Friday, December 5, 2008
As an occasional break from Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works (more on that later) and Neal Stephenson's Anathem (no more on that later), I picked my way through FreeDarko presents The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac: Styles, Stats, and Stars in Today's Game.
It's an unwieldy title, to be sure, but the book itself is fine fine fine. If you've ever read the FreeDarko blog, you'll recognize the tone, but given that it's the dominant tone of so much current writing (think Esquire, etc), even if you haven't read the blog, nothing about the style will shock or awe. It's that combination of analysis and commentary, of intelligence and humor, of respect and snark. It's that "we take this seriously, but we also realize how ridiculous it is to take this seriously, so we don't take it seriously even while we take it seriously" thing. It's that gimmick thing, yes, but all analysis ultimately hangs its hat upon a gimmick.
A taste, from "Jerseys for Every Occasion," and its instructions for what NBA jersey might be appropriate attire, for example, for a funeral: "Len Bias, Boston Celtics. The Celtics took Len Bias with the first overall pick in the 1986 draft, after which he promptly died of a cocaine overdose. This tragedy derailed a dynasty; wearing this jersey says to the family, 'I know you'll never be happy again, and that's okay.'"