- Friday Night Lights Rhetorical Analysis Essays
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- Buzz Bissinger | Creative Nonfiction
He would call one of them and not say he was writing, not say he was reporting, not say anything, and then use the material. This was a book in which conversations were being recalled verbatim from 25 years ago. It was just too perfect—every act was funny, everything was resonant—so I had a feeling. The family had filed suit—they were challenging the veracity of the book—and like most stories, you get lucky.
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They lived in the Northampton, Mass. It took months to gain their trust; they had lawyers, and I had to work with them, and I met with them six or seven times. The more time you take, and the less you push—and I have that luxury—the better the chance you may get something. Bissinger : I think they wanted to check out my character. I remember meeting with them. I got the OK from one of the lawyers; they wanted me to sign a confidentiality agreement that this would only be used for the article if the article ran.
Everyone was there, but it was clear that some wanted to do it right away, some did not, and some were very, very nervous. What are your fears? I do take a point of view, and I take an emotional stance. The subject wants a certain story told, and the journalist wants to tell a certain story, and if I interview someone and it turns out to be B.
I may go in with a point of view that will change over the course of the story, but in the cases of Weinberger and Glass and Burroughs, it was pretty clear to me what my point of view was, and I felt that to be correct. The goal, then, is to get involved with people, to care about them and really to listen to their story. I still hear from the [ Running with Scissors ] family.
I still hear from people in the Weinberger piece. Except for the subjects, basically. When someone gets screwed like that, I really care. I looked that family in the eye, and they were ravaged and humiliated. It could have easily been fixed, but [Burroughs] put them in Northampton so everyone knew who they were.
Friday Night Lights Rhetorical Analysis Essays
That, to me, was malicious. They were pariahs, ashamed to go out, and that affected me emotionally.
This was after the book had come out and people wanted to make a movie. I know who said it. He was an assistant coach. I know he said it. I thought he liked me. I thought he cared about me. Imagine seeing that in print; imagine if you were called a nigger.
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Issues of trust are hard. I think about that all the time; a story can damage people. Weinberger is in jail awaiting trial. Glass is a piece of shit. Burroughs is a piece of shit, as well. Is there a reason? These are unsavory people whom other people think are pretty good, and then something happens.
He was the only person who never ratted on Pete, went to prison for Pete, and Pete rewarded him in an interview by addressing him by the wrong first name. He never talked to the Feds, and Pete could have cared less, so I felt a tremendous outrage about that. Glass made a mockery of journalism, made a mockery of all of us, and was willing to do anything.
All he was doing was trying to save his ass; all he was doing was lying. And Weinberger—There was so much public record available about what he had done, and medical experts, and over malpractice suits, and the criminal case, and I spent a lot of time with his ex-wife, who had to file for bankruptcy, [and] he bankrupted his father, too. I like stories like that.
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I like stories where you can legitimately stake out a position. Friday Night Lights was like that. There was a lot of empathy in Friday Night Lights —certainly missed by the town—but it took a position that high school football was completely out of control; it was controlling this town and using up these kids at the ages of 17 or Bissinger : No, that unfolded when I saw what happened to Boobie Miles. Although I think the racism is institutionalized in the town, it came out with such force when he got hurt—you saw it, you heard it—so that was a situation where events unfolded and led to the book that came out.
I had no idea of the impact—or how racist that community could be. That outraged me. Bissinger : Rose was a story that I came up with because I was contacted by someone who knew what had happened to Tommy and also knew me. Burroughs was a story that I was assigned, and so was Weinberger. Bissinger : Glass I came up with. I was just so pissed off by what that little, manipulative motherfucker had done, and I remember he was so annoying at the banquet. It was so obsequious, and he was just putting the shine on me as he did with everyone else.
Why would I get him an internship? Looking back on it, should editors have wondered what was up?
Buzz Bissinger | Creative Nonfiction
Of course. There were several complaints that he was piping stories, and they were completely dismissed. He had it down: He would make up fact-checking, and he would turn one person against the other. Burroughs … I think it happens a lot—that people will use other people, destroy other people without any reporting, basically to make money.
This was an enormously successful book, and people found it funny. Same with Mark Weinberger. The person has the opportunity to say this is wrong.
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The goal is the truth, and a lot of times, there are other explanations, but in these cases, neither Burroughs, nor Rose, nor Glass, nor Weinberger wanted to talk. Bissinger : Working for Vanity Fair is great. One of the editors there admired the piece, and there was a story he thought I might be good for because it was based in Texas. Bissinger : Yes. It was long ago.
The book came out 22 years ago; the reporting was done 24 years ago. I was a young man at The book has had great success. The book, the movie, the television series. I had never written a book, and it went on to sell close to 2 million copies, and it still sells. I wrote it, had never written a book, on a whim moved to Odessa, and then everything clicked. People say it may. Occasionally, someone will talk about Three Nights in August ; very occasionally, someone will talk about A Prayer for the City.
No one talks about LeBron. At least once a week, someone will mention it. They asked me to write about it. I was happy the show had ended; I lived with that book for a long time. That happens a lot to actors; it happens all the time to singers. What the hell happened? Where did he disappear to? It also happened at a great time in my life. I was young enough and stupid enough to do it on a whim. I would never do it now. I live in too big a house and have too many responsibilities, too many bills and too much bullshit.
The rest is either you doing it for money or you trying to replicate it—and you never can. As angry as I am, I have very little confidence. This newest book took me four years.