Showing posts with label cognitive dissonance. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cognitive dissonance. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bill reminds you that you didn't enjoy the Summer Olympics between 1988 and 2000

Do you remember any of those games?  I was too young to know or care about Seoul in '88, but I enjoyed the fuck out of Barcelona and Atlanta.  Sydney not so much, but between Atlanta and then I turned 16 so I probably had better things to do than watch (like hang out in the parking lot of the local 7-Eleven).  Anyways I could swear I really had a great time following those 1992 and 1996 games.  Could swear.  Fortunately Bill's here to set me straight and make me realize that my memories are completely wrong.  Those Olympics actually sucked.

We wouldn't remember the next four Summer Olympics nearly as fondly. Seoul happened during my first year in college; like my freshman year,

Cue up Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent.  Well, this is his bit reversed, but you know what I mean.

 it was tainted by drugs, cheating and a series of unexpected second-place finishes. 

(I'm still angry at John Thompson, by the way.) 

I'm sure he's sorry.

Barcelona happened right after I miraculously graduated with a 3.04 — the biggest upset of the 1990s

Add to the list of "That Guys" who Bill is: That Guy who thinks you will think he's cool if he tells you he got mediocre grades.  

— with the Dream Team effectively hijacking every other Olympic memory that summer. 

Yeah, didn't it suck when the best basketball team ever assembled put on a magnificent show for us over the course of two weeks?  Wasn't that just the worst?  Ugh, we should have boycotted those games like we boycotted Moscow in 1980.

Magic and Bird's farewell felt strangely fitting for me, like they were ushering in the official end of my childhood. 

OMG IT'S SO FITTING!  LOOK AT THAT BUILT IN NARRATIVE!  Now that I think about it, even though I was still in elementary school then, it was also kind of like the end of my childhood!  Basketball Jesus is at the center of my life and I'm not afraid to admit it!

The '96 Olympics in Atlanta were a massive letdown, 

Yeah, wasn't it terrible when the US cleaned up the medals (44 gold and 101 total; next closest in each category were 26 and 65) and we got to witness amazing moments from Michael Johnson, Amy Van Dyken, Andre Agassi, Carl Lewis (4th long jump gold for my main man Carl!  UH OH!), and yes, I hate to admit it, but Kerri Strug?  WHAT A LETDOWN.  BOO.  The only thing that actually sucked about these Olympics was that they were held in the south in July and August, but fortunately the atrocious summer weather didn't affect the 99.999% of us watching on TV.

marred by the frightening bombing (and ensuing witch hunt of Richard Jewell), an embarrassing level of overcommercialization, 

That started well before 1996.  Also, he's about to praise the Beijing games, so yeah, either they stopped commercializing the ever-loving shitpiss out of the Olympics, or Bill's head is in his ass as usual. 

NBC's relentlessly sappy puff pieces and a generally contrived vibe that everyone despised 

Read: that I despised

and that had absolutely nothing in common with the dutifully ironic, brooding, me-first attitude of Generation X. 

Yes, there is definitely a connection to be made between the stereotype of Americans born during the 60s and whether or not the Olympics were broadcast in an enjoyable fashion.  


In the span of 12 short years, it was hard to say what changed more — the Olympics or us. 



Meanwhile, I wasn't even writing anymore, just bartending, waiting tables, partying, brooding and staying up until 4 a.m. every night. My life sucked. So did the Atlanta Olympics.

Fuck you.  Die.

By the time Sydney rolled around in 2000, I had my own website and a snarky forum to poke fun of never-ending tape delays, 


puff pieces and everything else … you know, just like 10 million other frustrated, underpaid writers on the Internet. (Really, that was our first Internet Olympics.)

And boy did they suck!  Or something!  Bill has abandoned his incredibly self-centered and shoddy thesis.  It's almost like he put no thought into it in the first place.

During 2004's games in Athens, I had graduated to writing the "Sports Guy" column for, making decent coin 

Fuck you twice.

and breaking down Team USA's Basketball collapse with Unabomber-length manifestos. Americans digested that particular Summer Olympics the same way we digested everything else in 2004: inhaling everything while complaining the entire time. 

Almost as worthless and out of place as his Gen-X comment.  You wonder how he writes such dog shit, then you read the ESPN book and find out that he whines to his editor's boss when his editor tries to edit anything, and ultimately writes "stet all changes" on the manuscript and sends it back.

With 500 channels and dozens of Internet-related ways to distract ourselves, the idea of tape-delaying anything sports-related just seemed prehistoric. 

Yeah, who DIDN'T want to watch the events live from like 5 AM til 4 PM?  People with regular jobs? Pity for them.  They didn't have the idea of writing about sports on TV to an audience that liked everything about TV, with the silver spoon benefit of a very helpful AOL blog platform.  

We were pissed off. 

You were pissed off.

I don't even remember enjoying those Olympics, just being bitter about how badly that franchise had been screwed up. 

Now watch him gush all over the Beijing games.  The cognitive dissonance is staggering.

Athens was like watching Clooney as Batman and Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.

Leave Mr. Freeze out of this.  Arnold did a great job.

