The Ringer

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What, getting your dad to pay for your grad school? Dude was on the Herald at like 25, that is astonishingly little dues-paying by old media standards. Maybe he's embraced it, but if he hasn't for those reasons that is incredibly weak. Superintendent in a posh MA suburb is a virtual 1%ers job, and Papa Simmons had it. Mom wasn't missing for much either, since she could help send him to Greenwich Country Day.

The goals seem fairly noble, although I always wonder whether underrepresentation includes people who grew up on trailer parks. Class can be ignored in those kinds of situations. Look at Bill, as noted above, he's far from a regular ol' guy.
Come on. He definitely got a break or two and his life, but the man worked his ass off for years. Like legit made his own breaks. He may have had a parental parachute that made it easier, but he wrote A LOT, for little pay, lived in a shitty Brighton apartment and bartended as he was getting his break. He worked hard and was talented. it is really unfair to say that he doesn't deserve what he has achieved. Now, I am more than willing to see how he reacts to this. I hope he is going to help do what is right.
 

moondog80

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Sep 20, 2005
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What, getting your dad to pay for your grad school? Dude was on the Herald at like 25, that is astonishingly little dues-paying by old media standards. Maybe he's embraced it, but if he hasn't for those reasons that is incredibly weak. Superintendent in a posh MA suburb is a virtual 1%ers job, and Papa Simmons had it. Mom wasn't missing for much either, since she could help send him to Greenwich Country Day.

The goals seem fairly noble, although I always wonder whether underrepresentation includes people who grew up on trailer parks. Class can be ignored in those kinds of situations. Look at Bill, as noted above, he's far from a regular ol' guy.

I'm not saying he grew up poor, but I'm pretty sure being a superintendent does not put you in the 1%, unless they make in excess of $400,000. And he was on the Boston Hearld at 25 covering high school sports, I'm guessing that was fairly normal in 1996 or whatever.
 

Joe D Reid

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I'm surprised they don't have a 401k. It's not a small group of employees. That said, Simmons can't be happy about this, just on the basis of the costs this could entail. Ironically, adding diversity to their goals is laughable considering how diverse The Ringer is.

Of course, on the subject of internet content, there isn't enough money to go around. So we'll see how this plays out, it will be an interesting case.
Organizational diversity and managerial diversity can be two different things. Plus we really only see the editorial side of the house, so there's no telling what the finance and sales teams look like.

But you're right, the money part will be interesting. Seems like if the money's there he's been willing to spend it--weren't they really throwing money around at Grantland? I think bargaining is weirdly harder when both sides agree that staff should get more money but disagree abotu whether the money exists then it is when management says the money is there but they don't want to give it to them. The former turns into a fairly frustrating attempt to walk non-finance people through corporate accounting, which rarely satisfies anyone.
 

johnmd20

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Organizational diversity and managerial diversity can be two different things. Plus we really only see the editorial side of the house, so there's no telling what the finance and sales teams look like.
Seems like it's the writers who are unionizing, however. But asking for diversity must be on the "We want to unionize" template. Just one of a bunch of requests/demands.

How big could the finance and sales team be for an operation like The Ringer? I'm not being glib, I'm genuinely curious. I would think it's a small number of people but I could be wrong, I don't know anything about internet content operations.
 

Joe D Reid

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Seems like it's the writers who are unionizing, however. But asking for diversity must be on the "We want to unionize" template. Just one of a bunch of requests/demands.
Yeah, the analogy is probably the latest Deadspin/GMG kerfluffle, in which the writer's union is pressuring management regarding its managerial hiring practices, claiming that the new bosses just hired a bunch of their old white guy cronies. Some that is a traditional bargaining issue of making sure that your members have equal (or preferred) access to a career ladder, and some of it is just trying to appear on the side of the angels generally.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Can someone with more knowledge about unions/collective bargaining explain what it means that they are forming a union "with WGA East"? If the Ringer staff gets pissed at something, can they strike or threaten to strike on their own, or could they only strike as part of a larger WGA strike across the board?
 

Spacemans Bong

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Come on. He definitely got a break or two and his life, but the man worked his ass off for years. Like legit made his own breaks. He may have had a parental parachute that made it easier, but he wrote A LOT, for little pay, lived in a shitty Brighton apartment and bartended as he was getting his break. He worked hard and was talented. it is really unfair to say that he doesn't deserve what he has achieved. Now, I am more than willing to see how he reacts to this. I hope he is going to help do what is right.
Look, my point here is there’s no may about it. He had a parental parachute, and it made things easier. He worked in a service job and lived alone in a one bedroom in a big city? Shit, I have friends who are struggling writers who would love to have their shit together to that kind of level, and none of them have the safety net Simmons had because they didn’t have a dad, or mom, or sometimes both.

That doesn’t mean Simmons is some failson who was awarded Grantland and fame, he was a pretty compelling writer, he’s great a podcasts, and grantland isn’t going to be forgotten anytime soon. Just you can’t put a price on that safety net for your ability to take risks. Leaving the Herald for Digital Cities was a risk, at best Simmons was going to set his career back years if it failed, but he could sleep easy in the knowledge it wasn’t going to send him into penury.

My sincere hope is Simmons compensates his writers to the point that they can take risks without being terrified of being unable to pay their student loans or their rent, because he’ll get better writing if he does. I hope he realises that. I doubt the Ringer is some hellish sweatshop, he seems to actually be a pretty good boss when it comes to interpersonal stuff, but the lack of 401Ks worries me a little when it comes to the material stuff. First grub, then morals.
 

johnmd20

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Look, my point here is there’s no may about it. He had a parental parachute, and it made things easier. He worked in a service job and lived alone in a one bedroom in a big city? Shit, I have friends who are struggling writers who would love to have their shit together to that kind of level, and none of them have the safety net Simmons had because they didn’t have a dad, or mom, or sometimes both.

