(edit-Patrick disagrees entirely with the premise of this article. So, when you go to the comments section to tell me I’m an idiot, you’re just piling on.)
In a way, the presence of this website owes a lot to a writer we pretty much abhor. In our early days, when our only readership consisted of Patrick’s drinking buddies and Tony’s friends at The Innerwebs, Jenni Carlson wrote an article about Oklahoma State quarterback Bobby Reid that–depending on who you talk to–was racist, misinformed, and 100% true. Regardless, of how one feels about the now antiquated bit of journalism, it definitely inspired Mike Gundy to go, for lack of a better term, ape balls the next time he had an audience.
The result was internet history, and by luck, we were on the ground floor because 1) We got the video on YouTube, and 2) because we had already made fun of Carlson’s terrible writing, so when people went to Google her, our fledgeling website popped up. Thanks to this notoriety, The Lost Ogle did not just fizzle out after a couple of months like 99% of blogs to be replaced by a semi-monthly update by Patrick that always begins, “Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile…”
For better or for worse, and since you are reading this instead of completing that bank reconciliation your boss has been hounding you about I’m guessing you will choose “better,” you can thank the truly dreadful writing of Jenni Carlson, which is now being used for other good causes.
Last week, with TNT set to televise two consecutive Oklahoma City Thunder games, Jenni used the opportunity to dredge up a controversy even older than the one involving her and Gundy. For those who have forgotten, which is probably a lot of people, TNT analyst Charles Barkley made the mistake of being the first person disclose to Chris Paul–who was having a wonderful rookie season for the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets–that he had been omitted from the NBA All Star roster. He did this on a live television feed. Realizing he had just crushed the kid on national television, Barkley tried to change the subject and add levity by making some stereotypical jokes about Oklahoma City.
Among the barbs were that Oklahoma was “no place for black people,” and insinuations that Paul had chickens and cows in his yard. Perhaps, Barkley forgot that he lives in Alabama, a completely urban land that is well known for racial harmony. More likely, he just did a poor job of covering for his own error.
Regardless, the local media here, as well as some politicians, attempted to score some points by inviting the NBA hall of famer to actually visit our city. Five years later, it has yet to happen, and Carlson seized the moment with a column revisiting it all. This was picked up by Barkley’s colleague Ernie Johnson who confronted him at half time of the game Monday night in Los Angeles. While Barkley’s demeanor screamed, “I’m supposed to leave Hollywood to head to the 405?” he did give lip service to actually following through.
Another point for Jenni.
The likely outcome is that Sir Charles will make a pilgrimage to Oklahoma City and we will get a bunch of good p.r. out of his preconceived notions being changed…unless he takes her up on her offer to be his tour guide, in which case he will think Oklahoma is lame. Begrudgingly, I have to give Carlson credit, and it makes me wonder what else her newfound muckracking ability can do. For instance, could she get Mary Fallin to do an interview with Andrew Speno? Or would a poorly worded blog posting by Carlson convince “The Sports Guy” to call in to Jim Traber’s show?
I don’t know, but if you have any ideas for other good Jenni could do, send it to me at ClarkFNMatthews at gmail dot com. It could be used in a future column.
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