The Message was Lost in Translation

You should really go read Ryan Lambert’s ‘What We Learned” post for this week on Puck Daddy.  No, really, you should.  At least, the first part about the Drew Doughty contract negotiations, because it’s really good. I mean, it’s one of the more well thought out posts I’ve read about what the Kings are doing with this contract that is becoming more drama than business.

Like this:

What does he hope to accomplish by making these very public declarations? Is Doughty going to all of a sudden jump up and say, “Well heck Don Meehan, I really wanted that 25 grand!” and immediately fly to Los Angeles and, like Bobby Ryan before him, negotiate his own cap-friendly deal?

Short answer: No. This isn’t An Offer He Can’t Refuse. As of this writing Doughty’s missed two days of camp, so he’s currently looking at a paltry salary of $6.75 million a year. How horrible.

The only thing Doughty will likely care about at the end of the day is that Lombardi didn’t demur and say, “We’re not going to discuss the details of ongoing negotiations at this time.” By throwing out scraps here and there — what the team has already offered, what the player is looking for, how much each missed day of work will cost him, etc. — the only thing Lombardi can do is piss off his best player, not muscle him into finding a deal he or his representatives find unacceptable.

There’s more to read, and it’s worth your time.  But skip the headline:

What We Learned: Dean Lombardi’s lucky sports fans are idiots

I’m not a regular reader of Lambert, and it’s because of stuff like this.  It’s frustrating to read something like his take on the Doughty contract and see it underscored with name-calling and vitriol.  As smart as his take is, it’s undercut by the confrontational headline (and more in the post itself).

If you were to go to your boss, or your co-workers and tell them that you have a great idea, one that would make the company millions, and they would be pure morons if they didn’t listen and take your advice, you would be considered a fool.  You would have cut your own throat, and I can almost guarantee that you would be ignored.  You could take your idea and do what you wanted with it, but you would do it alone, because you turned off the people you were trying to communicate with, and ultimately influence.

Which is what Lambert does over and over.  And perhaps it’s in the name of style, and it’s a style that he likes.  But what it does is hurt his message.  What is the point of writing a well-considered post like this, only to shoot it dead before it is put on display?

I had an interesting chat with Ryan on twitter (@twolinepass), and he said a few things that I found interesting:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/twolinepass/status/115804263397072898"]

Unfortunately, if that’s the goal, it’s presented poorly.  It’s going to be ignored from the get go, as the lead is buried behind a confrontational headline.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/twolinepass/status/115804966224011264"]

I don’t know what’s so irrational about being upset at being called names.  I do think it’s irrational to stop reading Puck Daddy over one writer two tries to get people’s goat (and I don’t completely buy every fan that says they don’t read it).  If you don’t like something, skip that post and move on.  Sure, it’s an editorial decision to have Lambert write for the site, but having several voices on a site generally strengthens a site.  But to blame the readers for reacting poorly to a confrontational style is putting the blame in the wrong place.

So I responded:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/Tapeleg/status/115805146033819648"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/#!/twolinepass/status/115805796192878592"]

And there lies the rub.  I don’t believe for a moment that Lambert doesn’t care.  As the Shakespeare quote goes, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”  (And no, I’m not calling Lambert a lady)  If he didn’t care, he wouldn’t write his posts, he wouldn’t try to spread his opinion, and he wouldn’t engage with hockey fans.  He would simply shake his head at we, the fans – the idiots – and keep to himself.

None of this is to tear Ryan Lambert a new one.  He has his style.  It’s his voice that informs his writing, and as caustic as that voice can be at times, it also makes him an interesting hockey writer.  Unfortunately, that style can be a huge barrier to entry.  This is more a plea, or a request for consideration – from both sides – that it isn’t necessarily the message that’s the issue, but the way it’s presented.

 

Comments

  1. Well said – this reminds me of an episode of House a few years ago, when he was interviewing for a new doctor to join his staff. There was this young hip guy with a Chinese symbol tattoo, an affinity for vintage blues (or jazz, or whatever), and he really aimed to impress House with his “I’m a rebel, I don’t care what others think” attitude.

    House ripped him to shreds. To paraphrase: “of course you care, everything about you screams that you want people to pay attention to you. You know who doesn’t care what other people think? The Asian kid who studies 18 hours a day.”

    Lambert’s shtick is the same as the Asshole Sports Talk Radio guy, who is simply out there to provoke reaction. I have no time for it, and simply never link to his work, rather than engage with it. As my wife’s grandmother once said, “you can’t out-puke a buzzard.”

  2. Awesome blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any recommendations? Bless you!

    • I should write a blog post on this. I may, actually.
      But for now, here is my recommendation:

      Get a free site from WordPress.com, and start writing. They make it easy to export your content to another blog platform or site. Later, when you feel comfortable, and you want to create your own self hosted site, you can create a self-hosted wordpress install, with a domain name and everything.

      Don’t worry about design, or css, or html, or anything that keeps you from writing. Don’t even worry about your writing, just write. And if this doesn’t work out, you don’t have to worry about it. And if it does work out, you can do whatever you want with it. But just start writing, and do it with WordPress. Don’t spend a dime you don’t have to, until you are really ready.

      You are right, the options can be overwhelming. They are supposed to be there to help you make something, and they tend to get in the way by creating noise. Keep the web part as simple as possible to start, and add to it later when you have the space after some regular posting. Don’t get bogged down in the technical aspects. It’s the writing that matters.

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