That doesn’t mean Simmons is some failson who was awarded Grantland and fame, he was a pretty compelling writer, he’s great a podcasts, and grantland isn’t going to be forgotten anytime soon. Just you can’t put a price on that safety net for your ability to take risks. Leaving the Herald for Digital Cities was a risk, at best Simmons was going to set his career back years if it failed, but he could sleep easy in the knowledge it wasn’t going to send him into penury.

My sincere hope is Simmons compensates his writers to the point that they can take risks without being terrified of being unable to pay their student loans or their rent, because he’ll get better writing if he does. I hope he realises that. I doubt the Ringer is some hellish sweatshop, he seems to actually be a pretty good boss when it comes to interpersonal stuff, but the lack of 401Ks worries me a little when it comes to the material stuff. First grub, then morals.
This is an incredibly uncharitable take regarding Simmons' success. You're saying he's successful because he had a safety net. How big was that net? Simmons isn't some trust fund kid and he worked his way, literally on his own, to build his readership. Which led him to ESPN, which led him to Grantland, which led him to the Ringer. If Simmons failed at Digital Cities, what safety net was his dad going to give him to save him, a 80k a year stipend? His bedroom back?

However, the lack of 401k should worry you, because the 401k technically wouldn't cost the company that much money. They aren't required to match donations, but they might, but if they don't match, all 401k contributions are employee contributions. That's why I was surprised they don't have a 401k. There are a lot of hard things that need to be done when setting up a company, a 401k isn't one of them.
 

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
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This is an incredibly uncharitable take regarding Simmons' success. You're saying he's successful because he had a safety net. How big was that net? Simmons isn't some trust fund kid....
Do *you* know how big his safety net was, or that he wasn’t a trust fund kid? We have no idea what kind of money his grandparents may have or have had. What we do know is that he went to expensive private schools from cradle through college, including a post-high school year at Choate, his dad has multiple degrees, including a JD and a PHD, was a longtime superintendent of schools, and his stepmother was a physician. EDIT: And his Mom was profiled in Wine Spectator for her extensive wine collection back in 2002. The struggle was real.

To suggest that having an elite education fully paid for—while the majority of this country is burdened by significant student loans that effectively preclude the kind of dream-chasing Bill successfully engaged in—is not a significant safety net is pretty out of touch.
 
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Spacemans Bong

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Ha, he went to Choate for a postgraduate year? Are we seriously arguing he doesn’t have a fucking bean behind him?

Maybe Simmons has a claim to the title of 8th Baron of The Fens and a seat in the House of Lords, maybe his parents are just solidly upper-middle-class. Who knows. But I’m a Catholic prep school kid and those schools probably cost more in the 80s than mine did in the 2000s. Without adjusting for inflation. And my crappy education let me do things others couldn’t.
 

The Needler

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Come on. He definitely got a break or two and his life, but the man worked his ass off for years. Like legit made his own breaks. He may have had a parental parachute that made it easier, but he wrote A LOT, for little pay, lived in a shitty Brighton apartment and bartended as he was getting his break. He worked hard and was talented. it is really unfair to say that he doesn't deserve what he has achieved. Now, I am more than willing to see how he reacts to this. I hope he is going to help do what is right.
Trying to learn where BS supposedly did this bartending, I came across this piece. While I didn’t get my answer (he refuses to name the bar, claiming “a distrust he now has of the owners”), there were some interesting comments in there related to the actual topic at issue:

“You forget,” the Guy implores. “I TRIED to do this conventionally. I spent three years at the Herald and even tried to make my mark at the Phoenix . The bottom line is that newspaper unions have killed this business – writers stay too long and never leave, and young writers who would kill to have their jobs never have a chance. Quick, how many Boston columnists have been hired in the past 10 years at one of the two papers? Here’s your answer – Howard Bryant and Jackie MacMullan. [Shots adds in Michael Holley, who did, despite some flip-flopping, have a column at the Globe.]

“So when someone like (Dan) Shaughnessy is bitching behind the scenes that I (or any other internet columnist) ‘never go in the clubhouse,’ well, you know what? I would have loved to have gotten a column that way. But all the dead weight was blocking my way.
“Clearly, I was good enough to do this for a living, but there was no way I was every getting a chance doing it conventionally. That’s what pisses me off. I never even had a real chance. I mean, this is the only industry where companies PAY PEOPLE TO LEAVE. Look at what just happened at the Herald [now at the Globe, too] – they had to spend four years worth of salaries to dump all their dead weight. This is a good system? If I suck for the next two years, you know what happens? ESPN doesn’t renew my contract and I’m unemployed. With newspapers, you could basically hand in scribble for 20 years and they have to keep paying you. It’s bad business. That’s why so many newspapers will be going under soon, if they aren’t already.
 

moondog80

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I don't know if this is supposed to be tounge-in-cheek, but they have a list of the top 50 celebrities of all time up, which is actually an interesting idea. However...

Michael J Fox is on the list, Jesus Christ is ranked 10th (behind Rihanna and David Bowie), the only Obama listed is Michelle, and there are a few people I've never heard of, including somebody named "Diplo".

 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I don't know if this is supposed to be tounge-in-cheek, but they have a list of the top 50 celebrities of all time up, which is actually an interesting idea. However...

