So, ladies, gentlemen and El G, it’s come to this. The Broo Thunderdome must finally be adjudicated, there must be a champion crowned. Rest assured that when wrested this idea from Bill Friday three weeks ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. In fact, I imagined that the idea would get little or no play with the Broo faithful, and it would die shortly after I drafted the initial piece. Little did I know that now nine articles later, I would have generated 160 comments (most better than the articles themselves), 39 reviews (most of them sterling – save one angry spelling-challenged writer’s contribution), 50 5-star votes (resulting in even more stars than Durell Coleman got in ’85 – look it up), and 2,820 page views (placing me a scant 38,000 or so behind J&T’s seminal piece). But even more important than these SABR-worthy stats (woo hoo, Ed!) is the fact that I’ve managed to capture the attention and creativity of the greatest group of writers I have ever known.
In simply trying to entertain, I gave myself both the opportunity to discover dozens of new pieces and their myriad, talented authors, as well as explore some work that I had previously missed from some of my favorite contributors. I hope that, for many of you, I did the same. I have learned a great deal this year about the futility of trying to create a community where there is none – and then, along comes this crazy thing – and I find a community where I didn’t expect one. Of course, that fails to explain my seriously bastardized attempt at a get-together – but I’m just chalking that up to being located in the middle of a social sinkhole. But seriously – e-mail 2.0 notwithstanding, there is a family here at Broo, and I’m happy to be a part of it… even if I’m still sitting at the proverbial Broo Thanksgiving kids table (you know, the folding card table with the plastic tablecloth, etc… just out of earshot of the “adult” conversation).
Well, I know you didn’t come here to listen to me wax poetic on how I “enjoyed the journey”… you’re here for results. And results you shall have. Ladies and gentlemen, the Broo Championship matchup:
El G vs. Bill Friday
I’m not sure if this is the sort of final match up I imagined, and I know it’s not the one anyone predicted. I know Steve says the absence of any Broo ladies makes the finals suspect – and I agree… but, then again, that’s why they play the games, right? Was my judgment suspect in any of the preceding matches? Let’s be honest, my judgment was suspect in all of the preceding matches – which is exactly why I think I really did arrive at the right final two. But, how on earth, to parse between them? Cultural relevance? The obligatory Google Fight (link) revealed another El G triumph… but, in the immortal words of Jen & Tonic, this must go deeper. Perhaps the Google image search… “El G” got me pictures of the Olympic marathon, a guy putting on his socks, a reprinted visual puzzle from Games magazine, a Korean album cover, and three pictures of the pool at an Egyptian hotel (and I thought his profile pictures were ambiguous). “Bill Friday” netted me a seriously disturbing staff photo from the North Carolina Family Policy Council, three Democratic Congressmen (including Ted Kennedy), one native American vintage photo (of an Arapahoe guy actually named Bill Friday) and (thankfully) a shot of Connie Britton from Friday Night Lights. At least Bill delivered one “hot mama.” As equally disturbing as they were – the image search was another push. Am I going to have to actually look at the writing again? I mostly want to continue using Google products in the hopes that the additional revenue I generate will force the E-mail 2.0 cult out of “allegedly non-profit” existence.
There are, of course, the Broo statistics… with over 71,000 page hits and a Popularity of 3482-ish… Big Bill comes out ahead on both fronts – And Bill’s got 56 articles to El’s 29. The tale of the tape isn’t much of a tale at all… this should be a beatdown by Friday. It really, really should.
Then I thought about looking at their worst rated articles: For El G, it was the second piece he ever wrote for the Broo; a caustic ode to the proverbial West Hollywood bartender. For Bill, a couple of pieces he wrote as a socially conscious homage to recently shorn Britney Spears garnered twin-worst ratings. I actually remember reading each of them, and gave them both 4-stars… which may speak more of my questionable judgment than it does of these pieces, but, once again, push.
