It's old blog hat to take a columnist you despise--oh, how we hate that dog Waffles--and parse through their latest crashing pile of two-sentence paragraphs demolishing shaky assumptions, highlighting tired language pulled straight from the hack's scrapheap, and flicking them a firm middle finger for three or four sustained paragraphs. But Mike Bianchi just begs for it on a weekly basis, spewing out the finger-wagging sports bar talk radio crapulence you'd expect from Philly sports talk radio, not a columnist for a healthy-sized paper. (Should Terrell Owens be shot out of a cannon for glancing angrily at a camera today? Yankees Red Sox A-Rod blah!)
Since he's already referred to as "Shecky" Bianchi by WATB, we can't take that angle. (Though he refers to himself as a "wise-guy columnist," which makes us think of Bruno Kirby in Good Morning Vietnam. Give Bianchi three more weeks and he'll bust out a column as Frenchy, the lovable Frenchman.) We could call him just plain grade-A historically wrong here, which feels right enough for blogdom.
"Judy Tenuta! Right after Mike Bianchi! Two for one wine coolers at the bar, people!"
The quote in question:
It's more fun to watch them win because of their undying passion. It's more fun to watch them lose because of their undeniable pomposity.
Once again, we defer to the legendary sportswriter Dan Jenkins, who once wrote of the Gators: "They have the tradition of Wake Forest and the arrogance of Notre Dame."
Legendary is a tired word.
It's what an old boss of ours liked to tag onto the words "customer service," as in "We seek to provide legendary customer service." As in your customer service winding up chiseled onto stone tablets by awestruck scribes and then being unearthed by our eight armed, two-headed alien overlord archaeologists, who would then read them and think "My god, he checked the system to see when the shipment was coming in--and then promised to call! What a civilization!"
So we'll clarify Bianchi's tired language: Dan Jenkins is a legendary golf writer. This is no slap at him, since making the sport of golf seem exciting is like being the world's most eagerly sought-out proctologist--you must be doing something right to make that which is unpleasant more than bearable. Otherwise, we'd send him a big retroactive "fuck you" for the Wake Forest remark, and thus by extension to Shecky.
(And that's something commentators do! Wag fingers! Because you, as a reader, are too stupid to do so for yourselves! Fear my moralizing hand, even as it dips into another bucket of pregame buffet chicken wings!!!)
And yet...he's right. Compared to other programs, Miami, FSU, and Florida all run puddle-deep in tradition. Tradition at the U begins with Disco. At UF it begins with Spurrier the player and thus far ended with Spurrier, the coach. FSU's spiritual grandfather is Burt Reynolds, which is actually pretty damn impressive, since he made Stick and Gator, a film that featured Lauren Hutton wearing not much at all. And that, in 1970-something, wasn't a bad thing. (He's wrong about reffing the Wake line now, since there's SEC championships and one MNC to gaze at fondly on the trophy rack. )
Note that he made a movie called "Gator," not "Seminole."
Point being? The best thing about being a fan of any of the three Florida unis is the lack of tradition. It's all now, it's all go, and it's all done without the musty, weighty old woolen jersey of tradition. Bianchi could have written this column about any of the three programs in the state with minor tweaks and gotten the same piece and the same reaction with it, a McColumn created with reconstituted bits of meat from other writers, other pieces, and senescent ideas.
As for the charge of being pompous...well, sure. It's the oldest university in the state, the center of political power (the law school's rife with future Florida politicians, which is why you sew your wallet to your flesh before attending their parties,) and has the longest, if not the most glorious football history. (In a state that crawled beastlike from the mire largely after 1922, that's again a thin claim.) It's in the fan immune system: in order, prestige is the final step before referencing dubious claims of penis size, superior income, and opponents' natural tendencies toward bestiality and incest when having a friendly chat with fans of an opposing team.
Oh, and this?
It's hard to despise a team that goes to the Outback Bowl every year. You know what they say: You can't spell "Aussie Cheese Fries" without UF.
Sure. And you can't spell " is a hack columnist bitch" without "Mike Bianchi!" Bad-dum-ching! Jake Johansen will be on in a few! You've been great!