Today’s column …

… concerns three gifted athletes whose stars have faded—thanks to their own doing.

13 thoughts on “Today’s column …”

  1. Please, Jeff. I’m begging you. Don’t become Rick Reilly.

    “Now, approaching his 34th birthday, he and my coffee mug have the same odds of returning to the NBA.”

    Hmm..I need a turn of phrase…and I’m drinking coffee! It’s perfect! Don’t be Rick Reilly. You’re way too good for lazy writing like that.

    1. Clive, I initially ignored your comment. But let’s have a debate—what, exactly, makes that lazy writing? And, for that matter, what is lazy writing? you’re actually right … I was trying to think of someone who had the same odds of Marbury of making it back. Looked at my mug and thought—Bingo. But is that any more cliched than your response to my lazy writing? Is it any more lazy than the lazy thought that it was lazy?

  2. Jeff please don’t become one of the 8 million writers to include lazy or inadequate lines in your writing. As I said, you are too good for that. For all your many hours of diligent research and writing, I would hate to see even a hint of the lazy bullshit that is so prevalent in other writers’ work today – none moreso than Rick Reilly. I’m a fan – you are the opposite of lazy and inadequate. Hence my trouble with that line. It reeks of Reilly.

  3. Indeed, though I am now retired. Though frankly I do not see how it is relevant. If my background was in the manufacturing of coffee mugs, my criticism would still be valid.

    1. Clive, it’s extremely relevant. Writing is hard. And often torturous. Sometimes you have 20 minutes to turn around a column, sometimes you have two hours, sometimes you have a week. There are tons upon tons of factors that impact the quality of a column/story as a whole, and also the minor parts. Most readers who don’t write never think of that, and therefore a lot of their criticisms (of all writers—not just me) are like yours: You’re getting lazy. That was a horrible paragraph. Etc … etc. However, generally speaking, writers who have done this for a living get the struggle, the blockades, etc. They know writers have off days and bad moments and sags, and they don’t call them on it (Because it happens to us all). And while time/situation/circumstance might not make a bad line defensible, it does make it understandable.

      If you’re a retired writer, maybe you should think back to your active days. Or, better yet, break open the ol’ scrapbooks and re-read your own work. Something tells me you’ll find plenty of “lazy” lines, too.

  4. I would counter that it is not relevant for the following reason: it matters not that I made the criticism but that the criticism was valid. Journalism is not written for the writers, but for the readers.

    I am sure I have written lazy lines as well and I know very well the trouble of deadlines. Actually, that’s my main point. In my day (a terrifying phrase), papers came out every day. Now, information is needed as quickly as possible and, naturally, the turnaround time is a lot quicker. This rapidity lends itself to more mistakes and perhaps greater uses of lazy language.

    Do you disagree?

  5. As another fellow writer, I wouldn’t call that line lazy. I would, however…and only because it’s my own biggest writing flaw…call it, “Trying way too hard to be cute.”

    Again, I only say this because I spend way too much time pruning the “Oh, isn’t that cute, chuckle chuckle” stuff out of my own writing :).

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