Tag Archives: Bill Conlin

Advice From a Man With a Condo

Bill Conlin is known in these parts (well, “these parts” loosely referring to blogs, though not necessarily this site) as a sort of crotchety old sportswriter.  He overwrites.  He harangues.  He says that Hitler would’ve wiped bloggers from the blessed earth.

Personally, I’ve got a soft-spot for Conlin.  I loved him when I was young.  When I was coming of age, baseball-wise.  Yes, he over-wrote then, too, but he was comfortable in his element, and his columns were more inclined to praise the merits of the bullpen than to lament that catastrophe of the owners.  At this point, he’s cranky more often than not, and when he goes too far, I feel mostly disappointment.  He’s been a good writer for a long time, and I expect better of him.

Every once in a while though, Conlin refinds his stroke.  Today, he writes a column giving advice to young people who want to get into Conlin’s “industry in crisis”.  My favorite bit:

All religious references are out, of course, from Anglican to Zoroastrianism. And never tell a joke that begins, “A Protestant, Catholic and Jew were . . . ” Everybody will laugh but the guy who e-mails the editor.

Other individuals to avoid hooking up to snappy one-liners during your TV appearances include: Charles Manson, Charlie Starkweather, Ted Bundy, The Boston Strangler (unless the line involves a Boston team choking), Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, David Berkowitz (Son of Sam killings) and the Zodiac Killer. Hannibal Lecter is probably OK; he was only a movie.

Nor is it trendy or cool these vigilante days to toss any of these names into your copy and hope they slip past an editor: Genghis Khan, Attila The Hun, Tamerlane, Joseph Stalin, Pontius Pilate, Torquemada, Chairman Mao, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, John Dillinger or Jesse James.

It goes without saying that entendres are finis, both single and double. And be careful, very careful, when writing about any sporting event involving male figure skaters and female professional golfers or basketball players. Not that there’s anything wrong with them.

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