Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Simple Play

Remember the episode of Charles in Charge (actually, I think it was a two-parter) where Charles got hit on the head and became Chaz, a leather jacket-wearing, floozy-humping bad-ass? Then he got hit on the head again and reverted to his earlier, more virtuous persona? That's kind of what happened to me. Here I was, cruising along, bringing content on the regular, when I made the mistake of reading one of Tom Boswell's email columns. It's disappeared from the internets, but maybe you remember it. Among other things, Boz posited that Gary Majewski's game-losing error against the Mets on May 1 wouldn't have happened if the Nats had an owner. It was a great example of projection: Boz is real upset about the ownership situation, so naturally all the guys whose posters adorn his bedroom walls are too.

Driven mad by the madness of the idea, I spent a week just sort of staggering around, gasping and trying to figure out a reason to go on living. Some things are too weird for the feeble mind of man, and this was one of them. How ironic that my salvation would be another Boswell column, this one even more gnarled and wicked than the first. Reading that twisted mess of nonsense acted like a frying pan on my muddled head, returning me to my accustomed angry state.

I'm not Christopher Hitchens and Boz isn't Mother Teresa, so there's no way I can do a better job taking this apart than already Harper did, and I demand that you read his account of Boswell's pennant-waving distortions. There is, however, one particularly low-hanging fruit I want to rant about.

Boz loves Alfonso Soriano, and that's fine. It's obvious that he loves Soriano solely because he's a Nat, but who am I to judge? And even I have to admit that there's a lot to like about the guy. His power, his speed, his hot start, his striking cheekbones, and his surprising (to me, at least) effort and good attitude about his new position. But that's not good enough for Boswell, so he stoops to lying outright.
In left field, he has only one error but five assists, a ratio that many thought would be exactly the opposite. He's misjudged a few difficult fly balls and looked awkward, but has also outrun the ball for a few fine catches. And he hasn't butchered even one simple play. [emphasis mine]
I haven't seen much of the Nationals, but I know that isn't true. I'm also a blogger, so I'm disinclined to do a lot of research. So I used my favorite research substitute, the wisdom of Google. This statement, "And he hasn't butchered even one simple play," is the most dishonest argument I've ever seen Boswell use. I hesitate even to call it dishonest, since it's so obviously wrong that it couldn't deceive anyone who's even vaguely paying attention. Boswell is beyond mere distortion at this point; he's lying. And that bothers me, because he'll never be called on it in any meaningful way. Sure, the blogs will complain, but he'll never see it. He'll get some snarky questions in his chat tomorrow, but he'll either ignore them or toss off an equally snarky and entirely inadequate response.

For all the idealistic talk about the free exchange of ideas and whatnot on the internet, it doesn't work out all that well in real life, unless misspelled personal threats count as "ideas." But there is something to be said about the instant feedback available to bloggers and message board posters -- it keeps you on your toes. You have to be ready to defend yourself, and that means (one would hope) that you put just a little extra effort into not babbling like a concussed halfwit. Boswell, tenured and well-respected hack that he is, is cozily insulated from this kind of feedback. Which is probably a good thing, because no one wants to pick on an old man, and that silly homer wouldn't last a week blogging.

2 comments:

John Edward said...

He'll get some snarky questions in his chat tomorrow, but he'll either ignore them or toss off an equally snarky and entirely inadequate response

I was just about to say that!

El Gran Color Naranja said...

Bashing Boswell and 80's TV references! It's the best blog post ever!

His chat response today was weak, amounting to little more than I said "simple" play. Have you seen him mess up a lazy fly ball hit right at him? "Simple" should include ranging slightly, and reacting to line drives. Nothing out of the routine. We've all seen Soriano butcher a couple of these.

Speaking of Charles in Charge, you ever see Josie Davis (awkward middle child) now? I suppose not (most people weren't as devoted to 'Titans' as I was) but she grew up much nicer than one would expect.