April 29, 2003

I Used to Revere David Halb...

this are part of the reason why I no longer do.

Posted by at April 29, 2003 11:15 PM
Comments

Other than his first book, about the '79 Blazers, his sportswriting has been cliched and uninteresting. Bill James called him out years ago on the lack of fact-checking in Summer of '49, and for those of us who believe that sports are an unserious activity that deserve to be treated seriously by the reporters who cover it, Halberstam's sports books are pathetic.

Posted by: Steve Smith at April 29, 2003 11:48 PM

What was that essay? It read like a grad school entrance essay or, less generously like a junior high-what-I-did-last-summer assignment. But he's a professional...bah.
Matt - When are you and this Riorden guy getting started?

Posted by: Scott at April 30, 2003 07:50 AM

"The Breaks of the Game" is really great, though.

Posted by: Justin Slotman at April 30, 2003 08:32 AM

Glad to see there's three of you who feel exactly as I do. "Breaks of the Game" was an absolute mindblower ... and now we get this warmed-over Ken Burns-for-intellectuals b.s.

Posted by: Matt Welch at April 30, 2003 10:54 AM

I saw him in the last year or so on the Daily Show, then heard him on public radio. Pompous does not begin to describe this guy. And don't get me wrong: The Powers that Be is still a terrific read (though now I wonder about its accuracy...)

Posted by: Ben Sullivan at April 30, 2003 11:19 AM

You think that was bad, you shoulda seen him mumbling out heartwarming Americana stories about his old buddy Al Gore at the Democratic National Convention....

Here's a fun fact about David Halberstam: He went to elementary school with Ralph Nader, and they were childhood friends! Also, as I said in my Woe Is Media deal, he wrote that 1998 was the worst year in journalism in the four decades he'd been practicing the fine art. And, despite these crummy sports books he keeps churning out, he's forever editing these "best American sportswriting" anthologies.

I loved "Powers That Be," too ... though I read that & my other favorite Halberstams between the impressionable ages of 18 and 20. Like "Angel Heart," or "Armies of the Night," I wonder how they'd hold up now?

Posted by: Matt Welch at April 30, 2003 11:55 AM

For me the nadir was his Barry Bonds column for ESPN, where in he used a Vietnam War anecdote to buttress the assertion that generals and baseball stars are ephemeral but the press 'will be there after [they] are gone.'

As a child of the Sixties, it was perhaps the first time I felt sympathy for the Vietnam era generals.

Posted by: copans at May 2, 2003 10:17 AM
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"comments-post">Posted by: Justin Slotman at April 30, 2003 08:32 AM

Glad to see there's three of you who feel exactly as I do. "Breaks of the Game" was an absolute mindblower ... and now we get this warmed-over Ken Burns-for-intellectuals b.s.

Posted by: Matt Welch at April 30, 2003 10:54 AM

I saw him in the last year or so on the Daily Show, then heard him on public radio. Pompous does not begin to describe this guy. And don't get me wrong: The Powers that Be is still a terrific read (though now I wonder about its accuracy...)

Posted by: Ben Sullivan at April 30, 2003 11:19 AM

You think that was bad, you shoulda seen him mumbling out heartwarming Americana stories about his old buddy Al Gore at the Democratic National Convention....

Here's a fun fact about David Halberstam: He went to elementary school with Ralph Nader, and they were childhood friends! Also, as I said in my Woe Is Media deal, he wrote that 1998 was the worst year in journalism in the four decades he'd been practicing the fine art. And, despite these crummy sports books he keeps churning out, he's forever editing these "best American sportswriting" anthologies.

I loved "Powers That Be," too ... though I read that & my other favorite Halberstams between the impressionable ages of 18 and 20. Like "Angel Heart," or "Armies of the Night," I wonder how they'd hold up now?

Posted by: Matt Welch at April 30, 2003 11:55 AM

For me the nadir was his Barry Bonds column for ESPN, where in he used a Vietnam War anecdote to buttress the assertion that generals and baseball stars are ephemeral but the press 'will be there after [they] are gone.'

As a child of the Sixties, it was perhaps the first time I felt sympathy for the Vietnam era generals.

Posted by: copans at May 2, 2003 10:17 AM
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