Today is the one year mark for Bruins Nation. That's right, a happy birthday to all of us who have been writing, commenting, whining and celebrating everything all Bruin for last 365 days. Sure we got our start from a single issue blog almost two years ago, suffice to say I think we have shown over the last year how our interests spans far wider than commenting, criticizing, and ridiculing the shortcomings of a football coach (who probably never should have been hired at UCLA). But, hey, that's beside the point. Bruins Nation is lot more than about beating up on Dorrell. We have written about that already.
I wanted to take this opportunity to write about something else. I have been meaning to chime in on a post Gunslinger's LD wrote a while ago in one of his patented brilliant posts. It was about narrative. Take a read:
In mass media journalism, there is a greater reliance on profit than in the past. And when profit matters more, the corporate heads want to ensure that the journalists stay within bounds - whatever stories are covered need to be more predictable, so the accountants and such know what they can expect. Things are planned out in advance. Storylines are decided upon weeks ahead of time. It's a matter of certainty.
And in the college football journalism world, certainty matters too. As early as the Spring, storylines are developed and plans are set in motion. Gameday knew probably back in January that the Ohio State-Texas game would be a huge matchup, so ESPN started hyping it a month ahead of time. ESPN decided USC would be a big story, so they've had Shelley Smith preparing in depth stories for months.
The key is that they decide upon the story ahead of time, so when something comes up that doesn't fit the parameters of that story, they don't know what to do.
Now, of course, Gunslinger was alluding to predictable storylines being played out in a national context in college football. The same concept applies to the world of college basketball. And we saw those predictable storylines being played out time and time again during the third year of Coach Howland. While rest of the country was marveling about the great job Bruce Pearle was doing in Tennessee, no one was really paying attention to what was unfolding in Westwood, because Pac-10 is not all that important to the World Wide Leader (aka DSPN). You read asinine stories from Andy Katz such as daring to compare the Steve-16 juggernaut and Mike Krzyzewski's tourney flame outs to Coach's incomparable accomplishments, just because it's in the inherent interest of the corporate heads at Mike Mouse running ESPN that Duke is hyped up to its fullest degree. The whole corporate media world kept hyping Duke, UNC, and other ACC and Big-10 teams because those were conferences that had broadcasting contracts with ESPN.
Hey, nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with striving for profit in our economy. That is the American way. But what is really wrong with today's media both in the national and at the regional level is that for the sake of driving up profits they are not telling the whole story.
That is why you don't see the traditional media in Los Angeles focusing on the systematic pattern of (alleged) crimes and scandals at Peter Carroll's USC program, because doing so would tarnish one of the jewels of LA's sports landscape (even though it is really nothing but a glorified minor league football team for a community college). Have you ever wondered why the LA media gets so caught up when a scandal breaks at UCLA (as they should) while they always look the other way when huge scandals erupt at USC? The answer is simple - they don't want to screw their narrative. They don't want to tell the stories that will fully expose what is really going on at USC because doing so will require them to provide information that will not make a Hollywood football program that's a money maker for the corporate juggernauts at Mickey Mouse and Time Warner.
And it's the same reason why you won't hear Dukee V, Jay Bilas and rest of the no-talent assclowns wondering about what is going at Durham when it's star player is getting busted for DWI, and it's high profile Mickey Ders are turning out to be busts at the collegiate and at the professional level.
Well despite all of that nonsense I think there is hope. This is where we come in. This is where the new media which is being represented by an ever growing blogosphere can play a substantive role. We have reached the year mark. But we are just getting started. While we may have gotten our original start at a single issue blog where we were venting our frustrations about a clueless, mediocre, and unqualified head coach, we have been able to forge a new community, and form a forum, where we can not just vent, but more importantly celebrate about everything that is remotely related to UCLA.
It's interesting that we reached our one year mark the day Political Science majors are having their commencement ceremonies in Westwood. As good as life is right now, a part of us always wishes we could live the ridiculous life of Johny Lechner who is finding a way to become that lifetime college student on campus:
Yeah uhh most of us (well at least the main writers on BN) can't do that any more. But what we have done is created an online Royce Quad (well Maloney's), where we can come every day to talk about Bruin football, basketball or whatever sports/issues that is of relevance to Bruin community. This venue has given us an opportunity to thread our narratives based on reality, numbers, and facts that are not being driven by the predictable story lines of corporate media.
And I think we are starting to make a difference. When this upcoming football season get's started, you will see the predictable storylines of how Dorrell may be a little more secure now that he is coming off his "10 win season," and that UCLA will not dare to take an action against an individual who is one of the three African American coaches in America. Well that is where we will come in. Day after day we are going to tell our stories of what is really going in Westwood. We will keep sketching the pictures of UCLA football based on realities that will show how we have enough talent to win 9 games and beat SC. We will keep writing and linking to previous posts on how Dorrell has not done much to close the talent gap with USC, and most importantly we are going to provide the impression that the majority of UCLA alums and students are not happy with underachieving numbers of the current football program.
On the flip side we are going to continue to celebrate the remergence of our glorious basketball program:
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
Yes we are going to celebrate the rejuvenation of the greatest basketball program in college sports currently ongoing under Coach Howland. Over the years con men like Steve Lavin played the national and local media by constantly playing up the easy narrative that UCLA basketball fans are spoiled and they will never be happy no matter whoever is the coach in Westwood, and whatever he accomplishes. Well I think this place and other Bruin online communities (BRO, Bruinzone etc.) have shown the true colors of UCLA basketball fans during last 3 years who have fallen in love with the incredible rebuilding job Coach Howland has done in Westwood. I don't think there is any doubt about how Coach Howland and his players have won over the Bruins Nation by showing discernible progress in last three years, providing unmistakable impression that UCLA basketball is back and is heading back it top of the college basketball stratosphere. If this was a decade ago you'd be reading, watching, and hearing about the stories in the national and local media about how Howland is supposedly facing intense pressure in Westwood, just based on a couple wackos calling into the local talk radios whining about the lack of offense in Howland's system. Well those days are long gone.
We are going to celebrate the excellence in our Olympic sports programs that are currently closing in on Championship no. 100, an incredible accomplishment by any measurable standards. We have lot to be thankful for thanks to the collection of incredible world class student athletes and superb head coaches in all of our sports programs (except for football).
Well I think I have babbled enough. As I have said before this is fun. Writing about UCLA is fun (and it comes naturally to us because we live and breathe everything that is all Bruin). I am thankful we have a place where we can connect with other UCLA alums, students, and fans where we can converse and engage in meaningful discussions on how we can uphold and advance the impeccable tradition of one of the greatest universities in the world. We clearly have established our own narratives on all issues impacting UCLA and we are going to remain persistent in advancing them through this blue and gold drenched Bruins Nation.
Thanks again for a great year. Here is to many more. Hands in the air, and 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8:
U --- C --- L --- A.
UCLA --- Fight --- Fight --- Fight.