I am a big fan of both Voir and Marlie. But let's face it, as interview subjects Marlie are the equivalent of tapioca pudding. And I'm sure they are NOT like that in day-to-day life. But they are very savvy about playing the media game. And the media game is puff pieces and "inspirational" stories. And one big yawn. Is it any surprise that the single event that took figure skating from very popular to one of the most popular sports in the west was the Whack Attack on Nancy Kerrigan? And that once figure skating went back to nothing but puff pieces and "inspirational" stories and prizes! prizes for everyone! every week! it killed off that popularity? Give me a Scott Moir at his loose cannon best any day. He may infuriate the hell out of you, but you know he is not going to hide behind puffery and media gameplaying. In fact, I would LOVE if he and Tessa go on TSL after they retire. And then all four of them just let it rip.
One thing you can say for Dave and Jenny--you'll never be bored. But people tend to forget just how acerbic dear Uncle Dick Button could be. If I remember correctly, he once compared Surya Bonaly's free leg in a spin to a sausage. Lord knows the weeks of vitriolic hysteria that comment would provoke on skating boards if it were made now. And the thing is, Uncle Dick was right (but then he usually was).
I wish Dave & Jenny would separate their op/ed stuff from their competition reviews. Instead of This & That, have a video of this week's competition comments as "This" and comments on other stuff & op/ed pieces as a video called "That".
It's their blog, and they're entitled to say what they like on it. However, if they separated sports commentary from editorializing, I don't think they would come in for as much criticism. After all, those that wanted to skip the op ed page could easily do so. It's the fact that they're mixing their front page with their op ed page, and only think they should have professional standards on interviews that I find puzzling.
I agreed with a lot of Dave's criticism of Davis's and particularly White's answers to the Russian anti-gay laws questions at the media summit. But he lost me when he resorted to mocking Meryl's voice. I think Meryl and Charlie are often overly cautious in their interviews, and I can understand why that's frustrating to members of the media and also to fans. We do see glimmers of their real personalities sometimes--especially their fierceness and drive on the ice, and I wish they would let that show off the ice a bit more. They seem to put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect at all times, which is unobtainable.
I found it interesting that although David Leach picked on Meryl Davis at the beginning of the piece, when it came time to talk about skating he came down hard on Virtue and Moir. Leach pointed out many little flaws and a lack of crispness and precision in V&M's recent performances, suggesting that they are not training as hard as they should, perhaps because of Tessa's injuries.
As for Alex and Maia Shibutani, in the October 6th This and That piece the criticism was mainly in comparison with Chock and Bates. Jenny "couldn't take her eyes off Madison Chock" (neither could I ). In contrast, the Shibutani's have not been able to shed their cute brother and sister vibe, and choosing to go with Michael Jackson in their quest for an Olympic medal is "a big mistake." I agree, they need a theme with more substance.
Last edited by Mathman; 10-08-2013 at 07:26 AM.
I think Doris's point is great that they should separate the commentary and skating critique from the op/ed more. Because like Mathman, I was listening to all the substantive comments by Lease (not Leach) about the skating technique and presentation of, e.g., D/W and V/M, and he said so many complimentary as well as substantive things about D/W's programs this year vs. V/M's (and said many good things about V/M's skating, too, of course). So they are capable of separating the reacting to personalities and characters from good, substantive sports commentary -- so great idea to have "THIS" and "THAT" be entirely separate podcasts and make it clearly stated which is reflective evaluation of the skating and which is dishing dirt.
ETA: Also agree with zschultz1986 that he actually called the remarks idiotic, not the person -- which truly is a critical distinction. Though the overall tone of the remarks was mocking, indeed -- of Meryl's comments in that setting.
Facebook "friends" doesn't prove whether a person has actual, real-life friends. It's a joke. Anyone can have hundreds/thousands of Facebook "friends." The new generation seems to be unable to distinguish real friendship from social media appearances.
I enjoyed TSL's interviews earlier this year. I thought they did a fine job. I stopped watching due to reasons already mentioned by many others. TSL's comments still end up being mentioned by various members when discussing various topics. So I go watch what they really said, and it's often far worse than what others have criticized.
