joked" with Piers Morgan of CNN that Morgan should challenge Texas gun-rights advocate Alex Jones to a boxing match and then suddenly shoot him. Bissinger has some odd things going on in that mind of his.

Mr. Anon said...

"DYork said...

"Tell us about the game, slugger", he asks the hulking guy wearing nothing but a towel."

Frank Zappa wrote a song about this already.

"Hello People, I'm Bobby Brown....."

Anonymous said...

A homo or homomaniac(straight person who worships gays)?

Sports world has a Tim Wise.

He mocks white guys who think they're getting unwanted attention from gays, but then he says gays(and blacks) are great cuz they always notice how he dresses; he looks like some pudgy Jon-Lovitz lookalike.

Anonymous said...

Friday night tights

Anonymous said...

I just wish Judeophilia would go away from the white community.

This is how a lot of Jews feel about white folks. Makes no sense to praise people who endlessly insult you.

fnn said...

Not really unrelated:

Inept, hysterical SWPL's try to rescue sea lion from an American Bulldog. AB's are close to the original Bulldog type-unlike the grossly deformed, sickly and unathletic (English) Bulldog. Don't these Obama voters know that dogs are predators.

fish said...

Currently, Bissinger seems to be undergoing a mental breakdown in which he drops the mask and reveals some of his issues. (I suspect he has more).

I suspect the "well" has run dry and that this entire sordid episode will serve as fodder for some upcoming literary triumph......either that or he's coming unhinged because when he makes "sexy pose" he looks way way too much like Bobcat Goldthwait.

Anonymous said...

http://www.fashion-era.com/sports_fashion_until_1960.htm

Anonymous said...

Can anyone here who has actually read the book comment on this? I have never read it either, but I have never got the impression at all that it was primarily about racism.

That's what makes its moralizing more effective and insidious.

Laguna Beach Fogey said...

He seems to have a vegetable fetish, too, judging by the 'carrot' comment. Weird.

fnn said...

Well, it started in Vienna not so many years ago / When not enough folks were getting sick / A starving young physician tried to better his position...

When I visited relatives in Vienna in 1986 I was told that Freud's theories were never much accepted in Austria. Perhaps (in part) a legacy of the great anti-Freud satirist, Karl Kraus. USA is where Freudianism really told hold. The culture of 1950s America was drenched in Freudianism.

ElvisNixon.com said...

The man spend 1/2 a million $ on women's clothing?

Sounds like an oppressed minority

Anonymous said...

DYork

There is now very solid medical research which shows that watching sports entertainment is highly correlated with poor health.

I have seen WFANS' Mike Francessa in person:short and fat, with rolls of cellulite. Always referring to some superjock-in is his case Jim Brown-a stud.

Steve

Why haven't you made a post about Michelle Shocked. She sure had me fooled for all these years. I could have sworn she was a lesbo. Go Google Michelle Schocked and gay marriage comments.You won't be disappointed.

DYork said...

Mr. Anon said...

Frank Zappa wrote a song about this already.

"Hello People, I'm Bobby Brown....."


I just read the lyrics, not a fan. He sounds like the typical bitter nonathletic musican-nerd.

Just a smug, obscene rant against "America", athletes and "success".

I'd rather critique the homo-erotic male bonding garbage of sports culture without going over to the lefty loser-nerd extreme.

I'm against the jock worship and the nerd-loser bitterness reaction as well.

Whiskey said...

I saw a couple of the TV series episodes. The lead actors were all White and all generally depicted positively, the most positive being the walk-on QB caring for his ailing grandmother while his father was deployed. The book however depicted Odessa Whites negatively.

The problem is that most of the elite is really, really freaky. Bissinger's writings could be the work of any aging White woman writing for say, the Times or Huffington Post etc. All about sex and personal life; the essence of gay men and most women. Nothing larger: technology, society, technique, coaching strategies, mental approaches, etc.

Look at HS football. The most interesting thing is the national recruiting, use of video posted by athletes themselves, and the requirement for fundamentals for those not blessed with ungodly physical talents, still the majority of recruited athletes into college.