Michael J Fox is on the list, Jesus Christ is ranked 10th (behind Rihanna and David Bowie), the only Obama listed is Michelle, and there are a few people I've never heard of, including somebody named "Diplo".

Diplo has been on the Forbes list for top earning electronic dance music DJs for past few years with $25mm in the past year, $20mm the year before and $28.5mm in 2017. Its understandable if people don't know who he is but he is definitely a celebrity, especially amongst EDM fans.
 

moondog80

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Diplo has been on the Forbes list for top earning electronic dance music DJs for past few years with $25mm in the past year, $20mm the year before and $28.5mm in 2017. Its understandable if people don't know who he is but he is definitely a celebrity, especially amongst EDM fans.
I'm sure he counts as a celebrity and I'd know who he is if I were 30 years younger, but top 50 of all time is kind of a high bar. He's almost certainly not as well known as say, Tiny Tim was. And thousands of other people.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I'm sure he counts as a celebrity and I'd know who he is if I were 30 years younger, but top 50 of all time is kind of a high bar. He's almost certainly not as well known as say, Tiny Tim was. And thousands of other people.
Agreed. But my guess is the Ringer's demographic skews young (hey, you can easily read it on your phone!) so these lists are designed to resonate with the kids.

As a side note, celebrity is such a different notion than it was, say 30 years ago. Then you needed to be a good athlete in a major city, be a media personality or get a television, film, book or record deal. Now people mostly bypass those avenues for the newer forms of media etc. Youtubers are now more well known than many network news personalities...
 

Clears Cleaver

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What, getting your dad to pay for your grad school? Dude was on the Herald at like 25, that is astonishingly little dues-paying by old media standards. Maybe he's embraced it, but if he hasn't for those reasons that is incredibly weak. Superintendent in a posh MA suburb is a virtual 1%ers job, and Papa Simmons had it. Mom wasn't missing for much either, since she could help send him to Greenwich Country Day.

The goals seem fairly noble, although I always wonder whether underrepresentation includes people who grew up on trailer parks. Class can be ignored in those kinds of situations. Look at Bill, as noted above, he's far from a regular ol' guy.
Wow, this post is ill informed. Simmons was actually at the Herald at age 22 I think. I'm the same age as him and was there with him, along with Felger, Mazz and a couple other guys. I started at 20 via the BU journalism program (same as Felger, Mazz came from somewhere else) doing the agate type. I was covering higher school sports when I was 21, along with several others my age. Herald paid us $13 an hour in 1992, huge $$ for a college student. Bill was making the same I think

Simmons worked with his aunt waiting tables in Darien for two years while going to school in Greenwich. I can tell you Mom and aunt did not exactly live in the lap of luxury from I was told by his aunt.

Superintendent is a 1% job? not in any "posh suburb" I know.

Bill's success is largely self-earned. Sure, he was given the support to leave the Herald to blog, making $600 a week. He bet on himself and it worked. And going from BSG to ESPN didn't make him rich. It was starting Grantland and betting on himself again and then again with Ringer, breaking new ground in media more than once.

I don't see this ending well for those who are trying to unionize. in this media environment? I doubt few places provide the kind of freedom The Ringer does, and no media firm pays anything unless you are front-facing talent. Most of the Ringer staff gets to play that role at some point, which only helps the employees' resumes.
 

Spacemans Bong

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Wow, this post is ill informed. Simmons was actually at the Herald at age 22 I think. I'm the same age as him and was there with him, along with Felger, Mazz and a couple other guys. I started at 20 via the BU journalism program (same as Felger, Mazz came from somewhere else) doing the agate type. I was covering higher school sports when I was 21, along with several others my age. Herald paid us $13 an hour in 1992, huge $$ for a college student. Bill was making the same I think

Simmons worked with his aunt waiting tables in Darien for two years while going to school in Greenwich. I can tell you Mom and aunt did not exactly live in the lap of luxury from I was told by his aunt.

Superintendent is a 1% job? not in any "posh suburb" I know.

Bill's success is largely self-earned. Sure, he was given the support to leave the Herald to blog, making $600 a week. He bet on himself and it worked. And going from BSG to ESPN didn't make him rich. It was starting Grantland and betting on himself again and then again with Ringer, breaking new ground in media more than once.

I don't see this ending well for those who are trying to unionize. in this media environment? I doubt few places provide the kind of freedom The Ringer does, and no media firm pays anything unless you are front-facing talent. Most of the Ringer staff gets to play that role at some point, which only helps the employees' resumes.
Let’s recount here.

Bill was making 50K (when adjusted for inflation) out of the gate in journalism. He had a high school job working at his aunt’s restaurant in Darien, so this proves he wasn’t in the lap of luxury. I know this because his aunt told me and people never understate their wealth, especially small business owners. Superintendent is not a 1% job, it might be a top 6% job so that’s basically working class don’t you know. Normal middle class people go to Greenwich Country Day, Brunswick and Choate.

Bill’s success is largely self-earned, except for the huge helping hand he got to start blogging. So he had a nice safety net because he didn’t have to worry about how his next bill was going to be paid. Big deal!

Finally, unionising? Don’t these entitled Millennials know media doesn’t pay? Especially if you’re front facing talent? What do they expect to get, 50K with benefits writing about Revere High vs Malden High football??!?!?! They should think of their resume!

God as my witness, may I not let time pass me by like this when I’m 50 and sitting on the couch in my den. The crazy thing here is nothing I’ve said should be remotely controversial, when someone goes to exclusive prep schools for their whole childhood it’s a dead giveaway they aren’t a normal Joe.
 
