Te’o Media Fail, Barbusse’s Under Fire, Subway Footlong, AFC and NFC Championship Picks

I’d like to concur with SBNation’s list of failingly lazy media outlets in the whole Manti Te’o fake-dead-girlfriend scandal:

The following is a list of organizations and people who, to varying degrees of incompletion, never bothered to check to see if Manti Te’o’s girlfriend was real.

1. Us.

2. You (Jack Dickey and Timothy Burke excepted)

3. Sports Illustrated.

4. ESPN

5. The South Bend Tribune

6. Bleacher Report

7. The Chicago Tribune

8. The Chicago Sun-Times

9. The Sporting News

10. USA Today

11. The Boston Globe

12. CBS Sports

13. The New York Post

14. NBC Sports/Notre Dame

15. Yahoo

16. The Associated Press

17. The Palm Beach Post

18. The Miami Herald

19. The Tampa Bay Times

20. Grantland

21. The Los Angeles Times

How hard is it to Google a person? I do that every time I have a meeting with someone new and I want to see how overblown they are in their LinkedIn profile, much less when I’m running a national sports-news story on a Heisman candidate’s deepest personality traits. It’s disappointing every time I’m reminded that as lazy as I can be – for probably the 12th workday in a row today, I listened to “Leper Messiah” 25 times rather than bothering to search for new, interesting music – there are people higher up who are even lazier than that when performing far more high-visibility tasks.

  • On the subject of pessimism, if I had to pick a single one of all the subjects on which I nerd out – excluding the Internet because that comprises more or less every subject – I probably nerd out the most frequently on the First World War. Something about the self-congratulating 19th century crash-landing into the bleakest dehumanized misery, particularly in the Western Front, grabs me in both visceral and philosophical ways that make me turn the era over in my mind again and again. (Cheery!) So much great art and analysis came out of the turmoil that I read or view pretty much all material I can find dealing with the leadup, duration and aftermath of 1914-1918. Recently I got around to reading Under Fire by Henri Barbusse, one of the earliest (1916) first-person accounts of the war that led to the infamous All Quiet on the Western Front that we all know from ninth grade.

    WWI French uniforms at Les InvalidesI’d say this book is worth a read if you’re the type of person who’d read every WWI panel at Les Invalides (at right), because it’s like All Quiet but, to match Under Fire‘s longer length, features more quantity but not necessarily quality: more gore, more sitting around behind the lines, more background men who get killed, more soldiers shooting the shit, and more moralizing via an end segment very much like the extended argument for socialism at the end of The Jungle. Remarque did a better job distilling a similar story to Barbusse’s, so you can check out Under Fire if you want to get into a higher level of detail and are willing to read what from a literary perspective is extra padding to get at that detail.

  • Today I saw the story about the Subway footlong controversy — the sandwiches are actually 11 inches in many cases — and at first I was annoyed that we all thought it important enough to document this and make it into a thing. (More than 22,000 comments on that story!) Then I remembered that this is actually an example of the market keeping its companies honest, and that’s a good thing. I can still be mad that we don’t apply this level of vigilance to environmental or policy issues, but it’s nonetheless a good thing that this level of vigilance does exist somehow, somewhere.
  • NFL-LOGO-psd12391And for the last NFL picks before the Super Bowl:

    Last week: 1-3; Overall: 129-130
    San Francisco -4 at Atlanta
    At New England -9 Baltimore

    New England in the Super Bowl, again. I still like it better than Baltimore.

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