June 5th, 2007


Who I Read, Myself Aside

Every so often, people like to ask you who you enjoy reading, novelists aside. Of course, they don't pose the question anywhere near the way I just wrote that last sentence, because it's retarded, but I'll go ahead and give you a list of guys worth looking at. I don't get out a lot, so you're not gonna see a wide array of publications.

At the top of the list is the political correspondent for Rolling Stone (at least, the only political correspondent worth a damn), his name is Matt Taibbi. Don't ask for a pronunciation on that one, kids. Generally, I don't take notice of the author's name when I'm reading something from Rolling Stone unless the interviewee is particularly namely because everyone's style there tends to blend into each other. Matt Taibbi is distinctive, which is an encouraging sign that they're going in the right direction. Between him and Rob Sheffield - 'The Funny One' - and the ever-so-rare guest author they employ, it's almost worth bothering to read the name under the headline again.

{{As a side note, this is the first I recall reading of hers, but the Amy Winehouse interview written by Jenny Eliscu was particularly bitchy and witty, so we'll see where she goes}}

Anyway, back to Matt Taibbi, now I'm not gonna lie to you, you're gonna hear your share of comparison to Hunter S. Thompson - the last reason to bother to read the name under the headline - but since I wasn't around for the glorious early 70s issues, I can't say if that's particularly accurate or not. Still, I'll take anyone who calls Rudy Giuliani a motherfucker.

{{As another side note, look for Giuliani to be George W. Bush II, what with all the aides of his that he's hired on for his campaign and the fact that his pockets are more lined with money of special interests than Joe Camel's gynecologist}}

In Seattle, I never read The Stranger as much as I should've; so while I'm here I'm trying to read the Village Voice as much as possible (these are both free alternative weekly newspapers with the kinds of politics and artistic interests that appeal to yours truly; saying nothing of the writing style and humor). However, I haven't had access to the Voice because I haven't lived or worked near a receptacle until I moved to Astoria, so I'm sure I'll find a writer I enjoy soon enough.

That being said, there isn't much I look forward to in any given week more than the Savage Love column (a feature of the Stranger that's reprinted in the Voice). The only advice columnist worth a damn, period.

Moving on to the world of Newspaper Editorials, I hate Newspaper Editorialists. All of them; what's her name from the Washington Post and what's his name from ... the Washington Post, they're all garbage. Conservative, Liberal, hybrid, buttfuck, they're ALL fucking worthless. That's why, I'll say one thing about Leonard Pitts Jr. (from the Miami Herald, who is occasionally featured in nationwide opinion sections of newspapers): he doesn't annoy the shit out of me or try to talk over my head like all the rest (I'm looking at you Ms. Dowd and Mr. Will).

Pitts Jr. has a good mix of politics, race relations, and entertainment related content to go along with a solid prose styling that makes him insightful and interesting without boring me to tears.

That's about all she wrote for people who write about meaningful topics of interest, so I'll go ahead and segue into Entertainment and Sports writers.

Melanie McFarland for the Seattle P-I outclasses by far her peers, though as I find myself watching less and less television, I keep hoping she'll start focusing in on solely those shows I decide to watch at my leisure.

A man after my own heart in THAT regard is New Jersey Star-Ledger Sopranos afficionado Alan Sepinwall, who as far as I know ONLY writes about The Sopranos, all day every day. I'm assuming after next Sunday (and the subsequent week's worth of unbathed, naked blogging), he's going to kill himself - much like a slave would do upon seeing their master killed back in ancient Roman times - because there will simply be nothing left for him to live for.

Actually, I know that's not true, why just today I read a little snippet of something about the Entourage Season 3 Finale. But still, no one I know writes so eloquently, so passionately, while also so succinctly about the greatest television drama the world has ever known than Alan 'Sopranos-Monger-For-Life' Sepinwall.

{{FYI, if you go to nj.com and check out their 'Entertainment' section, you'll find that in addition to a secluded portion of Internet dedicated specifically to The Sopranos - as it mainly takes place in the great state of New Jersey - there are also shrines to Bruce Springsteen AND Frank Sinatra. They really know how to take care of their own; if only the Tacoma News Tribune holds me in such high regard one day}}

Speaking of which, let me scoot quickly along to my favorite beat writer in these United States of America - the News Tribune's own Frank Hughes. I remember the day he started covering the Sonics; he replaced a female Sonics writer I particularly revered (whose name regrettably eludes me) and I was skeptical of this new guy. However, over the years Frank Hughes has been the hardest hitting of the Seattle Area Sportswriters, getting the scoop over his peers in rival newspapers, forging honest, sometimes ruthless opinions on the questionable actions of the team's management. Don't mess with Frank Hughes.

In the same paper - dubbed by me as harborer of the state's best sports section - you've got Mike Sando and Dave Boling. They both lean heavily on the Seattle Seahawks (with Sando being the guy mostly following the team around while Boling is more your freelance opinions man). Those guys along with Mariners man Larry LaRue and John McGrath (the other freelance opinions man whose got a reference list rivaling Dennis Miller in obscurity, respectively, for the sporting world) further cement the News Tribune's standing as a Sports Section to be reckoned with.

The only other name I'm dropping from the Seattle newspaper line of things is Clare Farnsworth, the nicest guy in Seattle Seahawks coverage for the Post-Intelligencer.

Finally, I'll just go ahead and delve into the world of ESPN. You've got John Clayton (veteran Seahawks reporter for the News Tribune before going national), Jim Caple (another Seattle homer, mainly a baseball man), Jason Stark (who does a weekly radio segment on Mitch In The Morning), and the Page 2 guys.

I can't write this entry without singling out Bill Simmons. My work day isn't complete until I've read whatever it is he's put to print that day (those days where he doesn't write anything leave me a little more empty inside until that gaping hole is filled); he's also one of the few writers who I'll seek out even when I DON'T have a mindless job that affords me eight hours a day of free Internet reading time. Simply the best, better than all the rest, better than anyone, anyone I've ever read.

DJ Gallo ranks a close second; especially his AM Jump articles, since I find I enjoy him in smaller doses, especially if the subject matter is lacking or the humor is stretched thin. I'll read anything Chuck Klosterman puts up there, but that's because he writes for Page 2 about once a menstrual cycle if I'm lucky. And I seem to be the only person I know who ravages the Tuesday Morning Quarterback columns by the tastefully named Gregg Easterbrook (sure they're long-winded, pompous, and full of both useless and non-football-related tedium, but the man can write!). Other than those guys and the occasional Scoop Jackson column (who writes too much about an NBA I couldn't care less about), and Jemele Hill (not just a black & female quota-filler; she's got the gift to hit dem hoes swift), I'll read whatever doesn't look painfully boring, redundant, or trivial on Page 2.

That's it. Oh, and Peter Travers, the Rolling Stone movie critic. And Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle (entertainment critic). And probably others.