The Bill Simmons Thread

Dotrat

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Can people in their 40s and 50s, without being labeled ridiculous and arrogant, discuss legacies of contemporary movies? TV? Books? Art? Fashion? Is everyone older than their 20s discussing the latest Marvel TV show on this board ridiculous and arrogant and pathetic for expressing their opinion about where it falls within the canon of other Marvel projects? What is particularly different about music or the "legacy of songs"? This rule you've made seems highly specific and inconsistent when applied to music alone, but also any other form of art.

If you want to say, "Bill Simmons is ridiculous and arrogant for discussing Taylor Swift's legacy songs because he has very little depth of understanding about music beyond Pearl Jam and U2," that's a fair argument that I probably agree with. This is not his wheelhouse. Frankly, I don't know enough specifically about Klosterman to say what his opinion means on anything. But you're making a very different argument, that age and sex somehow convey special knowledge unto a person, and no matter how much you listen to an artist or are a fan of that artist, or even if you're just a highly engaged, interested observer, you are "pathetic" for even thinking you can discuss the topic. That's a pretty broad statement that, I think, blindly parroting dissuades people from staying in touch with modern music and having interesting discussions about it.
I’m not making rules, I’m making observations. And I was intentional about limiting them to pop music, where youth has held sway for roughly 75 years. I was also careful to say that anyone is free to weigh in on anything.

But it’s one thing for you and me to discuss pop music on a message board or over coffee. In those spaces, we can agree or disagree about anything and hopefully have a mutually enlightening, or at least interesting and intelligent conversation. But neither of us is reaching an audience of whatever the enormous audience is for Simmons’s podcast. Those kinds of conversations become categorically different—though in either context, I’d find it really silly for someone to ask what I think Taylor Swift’s legacy song(s) will be. So I’m not questioning their right, but I am saying that it’s dumb for them to entertain an attempt at gauging the legacy of an artist who’s in all likelihood barely at the midpoint of her career (and who may not have even written her legacy songs yet) with a large and devoted fan base most of whom are well outside the demographic of middle-aged white dudes—white guys who have every right to have any opinion on Taylor Swift that they choose—but who also risk being giggled at when they shoot for the wobbly posterity of pop music icons who are close to two decades younger than they are.

Legacies are the long shadow of an artist’s career. It’s one thing for me to say, “I’m an older guy but I love Billie Eilish’s music” or “I think Ed Sheeran is to popular music what Chuck Klosterman is to pop culture journalism—as deep as a puddle and about as interesting,” but another to say that “Ocean Eyes” will be the defining song of Eilish’s career. The first are comments about my taste, the second makes a wager on history. I have no issue with anyone of any age, gender, race, or creed telling me that I’m an idiot for hating Ed Sheeran’s music or Klosterman’s writing (except for the obvious fact that they would be wrong, of course;)), or that if I dig Elliott Smith, I may want to check Beabadoobee (and you all should—she’s wonderful), but I have little interest in listening to someone close to my own age who agrees with me about Sheeran and wants to tell me why his fame will be so fleeting he’ll make Andy Gibb look like Nick Drake. It’s not our call. And that’s not a rule—it’s simply the way pop music legacies have worked since teenagers and other young people became the most ravenous consumers of music. So we’re all free to yap about whatever we please—I certainly wouldn’t have been a member here for more than 20 years if I thought otherwise.
 

luckiestman

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I’m not making rules, I’m making observations. And I was intentional about limiting them to pop music, where youth has held sway for roughly 75 years. I was also careful to say that anyone is free to weigh in on anything.

But it’s one thing for you and me to discuss pop music on a message board or over coffee. In those spaces, we can agree or disagree about anything and hopefully have a mutually enlightening, or at least interesting and intelligent conversation. But neither of us is reaching an audience of whatever the enormous audience is for Simmons’s podcast. Those kinds of conversations become categorically different—though in either context, I’d find it really silly for someone to ask what I think Taylor Swift’s legacy song(s) will be. So I’m not questioning their right, but I am saying that it’s dumb for them to entertain an attempt at gauging the legacy of an artist who’s in all likelihood barely at the midpoint of her career (and who may not have even written her legacy songs yet) with a large and devoted fan base most of whom are well outside the demographic of middle-aged white dudes—white guys who have every right to have any opinion on Taylor Swift that they choose—but who also risk being giggled at when they shoot for the wobbly posterity of pop music icons who are close to two decades younger than they are.

