One Year's Gone: "What's a Gothic Ginobili?"

Posted on Fri 26 October 2012 in GG's One-Year Retrospectacular by Aaron McGuire

Gothic Ginobili turns one today. As part of our celebration of this somewhat unexpected milestone, our writers are producing a variety of content reflecting and appreciating the journey that got us here. To start us off, the two idiots who started this thing will attempt to determine where it all went wrong. Er, where it all began, more like. Through the medium of completely unedited AIM logs. This is TOTALLY going to go over well.

We're a blog where two guys who love NBA basketball write about things that come to mind and try to entertain anyone who decides to read. Not a Spurs fansite, contrary to our name, nor a Manu fansite. We hope to provide entertaining NBA-related writing. Nothing more, nothing less. Note it.

-- Myself in late 2011, attempting to describe a blog that did not yet exist.

We're now officially one year into Gothic Ginobili's reign of terror. We've written a lot (nearly 300 posts!) and gone through an inconceivably large number of failed drafts and stupid ideas to get there. Through it all, we've maintained a level of general anonymity. Not in our personal lives, mind you -- both Alex and I have shared so many personal anecdotes through our writing, it's possible that many of our regular readers know us better than some of our good friends. But we've maintained a certain anonymity in how we got here. We just sort of appeared, one day, a duo dragged kicking and screaming from the depths of the mariana trench to try and write about basketball. Who are we? How did this happen, even? Well, it's been a year. I guess you're old enough. Time to share. In order to do that, we've reached into our five-year-old AIM chatlogs and extracted several unedited chat logs that we feel begin to explain the mystery that remains in our origins and creation-story. I hope it is possible to actually enjoy this post. (Fair warning: I'm not sure it is.)

• • •

_Tuesday the 22nd, December 2009 -- 6:26 A.M._

Here, we delineate the exact goal that would inspire us to eventually try our hands at basketball writing -- truth in the half-fact.

[06:26] Aaron: god what a feeling to be mortal is such a great post
[06:27] Aaron: it should be really contrived
[06:27] Aaron: these sort of metaphors almost always are
[06:27] Aaron: but there's something so humble in that presentation
[06:28] Aaron: "But they don’t, and each night on the schedule is another exercise in celebrating everything that is theirs to lose."
[06:28] Aaron: and the greatest part, perhaps
[06:29] Aaron: is the response below it, the comment from "coachg"
[06:29] Aaron: that just misses the point entirely and in doing so makes the point even more jarring
[06:30] Alex: yes. it's almost like it exists in the universe of the post and provides a picture of the opponents within it
[06:30] Alex: lol
[06:30] Aaron: and nash is perfect for this sort of a moral
[06:30] Aaron: he is so chill, so excellent off the court
[06:31] Aaron: he has this sense about him of a man who has simultaneously put everything into something, but in doing so figured something out
[06:31] Aaron: something most people haven't, something he shares with a select few
[06:32] Aaron: and i wouldn't be presumptuous to say this post got the entirety of it, what nash found is probably both greater and smaller than this
[06:32] Aaron: but
[06:32] Aaron: damn if it doesn't get to the heart of its existence
[06:32] Aaron: and doesn't try and hide conjectures
[06:32] Aaron: doesn't try to be completely right
[06:33] Aaron: because being right in spirit and finding the gist is oftentimes more important than exactitudes
[06:33] Aaron: "the lakers are devious and talented"
[06:33] Aaron: "the cavs are inconsistent and optimal"
[06:34] Aaron: "tolstoy wrote the world"
[06:35] Aaron: none of those are really entirely correct, and neither is "the suns are at peace with and has found that the journey of basketball is preferable to a championship and an accomplishment that betters it, and have discovered that each game is a battlefield where all things are at stake"
[06:35] Aaron: but it sure as hell gets to the heart of something
[06:35] Aaron: something true
[06:36] Aaron: and that's what's important, damnit
[06:38] Alex: yes, damme u on a roll

• • •

_Wednesday the 30th, June 2010 -- 1:02 A.M._

Here, we have a conversation we will eventually have roughly twenty seven million times over the course of our partnership, where we try to figure out how we're actually going to communicate with people who aren't inside our disturbed minds. Also, we float our first actual idea for a blog.

