"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Sgt. Fury

Hilarious profile of Buzz Bissinger by Sandy Hingston at Philadelphia Magazine. I knew the guy had the red ass but dag, he comes across like the lead in an Oliver Stone movie:

The funny thing is, Buzz’s Inquirer writing verges on the sort of Internet screed he says he despises. He utilizes a blogger’s ramped-up emotional outrage. And while the columns draw on his reservoir of knowledge of the city, they don’t break new ground. “That’s become the norm in the blogosphere and increasingly in print — strong opinion without a lot of new reporting,” Stalberg says. All that sound and fury runs the risk of signifying nothing. Buzz has gone after his old hero Rendell harder than he has anyone, but when Cohen’s asked what Ed thinks of Buzz’s handiwork, “I don’t think I’ve ever discussed the column with the Governor,” he says.

Still, Buzz is proud to be bucking the trend. “Steve Lopez told me, ‘You’re the only person in America who’s gone back into newspapers,’” he says, like it’s a badge of honor. He views his column as a reaffirmation of the power of the press, and to those of a certain age, it is. “Your average newspaper columnist still has considerable influence today,” Stalberg says, “because it’s print, and it stays there.” Well, no. Print gets recycled. Words only live on forever on Buzz’s bête-noire Internet. (“By the way,” Stalberg says, “is he still wearing those leather pants?”)

Speaking of Lopez, when you repeat Buzz’s “eradicate the memory” quote to him, he retorts: “He’s going to eradicate my memory? How, with eight columns a year? Tell the little sissy to write three a week and get back to me.” Then adds, “I love the bastard like a brother.” Buzz has devoted friends, and they cut him the slack they feel he deserves. “Nobody I know is more miserable in success,” Lopez says of his old buddy. Asked if writing his column makes Buzz happy, Ceisler says, “Buzz is not the type of person who strives for happiness.”

I don’t know if there is anything particularly noble about Bissinger returning to the newspaper business. He’s one of the few writers who can afford to make that move. Still, he might have the right amount of ego and outrage to blow up the spot.


1 RagingTartabull   ~  May 6, 2010 9:37 am

Buzz's descent into self parody is just sad at this point. Defending his old work (which needs no defending because it's brilliant) is the journalism equivalent of "ya know kids, he might sound like a moron now, but Joe Morgan really was something once..."

2 Alex Belth   ~  May 6, 2010 9:54 am

I've never read "Friday Night Lights." It's worth reading then?

3 RagingTartabull   ~  May 6, 2010 10:02 am

[2] Definitely. You just have to separate Friday Night Lights the book/piece of reporting from Friday Night Lights the movie/cottage industry.

The formula's been repeated a thousand times by now (reporter embeds with a high school sports team for a year) but it still holds up great, I only read it for the first time about a year ago.

The only one of his books I haven't read is the LeBron one, only because I don't need to read 250 pages on some kid younger than me burnishing his self-created legend. You guys didn't win a championship because you had "heart", you won because no one else had LeBron James on their team. Come on now.

4 FreddySez   ~  May 6, 2010 2:08 pm

Christ, what an infuriating guy. Not because I have some pure hate for him -- that would be easy -- but because of the maddening duality of it all.

He's a douche, and the world needs more people doing what he's doing.

I feel like hitting him in the face, but in my own low-rent, no-audience way, I'm probably more like him than I care to admit.

He's a study in how one person can earn respect and forfeit it, almost in the same breath.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
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