Legacies are the long shadow of an artist’s career. It’s one thing for me to say, “I’m an older guy but I love Billie Eilish’s music” or “I think Ed Sheeran is to popular music what Chuck Klosterman is to pop culture journalism—as deep as a puddle and about as interesting,” but another to say that “Ocean Eyes” will be the defining song of Eilish’s career. The first are comments about my taste, the second makes a wager on history. I have no issue with anyone of any age, gender, race, or creed telling me that I’m an idiot for hating Ed Sheeran’s music or Klosterman’s writing (except for the obvious fact that they would be wrong, of course;)), or that if I dig Elliott Smith, I may want to check Beabadoobee (and you all should—she’s wonderful), but I have little interest in listening to someone close to my own age who agrees with me about Sheeran and wants to tell me why his fame will be so fleeting he’ll make Andy Gibb look like Nick Drake. It’s not our call. And that’s not a rule—it’s simply the way pop music legacies have worked since teenagers and other young people became the most ravenous consumers of music. So we’re all free to yap about whatever we please—I certainly wouldn’t have been a member here for more than 20 years if I thought otherwise.
You are so far up your own ass that you refuse to understand what Chuck brought up. It isn’t a deep point so you have to be trying to miss it on purpose. It had nothing to do with defining Swift or her legacy. It was a stoner style observation.
 

Dotrat

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You are so far up your own ass that you refuse to understand what Chuck brought up. It isn’t a deep point so you have to be trying to miss it on purpose. It had nothing to do with defining Swift or her legacy. It was a stoner style observation.
Zach Wilson says hi.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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There are two potentially interesting discussions here, one about artistic and cultural legacies and what gets remembered and outlives its initial moment and what doesn’t, and one about the ways The Discourse has evolved in the last ~20 years and how that affects an artist like Swift and a writer like Klosterman. But I don’t really want to keep polluting the Simmons thread since I don’t really care about him or his podcast.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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What I am saying is that questions of legacy in pop music primarily inhere to the people who are the artists’ primary audience, which is largely, though not exclusively, a function of demographics.
So...white women?

The white female pop icons primary audience is white women. Swift has no peer in that bracket, but if you go down that list - Lana Del Ray, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Adele, Madonna, Katie Perry, Lady Gaga, Cher, Kesha, etc etc etc - their audience is predominately white and predominately women.

I wonder if maybe that's why you can count the number of iconic/legendary white, female musicians on one hand: Madonna, Cher, Swift...and who? Streisand? Celine Dion? Just the first three? (Please God, this isn't to say there aren't great white, female musicians...if people can think of the ones I missed in that upper tier stratosphere, please share).

When your primary audience veers away from 50% of the population (men) and is fractioned further by nearly 40% (female minorities in the US), the hurdles are much larger to clear to enter the cultural zeitgeist to that degree.

White women on the whole, however, are more willing to be fans of artists with varying demographics. Women will listen to male pop stars or rock bands. They'll listen to black female singers or rappers.

I'm not really sure what my point is or if I have one - which I thought was fitting while I highlighted this during a Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman conversation.
 

Dotrat

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White women on the whole, however, are more willing to be fans of artists with varying demographics. Women will listen to male pop stars or rock bands. They'll listen to black female singers or rappers.