[01:02] Alex: lol, does this idea make any sense?
[01:02] Aaron: not really
[01:03] Alex: is that a negative thing? or just an orthogonal thing, a chain of logic incomprehensible to your worldview, for reasons that are themselves incomprehensible to me
[01:04] Aaron: uh... no, it just means you truly are not explaining this in a way that is comprehensible to any non-dewey individual
[01:04] Aaron: i say that because
[01:04] Aaron: if i can't understand it, well... we think about as similarly as two bros can think, you know?
[01:06] Alex: see, but that might be too simplistic. we obviously have very similar views of the world and experiences, however, this could be an end process thing, while the neurological and philosophical machinery for getting there is entirely different
[01:07] Aaron: ... what? heh
[01:08] Aaron: the point is that if you are saying something i cannot understand related to your trains of thought, it is extraordinarily unlikely there are magical ppl elsewhere who can -- we basically think on the same wavelength for virtually every relevant subject we've ever discussed, to an extent that is alternatingly interesting and sketchy. we are crazy-alike. if the blog fails (whensoever we get it going), it'll probably be more because we were too similar to effectively determine how to make a blog readable to anybody who isn't exactly like either of us
[01:10] Aaron: the whole methodology thing is cute, but it is virtually required to have a similar method of thought to have the sort of overlap our general tastes and patterns exhibit -- it's not like you're on mars yelling to a guy on pluto, they have to be approximately somewhat convergent, because otherwise it's virtually impossible for the previously determined coinciding opinions to all exist
[01:10] Aaron: even if i am a guy on pluto and you are yelling at me from mars, it is unlikely there is anybody particularly closer in methodology than i, perhaps i am the only one in this particular galaxy, to use that metaphor until it is shot
[01:11] Aaron: look basically the point is
[01:11] Aaron: i have no idea what you're talking about
[01:11] Aaron: or what i'm talking about
[01:11] Alex: lol
[01:13] Aaron: completely unrelated note, we should try and get blog + twitters up by, like, this weekend
[01:13] Aaron: so we can try and break stories that do not exist
[01:13] Aaron: lol
[01:13] Aaron: "LeBron and Burl Ives signed by the Spurs for the Biannual Value Mart Exceptionals."
[01:14] Alex: oh yeah, the Pete Seeger Sessions Rights, those always catch you by surprise

• • •

_Tuesday the 10th, August 2010 -- 2:44 P.M._

This is where the initial framework for Gothic Ginobili was formed. We had some vague idea of a general NBA blog we'd start called "Juwan a Blog", but we wanted to generate an audience for our work so that we'd have feedback and the ability to get better. In one of the most convoluted and ridiculous ideas we've ever had our lives, we decided the best way to get viewers would be to falsify love of Duke University and write a blog about Duke sports in an effort to become an SBNation blog and make NBA connections through SBNation so that we could then be better at Juwan a Blog's purpose. Why, yes, this does sound remarkably more dumb when actually stated outright in retrospect.

[14:44] Aaron: oh my god
[14:44] Aaron: brilliant idea, ok
[14:45] Aaron: sbnation... has no duke blogs
[14:45] Aaron: if we start a duke column at juwanablog, and do it right, and make it awesome
[14:45] Aaron: we might be able to parlay that into a duke team blog!
[14:45] Aaron: which we could crosslink to our final-state version of juwanablog
[14:45] Aaron: and get other people at duke to blog with me so we won't be spending too much time on it
[14:46] Aaron: so that we can switch to juwanablog after handing the duke blog over to duke students and figuring out the blog game!
[14:46] Aaron: foolproof
[14:46] Alex: obviously i'd have to help you with the duke blog too in the beginning, gettin our name out
[14:46] Alex: lol
[14:46] Aaron: the soul stealing part is that we would actually have to write about duke
[14:46] Aaron: yuck
[14:48] Alex: so ok... are we going to just make this a side-column at juwanablog?
[14:51] Alex: like
[14:48] Alex: are we are using juwanablog to get the blogging expertise so they trust us with the duke blog so that we can advertise juwanablog
[14:48] Alex: just getting this straight
[14:49] Aaron: ... yes, damnit

• • •

_Thursday the 10th, September 2010 -- 1:17 A.M._

In this excerpt, we begin to tire of the concept of writing endless recaps and realize we definitely aren't suited for the recaps-on-recaps-on-recaps business, and are more suited to random stories and absurdities. The picture in question? A stern picture of Bethlehem Shoals, lost to the abyss.

