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Friday, December 23, 2005

Dan Interrupted

With Dan off today, we take a moment to remind readers just why this blog exists.

Contrary to what you might think, this is not a fan blog. This blog exists to add weight to the widespread thinking that Dan Shaughnessy is a devil who must be stopped.

Now I'm not saying he is The Devil, big d, red tights, goatee. Nor am not saying he has a forked tail (although he might, and as the overwhelming evidence shows, he certainly has a forked tongue). No, he is a devil, small d, a symbol of all the negativity, poor judgment and hysteria that plagues journalism.

Here's my take on how Dan researches a piece. He listens to talk radio for a couple of hours, gets a sense of the prevailing winds based on a small and hysterical bunch of morons, and writes down the best one-liners. He then goes to Fenway, eavesdrops in the lockerroom while freeloading a meal, then wanders up to the booth where he eats a few more times. Somewhere around the 7th inning, he cuts out and heads for home or the bar.

That night, the Red Sox lose. In the paper the next day runs some brilliant analysis about how the season is over and what went down was "a bag job," whether it was the sale of the Red Sox or the MVP vote. And when the hate mail starts pouring in, he shrugs it off, saying "I'm paid for opinions."

That's the classic fallback and it's why writers love to be columnists: They don't have to think. They don't have to understand (let alone use) math or logic. They are, in essence, paid to do nothing.

I think of the times in the middle of the day when I've seen him in the Borders Bookstore at the Atrium Mall in Chestnut Hill looking at his own books, and I wonder, How is it that guys like Jay Jaffe can hold down day jobs and still write scintillating, revealing columns, while guys like Dan are making the high salaries?

And, is this really the best Boston can do?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great service you're doing, Chief. Keep up the good work.

CHB finally drove me over the edge last year with his constant references to Doug Mientkiewicz as "the ball thief." After about the 12th time he'd written that in a totally unrelated column, I actually sent him an email to tell him he was embarassing himself.

Thanks for the blog. It's an awful job, but somebody's got to do it.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you have to demean the entire notion of columnists just because Shaughnessy is a miserable lout. Do you honestly thing Bob Ryan or Jackie MacMullan don't put any thought into their jobs?

Don't get me wrong, you're doing a great job pointing out what's wrong with the worst columnist in America. Just don't lump everyone else in with him.

The Chief said...

I think some of the other columnists work a lot harder than Shaughnessy. But remember that it's Shaughnessy and not Ryan, MacMullen et al, who is the Globe's lead columnist. So in that paper's eyes, at least, he's the best.

Joe Calapai said...

I love the tracking of the random Larry Bird references!

I do a sports news parody site and had Shaugnessy making a random Bird reference in one of my first posts:

http://calapaireport.blogspot.com/2005/12/oconnell-wins-red-sox-gm-for-day.html

Check it out (apparently we have the same taste in Blogger templates.)

I do wonder what happens in, say, 30 years from now, how people will look back at Shaughnessy.

I think of how Will McDonough is revered for his hard-nosed style nowadays and I think he was pretty contraversial in his day. (I don't know that for certain; his heyday was before I started really following such things)

But still, I think McDonough made his share of enemies back in the day, too. I don't think Shaughnessy will get the McDonough treatment, but you never know. I do think McDonough commanded much more respect than Shaughnessy (insert joke about "that's not much of a feat" here) but then again McDonough didn't have to stand up to constant internet monitoring.

Back in the day you had Smittie at the bar saying, "Look what that moron in tha Globe is writing this time" and it went to his other three friends; now it's online for everyone to see.

Anonymous said...

Stupid question.... what does CHB stand for? I know it is referring to Shaughnessy, but what exactly is CHB?

B said...

CHB = Curly Haired Boyfriend.

That was the nickname Carl Everett bestowed upon Shaughnessy during his time here in Boston. That alone is the reason I stand and cheer Everett whenever he comes to town.

It's nice payback for all the "Jurassic Carl" references made by Dan.

Anonymous said...

Shaughnessy is the biggest hack in Boston. The fact that he has the lead columnist slot is unfathomable to me. It's practically a sacrilege that he occupies the same seat held by Ray Fitzgerald and Leigh Montville before him. They were sports guys who could write creative columns. Shaughnessy's schtick is to hack away. Make it personal and chop people down. That's why he sucks. Heck, back in the 80s he began his career taking shots at John McNamara and Bill Fitch and then continuing YEARS after they'd left town. Why? Who cared at that point? And he's done the same again and again ever since.

Todd Walker had it right in 2003 when he said Shaughnessy must have been abused as a kid. And is anyone else sick of the inane song lyrics he inserts in his drivel?