Sunday, September 18, 2005

What to Read: Since I am not writing much web stuff these days I want to share a couple of journalists who maintain frequently updated sites that I have become very attached to, for you to visit if you need some stimulating reading.

First there is Terry Teachout who keeps a blog called About Last Night over at Arts Journal. Terry is probably the most eminent critic alive at the moment. He sits on the National Council for the Arts and covers just about every form of art -- films, books, music, TV, you-name-it; high, low and middle brow -- for a number of publications, not the least of which being a weekly column in the (dead tree only) Wall Street Journal. Though a critic by strict definition, Terry often refers to himself as an enthusiast; someone who enjoys writing about what he enjoys. The key, I think, to his success is that he assumes a role beyond sharing an opinion and suggesting what you should and should not consume art-wise. He understands that the critic should be an encouraging voice in civilization's never-ending conversation about the arts.

I'm also quite jealous of how well and frequently he writes. I delude myself that I could do that if I didn't have a day job.

Second, we have the best sportswriter alive, Bill Simmons, who writes for Truly, deeply, hysterically funny at times. Simmons is Boston native, currently displaced in LA, and as you can guess, he was in rare form last year what with his home teams winning both the Super Bowl and the World Series.

It's a fairly obvious fact that sports journalists generally have an inferiority complex. They think that they are not a significant as 'real news' journalists so they are always attempting to make sports into something societally momentous or deeply symbolic. Simmons is one of the tiny minority who understand that sports is simply a form of entertainment (that you happen to be able to bet on).

You see, Barry Bonds steroid usage or Terrell Owens flagrant inanity are not things to take to heart and analyze for what they say about the world at large. They are roughly the equivalent of a Russell Crowe phone assault or anything that comes out of Tara Reid's mouth. They are just absurdities that God put on this earth to entertain us. Simmons knows this (perhaps especially well since he did a stint in Hollywood as a writer for Jimmy Kimmel) and peppers his writing with all sorts of sarcastic pop culture references.

He is, at this point in time, the most entertaining journalist around in any genre.

Anyway, just a couple of places for you to visit when you curse me for not having anything new posted. Which would be always...