Of course, there is the consistent efforting of Bill to make sure I’ve noticed his efforts in this tournament. If anyone could turn sycophancy into an art form, it’s Bill. From the blog, to the comments, the commiserating over the loss of V to wedded bliss, and the completely forgivable fawning over Navy football – Bill was nothing if not persuasive. I wouldn’t even want to invite similar behavior from El G, because it would likely require him to plant his tongue so firmly within his cheek that he’d likely punch right through.
At some point, I thought about pulling a Bud Selig and just calling this contest a draw – and letting everyone just get on with the rest of their season… but aside from being cowardly – I think it may be the only thing that I could do to cause even more controversy… so I must find a winner. Back when I began this thing – I promised four criteria: votes, messages, comments, and my own distorted sense of justice.
Votes: I went through the comments to the Final Four results. Counted 6 votes for El G, and 4 for Bill. Yes, I let them vote for themselves – and people could vote more than once… it’s not a democracy, people… it’s a Glenn-ocracy. Advantage: El G.
Comments: Bill’s final comment referenced Spud Webb, Ernest Hemingway and Danny Trejo, in the same post! El G has posted some of the best comments of this entire series, including a truthfully nauseating thread about making out with Rose Mountain. Unfortunately, although El G is Broo’s King of Comments, by the "some of the best", I mean, some of the best besides Bill’s. Advantage: Bill Friday
Messages: Bill actually tipped me off to V’s marriage, and then empathized with my loss in consecutive messages. Additionally, he messaged me to let me know he was coming, then not coming to my place in Burbank to watch the final game. El G didn’t send me a message at all. Advantage: Bill Friday.
My own distorted sense of justice: To love Navy football is to love the underdog, to love going against the numbers, conventional wisdom and overwhelming odds. There’s no doubt that the Broo numbers favor Big Bill… but irreverence, thy name is El G. Despite Joe’s posted odds, my sense of justice tells me that this should belong to the G. Advantage: El G.
Dammit. Another push. Okay, fine. The urge to just flip a damned coin is becoming overwhelming...
I re-read their profiles, both tremendous - I think a decision to buy either one of these gents a beer will likely be the best decision you ever make in a bar (especially you, TravellingSeth). Their seminal works - for me Friday's was "Cleaning Out The Notebook: Sports Stories I Never Told You", and El G's "Cobras, Prostitutes & Lawsuits: My Roommate Search in LA" revealed that Bill's life was cooler, and G's was much, much weirder, than mine. Another push.
In the end, it's a deathmatch, people. Ever seen Mad Max? Do you know what it means to be the guy with the steely and slightly crazy eyes, and not the overwhelming, intimidating gladiator-looking badass? Here's the thing, when I started thinking about this and then writing about it, I thought for all the world that I knew which direction I was going in - and then convinced myself of something different. For all of the wonderfully articulate and intricate craziness that El G fires around Broo, I am eternally grateful. This place needs El G... Bill Friday, on the other hand, is the prototypical Broo author - widely varied pieces, artful writing, and a biting wit that typifies what makes citizen journalism materially more entertaining than the mass-marketed stuff. But what I found in this process, is the Bill Friday that I don't think I knew before I started - and the El G I always knew was there. In the end, isn't that what these championship contests are all about?
In what I'm sure he will resent being called an "upset", the inaugural BrooWaha Writer's Deathmatch Championship goes to Bill Friday. Congratulations to both finalists and to Bill... It was quite a run for both of you.
The final brackets are available here:
It has been a pleasure being your faithful scribe throughout this process... Thanks to all of you who have participated and enjoyed this little adventure. I have gained an even greater amount of respect for the amazing talent we have assembled here.
One last time: have fun with this Championship ... And REMEMBER, play nicely, people - In the end, and in the immortal words of William Styron: "The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone's neurosis, and we'd have a mighty dull literature if all the writers that came along were a bunch of happy chuckleheads."
Here's to us not being chuckleheads.