Let's blow one last breath over the guttering flame atop this season's smoldering bag of incinerated dogshit. And who better to smear the hot mess all over Portland's porch than Paul Allen, owner of the Blazers; and John Canzano, sports columnist for the Oregonian?
But how does a simple internet slapfight come to involve an exploited octopus, NFL muscle, and a bear stalker?
Firstly, it begins with enemy of pencils (sharp objects and round things created to hold hot air are not friends), John Canzano, asking Paul Allen if he's dedicated to rebuilding the team, or if he's ready to throw in the towel. It read, as most Canzano columns do, like this:
Overblown setup paragraph relating to a sports team in Portland.
Single sentence question.
Overblown setup, re-stated in twice as many words as initial paragraph.
Single sentence question repeated.
Three paragraphs about himself, built entirely out of sentence fragments, scored by Hans Zimmer, directed by Michael Bay, may or may not include references to his charitable works/generally magnanimous nature.
Single sentence question repeated.
Three paragraphs wherein unimpeachable wisdom, built entirely out of sentence fragments and platitudes, is erected like a glimmering skyscraper of truth and obviousness, topped with a flag rustling in the breeze of righteousness, a flag containing a single bald head biting a pencil in half.
Single sentence question repeated
Single sentence answer to question.
Single sentence closer meant to be the textual equivalent of dropping a microphone and standing on stage with arms wide open like Scott Stapp at the height of Creed's heyday. Sit back, exhausted and glowing. Light cigarette. Wait for Pulitzer.
So Paul Allen, owner of the Blazers, chooses to respond in a manner befitting Portland's well known penchant for passive-aggression: He does not answer the question at all. He instead goes to twitter to bitch about it. But he's Paul Allen, eccentric billionaire, a man who dropped serious coin to create a music museum made to look like one of Megatron's dooks, a man who spends his free time absentmindedly frittering away his 28 billion (now 14 billion) post-Microsoft bankroll with leisure activities such as taking pictures of octopi. He's not about to simply tweet something like "Ugh why don't you go kick rocks shitbird #vaguetweet"
No, this is where the exploitation of the octopus comes in. Paul chooses to fight back by issuing a 4-panel comic consisting of his own photographs, and some captions. It reads like so:
As Deadspin writer Erik Malinowski notes before comparing Mr. Allen to Los Angeles Clippers owner/sleazy professional idiot Donald Sterling; even by the standards of your typical reddit rage comic, this is some amateurish shit. Maybe it's not as bad as writing a press release in comic sans, but amateurish all the same.
Canzano's follow up column, which begins with a 6 paragraph intro where he graciously agrees to help wilderness-reporter and "bear-stalker" Grant McOmie set up a twitter account, contends this set of four octopus images represents a "haymaker" from a man "swinging from his cyber-shoes" going "as viral as it gets in Portland," and then insinuates that Allen brought NFL Head Coach Pete Carroll to Fan Appreciation Night as back-up muscle should a confrontation between Canzano and Allen break out over his tough questions and that cute octopus. It's all glib & snarky and wonderfully petty, as all internet slapfights tend to be. But it's in the comments where shit gets real.
That's weird. Canzano had no problems taking Allen's money back in 2007 when he was hired by Rose City Radio to do his radio show. This was a job he took from the man after consistently exposing Blazer management's ineptitude, exemplified in this wikipedia entry that distills his career covering the team into five paragraphs, the largest of which contains the story of how he once held Damon Stoudamire's piss.
After three years consistently pointing out what a bad owner Paul Allen was, he chose to work for the man when offered a job. He then had two years worth of opportunities to remove himself from Paul Allen's employ, and never took the option. He only stopped receiving checks from Paul Allen after Alpha Broadcasting came to town and purchased Rose City Radio from Allen.
So what do we have here? We have an aloof owner who seems to be consistently moving in a fog, continuing a post-Microsoft career leaking multi-billions out of the bottom of his wallet via crappy decision making, giving non-answers via twitter to an opportunistic columnist who skips actually covering games to write blogposts about how he's so important to the community that bear-hunters ask him to set up their twitter.
Ladies and gentlemen: The man in charge of leading Portland's biggest Major League sports team into the future, and the man in charge of leading the discourse about that team in the community. Anyone think we're gonna actually land Mitch Kupchak as GM with this kinda shit turning to ash on our porch? I mean, I guess it's possible: Money makes people do things they wouldn't normally do, and Paul Allen's got a lot of money. He certainly bought Canzano cheap enough back in '07.