(Blogger’s note: Sometimes … aw, you probably know what Periodic Pingback is about by now. If you don’t, it’s links to other stuff on the Internet, not created by me but that I thought too good to NOT share. Okay, let’s get on with this bad boy!)
If I had to list my five favorite writers, fiction or non-fiction, I guarantee one of the slots would go to Bill James. Bill mostly writes about baseball — in fact, he was not only a pioneer in the field of sabermetrics (the statistical analysis of baseball games and players), he coined the term “sabermetrics”! He’s an incredibly intelligent, erudite, witty author, whose background in sociology gives him an insight into how the sport (and culture in general) works that you could never get from, say, Tim McCarver. He can be laugh-out-loud funny at times, and can also turn dead serious when the need arises.
And when it comes to the continuing arguments over the legal pursuit of onetime steroid users in baseball (real or imagined), the need has apparently arisen.
I was over at Slate.com today and ran into Bill’s latest, a careful defense of rule-breaking. Yes, you read that right. Bill’s argument is that we need rule-breakers to some extent if a society is to grow, evolve or innovate, and that we imperil the culture if we try to tighten things up too much. He also points out the need for balance, that we cannot afford to be too lenient any more than we can to be too strict, and that we should weigh how breaking a rule affects society as a whole. (The example of Martha Stewart going to jail while the guys who brought down Lehman Brothers go free is, to quote Ferris Bueller, “so choice.”)
Anyway, you can read the entire article here. It won’t make you laugh, or help you with your fantasy team, but it should definitely make you think.
(Also, apropos of very little, I finished chapter 4 of my Iron Man fanfic, Hearts and Souls, this afternoon. You can read the entire saga so far here. Didn’t want you to think I wasn’t doing any writing of my own …)