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johnmd20

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Let’s recount here.

Bill was making 50K (when adjusted for inflation) out of the gate in journalism. He had a high school job working at his aunt’s restaurant in Darien, so this proves he wasn’t in the lap of luxury. I know this because his aunt told me and people never understate their wealth, especially small business owners. Superintendent is not a 1% job, it might be a top 6% job so that’s basically working class don’t you know. Normal middle class people go to Greenwich Country Day, Brunswick and Choate.

Bill’s success is largely self-earned, except for the huge helping hand he got to start blogging. So he had a nice safety net because he didn’t have to worry about how his next bill was going to be paid. Big deal!

Finally, unionising? Don’t these entitled Millennials know media doesn’t pay? Especially if you’re front facing talent? What do they expect to get, 50K with benefits writing about Revere High vs Malden High football??!?!?! They should think of their resume!

God as my witness, may I not let time pass me by like this when I’m 50 and sitting on the couch in my den. The crazy thing here is nothing I’ve said should be remotely controversial, when someone goes to exclusive prep schools for their whole childhood it’s a dead giveaway they aren’t a normal Joe.
You're not being controversial. You're being uncharitable. It's absolutely exhausting.
 

Pablo's TB Lover

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I don't know if this is supposed to be tounge-in-cheek, but they have a list of the top 50 celebrities of all time up, which is actually an interesting idea. However...

Michael J Fox is on the list, Jesus Christ is ranked 10th (behind Rihanna and David Bowie), the only Obama listed is Michelle, and there are a few people I've never heard of, including somebody named "Diplo".

It was a funny thought experiment, as they described on the podcast it started out as a joke then they started aggregating their co-workers' responses of the top 5 celebrities of all time into that top 50 list. Also this is purely "celebrity" so they tried to separate that from name recognition alone or whether the person was the greatest actor, pop star, etc. For example, Madonna has had a huge body of work in her music career as compared to Rihanna, but Rihanna's approval rating is so high plus she has a business empire (to the tune of $600 million!) so she gets a boon from music publicity, fashion publicity, etc. Throwing historical figures in was just chaotic, like how do you compare Napoleon Bonaparte to Oprah Winfrey haha. Oprah has countless memes and show format biters, but Napoleon has his own complex still in the vernacular hundreds of years later.

The obvious omissions were:
1) Michael Jackson: if this were done DURING his peak in the 1980s he for sure would be near the top of such a list, but I have to think hindsight is keeping him off now.
2) Kim Kardashian: oddly Kanye West was on the list with her left off, but the Kardashians get bonus points for creating their celebrity out of no particular skills besides hustling for the cameras.
 

drleather2001

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It's a silly exercise for lots of reasons. Mostly, though, it's laughably biased toward the last 10-20 years.

Guy Fieri?

Not Mick Jagger, or Groucho Marx, or Howard Hughes, or Houdini, or Joe Dimaggio, Ed Sullivan, or Bob Dylan...

Guy Fieri. And Sophie Turner.

And calling Frederick Douglas a "celebrity" strikes me as being a little off.
 
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John Marzano Olympic Hero

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You're not being controversial. You're being uncharitable. It's absolutely exhausting.
Simmons is an interesting personality because if you don't like him, you can go the Bonger route and say that he's had a silver spoon in his mouth since he was a kid and this is another example of a well-to-do kid having a safety net under him while he gets to pursue his dream. If you're like johnmd20, you can say that Simmons is a "by his own bootstraps" type of guy who was able to get himself out of the muck and not only pursue his own dream, but be wildly successful at it.

I think that the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Clears, you were there, so you probably know more than I do; but I recall Simmons interview (and this was when he was starting to make a name for himself at DC) where he was apopleptic that he had to pay his dues as a cub reporter: taking down high school scores, fetching coffee for the older reporters, getting his stuff heavily edited and other bullshit that 20-somethings did in a newsroom. I distinctly remember him ripping Felger by saying that he was a kiss ass who did anything that anyone asked of him and would always laugh at the boss' jokes. Basically, Simmons felt he was too big for this sort of stuff that he needed to do in order to be a columnist. That's what prompted him to strike out on his own.

Again, depending on how you view Simmons this is either an example of him being admirable or him being a big, whiny cry baby. YMMV.

But I think that Bonger is ultimately correct that Simmons was allowed to do this because his Dad offered him a safety net: write during the day, bar tend (or something) at night and I'll take care of the rest. Would I do the same for my kids? If I had the means, hell yes. In a second. Most parents would. But not all parents can. I think that's the thing, if Simmons starts spouting bullshit about how it was back when he was a young turk, living in Charlestown (I'm pretty sure it was Charlestown not Brighton, because he always wrote about going to the Store 24 in Charlestown), I think that he needs to remember that he had assistance. Not everyone has that. To be fair, it seems to me that Simmons does remember this stuff and (maybe aside from Jonah Keri) I think that most people have had positive experiences with him as a boss.

Simmons wouldn't be the first titan of industry to forget where he came from though. I'm not much of a fan these days, but he seems like a good enough guy, I hope that he does the right thing.
 

Kliq

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I am shocked that Simmons' no longer posts here. What could have driven him away?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I am shocked that Simmons' no longer posts here. What could have driven him away?
What does this mean? Is SoSH supposed to give Bill Simmons a blind thumbs up for everything he does? Chad Finn still posts here and people have gone after what he writes.