I'm not really sure what my point is or if I have one - which I thought was fitting while I highlighted this during a Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman conversation.
That's a really interesting point. Every female music fan I know is as into male artists as female--but I don't see quite as much reciprocation on the other side--definitely some, just as not to the same degree.
 

nattysez

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On a related note: the Ringer has a Spotify-only podcast called "Dissect" where they do an intensive deep-dive into specific albums. Their dissection of In Rainbows by Radiohead was pretty spectacular -- they spent about an hour on each song. The episode after they finished their In Rainbows run, they did a "Favorite Music of 2023" show and spent the first couple of mins or so pissing all over the idea that Taylor Swift was worthy of being the "greatest artist since Michael Jackson." One host even piped up "What's her signature dance move?" That immediately indicated to me that these were not guys to be taken seriously and I unsubscribed from the podcast.

I can 100% understand saying that T Swift's music is not your thing or that you prefer other artists. But you cannot dismiss someone at her level of popularity and still call yourself an expert on current music or pop culture.
 

CaptainLaddie

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So...white women?

The white female pop icons primary audience is white women. Swift has no peer in that bracket, but if you go down that list - Lana Del Ray, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Adele, Madonna, Katie Perry, Lady Gaga, Cher, Kesha, etc etc etc - their audience is predominately white and predominately women.

I wonder if maybe that's why you can count the number of iconic/legendary white, female musicians on one hand: Madonna, Cher, Swift...and who? Streisand? Celine Dion? Just the first three? (Please God, this isn't to say there aren't great white, female musicians...if people can think of the ones I missed in that upper tier stratosphere, please share).

When your primary audience veers away from 50% of the population (men) and is fractioned further by nearly 40% (female minorities in the US), the hurdles are much larger to clear to enter the cultural zeitgeist to that degree.

White women on the whole, however, are more willing to be fans of artists with varying demographics. Women will listen to male pop stars or rock bands. They'll listen to black female singers or rappers.

I'm not really sure what my point is or if I have one - which I thought was fitting while I highlighted this during a Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman conversation.
You missed Dolly. The Queen.
 

teddywingman

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Dolly, Emmylou, Stevie all come to mind.

They were never close to Swift's current level, but who ever was? And they were up there in their prime. One could argue that Dolly is in a Renaissance prime. Probably one of the 10 most famous/recognizable people on earth right now.

So...white women?

The white female pop icons primary audience is white women. Swift has no peer in that bracket, but if you go down that list - Lana Del Ray, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Adele, Madonna, Katie Perry, Lady Gaga, Cher, Kesha, etc etc etc - their audience is predominately white and predominately women.

I wonder if maybe that's why you can count the number of iconic/legendary white, female musicians on one hand: Madonna, Cher, Swift...and who? Streisand? Celine Dion? Just the first three? (Please God, this isn't to say there aren't great white, female musicians...if people can think of the ones I missed in that upper tier stratosphere, please share).

When your primary audience veers away from 50% of the population (men) and is fractioned further by nearly 40% (female minorities in the US), the hurdles are much larger to clear to enter the cultural zeitgeist to that degree.

White women on the whole, however, are more willing to be fans of artists with varying demographics. Women will listen to male pop stars or rock bands. They'll listen to black female singers or rappers.

I'm not really sure what my point is or if I have one - which I thought was fitting while I highlighted this during a Bill Simmons/Chuck Klosterman conversation.
 

LogansDad

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Tom Breihan made the case just today that Pink belongs in that tier, even if people don’t always think of her that way.
I don't have a dog in this fight, but this is a great article. Personally I agree with him, but I can see why anyone would disagree as Pink never really semmed to seek out that massive following that leads to that tier. I think it could be a fun discussion over in Omar.

That said, the video of her at the end singing Just Give Me a Reason with Kelly Clarkson is just spectacular. Pink is an absolute master at being just good enough in her collaborations to make her partner awesome as well, but never just completely blows them away (like she absolutely could have with Clarkson, who is an excellent artist in her own right). I am a huge fan.
 

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Dolly, Emmylou, Stevie all come to mind.

They were never close to Swift's current level, but who ever was? And they were up there in their prime. One could argue that Dolly is in a Renaissance prime. Probably one of the 10 most famous/recognizable people on earth right now.
Emmylou is a "pop icon?" I don't see it.

