Friday, November 16, 2007


Get the jokes about the saga of Jiri's Junk out of the way first:
  • Why all the fuss? Haven't the Leafs been getting their inadequacies exposed in a public forum on a consistent basis for the past 40 years?

    Granted, Jiri Tlusty plays forward. Usually, and it's the Leafs defence that gets undressed.
  • The Tlusty story hit Deadspin late last week, before the Sean Avery/Jason Blake/Darcy Tucker war of words. So Sean Avery very well had a choice to rag on Tlusty over his naked photos being on the web, or rag on Jason Blake over having cancer, and he (allegedly) chose to chirp at the cancer patient.
  • Doesn't this just go to show that all the modern technology really hasn't helped men find any better ways to attract a woman in the past two billion years?

OK, now what seems striking about the story is how it progressed through the media food chain. David Shoalts of noted how five years ago, someone was circulating photos of then-Leafs goalie Ed Belfour apparently drunk off his ass at a house party. The media didn't touch it. Who cared if Belfour enjoyed a beer or six if he could still play goal? It was left to the message boards.

Now, with all the blogs out there, Big Media, the major daily newspapers and the cool kids at the anchor desks, et al., thinks blowing Jiri's Junk out of all proportion is a surefire way to show how with-it they are. Meantime, the serious hockey blogs, which granted can produce as much or as little as they wish, laid off the Tlusty story. They are past that now. A lot of readers are past cyberrubbernecking (to be honest, I never heard of the site that broke the Tlusty "news").

It's a complete role reversal. It was like the true bloggers, the rabblerousers, knew better that none of us are anywhere near perfect, so what was the point of piling on?

Mirtle didn't write a post about Tlusty until after the Leafs rookie graced the front page of the Toronto Sun, even though the story came six days after the Deadspin post (and Deadspin handled it in a non-judgmental way, calling attention to the stupidity of the goof who was trying to make a name for himself ). The same went for Off Wing Opinion. It would probably be true of a lot of the other leading hockey blogs.

Is that a matter of the blogging culture coming to emulate the circle-the-wagons boys' club in hockey? Or is it a matter of the writers on the web realizing you have to do more to build a real connection with a readership than link to pictures of a 19-year-old hockey player's penis?

If some goof wants to attract the web version of people gawking at a traffic pileup, so be it. That's no way to be a person of substance.

Now, this is coming from the same source that six months ago, called attention to the indiscretions of another teenaged hockey player, Jamie Arniel, about comments he'd made in a public forum disparaging the Leafs. (Believe you me, if a future first-round NFL draft choice playing at Ohio State was made comments on Facebook slagging the Cleveland Browns, it would make the news in the States. At least that's how it was justified.)

In that instance with Arniel, it was more of a comment on how the digital age puts the lie to everything sanctimonious that the adults in the hockey world say and write about the fine young men of character who play junior hockey. Now what the young players do between themselves, is now right out there, whereas 15 or 20 years ago, you never knew, except for the occasional bit of gossip. That was the point then. Arniel unfortunately got sideswiped a bit, since I'm not always precise in my muckraking.

Six months later, the hockey blogosphere in general, largely made up of people under the age of 35, seemed to extend some understanding to Jiri Tlusty. In the supposedly more mature mainstream media, where how a story is going to be framed and told is often decided beforehand by a Baby Boomer (or someone who's adopted that sensitivity), Tlusty didn't get the same consideration.

No wonder a lot of people think the web is the more honest organ, so to speak.


Dennis Prouse said...

Isn't Sean Avery a nice young man? Nothing quite like mocking a guy for having cancer. VERY classy. His own teammates can't stand him, for God's sake. He will wear out his welcome in New York, guaranteed, just as he did in the last two cities he was in.

sager said...

It's known for sure that Avery did, now.