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A Couple of Good Reads

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During my days of sorting through cardboard and wrapping paper, I did manage to come across a couple of interesting articles.

First, Jeff Coplon writes a massive, sprawling eulogy for the New York Knicks in New York Magazine. Entitled Absolutely, Positively the Worst Team in the History of Professional Sports, Coplon methodically recounts the ridiculous manuverings of coach-president Isiah Thomas and chairman James Dolan and how those actions made the Knicks a league laughingstock.

“Isiah’s tenure was so contemptible—so bereft of redeeming value, on court or off—that such tenderness is hard to muster,” Coplon writes. “In the Knicks’ me-first self-regard, they’ve blasphemed the most gorgeously collaborative of games. Worse, they’ve severed the connection between players and fans, that idealized first-person plural that makes us part of something large and wondrous. It’s not so easy to love a pro sports team in the 21st century, yet we’re willing to lend our heart, and get hurt, and lend it again. The Knicks have made that impossible. The storied brand of McGuire and Frazier and Ewing has been rendered unlovable.”

Some commentors have taken issue with the designation of the Knicks as the worst team in history and they point tot other organizations who are statistically much more ineffective. But I don’t believe Coplon’s intent (indeed, he may not have even written the headline) was to base the designation based on wins and losses. Instead, Coplon strived to show poorly a team with a payroll and history this rich has performed. Sure, other sports teams stink. But they’re not playing in the “world’s most famous arena” and they don’t have the legacy of the Knicks.

Anyway, it’s not book related, but it’s an interesting article. Of more direct relevance to us is Michael Miller’s “Shelf Esteem” in Time Out New York, which I discovered through Galley Cat. This article examines the numerous folks who decide on a book’s publish-ability and can influence it’s success.