And Bissinger misses the point. Straight men find gays distasteful, disgusting, and funny (Robert Smigel, of "Gary and Ace, the Ambiguously Gay Duo" and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, and South Park mock gays endlessly) -- BECAUSE GAYS ARE MEN ACTING LIKE WOMEN. The definition of unmanly. Straight guys put enormous effort into being a man: strong, stoic, courageous, compassionate, dependable, self-sacrificing, and here gays come along acting like uber-flighty women.

Bissinger and his fellow media elites are so far removed from that he can't even see it. And its part and parcel of the femalization of the West. Such attitudes fit in with the aging harpy crowd of the View, for example.

fish said...

Whiskey said:

Bissinger and his fellow media elites are so far removed from that he can't even see it. And its part and parcel of the femalization of the West. Such attitudes fit in with the aging harpy crowd of the View, for example.

3/28/13, 11:21 AM


Bissinger...the Pauline Kael of sexual politics.

Anonymous said...

May the Fist be with you.

Anonymous said...

"Bissinger...the Pauline Kael of sexual politics."

But Kael was rarely politically correct.

Anonymous said...

"Straight guys put enormous effort into being a man: strong, stoic, courageous, compassionate, dependable, self-sacrificing, and here gays come along acting like uber-flighty women."

Though most men are not gay, most men aren't macho. In school, how many guys are really tough? Most guys are not tough, and they could have been pushed around by tough guys. Or guys might have grown up in a mellow community where most kids just wanna get along.

Most guys are beta and they prefer to hang around other betas because they feel more comfy that way. Alphas or wanna-be-alphas are always measuring one another and looking for pecking order, like in FIGHT CLUB. Since most guys are gonna lose in such game, they prefer beta-dom. And even if they find gays ridiculous, they may find gays less threatening to them than tough guys are.

Part of the appeal of the Beatles and Stones was that they were skinny guys who got the chicks. Elvis was more manly but became less appealing in the 60s.
Indeed, a lot of rockers, if not for their music, would be geeks: Pink Floyd guys, the Who guys, etc.

Truth said...

"
I have seen WFANS' Mike Francessa in person:short and fat, with rolls of cellulite. Always referring to some superjock-in is his case Jim Brown-a stud."

I think I missed 4 decades somehow.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I think you wanted "meow!" not "Okay!"

Svigor said...

K, this is the part where we just stand back, shut up, and let him talk. Maybe a strategic "go on," or "tell me more" would be apropos.

:)

Anonymous said...

My Old Navy Addiction

By Jizz Jussinger

http://www.vice.com/read/my-old-navy-addicition

"I have an addiction. It isn’t drugs or gambling; I get to keep what I use after I use it. But there are similarities: the futile feeding of the bottomless beast and the unavoidable psychological implications, the immediate hit of the new that feels like an orgasm and the inevitable coming-down. In the past few years, I've bought 81 graphic tees. Dozens of shorts, both board and cargo. My name is Jizz Jussinger. I am 58 years old, the author of Some Kids Play Football but It's Complicated and Award-Winning, father of three, husband. And I am a shopaholic.

It started three years ago. I have never fully revealed it, and am only revealing it now in the hopes that my confession will incite a remission and perhaps help others of similar compulsion. If all I buy is Old Navy, I will be fine. It has taken a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t work but Old Navy men’s clothing best represents who I want to be and have become—a laid-back guy you'd be unafraid to call "dude," a Yacht Rocker from a landlocked state, someone who would be good at surfing if he tried, probably. During a recent trip to the Navy, a fellow shopper said I looked like Luke from The OC, a compliment that at this point in my life means more to me than any piece of writing.

I own 124 polos, 75 sweaters emblazoned with Old Navy Athletics, 41 pairs of khakis, 12 track jackets, and 115 pairs of novelty-print boxers covered in pizzas and beach balls and burgers and ducks. Those who conclude from this that I have a John Hughes fetish, an extreme John Hughes fetish, get a grand prize of zero. And those who are familiar with my choices will sign affidavits attesting to the fact that I wear polos every day. The self-expression feels glorious, an indispensable part of me. As a stranger said after admiring my look in a red-sleeved raglan and a pair of plaid cargos with flip-flops, “You don’t give a fuck.”"