[01:17] Alex: so when we post this on the blog
[01:17] Alex: we need to have that picture
[01:17] Alex: three times
[01:17] Alex: punctuating the review
[01:17] Alex: a la fd
[01:17] Alex: lol
[01:17] Aaron: no, ok, better idea...
[01:17] Aaron: we need that picture repeated infinitely
[01:17] Aaron: as a frame for
[01:17] Aaron: JACK REBEL SLIMS
[01:18] Aaron: aaron mcguire is the foremost criminal mind of this generation
[01:18] Aaron: lol
[01:18] Alex: heh awesome
[01:18] Alex: how about
[01:18] Alex: the first picture is of an escher painting
[01:18] Alex: the second one will be a lewis carroll illustration
[01:18] Alex: and then, right after that
[01:18] Alex: i will get into the negatives
[01:18] Alex: and that will be posted after the end
[01:18] Alex: lol
[01:18] Aaron: how about a jackson pollock painting
[01:18] Aaron: almost completely covered
[01:19] Aaron: by repeated iterations of that picture
[01:19] Aaron: lol
[01:19] Alex: sometimes i wonder if this kind of shit is our real calling, not long-form write-ups and recaps

• • •

_Tuesday the 28th, September 2010 -- 11:30 P.M._

We reflect on the fact that -- in writing a bunch of tedious crap that we've long since lost to server churn -- we actually did gain a lot of subject matter knowledge. For me personally, this general sense of knowledge-gain through tedium ended up creating the initial impetus for the first stage of Player Capsules, back in 2011, posted on a private basketball discussion group.

[23:30] Aaron: i feel like our basketball knowledge in the past year has gotten a lot better, despite how awful and tedious this is
[23:31] Alex: oh yeah. heh just getting exposure to the fiba players is going to help us interpret the thunder, lakers, 76ers, and (sigh) nuggets next year
[23:31] Alex: lol
[23:31] Aaron: well, it's also just the modes of analysis
[23:31] Aaron: my grasp of hoops stats is a lot better, and in general, i just watch games better now than i did a year ago
[23:32] Aaron: the analysis i had in the last few recaps were mostly things i would have had no possible way of seeing a year ago
[23:32] Alex: it's sort of like there is an emergent causal structure to our knowledge, in that we will watch one tournament, immediately internalize a new perspective, and in turn, use that new perspective towards the creation of still other perspectives
[23:33] Alex: what's more, we have been taking (not full, but decent) advantage of the blogosphere's existing knowledge
[23:33] Alex: like..i get the feeling that we are more able to see horribly invalid reasoning
[23:33] Alex: and not just by kobe fanatics
[23:33] Alex: by like
[23:33] Alex: the national guys
[23:33] Alex: (who are mostly awesome, it should be noted)
[23:33] Alex: lol
[23:34] Aaron: yeah, we spent the last year reading blogs voraciously and, for me personally at least, i now can look at the twitters of all the bloggers, take all the knowledge they're presenting, consider it, and push out my own analysis that incorporates their observations with my own to make something legitimately valuable. we probably will get tired of this duke crap at some point but i think more than ever i'm pretty sure we can make an nba blog that might actually be worth reading. someday.
[23:34] Aaron: not yet tho. we need more subject matter expertise, and blog experience. heh

• • •

_Tuesday the 22nd, February 2012 -- 3:27 A.M._

Conversations like this one happened for roughly a year. Then, in about 4 weeks, we got all serious, worked our butts off, and made this site and with it a bunch of content. But instead of actually showing you any of that, we're just going to show you this, because this far more effectively demonstrates our state of mind when starting this blog than any pretensions of serious rigor could.

