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Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Maybe the worst sports column everYou're a newspaper columnist. You're on a deadline. You have to find something worthy of 800 words and you're stumped. What do you do? Why, you use a horriffic 18 year-long child abduction, rape and imprisonment as a hook for a rehashed "aren't those athletes just nutty" piece!
It doesn't sound as if Jaycee Dugard got to see a sports page. Box scores were not available to her from June 10, 1991 until Aug. 31 of this year. She never saw a highlight. Never got to the ballpark for Beach Towel Night. Probably hasn't high-fived in a while. She was not allowed to spike a volleyball. Or pitch a softball. Or smack a forehand down the line. Or run in a 5-footer for double bogey.
The writer, Mark Whicker of the OC Register, then proceeds to bullet point a couple dozen "oh, how times change" sports zingers. He ends the piece with what I guess is a pun of some kind: "Congratulations, Jaycee. You left the yard."
Classy, Whicker. Now please go die in a fire someplace so I can use it as a hook for a "who's hot, who's not" bit.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 12:55pm
As an on-again off-again reader of the OC Register, Whicker has never been great. He’ll have an occasional solid column, but usually they’re full of dumb puns.
This, however, is ridiculous. The Register’s struggling pretty badly already and I can’t imagine this tripe is helping.
If I can make an appropriate tragedy-related analogy: It’s like if someone started taking dumps all over the deck of the Titanic as it sank.
Posted 09/09 at 01:02 PM
i can’t believe it wasn’t plaschke!
Posted 09/09 at 01:43 PM
This pantload is even worse when you consider that she was apparently an active part of her kidnapper’s print company and computer literacy was a part of that. So none of the stuff he talks about is news to her.
Posted 09/09 at 01:48 PM
I’d rather have wanna be writers (e.g. the aforementioned Whickers) plagiarize stories written by well established writers (e.g. Posnanski, McCoy) than be left to their own ideas on interesting stories/angles for stories.
Stolen quality copy is always greater than original crappy copy.
Posted 09/09 at 01:51 PM
Jason @ IIATMS said...
So Mr. Author, it’s OK to trivialize an 18 year abduction by showing her all the groovy changes in sport? yeah, that makes some sense.
I hear it’s nice and cool in Hell these days.
Posted 09/09 at 02:04 PM
J. McCann said...
As soon as I saw that headline, I thought for sure it was something by Rick Reilly.
But OK, I guess this is worse. At least the OCR will be toast soon, and this guy will be unemployed.
Posted 09/09 at 02:09 PM
Greg Simons said...
Hey, September 11th is only two days away. I wonder what clever tie-in Mark Whicker will come up with then.
Posted 09/09 at 02:13 PM
Travis M. Nelson said...
The biggest irony is that among the requirements for people to comment on his column, there’s this:
3. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked.
Does this mean that they’ll block Mark Whicker from writing any more of this irrelevant, disrespectful dreck?
Posted 09/09 at 02:22 PM
Jeff Polman said...
Dear Mark Whicker:
Thanks for those wise words today. Guess I’m off the hook.
Posted 09/09 at 02:41 PM
Greg Simons said...
I sent this e-mail to Mark Whicker:
The revolting thing is that you would equate a column that celebrates the release of Jaycee Dugard, and tries to put the length of her 18-year
You call your article a celebration of her release? More like an exploitation, trivializing what she went through by connecting it to the world of sports. And I say that as a sports fan.
And where did I equate the two? Since you were exploiting one tragedy, I just wondered if you would be doing so with another.
And we’ll see what happens next.
Posted 09/09 at 02:53 PM
my letter to the editor:
Dear Mr. Brusic,
Have you read Mark Whicker’s column which uses Jaycee Dugard’s 18 years of rape, torture and abuse to chronicle athletic events?
Posted 09/09 at 03:18 PM
Wooden U. Lykteneau said...
Keep us posted, Greg. His tone reminds me of Gordon Edes when I took him to task for screwing up the name of the team that Ken Ray returned to the majors from the Can-Am League:
Posted 09/09 at 03:23 PM
Craig, my only issue with your take is including the word “Maybe” in the title. This was truly revolting, and I appreciate your bringing it to our collective attention so that some good may actually come of it. Wow
Posted 09/09 at 03:34 PM
Jorge Says No! said...
That’s just brutal to read.
Not good, at all.
Posted 09/09 at 03:49 PM
Greg Simons said...
Here’s what happened next. From MW:
Most people can’t comprehend how long 18 years of imprisonment is. I was illustrating it through sports, by showing how much things had changed. If
I agree this kidnapping was a tragedy. I treated it as such. I also recognize that it’s something the girl can possibly recover from. I don’t think any of the World Trade Center victims have that opportunity. Talk about trivializing something.
Your wall of self-denial is impenetrable. I give up.
Honestly, I figured this fight just wasn’t worth it. For those who’ve looked, he’s been lambasted in the comments section there, too.
Posted 09/09 at 04:14 PM
Bill @ the daily something said...
Wrote to Whicker. CC’ed Brsic. Asked him to save the energy that he’s been putting into those pompous and self-defensive responses and turn it toward getting started on his apology.
That’s just sick.
Posted 09/09 at 04:52 PM
Greg - I completely agree with you. Whicker’s reaction to what you said just shows how completely wrong he is. He both refuses to acknowledge the way he completely inappropriately trivialized a tragedy, and then accuses you of doing the same thing when you in no way did so. So, he recognized it in others when it’s not there, and can’t see it himself. Wow indeed. -Alex
Posted 09/09 at 04:58 PM
This, to me, is deserving of some kind of suspension w/o pay. I don’t know the guy’s writing at all, so I don’t know if this kind of stupidity is his schtick, but even if it’s a one-time lapse, the editors at the newspaper should respond.
Posted 09/09 at 05:41 PM
I couldn’t find the comments for this column. My guess is that they’ve been removed because they were so appropriately voicing their displeasure for this horrid column.
Posted 09/09 at 05:50 PM
TC, Whicker’s editors are to blame as well. I’m a newspaper editor, and if this had crossed my computer screen, I would have hit DELETE immediately, called the columnist, and asked him what the bloody hell he was playing at.
Posted 09/09 at 05:51 PM