Long before I ever joined Blazersedge, I wrote for a film lover's forum called Xixax.com. Wonderful website by the way, if you're hardcore about movies. One of the more common debates we had over there had to do with movie critics and specifically, why so many Americans refuse to pay attention to them. Those who refuse claim reviews are purely subjective. We commonly heard things like, "I never read reviews before I go see a movie. How would a critic know what I would like?" That last statement is partially true. Obviously movies are a subjective experience, but they also have form to them. They are structured in a very specific way, to provoke a reaction from the audience.
The basic structure of filmmaking has changed little since the 70s. New technology changes the way you shoot things, but generally speaking, the "three act" structure has remained intact for decades. If you think a movie is bad, do you usually attribute it to the actors? To the director? To the special effects? Of course not. It's never "just one thing" right? Trouble is, most Americans don't even realize why they hated a specific movie. Try something sometime. When someone tells you they disliked a movie, ask them why. Don't let the person off the hook easy either. Make them explain in detail why they thought it was bad. You will find that, if you ask these probing questions, a discussion of form arises. Form is something you can study over time. If you're a movie critic, who watches dozens of movies a WEEK, it just gets easier and easier to point out flaws in the structure itself.
Sports writers aren't that different. I constantly hear people berate Bill Simmons on this website for his opinions. I hear "who cares what he thinks" a lot. But sports writers study form too. Basketball has structure to it, just like movies do. You can analyze a team by looking at it's front office all the way down to the players themselves. And, like a good movie critic, someone like Simmons has seen THOUSANDS of games. Far more than most of us will likely see in an entire lifetime. It's easy to blow him off and say everything he says is purely subjective, but that's just not true. In most cases he is writing based on an educated analysis of structure. It just so happens that he tries to be entertaining about it at the same time. When I hear fans say they "don't care about him", I think most of those folks don't relate to his humor. It's as simple as that. His facts and even asssertions are mostly dead on.
Why did I bother writing this?
It bothers me that many fans disregard writers without offering a reasonable explanation why. We can all sit around a table and pick apart Simmons for his assertions, but they are educated assertions. He knows more about basketball than 98% of the folks who visit this website. You can hate on him for his sharp sense of humor. I know many fans don't relate to it. But calling him out as an "idiot" (as I've heard before) is pretty silly. Simmons is anything but an idiot. I would ask that, if you disagree with something, explain why. Don't just say "who cares" and move on. Blowing someone off is lazy. All it says is that his assertions don't give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. Furthermore, he writes to attract readers. If he was so bad at it, why would he be one of the biggest, most popular sports writers in the entire country? The only thing he lacks is tact. Oregonians pride themselves on being tactful people. So you think he's rude. That's fine. But his assertions remain valid whether you feel good about them or not.
What do you guys think? This was just my opinion of course. But I'm passionate about it.
"Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open."
- James Dewar