I am a professional media reporter. I would like to "interview" you about the book, and by "interview," I mean, "call you an asshole." How can I do this?
Interpreting "professional media reporter" incredibly loosely, I somehow conned the very nice people at Harper Collins into letting me interview Will for a whole thirty minutes. Here's the link to our sports department's blog that has the interview, in case you're interested - it's also got interviews with Pat Forde, Dak from Fire Joe Morgan, and (for some reason even I don't understand) Dolph "Ivan Drago" Lundgren. I'll also put the links at the end of this post.
Anyway, I thought I might pretend I'm more than just an angry blowhard by filing this report on the book tour! Complete with pictures! Almost none of which were taken during the event itself!
First of all, the event was at the Boston University Barnes & Noble, whose previous author events have apparently included:
1. Gene Wilder's autobiography
2. A Wolfgang Puck cookbook
3. The expanded universe novel Star Wars Darth Bane Path of Destruction: A Novel of the Old Republic (their title, not mine). Author Drew Karpyshyn recommended on the book's poster that I "embrace the dark side." Will do, Drew, will do. Also, until further notice, I'm assuming KSK demigod Big Daddy Drew is Star Wars expanded universe author Drew Karpyshyn. I'm also assuming Christmas Ape is Wolfgang Puck and Flubby is Gene Wilder.
4. TV's Detective Munch himself, Richard Belzer, who I can only assume was promoting the book Law and Order: SVU - Complete Season Three DVD Boxset.
5. Much more worryingly, Dan Shaughnessy and Mike Lupica have also been through here.
Lupica's message was especially inspiring: "Barnes & Noble, thanks for the use of the hall. Mike Lupica." It's that sort of class that has made the man number one, people.
The event itself went well, and in the interest of not wasting too much more of your time I will condense the narrative into a few notes and highlights. Is that bad journalism? I wish I knew.
- Will blasted the myth that it's difficult to get a Deadspin commenting account, which basically means the fact that I went to the trouble of interviewing him for thirty minutes just to get a commenting account is pretty much the lamest thing I've ever done. And believe me, there's plenty of competition for that title.
- When asked whether he'd met any of his fellow bloggers, Will mentioned he had only met the Mighty MJD for the first time relatively recently, and he was exactly like what Will expected to the point that he recognized the man, who he had never seen before, in a crowded room. I don't know quite what that means, but I'd like to think "exactly what I expected" means held in the loving embrace of Muff Stubble Girl.
- Will Leitch does a dynamite southern accent, as was seen during his dramatic interpretation of the John Rocker interview. Seriously, it made him sound 20% manlier, 30% more charismatic, and 70% more likely to kick my disrespectful ass. Is a southern accent Will Leitch's personal Enzyte?
That southern twang was definitely enhancing that particular male, though I'm dubious whether it's all natural.
- The dude portraying Will in the Rocker reenactment was wearing a shirt, tie, and pants ensemble (sorry, I'm way too uncouth to have the more precise term for that...business casual, maybe?), which I think made him the best-dressed dude there. He hurt that image a little by wearing a "Free Will" hat, which I thought might have something to do with the whole ESPN blackballing thing until I noticed Shakespeare's picture between the words. So unless the Bard of Avon has started writing the hawking and jousting closers, I don't think it had anything to do with Deadspin. But I've been wrong before.
- Will added a footnote to a footnote when he elaborated on this gem from the Rocker interview: "My interviewing tactic mostly involves plying my subject with alcohol. Don't laugh: This is exactly how Seymour Hersh does it." Ever the pop culture maven, Will substituted in Mike Wallace for Hersh and noted, "Just like with Roger Clemens!" This of course ignores that, much like Captain America, it is now chemically impossible to get Clemens drunk. Also, just like Captain America, Clemens was recently publicly ambushed and assassinated while being brought to a hearing. If this doesn't capture exactly what just happened to the Rocket, I don't know what does.
- Apparently pretty much every fan of the site Will has met over the years has been totally normal, except for one guy who was a little on the weird side. It seems the key to unnerving Will Leitch is to quickly repeat Deadspin catchphrases at him, as the fan's weirdness took the form of sidling up to him and mumbling bon mots like "You're with me, Leather!" and "Carl Monday watches you masturbate!" To be fair, the dude was Martin Lawrence, so perhaps it's understandable.
- Speaking of strange little creeps, Supermike was, as far as we can tell, not there, as someone at one point piped up and asked, "Is Supermike here?" Tragically, there was no response. To be fair, The Tin Star was on Turner Classic Movies at 6:15, and if there's one thing we definitely know about Supermike, it's that he really appreciates his late-era Anthony Mann.
- I'm going to break this story now: Will Leitch and Boston Legal star
C'mon, this explains everything. His constant references to co-star William Shatner, his lingering sexual tension with Maggie Gyllenhaal, the fact that I have complicated man-crushes towards two men when really I should only be capable of one, his awkwardness in situations with Peter Gallagher and Andie MacDowell, the fact that you've never, ever seen them in the same room together...you know, everything! The Pulitzer committee knows where to find me when they're ready to recognize this. You too, Nobel.
- Finally, it was time for Will to sign our books. I asked him to personalize it with the only quote I could think of that was appropriate. He very kindly appended it to his own apology for being a boring interview (which he isn't) and totally justified shot at Dolph Lundgren (I want to start a feud)...
I don't want to call out Will for not knowing every line ever written from The Simpsons, but he didn't immediately recognize the origin of "Keep reaching for that rainbow." You can't begin to imagine how proud I am that Will Leitch and I share a private joke that even he doesn't get.
And now, that interview...
Of Deadspin, God Save the Fan, and the book tour
Experts and student journalism
The jokes that are Ivy League and Big 10 basketball
I destroy any chance of ever interning at ESPN...thank goodness
Will utterly owns my ass in a round of Cubs-Cards taunting
A manifesto for sports fans
Dolph Lundgren and tequila are discussed, much happiness ensues
What is good sports journalism?