And I'm a big fan of hers.
 

Kliq

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Russillo saying that the gap between Denver and Boston is "insurmountable" was a bit much. The way Bill and Ryen talked about the Nuggets, you wonder why they should even play the playoffs, just crown the Nuggets champions.
 

luckiestman

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I was thinking about this thread today while listening to the Risky Business Rewatchables and it made realize why I waste my time defending this guy. It’s not that the criticisms of him are wrong, it’s that they are irrelevant. Simmons is a fun fucking guy. He and Chris Ryan are having such a blast talking about this movie and Simmons is legitimately funny comparing the screenwriter quitting Hollywood to Len Bias. That’s better than most stand up material these days. The Road House episode is even better but I don’t know that Bill is better on it. Bill is a ‘good time Charlie’ and that’s all I want from his work.
 

bankshot1

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Re: women pop mega stars

I dont know Taylor Swifts music at all, but I know she's a social phenomena. But when comped with other women pop superstars, two women come to my mind, Dianna Ross and Cher.

While neither had social media to pump their stardom, their brilliance, presence and charisma was obvious to all. I think Madonna was almost at that level. Tina T was as electric and incindiary as any performer, but she labored to long with a controlling dick and never reached mass market popularity.
 

riboflav

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IDK anything about pop music because I generally hate it, nope, nope, I really just hate it. My wife and kid love it though so I do hear it in the background. Are we sure that Swift is more impactful musically and maybe culturally over Beyonce? So, ridicule me because I'm asking a naive question. But, as a guy on the outside, I know so much more about Beyonce and her music and can better recognize her songs than I can Swift. And, as Kenny puts it above, does Swift penetrate American culture beyond white fans' listening habits? Isn't Beyonce also expanding into country music? (My wife tells me that Swift started in country so there is that). I guess what I'm trying to say is that Michael was loved across demos in the US and Swift doesn't seem to be repeating that. I recognize that could just be more difficult today though it does seem Beyonce has wider appeal if not more total fans.
 

luckiestman

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IDK anything about pop music because I generally hate it, nope, nope, I really just hate it. My wife and kid love it though so I do hear it in the background. Are we sure that Swift is more impactful musically and maybe culturally over Beyonce?
This is phrased in a way that is impossible to really know. Me, I take Beyoncé easily. I would take this one Beyoncé performance* in a hospital over Swift’s entire portfolio. All that being said, Swift is way more famous. Way more impactful on music? Don’t know what that means. I think Swift is way more impactful on the business side in terms of practices and she made more money so has more fans so she is impacting more people at some personal level. In terms of impact on culture? Kind of hard to tell. Neither has an identifiable gimmick; they’re traditionally talented. It’s not like punk rock or grunge or even something like Avril Lavigne or even Hammer pants and Gansta Rap uniforms. What I mean is that it would be hard for me to know that a teenager is dressing to look like either Swift or Beyoncé compared to the Gwen Stefani walking into spiderwebs stuff.

Is one better than the other? What’s the metric.

Do influencers have more impact on fashion/vibe trends than mega pop stars? It seems that way to me.

*

View: https://youtu.be/1XgTKgsnrbI?si=k662lqacVYTvqwzd
 
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Auger34

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Russillo saying that the gap between Denver and Boston is "insurmountable" was a bit much. The way Bill and Ryen talked about the Nuggets, you wonder why they should even play the playoffs, just crown the Nuggets champions.
FWIW, KOC said if the Celtics and Nuggets met in the finals he thought it would go 5 games max.
 

kenneycb

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Russillo saying that the gap between Denver and Boston is "insurmountable" was a bit much. The way Bill and Ryen talked about the Nuggets, you wonder why they should even play the playoffs, just crown the Nuggets champions.
Because the Nuggets may not make it out of the West. Some teams don't matchup well. They believe Boston does not match well with Denver.
 

