Some of you may have noticed the recent kerfuffle between Buzz Bissinger, famed author of Friday Night Lights (my review), and Will Leitch of Deadspin. If you haven’t, take a look at the video. See Will’s take and his second post; see also Deadspin’s link roundup. For more, see Michael Schur of Fire Joe Morgan, Jason Whitlock, Michael David Smith, host Bob Costas defending himself to said MDS, and, most relevantly for purposes of this post, Orson Swindle of EDSBS (and part two) (yes, I know his real name is “Spencer Hall,” but I still think of him as Orson Swindle and will be referring to him as such).
In case you haven’t figured it out (and it’s on my little bio over at Total Titans, so I’m not trying to keep it a huge secret), I fall into Category 5. on Orson’s list of people who blog. His description of us is accurate, so I’m going to quote it in full:
Most post under pseudonyms, but these people make up the rank and file of the blogging world. Why? Because they are bored to tears by their jobs despite being creative, articulate, argumentative, and passionate people. Give a dam an outlet, and it’ll crack mountains into silt. That’s what lawyers are to the blogosphere. None of them live with their mothers, and many make more than the sportswriters who accuse them of living–yes–with Mom.
I’m not so sure about “creative,” but, yup, that’s me. I’m not going to go a full-profile on you, but as interpreted by BFD at DGDB&D, here’s more about who I am and why I blog.
Why do I blog?: I have opinions. I like to have them on record. I don’t really care how much people agree with me, or if people think my opinion is important. This is largely an exercise in personal gratification for me. That said, I think I tend to say interesting things. Also, this gives me something to do in my freely-assignable (read “spare”) time.
Why do I blog anonymously?: Tom is my real name (well, technically, “Thomas” is my first name). My last name is over at Total Titans. My last name isn’t on here. When I started blogging, it was over at The Other Blog with a couple law school classmates. They preferred some level of anonymity, for unsurprising reasons, and I liked that level of anonymity. Plus, many of the early readers were classmates or personal acquaintances, so they knew who we were. I like to think of it as “google-nymity.” Now that I’ve joined Total Titans, it’s not hard to connect this and The Other Blog with my real name. I looked into setting this up on a different account, with my real name, but it proved annoyingly difficult.
Do I live in my mother’s basement: No. I live on my own. I have blogged from my parents’ basement before, but they’ve since moved out of state. I may in the future blog from their guest room or living room or study or someplace, but that won’t be a regular occurrence.
Why is it OK for you to blog?: I want to, and I can, and that’s all you need. I admit it: I never played football beyond the recreational level. No Pop Warner, no park district-type football. The high school from which I graduated didn’t even have a football team. Even if it did, I wouldn’t have played. I was a really awful athlete growing up-slow, weak, and uncoordinated. Why write about football then? I love the game, partly because I can enjoy it on so many levels. I can sit there as a fan and react emotionally to the action as it happens-cheering for big plays and cursing the errors and opponent successes. Then, I can sit down and watch tape and intellectually figure it out. There’s a great passage in Dr. Z’s New Thinking Man’s Guide (note to self: add review) about how football is like chess with a constantly-changing background. Exactly what’s going on isn’t already readily apparent, or part of that visceral reaction. To the extent my blogging here is interesting and/or good, it’s in providing a look at some of what may be going on behind the obvious.
Religion/Politics: Orson’s comments about being raised Catholic and reacting negatively to religion ring quite true to me. If you want to be religious, fine with me, unless you have a problem with me being not religious. Politics is an issue for The Other Blog, and a topic I intentionally avoid here. The only exception, which isn’t strictly a partisan issue, is “public subsidies for sports stadia are a bad idea.” If it become relevant, I may in the future discuss politics as it relates more generally to stadia, but political discussions won’t go beyond that. There are lots of places to discuss politics on the internet; this ain’t one of them.
Education: Undergrad international relations degree from Georgetown. Worthless degree, but I got to read for class a lot of stuff I’d read voluntarily. Law degree from Chicago. A fun place to waste three years if you want a little bit of intellectual rigor and aren’t really sold on that whole “law” thing.
Career: Law firm slave labor for a couple years between undergrad and grad school. Now higher up on the “law firm flunky” scale, doing corporate work. The last time I was in a courtroom was on a tour my first year of law school, and it wouldn’t bother me at all if I was never in one again.
Family: Single. Parents, sister, brother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, none local.
What do I look like?: 6’2″, about 185, dorky-looking but not nearly as dorky as I used to be, glasses, white. I could probably stand to lose 15 pounds, because I hate to exercise and eat too many high-calorie foods (see here), but it’s not real obvious. I don’t know of anybody I look like.
Miscellaneous Notes: Not evident from the above is I have strong elements of a math/stats dork. Spent junior year of college in Japan; Japanese language ability now very bad due to lack of use. Started grades 5-10 in 6 different schools. Attended 2 preschools, 2 elementary schools, 2 junior highs, 2 high schools, 2 colleges, but only 1 graduate school. Was told in college of 10 different things I should have majored in. Captained state championship-winning team senior year of high school. Sung “Witch Doctor” multiple times in public while sober. Wrote this post while watching Stars-Sharks NHL playoff game.
Dramatic Ending: Ooh ee, ooh ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang. Ooh ee, ooh ah ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang.
UPDATE (5/26/08 2036 CT): Brian of MGoBlog with some good thoughts, and linking to some of the same from Clay Travis. Clay Travis suggests a quiz bowl-style showdown. I approve, and volunteer to take part. See above for qualifications re same.