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Kill Bill?

By Bramlet Abercrombie on April 22, 2006.

Oh, Bill Simmons. Why must you toy with my emotions like a cruel, insect-killing child?

In his new Page 2 article, Bill manages to pit my two greatest passions (other than you, of course, honey!) against each other.

On the one hand, he shamelessly predicts that the Spurs will lose to the Mavericks in Round 2, after being taken to Game 7 by the Kings in Round 1 – despite the Spurs’ managing to win 63 games in the Western Conference, despite their being essentially healthy for the first time this season, despite their unprecendentedly ridiculous abundance of clutch players, despite their history of making pundits who predict their demise eat their words. But I suppose I should be glad that the Spurs are flying under the radar, not getting the respect they deserve, because that has worked well for them in the past. Ultimately it’s just one more sign that they will win the championship yet again.

Still, I take insults to the Spurs quite personally. I would indulge myself in a satisfying rant about Bill, if not for his masterful ploy: simultaneously kissing Pearl Jam’s collective asses while dissing the Spurs. In fact, I would assume that his use of Pearl Jam was nothing more than a preemptive defense against my withering verbal assault, if not for the fact that his fanhood was publicly established long ago. (Which begs the question: Does Bill have such Gregg Popovich-like foresight that he actually foresaw his future clashes with the Bramlet?)

At any rate, the column begins by giving a little background info on Pearl Jam’s relevance to the NBA as a pretext for further discussion of the band – a move that I have nothing but respect for, as I have often subverted conversations that had no connection whatsoever to Pearl Jam in order to indulge in a little verbal PJ love. Bill goes on to use snippets of PJ’s lyrics to introduce his take on a number of issues in this year’s playoffs. My favorites? His tribute to Big Shot Rob, his use of lyrics from “Glorified G” to threaten violence if ABC uses “that horrible Rob Thomas song” in its playoff coverage again, and his transcription of the lyrics to “Yellow Ledbetter.” I think there are entire Pearl Jam fan sites, perhaps even entire branches of science, devoted to figuring out what the hell Ed is singing on that one.

This “irrationally overboard Pearl Jam fan” takes issue with one of your comments about the band, however, Bill: You’re wrong to compare PJ’s last couple of records to Vince Carter’s half-assed performance in Toronto. Sure, under the circumstances, they weren’t motivated to sell lots of records to boneheads who only “get” their anthemic stuff, but they never cared much about sales anyway, and that certainly doesn’t mean they didn’t put their hearts into their music. It’s obvious to any student of Pearl Jam that they were following their muses to places that require a little patience and thoughtfulness to appreciate. One bit of incontrovertible proof of this: the band’s decision to leave the more superficially appealing songs like “Sad,” “Education,” “Fatal,” “Down,” and “Undone” off the last two records.

I’ve said it before, and I repeat it here: Pearl Jam are the Spurs of the music world – humble, fan-friendly, likeable guys who work hard, have a sense of ethics and responsibility, wear age-inappropriate clothing in public (yeah, yeah, I’m guilty of this, too), and are fucking great at what they do.

I guess you’ve managed to save yourself again, Bill Simmons. But you’re still on notice. If you tease the monkey long enough, it’s eventually going to fling feces at you.

Why am I never lucky enough to see these mythical feces-flingers at the zoo?

And then, when it finds a way out of its cage, it’s going to rip into you like Tom Cruise on a placenta.

Mmmm…tasty.

(Wow, does it shock anyone else that the unofficial mouthpiece of the Chinese government actually has a sense of humor?)

By the way, if you haven’t heard it yet, the new Pearl Jam album does indeed rock. It’s a more anthemic, melodically catchy record that plays to the band’s strengths and doesn’t challenge the boneheads quite as much as their last couple of records. Not that I’ve heard it, of course, since it’s not officially available. That is, unless an enterprising PJ fan manages to exploit the mistake of some limey wanker at a British department store, of all places, who put the songs up for download early. Otherwise, it’ll be available on May 2.

Next up: my thoughts on the Spurs vs. the Kings.

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