Because Tinyletter is mostly for mail, it’s nearly impossible to find old newsletters. So I’m posting all my old newsletters here so they can be searched, indexed, all that. You’re still better off just subscribing.
Douglas Fairbanks died at the age of 91 on May 7, 2000.
May 7, 2016.
Hello, fellow humans. I welcome you to the first installment of the weekly Will Leitch Writing Newsletter. (This is a terrible title that will certainly be changed.) As someone who writes for a lot of places, I’m always trying to find new ways to make sure people can find my stuff if it happens to whiz by them in daily churn of distraction, so I thought this newsletter might be worth a shot. I trust your judgment, dear reader, to let me know if I am providing a service with this, or just mounting an invasion of your inbox. This intro will probably more complicated and self-indulgent as we go along, so I apologize in advance on that. I do not have one of those alerts set up to tell me when people have unsubscribed — such utilities always strike me as unusually self-destructive — so if you decide this isn’t for you, not only will there be no hard feelings, I will never even know.
I feel like Saturday is the best day for such a newsletter because, even when I’m working on Saturdays, it still has a slower aspect to it, if just because there are so many people not working. I still use RSS feeds, because I’m 115 years old, and Saturday is typically the day I get caught up on all the things I put aside to read during the week. There is always this sense that the world is moving too quickly for us, but I find that the weekend, generally, does not. Perhaps to even it all out requires simply a slight reallocation of resources. Point is: Saturdays are good reading days.
So anyway, here is a numerical breakdown of all the things I wrote this week, in order of what I believe to be their quality. (This is an attempt to have an objective look at the value of my work in a way that I suspect will be difficult to sustain.)
1. ESPN’s Eight-Hour O.J. Documentary Is a Masterpiece, New York Magazine. This was originally going to be about a 4,000 word piece for The New York Times op-ed page, but the schedule didn’t quite work out. It’s a little less ambitious in this format, but it’s far better timed: In three weeks, every single publication you read will be writing about this show, so there is benefit in helping set the conversation around it. The movie is breathtaking: It begins airing on ABC and ESPN on June 11.
2. Book Review: “The Only Rule Is It Has To Work,” Sports On Earth. Despite the headline, I don’t consider this a book review. Ben Lindbergh’s and Sam Miller’s new book about running the independent league Sonoma Stompers is terrific, but I wanted to write about the social experiment they tried, being fans (or “fans”) testing all their theories about baseball in a non-laboratory environment. I think the fact that we do not, in fact, have a seat at the table as sports fans is more a benefit than a detriment: It keeps us distanced — some might say too distanced, but I wouldn’t — from the unseemliness of sports. It allows us to keep sports ours. What happens when you cross that line and become an active participant? The book is funny, but it’s best at exploring that central conflict. Plus, I’m a huge fan of their podcast, which meant I just read the whole book in their voices. Podcasts can get in your head.
3. Tim Lincecum Is Back, and That’s Great For Baseball, Sports On Earth. Mostly, this gave me an opportunity to write about Richard Linklater’s wonderful new movie Everybody Wants Some!!, which is one of my favorite movies of the year. It will put you in a terrific mood.
4. Review: “Captain America: Civil War,” The New Republic. This is a fun movie, but it is becoming increasingly difficult — and undeniably exhausting — to keep track of all these Marvel movies. Grierson said on our podcast that he felt like he needed an index with him to follow along. I needed Google, and a pause button.
5. The Yankees Are Finally a Losing Team, and That’s OK, Sports On Earth. Some, but not most, might find this an arguable point.
6. Ranking the Kentucky Derby Horses by Their Names, Sports On Earth. I am a sucker for this annual column. All horses should be named “Danza.”
7. Counting Down April’s 10 Dumbest Sports Stories, Sports On Earth. Suffice it to say, this monthly series has proven to have more legs than I had initially anticipated.
8. Culture Caucus Podcast: Purple Pain, or Why Prince’s Death Brought Us Together in a Way That Politics No Longer Can, Bloomberg Politics. I do the writeups for these podcasts — this is a particularly fun one with John Heilemann and Lizzy Goodman, an old school NYC web-pub person — but don’t be fooled. It’s just a podcast.
9. Breaking Down the Top 25 in MLB’s Best Stat, OPS-Plus, Sports On Earth. This was a last-minute, rushed piece that doesn’t have much to say and is probably not worth your time.
Also, it was a three-podcast week. If you are the sort to subscribe to a weekly newsletter, I would have to think it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle to subscribe to one of the four (!) podcasts I do. Here they are:
The Will Leitch Experience, this week with Alyson Footer, talking Dee Gordon and the Astros.
Grierson & Leitch, this week discussing “Captain America: Civil War,” “Keanu” and summer movies.
Culture Caucus, aforementioned, talking Prince with John Heilemann and Lizzy Goodman.
Waitin’ Since Last Saturday, the Georgia football podcast we haven’t done in a month but are taping an episode of this week.
So that’s how this is gonna work every week, I guess. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you think I am doing anything wrong with this newsletter, and pass it around, I guess, it’s free. I am going to go coach a T-ball game now. Here is my team:
Heyward Allen is a car dealership here in Athens that sponsors our team, which means these four-year-olds are already being used to sell Buicks.
Have a great weekend.