Auger34

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The Nuggets. He was basically saying that he didn’t think the Celticsncould match them all. He kept saying that they had two bad games and still beat the Celtics
 

Auger34

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I'm completely out on KOC. I think his takes aren't great and he's annoying to listen to. Auto-skip for me.
I used to be a fan but I think he’s pretty bad now. IMO, he clearly wants to be more of a media “personality” and has definitely started going more towards hot takes and less reasoned analysis.

I do still like his draft guide and his rankings (even if those are also more slanted towards takes and discussion than actual rankings as well)
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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The Nuggets. He was basically saying that he didn’t think the Celticsncould match them all. He kept saying that they had two bad games and still beat the Celtics
Right. Its not like one of the best defenses in the league had anything to do with the Nuggets having bad games.
 

Euclis20

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The Nuggets. He was basically saying that he didn’t think the Celticsncould match them all. He kept saying that they had two bad games and still beat the Celtics
Because the Celtics lost two games to them in the final minute? This guy is a fucking moron. Killian Hayes is available (and I believe if picked up today, would be eligible for a playoff roster), maybe Boston could sign him. He'd pick the Celtics in 3.
 

PedroKsBambino

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Simplest way to put it is this:

Denver is 13th in league at 36.3% 3pt allowed....essentially league average.

In the two games thus far Celtics shot 32% and 29% from three. They shoot 38.5% overall on threes this year.

If you believe that Denver, an average 3pt defending team, has a specific approach to Celtics that is materially better than their defense against everyone else, and better than rest of league vs Celtics, then considering Denver a material favorite makes sense.

If, instead, you look at those numbers and say the most likely scenario is Celtics hit several more threes, on average, per game I think you (and I suspect Vegas) will favor the Celtics in the series.
 

DannyDarwinism

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Simplest way to put it is this:

Denver is 13th in league at 36.3% 3pt allowed....essentially league average.

In the two games thus far Celtics shot 32% and 29% from three. They shoot 38.5% overall on threes this year.

If you believe that Denver, an average 3pt defending team, has a specific approach to Celtics that is materially better than their defense against everyone else, and better than rest of league vs Celtics, then considering Denver a material favorite makes sense.

If, instead, you look at those numbers and say the most likely scenario is Celtics hit several more threes, on average, per game I think you (and I suspect Vegas) will favor the Celtics in the series.
OK but flipside is that Denver shot 26% and 19% from three in those games. FWIW, Celtics 3PAr in those games was 42% and 49%, their season average is 47%, 1st in the league; Denver's was 23% and 38%, season average of 35%, 30th in the league. But I'm not reading too much into those games other than both teams are really good.
 

Auger34

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I don’t know who would win in a series between the Celtics and Nuggets. Both sides have things from those games they can hang their hat on as things to improve.

However, I do know that any person who thinks one team is materially other than the better or that the series won’t even go 6 games is a fucking idiot.
 

gammoseditor

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The Nuggets. He was basically saying that he didn’t think the Celticsncould match them all. He kept saying that they had two bad games and still beat the Celtics
Jamal Murray was 15/21 from the field in the first game but Denver had a “bad game”. Maybe KOC wants to spend more time on how the Lakers had the best offseason.
 

TomRicardo

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I'm completely out on KOC. I think his takes aren't great and he's annoying to listen to. Auto-skip for me.
KOC has the wildest and hottest takes on the Ringer. His demeanor is so calm that it flies under the radar a lot, and no one ever calls him out when he falls completely on his face. Pairing him with Verno works because Verno sounds like he is saying something completely outlandish all the time but has some of best observations at the Ringer. Verno basically makes KOC look normal.
 

