Saturday, April 14, 2007

I like Le Anne Schreiber.

She's ESPN's new ombudsman, paid to watch ESPN all day and comment about what she sees. And her current article is a great description of not only our current sports-show culture, but of our greater culture as well.

Like Schreiber, I am not a big fan of all of ESPN's yelling. (although I admit make an exception for Chris Berman's very loud enthusiasm on NFL Primetime). I seldom watch any talking-head shows because of the dunderheaded decibel levels therein. I'm not a big fan of this culture of loud-certainty-without-evidence. Frankly, it pisses me off when Bayless or Theismann or LeBetard does it. They're not the only ones. Consider, for instance, daytime court shows. Judge Wapner wouldn't survive today...we need loudmouthed Judge Judy instead. It's a product of the same cultural shift. Would David Brinkley survive on either Mike Malloy or Bill O'Reilly's shows? Nope.

I do wonder if our culture is blessedly shifting away from this mark of the last decade or so, however. First, Jon Stewart shot down CNN's Crossfire. Then, KNBR fired Larry Krueger, and now, we have the Don Imus flap. I don't know that I would have fired Krueger or Imus, but it's clear that we as a culture are taking a look at the toxicity--and, more importantly, the flat-out vacuous silliness--of loud-certainty-without-evidence. That's a good, blessed thing.

Is ESPN following? The King of loud-certainty-without-evidence, Joe Theismann, has been replaced by the quieter king of looking at film, Ron Jaworski.

Is the pendulum swinging back? Are we on the brink of a new, quieter, more thoughtful era?

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