There are plenty of places to go if you want to be Simmons sycophant.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I actually like Simmons. I think he's declined as a writer and I miss the way old Sports Guy caught the Boston zeitgeist of the early 2000s; that guy is gone and never coming back. For entirely justifiable reasons, because I'd live in Malibu too if I could. But I read a lot of his stuff, own both his books (and like them), read Grantland all the time (and viscerally felt its departure) and although I don't read The Ringer much - too much NBA, not enough MLB - I'm not rooting for it to fail. Listen to most of his podcasts too.

I just don't see "Simmons had some serious advantages due to his upbringing" and "Simmons had a real talent as a writer and has real talent as a podcaster and an impresario" as contradictory at all. Life is not a meritocracy, and the advantage of wealth (or enough wealth, if you want to argue that his parents are just upper-middle-class) opens doors* and allows dreams that others just don't get to have. Simmons, by all accounts, seems like a good guy to have for a boss - he even showed some empathy to that dude who was stalking him and the Ringer, I think out of genuine concern for that person's mental health - so I hope he's taking the Ringer unionizing in stride and recognizing that offering his employees some security is the kind of thing that allows them to take the kind of chances he took.

* remember when he played catch with his buddy Gus and Tom Seaver? And that Gus also ended up working for ESPN? Ya think that happens a lot outside of Greenwich?
 

moondog80

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It's a silly exercise for lots of reasons. Mostly, though, it's laughably biased toward the last 10-20 years.

Guy Fieri?

Not Mick Jagger, or Groucho Marx, or Howard Hughes, or Houdini, or Joe Dimaggio, Ed Sullivan, or Bob Dylan...

Guy Fieri. And Sophie Turner.

And calling Frederick Douglas a "celebrity" strikes me as being a little off.

Yeah, either exclude historical figures, or not. But once you go down that road...JFK, Ghandi, Churchill, Mandella...and for better or for worse, shouldn't Trump be on the list?

And yes, some of those people are more or less the equivalent of having Mr. T on a list that was done in 1986.

More generally, I would argue that a true list would feature disproportionately few names from recent times. I think Chuck Klosterman was the first person I saw make this point -- the culture is so fractured now in the age of the internet, streaming, and hundreds of cable channels that we'll never have a singular figure that everyone can identify with. Johnny Carson was the example he used; everybody had some sort of familiarity with him, in a way that can't happen anymore, save for a world leader like Obama or Trump.
 

drleather2001

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Yeah, either exclude historical figures, or not. But once you go down that road...JFK, Ghandi, Churchill, Mandella...and for better or for worse, shouldn't Trump be on the list?

And yes, some of those people are more or less the equivalent of having Mr. T on a list that was done in 1986.

More generally, I would argue that a true list would feature disproportionately few names from recent times. I think Chuck Klosterman was the first person I saw make this point -- the culture is so fractured now in the age of the internet, streaming, and hundreds of cable channels that we'll never have a singular figure that everyone can identify with. Johnny Carson was the example he used; everybody had some sort of familiarity with him, in a way that can't happen anymore, save for a world leader like Obama or Trump.
Right.

I mean; in fairness, the list is conscientiously the "best" celebrities of all time, not the "biggest" or "most important", so it's entirely, subjective. Of course, IMO, that makes it about as pointless and uninteresting as my 7 year old coming up with a list of the "best" baseball players ever.

But they posted it, so it's fair game. And even within that very subjective and limited framework there seems to be no guardrails. "I like David Bowie, ergo, he's the best!" "Yeah, well, I think Guy Fieri is ridiculous, yo! What a goof!" and "Sophie Turner was on a cool show and made a funny tweet!" is no way to go about writing a column outside of a high school newspaper.

As you allude to, a lot of this "food for thought on low culture" can be traced to Chuck Klosterman's success with "Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" and the like, and I like CK, but I like him because, unlike this column, his musings are more focused on specific questions or definable criteria, and hence subject to scrutiny and assessment. That makes them far more interesting because you can disagree or agree and point to *why*, and discuss.
 
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Captaincoop

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Jul 16, 2005
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Santa Monica, CA
I actually like Simmons. I think he's declined as a writer and I miss the way old Sports Guy caught the Boston zeitgeist of the early 2000s; that guy is gone and never coming back. For entirely justifiable reasons, because I'd live in Malibu too if I could. But I read a lot of his stuff, own both his books (and like them), read Grantland all the time (and viscerally felt its departure) and although I don't read The Ringer much - too much NBA, not enough MLB - I'm not rooting for it to fail. Listen to most of his podcasts too.

I just don't see "Simmons had some serious advantages due to his upbringing" and "Simmons had a real talent as a writer and has real talent as a podcaster and an impresario" as contradictory at all. Life is not a meritocracy, and the advantage of wealth (or enough wealth, if you want to argue that his parents are just upper-middle-class) opens doors* and allows dreams that others just don't get to have. Simmons, by all accounts, seems like a good guy to have for a boss - he even showed some empathy to that dude who was stalking him and the Ringer, I think out of genuine concern for that person's mental health - so I hope he's taking the Ringer unionizing in stride and recognizing that offering his employees some security is the kind of thing that allows them to take the kind of chances he took.

* remember when he played catch with his buddy Gus and Tom Seaver? And that Gus also ended up working for ESPN? Ya think that happens a lot outside of Greenwich?
It doesn't sound like you have any particular insight into what advantages Simmons had or didn't have growing up. One thing that seems to be for certain is that he didn't have a media magnate parent who handed him The Ringer as a sandbox to play in. I have no idea, maybe his parents paid for his college 30 years ago, which is an advantage that some significant percentage of college students had in 1990. Most of those kids didn't go on to build themselves a lucrative media career, and then build a groundbreaking media enterprise that gives a platform to dozens of other careers.