If TSL behaved like BBC's Chris, Simon, or Nicky, people would be fine with it. The BBC guys don't sugarcoat things or shy away from constructive criticism. That is real journalism. Their style is nuanced. Calling TSL nuanced is naivete.
This "new wave" Youtube/Vimeo personal "editorials" and blogging doesn't qualify as real journalism. Real journalism requires at least playing by the rules. They somewhat play the rules in their "real" interview segments and turn around to mock the same guests on another segment, which according to you that "thick skulls" don't get, is the vision of the future. They are essentially destroying the very social networking they need to succeed.
It sounds that Lease likes to pretend to be your friend to your face and do/say something different behind your back. Try and see if this is true or not. If I'm wrong, then I stand corrected.
Everyone knows that Cohen has crumbled under pressure and had all the potential in the world to win OGM and multiple Worlds. But she was still far more successful than many skaters and average people and certainly far more accomplished than Kirk or Lease. Again people will bring up "free speech" and that they have every right to say what they think in any style they prefer - in theory yes. But they're aiming for sky-high success as journalists/commentators in the figure skating world. That is a much trickier hierarchy to conquer and offending people left and right isn't going to get them there.
The first issue make me wonder how they can make such character attacking accusations when they admit that they don't know them. The second accusation attacks them and their family. I'm sure the family has put a lot of money into supporting them in this sport, as all of the top skaters have had to do. Suggesting that there is something corrupt is really grotesque.
The final comment about their scores is actually really hard for me to find evidence of. When Alex made a mistake with his twizzles at Worlds in Nice, they took a big hit, scoring almost 15 points lower than they did at Four Continents just a month before. (Twizzles are worth around 6-7 points). When Alex was hurt and stopped their free dance at Cup of Russia, they again were docked, while we have seen programs stopped by other competitors which still resulted in season's best scores. When were the scores too high and undeserved?
In the Oct 6 This and That, they are making sure everyone finds their look childish and their programs a "giant mistake" before they even skate a single program.
I actually don't think it has anything to do with their comments about Madison Chock. It was simply during their comments on ice dancer.
The bashing is separate and specific. Expecting we'll know what they'll dish out when the Shibs actually skate.
That said, they haven't bothered to acknowledge/realize that Alex has been saddled with injures over the last two years and that Maia has gone through a major spurt over the same period (it could be the growth spurt may have caused the injury). Hard to do a whole lot when you're not training at 100 percent. So them deciding to withdraw at SLC with a tweaked neck didn't surprise me in the least. After going through all those injuries over the years, I wouldn't blame them for wanting to take precaution.
One thing that Dave and Jenny might consider is the urgency of their mission. I'm now talking of their worry about the Putin law, which I assume will be more important to them than their own prestige in the media world. If they really want to bring about change, might it not be more effective of them to engage people rather than condemning those they perceive to be lukewarm? Consider the perceptions about gay marriage in this country. Change began because a few stalwart souls spoke up. But it accelerated recently because public opinion shifted. The majority of Americans, especially young people, now either agree with gay marriage or don't see what the fuss is all about. If David Lease wants to get public opinion on his side in this issue, he shouldn't be making the issue too hot to handle. He should be making it cool. Poking fun at a nice young skater will not gain him any adherents for his cause. Righteous wrath is tremendously satisfying to the person feeling the wrath, but it often generates more heat than light on a subject.
For that matter, Dave could watch the Classroom Champs episodes and discover that Meryl & Charlie have been working with kids in one of their classrooms on an anti-bullying campaign, something that may do more good for gay kids in the US ultimately than a one-time mouthing off about Putin & Russia.
Haven't watched TSL since the early ones and now I don't want to, given what I've read here. Awfully fond of the Shibs and Davis/White. And I hate to see skaters pressured into an either/or position re the gay issue in Sochi. I'm glad some step forward and take a stance but when skaters who don't want to do so succumb to pressure, they tend to react with negative, uninformed opinions. They're athletes, not philosophers and I can understand their focus needs to be on their sport. And I do hope a lot of them show support for gay athletes!