Just a bit outside

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KOC has the wildest and hottest takes on the Ringer. His demeanor is so calm that it flies under the radar a lot, and no one ever calls him out when he falls completely on his face. Pairing him with Verno works because Verno sounds like he is saying something completely outlandish all the time but has some of best observations at the Ringer. Verno basically makes KOC look normal.
Verno called out both KOC and Rusillo for this take. Said it was dumb and if Tatum's shot went in they would say something differnet. Verno went on to say the Boston sports guys who have gone national are way tougher on the Celtics trying to show they are not fans.
 

leetinsley38

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Verno called out both KOC and Rusillo for this take. Said it was dumb and if Tatum's shot went in they would say something differnet. Verno went on to say the Boston sports guys who have gone national are way tougher on the Celtics trying to show they are not fans.
Hadn't heard that but it's a good point. Simmons and Rusillo apologize for bringing up the C's every time they mention them. The Celtics are the betting favorites for the title and have a historical net rating - it's ok to discuss them and admit they are good.
 

TomRicardo

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Verno called out both KOC and Rusillo for this take. Said it was dumb and if Tatum's shot went in they would say something differnet. Verno went on to say the Boston sports guys who have gone national are way tougher on the Celtics trying to show they are not fans.
It is true. Boston came in the last two minutes and pushed Denver to the point it came to wide open Tatum corner 3. I am sure the narrative would have been good win by Boston but Nuggets won't have that happen again.
 

Auger34

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Hadn't heard that but it's a good point. Simmons and Rusillo apologize for bringing up the C's every time they mention them. The Celtics are the betting favorites for the title and have a historical net rating - it's ok to discuss them and admit they are good.
Rusillo is a good basketball analyst and he definitely knows the game...however, so much of his analysis/persona is tied into watching every game and taking notes and basically doing film study when it's clear that he doesn't watch all of these games (that's not really a knock, no one has the time to watch every game and write "scouting reports" for them)

This struck me when he was talking about the Celtics on last week's pod. It was pretty clear he hadn't seen many of their games this season and was sort of recycling old takes from last year. To Bill's credit, he disagreed with what Russillo was saying.
 

Auger34

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Verno called out both KOC and Rusillo for this take. Said it was dumb and if Tatum's shot went in they would say something differnet. Verno went on to say the Boston sports guys who have gone national are way tougher on the Celtics trying to show they are not fans.
This is 100000% true with KOC. He's not as established as Simmons and definitely seems to go out of his way to discredit the Celtics.

Bill's just become a prisoner of the moment with a lot of NBA stuff. He obviously loves the Celtics but a lot of the details to his points are completely dependent on how they have been doing that past week. If they've been good, the Tatum love will flow. If they've been bad, he will read text messages from his Dad about "2nd row Joe" and will probably hammer them more than appropriate to prove he's "not a homer"
 

m0ckduck

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Bill's just become a prisoner of the moment with a lot of NBA stuff. He obviously loves the Celtics but a lot of the details to his points are completely dependent on how they have been doing that past week. If they've been good, the Tatum love will flow. If they've been bad, he will read text messages from his Dad about "2nd row Joe" and will probably hammer them more than appropriate to prove he's "not a homer"
There's also a particular riff he does in every podcast following a Boston loss (these have become must-not-listen episodes for me) where he makes a big show of grabbing every stock Celtics criticism by the lapels and violently shaking it to show he's not afraid to confront the truth about this team's flaws: the over-reliance on the 3... the "end of game stuff"... "second row Joe"... etc etc. I'm not sure if it's a particular Bill thing, or a Boston sports media thing or both, but there's a lot of "you might be whistling past the graveyard with this team BUT NOT ME, BUDDY."
 

snowmanny

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That said, the video of her at the end singing Just Give Me a Reason with Kelly Clarkson is just spectacular. Pink is an absolute master at being just good enough in her collaborations to make her partner awesome as well, but never just completely blows them away (like she absolutely could have with Clarkson, who is an excellent artist in her own right). I am a huge fan.
Like you, like Pink....but you have this backwards. Clarkson is one of the greatest pop vocalists ever. Power is close but I'd go Kelly, and Clarkson has, unquestionably, a greater range.
 

LogansDad

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Like you, like Pink....but you have this backwards. Clarkson is one of the greatest pop vocalists ever. Power is close but I'd go Kelly, and Clarkson has, unquestionably, a greater range.
Yeah, I don't know enough about Clarkson to argue with you on this one, but you are probably right.