Bill Simmons has his flaws, but he is an immensely bright and talented writer, and he had the guts to make a really successful and unique career out of it. Any of the rest of us from that generation who want to pretend that the reason Bill Simmons made it where he is, and we didn't, is because his dad (a local school administrator, not a NYC hedge fund manager!) floated him some rent money for a few years....ok, let's tell ourselves that story.
 

Spacemans Bong

chapeau rose
SoSH Member
It doesn't sound like you have any particular insight into what advantages Simmons had or didn't have growing up. One thing that seems to be for certain is that he didn't have a media magnate parent who handed him The Ringer as a sandbox to play in. I have no idea, maybe his parents paid for his college 30 years ago, which is an advantage that some significant percentage of college students had in 1990. Most of those kids didn't go on to build themselves a lucrative media career, and then build a groundbreaking media enterprise that gives a platform to dozens of other careers.

Bill Simmons has his flaws, but he is an immensely bright and talented writer, and he had the guts to make a really successful and unique career out of it. Any of the rest of us from that generation who want to pretend that the reason Bill Simmons made it where he is, and we didn't, is because his dad (a local school administrator, not a NYC hedge fund manager!) floated him some rent money for a few years....ok, let's tell ourselves that story.
It doesn't sound like you have any particular insight into my argument either. On what planet am I arguing I could be Bill Simmons if not for my Catholic school education?
 

johnmd20

literally like ebola
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Dec 30, 2003
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Right.

I mean; in fairness, the list is conscientiously the "best" celebrities of all time, not the "biggest" or "most important", so it's entirely, subjective. Of course, IMO, that makes it about as pointless and uninteresting as my 7 year old coming up with a list of the "best" baseball players ever.

But they posted it, so it's fair game. And even within that very subjective and limited framework there seems to be no guardrails. "I like David Bowie, ergo, he's the best!" "Yeah, well, I think Guy Fieri is ridiculous, yo! What a goof!" and "Sophie Turner was on a cool show and made a funny tweet!" is no way to go about writing a column outside of a high school newspaper.

As you allude to, a lot of this "food for thought on low culture" can be traced to Chuck Klosterman's success with "Sex Drugs and Cocoa Puffs" and the like, and I like CK, but I like him because, unlike this column, his musings are more focused on specific questions or definable criteria, and hence subject to scrutiny and assessment. That makes them far more interesting because you can disagree or agree and point to *why*, and discuss.
I actually listened to the podcast about this list, which is patently ridiculous. Any list that has Ariana Grande, Joan of Arc, Guy Fieri, Frederick Douglas, Cara Delavaigne, and Napolean may as well be titled, "Name 50 people who haven't been in my kitchen."

But the podcast acknowledges the ridiculousness of how they put this list together, and there was no rhyme or reason. They were basically just wasting time and putting out some content that was generic, basic, and fluffy. 10 people were asked to list 5 people. If there were duplicates, people were told to pick another person. It is as scientific and reasonable as pouring a glass of water into Sauron's Eye in Middle Earth on January 1st, 2020.
 

The Needler

lurker
Dec 7, 2016
1,614
Bill Simmons has his flaws, but he is an immensely bright and talented writer, and he had the guts to make a really successful and unique career out of it. Any of the rest of us from that generation who want to pretend that the reason Bill Simmons made it where he is, and we didn't, is because his dad (a local school administrator, not a NYC hedge fund manager!) floated him some rent money for a few years....ok, let's tell ourselves that story.
That’s quite a straw man you’re hacking away at. Nobody in this thread has come anywhere near telling that story.
 

Kliq

Member
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Mar 31, 2013
9,864
What does this mean? Is SoSH supposed to give Bill Simmons a blind thumbs up for everything he does? Chad Finn still posts here and people have gone after what he writes.

There are plenty of places to go if you want to be Simmons sycophant.
Sure, plenty of writers have their own threads on SoSH and some of them even post here; but I was remarking that it was no wonder why Bill wouldn't want to continue to post on SoSH when people are doing weird deep-dives and hot takes regarding his personal life and upbringing. Some people on here have always treated Bill a little bit strangely. Yes, the media forum has plenty of other threads where people rip on writers, but what was posted above I find odd, even by SoSH standards.

I'm not looking for a Sports Guy safe space, but the criticism of Simmons on SoSH is sometimes off-base. The writers at The Ringer requested some structural changes, some of which probably have nothing at all to do with Simmons, and yet people are breaking down his entire life to find an explanation that paints him as a trust-fund baby that doesn't care about his workers. His mom had her wine collection profiled in 2002? He spent a post-grad year at Choate? What does that have to do with anything? I don't think any other media person would be treated like that on SoSH.
 

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
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Sure, plenty of writers have their own threads on SoSH and some of them even post here; but I was remarking that it was no wonder why Bill wouldn't want to continue to post on SoSH when people are doing weird deep-dives and hot takes regarding his personal life and upbringing. Some people on here have always treated Bill a little bit strangely. Yes, the media forum has plenty of other threads where people rip on writers, but what was posted above I find odd, even by SoSH standards.

