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Messi, Ray Hudson and Must Read Soccer

by Bob Lalasz on May 22, 2011

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(It’s a dream of near-indecency to be able to justify writing a headline like that.)

Anyway, Jeré Longman’s huge New York Times profile of Lionel Messi and his gifts is now up on the Times site. Jeré was kind enough to use several of the “Spoken Word of Ray Hudson” poems from my soccer blog, Must Read Soccer, as punctuation throughout the piece. I think they work well. I’m also astonished at how well Longman was able to narrativize Messi’s two goals against Real Madrid in the first match of their Champions League semifinal.

Of course, many of the cognoscenti on Twitter have damned the piece, saying it says nothing new, saying it’s only being read because it’s in the Times. Soccer on Twitter has become a hyperbaric chamber of pure snobbery, a lot like music criticism was in the day of alt-weeklies. It was inevitable — structurally determined — that Twitter would evolve this way on niche subjects: a kind of hipster priesthood of the right way to look at things masquerading as a celebration of inclusion and difference. But it’s exhausting for me to step into its streams for more than 5 minutes, except for very tightly edited lists. A lot of the bloggers I admired and linked to on Must Read Soccer just a year ago have devolved into tweeters only, delivering themselves of little packages of snark instead of essays. Twitter doesn’t do vulnerability well. On balance, I’d say it might even be a loss for thinking about soccer.

Anyway, enough Jaron Lanieresque ranting. Many thanks to Jeré, and of course all credit to Ray Hudson for making our weekends brighter.

(Image credit: giveawayboy/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.)

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