If there’s one thing we can all agree on in this convoluted, confusing age, it’s that Chris Berman is a terrible broadcaster. But you know who doesn’t agree? Chris Berman.
In an interview with Broadcasting & Cable, Berman addresses those malicious fearmongers who blog from their parents’ basements and pleasure themselves to the thought of all the people they hurt.
Take it away, big fella:
Do you read your press clippings?
I’m aware of them. I don’t really understand them, because I don’t think they’re from the people.
From the people? Apparently, Berman is ESPN’s Bill O’Reilly, ignoring any and all media criticism because he only believes in vox populi. Even so, Berman couldn’t be more off base because most of his naysayers are bloggers and not credentialed media. They are in fact “the people.”
You’re probably one of the most polarizing people in sports.
I’m not sure why. Because if you ask the players and the people in the game, I’m not.
OK, OK, OK. So Berman believes in the faith and devotion of the huddled masses, but he also justifies himself with approval from the people he covers for his profession. What a journalist! Of course athletes love him — he gives them goofy nicknames and blankets telecasts with his shtick, avoiding even the semblance of objective reporting. Why bring up those messy steroids rumors at the Home Run Derby when Mark McGwire is hitting the ball from Fenway Park to New Hampshire? That would get in the way of that “back-back-back-back-back” stuff the people love so well.
Also, has it ever crossed Berman’s mind that athletes might actually not be telling the whole truth when they profess their adoration for him? That maybe they realize if they glad-hand and schmooze the Hawaiian-shirted one, they’ll be paid back with a little extra attention during broadcasts?
And now, the unequivocal highlight:
I wasn’t sure anyone had ever asked you about the criticism.
[The criticism] is disappointing, but I’m not sure where it comes from. Did I get bad all of a sudden? My heart is still in the same place. I quote music from my day, and when the music today is better than in my day, I’ll quote it. And maybe a lot of the people commenting today haven’t seen me earn it. They’re young. It’s true.
Oh, there’s so much to parse here, I’m having trouble maintaining my equilibrium. I’m almost turned on by the lack of self-awareness, the ego, the misanthropy.
First things first, CB: you did not get bad all of a sudden. I promise. You were always bad. You were always a joke. You always elevated yourself above whatever you happened to be covering. You always focused on hammy jokes at the expense of content. You were always hated. I will admit that you’ve probably gotten worse, but you were always bad.
“And when the music today is better than in my day, I’ll quote it.” I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Especially given that, earlier in the interview, Berman brought up his hilarious bon mot, “Dustin ‘The Wind’ Johnson.” Translation: Berman thinks Kansas is fucking great. I know it’s a cliché to claim that all this fucking noise the kids make these days can’t compare to the Beatles. A lot of us have probably heard our fathers say it. But our fathers don’t have to embarrass us on national television. And our fathers don’t include Kansas as one of the great forefathers of rock.
I’m sure Berman reads Pitchfork. I’m sure he belongs to eMusic, and is diligently downloading and sampling all of today’s best-regarded bands. He’s listened to LCD Soundsystem. He’s listened to Animal Collective. He’s listened to Outkast. He hasn’t just listened; he’s studied. He’s interpreted the lyrics, learned the riffs on guitar, called Jim DeRogatis to engage in rigorous debates. He’s done all of that. And he’s deemed, in his learned opinion, that those artists are simply massively inferior to the likes of Kansas, Boston and Journey.
Swami sayz: Radiohead is overrated and pretentious, and Kid A merely showcases an aging rock band struggling with the limits of their abilities, and turning to abstract noise art as a way to disguise their creative failings.