I'm not looking for a Sports Guy safe space, but the criticism of Simmons on SoSH is sometimes off-base. The writers at The Ringer requested some structural changes, some of which probably have nothing at all to do with Simmons, and yet people are breaking down his entire life to find an explanation that paints him as a trust-fund baby that doesn't care about his workers. His mom had her wine collection profiled in 2002? He spent a post-grad year at Choate? What does that have to do with anything? I don't think any other media person would be treated like that on SoSH.
Nonsense. He’s not “a writer.” He’s a media mogul. Portnoy gets the same kind of treatment. The amount of scrutiny someone faces increases in rough correlation with that person’s power and influence.
 

drleather2001

given himself a skunk spot
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Jul 18, 2005
25,541
Sure, plenty of writers have their own threads on SoSH and some of them even post here; but I was remarking that it was no wonder why Bill wouldn't want to continue to post on SoSH when people are doing weird deep-dives and hot takes regarding his personal life and upbringing. Some people on here have always treated Bill a little bit strangely. Yes, the media forum has plenty of other threads where people rip on writers, but what was posted above I find odd, even by SoSH standards.

I'm not looking for a Sports Guy safe space, but the criticism of Simmons on SoSH is sometimes off-base. The writers at The Ringer requested some structural changes, some of which probably have nothing at all to do with Simmons, and yet people are breaking down his entire life to find an explanation that paints him as a trust-fund baby that doesn't care about his workers. His mom had her wine collection profiled in 2002? He spent a post-grad year at Choate? What does that have to do with anything? I don't think any other media person would be treated like that on SoSH.
Bill Simmons stopped posting on this site almost 15 years ago because, essentially, a poster challenged Simmons' assertion that Edgar Renteria was a bad hitter because when Renteria was at the plate in the 2004 Series, Simmons never got nervous. It was the antithesis of data-driving baseball analysis that SoSH tried/tries to champion, and when called out to provide some support for his gut-feeling argument, Simmons took his ball and went home.

His leaving had nothing at all to do with the criticism of his writing, much less comments regarding his upbringing/personal life.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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28,819
Bill Simmons stopped posting on this site almost 15 years ago because, essentially, a poster challenged Simmons' assertion that Edgar Renteria was a bad hitter because when Renteria was at the plate in the 2004 Series, Simmons never got nervous. It was the antithesis of data-driving baseball analysis that SoSH tried/tries to champion, and when called out to provide some support for his gut-feeling argument, Simmons took his ball and went home.

His leaving had nothing at all to do with the criticism of his writing, much less comments regarding his upbringing/personal life.
That interaction may have tweaked Simmons and, to Kliq's (and others) points, posters here seemed to delight in taking him on given his notoriety. He got a lot of grief around these parts - him inadvertently revealing that he visited Starbucks while the Sox were in the playoffs comes to mind - and it seemed to understandably bother him on some level.

However I strongly suspect that Simmons doesn't post here anymore mostly because the risk/reward for his career was pretty skewed against him. Aside from "giving away" content via his posts, he also had to be thinking about the tone of discussion back then which was far more "colorful" and far less civil than it is today. If that is the case, its really hard to blame him for not wanting to post something in a thread where someone with the handle RBGYB or Weebs is talking about all the depraved stuff they would do to the mothers of other posters.

This post, in no way, lets SJH off for being one of SoSH's biggest bullies.
 

drleather2001

given himself a skunk spot
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Jul 18, 2005
25,541
I don't think it's as simple as people "delight" in taking him on. It's more that when you present yourself as the face, voice, and consciousness of Boston sports fandom for however many years, and become famous in the process, you naturally open yourself up to criticism from people who disagree, sometimes vehemently, with how they are being represented by you.

SoSH is a place where there a lot of people who put a lot of thought into the Red Sox, Pats, Bruins, and Celtics. And Simmons long ago went from someone who likewise put a lot of thought into the teams and sports themselves into putting a lot of thought into how he can market himself and appeal to the broadest possible base. That was a smart business decision. But to the populace at large, he is and forever will be The Boston Sports Guy.

So yeah, he's going to take an inordinate amount of shit from people on this forum, because in the sports sphere, he implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) speaks for us.

Maybe it's because I live outside the Northeast, but 10 years ago I quickly grew bored with fans of other teams/cities assuming that I A) was a big Simmons fan; and B) agreed (and was interested in defending) his positions and ruminations and complaints about all things Boston related (however half-baked they may have been). "Boston fans are insufferable" was an inevitablity after 2004, probably, and certainly after 2007/8, but nobody accelerated that perception more than Simmons himself. Whatever. Who cares. He made bank doing it and was good for a few laughs along the way, but fame is a double edged sword.

So, are people here probably some of Simmons' harshest critics? Sure. But that really shouldn't come as a surprise. And I think the criticisms here, as opposed to a place like Deadspin, are a least coming from a place of respect in that they are *mostly* based not in animosity, but in disappointment and garden-variety irritation.
 

ElUno20

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Jul 19, 2005
3,547
I wish i "got" Shea Serrano. He ruins every ringer podcast he's on for me.

Him and Simmons together are always trying to out-bro each other.
 
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Kliq

Member
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Mar 31, 2013
9,864
Bill Simmons stopped posting on this site almost 15 years ago because, essentially, a poster challenged Simmons' assertion that Edgar Renteria was a bad hitter because when Renteria was at the plate in the 2004 Series, Simmons never got nervous. It was the antithesis of data-driving baseball analysis that SoSH tried/tries to champion, and when called out to provide some support for his gut-feeling argument, Simmons took his ball and went home.

