Writer's note: As usual, gbruin has written an informative and interesting account of the successes and failures at the Rose Bowl. And again, as usual, T.J. Simers has written a different kind of account:
For those interested in the skill Mr. Simers brings to his columns, it is certainly not true that the late TV critic Cleveland Amory's reported criticism of Harold Robbins - that he was "a writer in the sense a woodpecker is a carpenter" - can be fairly applied to the work of Mr. Simers.
For one thing, such criticism would ignore Mr. Simers' abundant talent for understatement. In his latest column, for example, he finds fault with UCLA's performance against Utah. Specifically, Mr. Simers writes:
"I was paid to be at the Rose Bowl Saturday, and I'm not happy about it." Has there ever been a better example of understatement? In fact, aren't there thousands of others who are equally unhappy that Mr. Simers was assigned to the game?
Mr. Simers, of course, is nothing if not a man of many interests. At another point, he challenges Coach Jim Mora's remark that the game "was exactly what our football team needed." Mr. Simers writes: "Who cares what his football team needed?"
Exactly right, Mr. Simers. By asking "who cares" you have again understated the facts of the case. There are literally millions of alumni from other universities who have no interest in UCLA athletics. And for those who object that there are UCLA alumni throughout the world who do care what the football team needs, it must be added that they do not appear to be part of Mr. Simers' concerns.
Rounding out his observations, Mr. Simers adds that even an enjoyable job, such as producing his columns, can be boring if the assignment is to cover games like the one against Utah. "Oh, it can be boring even when you love it," he writes. And he has me there because while I enjoy analyzing news stories and columns, I find Mr. Simers ' writing to be invariably boring.
Finally, I would like to try my own unpracticed hand at understating the facts of a case. While I don't have Mr. Simers' experience, here is my attempt nonetheless:
The last stanza of "Neither Out Far Nor In Deep" by the great American poet Robert Frost talks about people looking at the sea while on a beach. It offers a skeptical view of human understanding and ends this way:
They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?
So I can't help wondering: If the word "he" is substituted for "they," does that describe Mr. Simers' powers of observation?