Chicago said...

Seeing this guy in leather pants and high heels would probably cause someone to have to go on disability, the mental trauma would be just too much to bear. It must be extremely embarrassing for kids as they grow up to have a father like that. Teen son: "Guys, I want you to meet my dad. No, not him, the other one, that one there in the red dress".

Ray Sawhill said...

Don't know nothin' about Buzz Bissinger, but (FWIW) I'm a straight guy and I tend to get a huge kick out of gay guys. They're often hilarious, bright, tough, talented, soulful ... and they nearly always know where the best restaurants are. (They also don't talk much about kids and sports, two topics that bore me silly.) I admit that initially I didn't know what to make of them and found a few of them creepy. But that was decades and decades ago.

Mr. Anon said...

"DYork said...

"Hello People, I'm Bobby Brown....."

I just read the lyrics, not a fan. He sounds like the typical bitter nonathletic musican-nerd."

I merely mentioned it as it seemed apropos in this case. Actually, I generally share your opinion of Zappa. He was a talented musician, but his lyrics were mostly just snarky, nihilistic filth, of a kind that appeals to a certain kind of left-libertarian twenty-something.

Anonymous said...

Don't know nothin' about Buzz Bissinger, but (FWIW) I'm a straight guy and I tend to get a huge kick out of gay guys. They're often hilarious, bright, tough, talented, soulful ... and they nearly always know where the best restaurants are. (They also don't talk much about kids and sports, two topics that bore me silly.) I admit that initially I didn't know what to make of them and found a few of them creepy. But that was decades and decades ago.

... Okay!

bourbon said...

Seems like the gist of a lot of the comments here is "Jews hate hate HATE Gentiles", with every bit of the absurd reductiveness and hyperbole Whiskey applies to women and beta males.

Anonymous said...

the final book ended up being critical about life in the town of Odessa, complete with portraits of what Bissinger called "the ugliest racism" he has ever witnessed,

I take it Buzz has never been to Israel.

Anonymous said...

bourbon said...
Seems like the gist of a lot of the comments here is "Jews hate hate HATE Gentiles", ...



prove it aint so!

SFG said...

"Don't know nothin' about Buzz Bissinger, but (FWIW) I'm a straight guy and I tend to get a huge kick out of gay guys. They're often hilarious, bright, tough, talented, soulful ... and they nearly always know where the best restaurants are. (They also don't talk much about kids and sports, two topics that bore me silly.) I admit that initially I didn't know what to make of them and found a few of them creepy. But that was decades and decades ago."

Makes sense. I'd say the arts are fundamentally feminine, with their emphasis on emotion, ambiguity, and nuance. However, great artists benefit from the masculine life path which allows singular devotion to an ideal--women have to spend much of their energies raising a family. As a result, feminine men, who include many gays, are particularly suited to achievements in the arts. I think artistic men would tend to get along better with gays, if not merely because so many artists are gay for the reasons discussed above.

Conversely, masculine women are responsible for the feminist movement, which has produced no Sistine Chapel, no Mona Lisa... But I don't see anything wrong with a man being feminine or a woman being masculine. The fear of sissy boys came from an ancient evolutionary desire to have enough warriors to avoid being destroyed by rival trobes, but I think with our oceans and our nukes America has more than enough warriors.

Anonymous said...

Late to the party, I know, but someone who loves the book because it "denounces small town racism" is
like someone who loves Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure because of the quality time they spend at the "Circle K". Yes, they do visit the Circle K in the movie, but it's hardly the point.
Based on the excerpt, Bissinger is definitely indulging in ex-contemporaneous memory adjustment when it comes to describing Boobie as a powder keg the coaches wanted to explode as long as they had a back up
running back.

In the book, the coaches are described of thinking of Boobie as an extremely talented head case, but at no point does he describe them as rooting for Boobie to not be on the team anymore, or to be injured.

The book is a tremendous document of high school football in Odessa Texas. I would strongly recommend separating that art from the artist.