His leaving had nothing at all to do with the criticism of his writing, much less comments regarding his upbringing/personal life.
You don't think it is odd at all that people are ushering out these hot takez about Simmons' life because he did a post-grad year at Choate, or he won't tell us EXACTLY what bar he bartended at? I find it to be cringey and something that I would prefer to see less of on SoSH. The site has a weird relationship with Simmons and some people have been really sensitive about it when it gets brought up.
 

Joe D Reid

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I wish i "got" Shea Serrank. He ruins every ringer podcast he's on for me.

Him and Simmons together are always trying to out-bro each other.
He's a funny writer but a boring speaker. He definitely suffers from the double-duty they have most of their writers do on A/V stuff.
 

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
1,614
You don't think it is odd at all that people are ushering out these hot takez about Simmons' life because he did a post-grad year at Choate, or he won't tell us EXACTLY what bar he bartended at? I find it to be cringey and something that I would prefer to see less of on SoSH. The site has a weird relationship with Simmons and some people have been really sensitive about it when it gets brought up.
Give me a break. Bill Simmons is not some private person we've hired a P.I. to look into. He's not even a journalist who covers teams and games. His very career has been built upon his personal life and personal connection to the teams and games (and now movies, and video games, and his children, etc.) he follows. From his stories about attending Prime Larry Celtics games with his Dad, to his Vegas trips with Sully or Murph, or whomever else, and now to his hangs with his celebrity pals and his kids' activities, he has always (to great success) made himself, his friends, and his family the story. A simple google of Bill Simmons will return dozens of interviews with him; about his life. He puts himself out there. Nobody's stalking his mom. She intentionally sat for a feature in Wine Spectator where she posed for pictures and talked about how her wine collection has replaced Bill's pool table and Kevin McHale posters. That you think it's cringey and weird to read and discuss the articles and interviews they chose to be in--and specifically one in which he discussed his belief that unions are what's killed the newspaper business--in the context of his significant media company's impending unionization is what's weird, in my opinion.
 

drleather2001

given himself a skunk spot
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
25,541
The site has a weird relationship with Simmons and some people have been really sensitive about it when it gets brought up.
I think it has an understandably complicated relationship with Simmons (I don't think it's "weird").

I also think there are as many overly-sensitive defenders of Simmons as there are posters who are overly critical of him. Again, I think that's entirely predictable given the overlap between Simmons' background and SoSH's raison d'etre.

EDIT: Full disclosure: I don't particularly like Simmons. I used to. But I've mellowed a bit in my old age where I'm not really interested in criticizing him or antagonizing his fans, because A) who the hell am I; and B) it makes perfect sense that a bunch of Boston fans who went through 2001-2010 (or so) reading Simmons on a weekly basis, listening to his podcast, etc... would feel a deep personal connection to the guy. Of course I don't get it, because I stopped paying attention in 2004.

*shrug*.

That being said, the guy is a celebrity, not anyone's on SoSH's friend, and I think the "Oh you're just jealous!" type stuff that invariably greets Simmons criticism (it's the Godwin's Law of Bill Simmons) is exhausting in it's predictability and lack of self-awareness.
 
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luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
11,938
can someone move the Simmons stuff to the SImmons thread. I feel like talking about the first half of the beautiful Gone Girl podcast I just listened to but I dont want to interrupt the eipsode of the fucking View that is going on here.
 

Captaincoop

Member
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Jul 16, 2005
8,871
Santa Monica, CA
I think it has an understandably complicated relationship with Simmons (I don't think it's "weird").

I also think there are as many overly-sensitive defenders of Simmons as there are posters who are overly critical of him. Again, I think that's entirely predictable given the overlap between Simmons' background and SoSH's raison d'etre.

EDIT: Full disclosure: I don't particularly like Simmons. I used to. But I've mellowed a bit in my old age where I'm not really interested in criticizing him or antagonizing his fans, because A) who the hell am I; and B) it makes perfect sense that a bunch of Boston fans who went through 2001-2010 (or so) reading Simmons on a weekly basis, listening to his podcast, etc... would feel a deep personal connection to the guy. Of course I don't get it, because I stopped paying attention in 2004.

*shrug*.

That being said, the guy is a celebrity, not anyone's on SoSH's friend, and I think the "Oh you're just jealous!" type stuff that invariably greets Simmons criticism (it's the Godwin's Law of Bill Simmons) is exhausting in it's predictability and lack of self-awareness.
Criticizing Simmons is reasonable (he has plenty of flaws).

Making weirdly specific assumptions about his personal life and financial upbringing is off-putting.

Especially when they're being made to support the case of the editorial staff at The Ringer, which is made up of a bunch of people who also went to expensive private colleges and likely had the same advantages you're guessing that Simmons had.
 

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
1,614
Criticizing Simmons is reasonable (he has plenty of flaws).

Making weirdly specific assumptions about his personal life and financial upbringing is off-putting.

Especially when they're being made to support the case of the editorial staff at The Ringer, which is made up of a bunch of people who also went to expensive private colleges and likely had the same advantages you're guessing that Simmons had.
Yeah, Shea Serrano definitely did a post-grad year at Choate.
 

Captaincoop

Member
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Jul 16, 2005
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Santa Monica, CA
The first three that I looked up went to Northwestern, Syracuse, and Emerson.

But I presume you went over their FAFSA paperwork and confirmed that they were all on scholarships.
 

The Needler

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Dec 7, 2016
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The first three that I looked up went to Northwestern, Syracuse, and Emerson.

But I presume you went over their FAFSA paperwork and confirmed that they were all on scholarships.
Bill's 5 years of prep school probably cost more than a degree at Emerson, and certainly more than 4 free years at Bronx Science, but you continue to miss the point.