[03:27] Aaron: holy crap, i wonder if we could get a .lol domain for our blog
[03:27] Aaron:
[03:28] Alex: yes
[03:28] Alex: also i think we can still do juwanablog
[03:28] Alex: and as our image
[03:28] Alex: have the image of juwan pushing that guy down
[03:29] Aaron: see... i want this to be
[03:29] Aaron: a blog entirely of good feelings
[03:29] Aaron: hence the lol
[03:29] Aaron: the duke blog... was OK, i guess
[03:30] Aaron: but terrible
[03:30] Aaron: i want this to be a fun thing to write for that ends up being resourceful, entertaining, and not some chore to write for
[03:30] Aaron: you know?
[03:30] Aaron: lol

• • •

_Monday the 7th, May 2012 -- 10:45 P.M._

After our first real period of genuinely poor performance for Gothic Ginobili -- hits bottoming out, very few external links, and a lot of pressure in our outside lives that was cramping our content production -- we start to think back and figure out what to do going forward. And realize we're about as bad as we were when we started, and we need to improve. Also: we know absolutely nothing, as we terrifyingly realize.

[22:45] Alex: you know, we can get better and better
[22:45] Alex: and you know what? we have to. there are perfectly rational, intelligent journalists that don't seem to feel a lick of bias or emotion. but i don't want to become that. i want to develop into an complete person and have the expression follow that growth. the class can be a constant pressure on my actions, but it can never stop me from asserting myself in a clear, honest, social way, any more than it can stop the spurs from taking an open shot
[22:45] Alex: the taciturn, unexpressive route works in situations in which the best strategy is to be strategically and morally unobtrustive
[22:46] Alex: but writing is all about being obtrusive. not being mean-spirited or gainsaying
[22:46] Alex: but being assertive with the truth as you believe it and holding to that truth until you are moved by a stronger interpretation
[22:46] Alex: open-mindedness is a virtue, but without assertiveness we're just adrift forever on a shallow sea
[22:46] Alex: if we let the debate control us, we can never go deeper than that framework allows us to go
[22:46] Alex: to get to the truth we have to control the debate
[22:48] Alex: the "count the rings" thing is widely derided on the blogosphere because it's simply not an argument without context. it is at best the starting point for a real debate and at worst the ending point for a fake debate.
[22:48] Alex: this is... how do i put it, this is my attempt to get out of writer's block, by increasing my understanding of my own role in the blogosphere
[22:48] Alex: and in turn, my own role in this great society of ours
[22:48] Aaron: fair and true, although i caution as i always do. it's never quite that simple, and when it comes to creating something of value for both you and the reader, well.
[22:48] Aaron: there are some things that are worth saying.
[22:48] Aaron: there are others that simply aren't.
[22:49] Aaron: we've been blocked and busy and way too out of it. we need to figure out what's worth saying and write about it, not just write stupid little puff pieces in an effort to get back to beefcake.
[22:49] Aaron: although, well. maybe it would help. after all this time we still don't really know for sure, do we? heh.

• • •

_Thursday the 23rd, August 2012 -- 10:51 A.M._

Christ, this was barely 2 months ago. We're exactly the same as we were when we started. Damnit. Hope nobody reads this far.

[10:51] Alex: so... man, deron williams makes a lot of sense to me
[10:51] Alex: but technically
[10:52] Alex: he doesn't count
[10:53] Alex: f*** your clown teams
[10:53] Alex: lol
[11:05] Alex: Alex Dewey is an eclectic intellectual that wakes up in the dark in a cold sweat and bloodshot eyes wondering what would have happened if he had chosen to play basketball instead of write about it, and then he remembers that he has no motor skills to speak of and falls asleep with perfect placidity. Every night this happens. In between, he writes about NBA basketball. And eclectic intellectual things that are not remotely athletic.
[17:23] Aaron: alex
[17:23] Aaron: what in the literal f***

• • •

"And now you know the rest of the story."