Four years later, I passed up a chance to cover Beijing so I could write my 700-page monstrosity of a basketball book. Once upon a time, I had dreamed of covering a Summer Olympics, envisioning it as something of the Super Bowl for sports columnists. You zipped around, attended as many events as possible, ripped off pieces and tried to stand out. 

By pointing out that many Olympic level female athletes are attractive, and then by bringing up The Client List every three paragraphs.  

After 1996, 2000 and 2004, I just didn't care. Those days were dead. Or so I thought. Because Beijing rejuvenated the Olympics franchise, with NBC taking better advantage of its resources (cable and Internet) to show more events as they happened. Suddenly the viewer experience wasn't much different than attending in person — you jumped around and devoured as much as you could.

Of course you did!  Between midnight and 9 AM!  What, it's not like there was anything ELSE going on during those hours.  Thanks, NBC!  What a self-centered cunt this man is.  This is just like that article he wrote about how NBA coaches need to be more mindful of the feelings of season ticket holders.  HOW DARE YOU REST ANY OF YOUR STARS WHEN YOU COME TO MY CITY! I PAID GOOD MONEY FOR THESE SEATS!  SOMEBODY THINK ABOUT ME FOR ONCE!

It helped that Michael Phelps submitted an iconic performance, breaking out as a genuine superstar instead of a manufactured one. 

Which Olympic stars are of the manufactured variety?  99% of them are nobodies until they win something, and the other 1% play pro basketball and tennis and are already stars.

Somewhere between his fourth gold medal and his 27th, I started second-guessing myself for missing Beijing. When our hoops team barely fended off Spain in one of this decade's most underrated dramatic sporting events (no, seriously), 

I get that basketball is your thing, and that it's exciting that the US is great at it.  But come on--we get amazing basketball for like 7 months out of every year here.  You're no better than NBC, cramming basketball, gymnastics and swimming down our throats.

the Summer Olympics moved back atop my Sports Column Bucket List. I could have been there. I should have been there.

But I was too busy writing a book!  (Me!  I wrote a book!  A whole one!)

London is the 11th Summer Olympics of my lifetime and the 30th overall, making it the XXX Olympics (and if you think that's not going to be funny for three straight weeks, you're fooling youself). 

The funniness kind of seeped out of that one for me about 15 seconds after I first realized it.  I guess I'm either fooling myself or no longer in the seventh grade.

Ripping through those checkpoints again: 1972 (no memory),1976 (happy kid), 1980 (parents' divorce), 1984 (the patriotism/pop culture/TV/herofest), 1988 (college freshman), 1992 (college graduate), 1996 (bitter slacker), 2000 (Internet), 2004 (ESPN), 2008 (book), 2012 (here).

Thanks for the recap, news/talk radio host, but no one gives a shit.

That's right … I finally made it to the Summer Olympics.

There are so many parallels to Game of Thrones here, it's uncanny!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Snap Cognitive Dissonance With Don Banks

From this week's Snap Judgments column:

If you've seen one Jets game this season, you've seen them all. Not to repeat myself from last Sunday's Snaps, but the resilient Jets are going to find a way to win, no matter how long the game lasts...It must be torture for New York fans to sit through these three-hour high-wire acts every Sunday, but I don't know how you can possibly take exception with the results.

Bah, whatever. The Football Outsiders say that the Jets luck unit leads the league in wins, which I tend to agree with. But I also agree with Don Banks that a win's a win and all that. However, a few paragraphs later, Banks has this to say:

The Ravens wound up making it look like a comfortable win, but if you watched Baltimore's 37-13 conquest of out-manned Carolina, you know better. The Panthers, with the very lightly experienced Brian St. Pierre at quarterback, were within seven points (at 20-13) until late in the third quarter. Baltimore really doesn't close the deal very well this season...

So let's recap:

The Jets, who have needed the last few minutes of regulation or overtime to put away the sub-.500 Dolphins, Vikings, Broncos, Lions, Browns, and Texans, are a thrilling team whose results you can't argue with.

Conversely, the Ravens, who blew out the Dolphins and Broncos, don't close games out very well and therefore, their wins can be easily discounted.

Note: Yes, I'm a Ravens fan. No, I don't think the Ravens are objectively better than the Jets. In fact, I think the Jets would probably win a rematch if they played tomorrow. I just think it's a little ridiculous that Banks and a lot of other media folk are falling over themselves to congratulate the Jets for racking up come from behind wins against teams with losing records.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Cognitive Dissonance: Bill Simmons Edition

From Simmons' recent revamping fantasy football column:

You're not gonna believe this, but when you play fantasy football, occasionally you might lose by three points. Keep it to yourself unless it's a one-of-a-kind defeat, like DeSean Jackson spiking a Monday night touchdown on the 1-yard line and costing every owner six points (and then they lose by five or less, which of course, happened to me, which is the only reason I remember that story). Or Westbrook turtling on the 1-yard line and costing someone a million-dollar Rich Guy league. (Yes, I know someone who lost a million dollars because of that play.)...Subjecting people to fantasy tales is like showing them Facebook photos. Yeah, they might be nodding, but they don't care. They don't.

Bill's most recent tweet:

This is me nodding.