As some of you my know, for the past few months, SMC and I have been posting some of our work on a site known as Bleacher Report. This is a site for aspiring sports writers and other douchebags (ourselves included) to post their opinions, reactions and predictions on anything relating to the wold of sports. It is a great idea, and probably makes the people who came up with it a crapload of money. It has been a mostly enjoyable experience for us, as we have brought a lot of traffic to our site (mostly because we only put half of each article on there with a link to the rest of it, which pisses some people off but works really well) and given us some guidance on how to improve our work by allowing us to read the work of others like us.
In the past week, however, I have come across the seedier side of BleacherReport and this whole internet thing in general. On Monday, we received an email (through the BR system) from our first fan on the site, a guy named Revo. I have never met Revo, nor do I have any idea of who he actually is as a person, but he has been enjoying our work and commenting on it for a while, and generally seems to be a good guy. In his email, Revo warned me that ” due to an insulting and controversial article I wrote, taking the BR leaders to task for their incompetence, it is not advisable for you to be associated with me if you are interested in not having possible harassment issues on BR.” I was shocked. First of all, having people harass me about what I write is part of the fun of it to me. Thats why SMC and I try to keep the site as anonymous as possible, so that what we say here is less likely to comeback and bite us on the ass in our real lives. Second, the fact that somebody had to warn me to not be seen as associating with him because, just by being a fan of his, people would bother me is incredible to me.
Yes, Revo did write an article (much like this one I guess) telling the people who run Bleacher Report (who have been nothing but nice to us) exactly why they should go fornicate themselves with a sharp stick, or at least run their business better, but that is the whole purpose of the site. If it was not created for the free exchange of ideas, then why is it there? Not being able to criticize the way that the site is run will lead to it stagnating and not getting better, which was all that Revo wanted in the first place. Now, the site won’t get better, and is actually worse, because one of the people who cared to make it better is gone (you can find Revo at therevofiles.blogspot.com for some really good Bruins stuff).
The other thing that I discovered on BR is that it is not the quality of your writing or your ideas that makes you “good.” Rather, it is the amount of comments that you receive from the other miscreants on there. For the most part these comments are less often actually commentary on the article and more often sycophantic responses regurgitated in the hopes that the author will comment on your writing.
This was taught to me by a gentleman who calls himself “Heartbeat of the Bronx.” I had commented (starting with telling him that he is an idiot) on an article in which he explained the the Yankees would have run away with the division if they hadn’t played the Red Sox this year. I said it was a ridiculous argument based not on cold fact, but on the hot streak that the Yanks are riding and his juvenile wish to block out the fact that the Pinstriped Assholes are 0-8 against the Sox this season. I explained that he was looking at a snapshot of a point in the season and claiming that the race was over. While I expected some type of response, his comment amounted to the fact that he thought himself better than us because more people comment on his articles. He has not yet responded to my criticism.
Now, I’m not a genius, and I don’t know much about the politics of this whole internet thing (though I do know that when SMC was forced to take a class on second life, he got in a virtual fight with a guy after bumping into the guy’s virtual wife, and got a real apology from the guy the next day), but what happened to the idea that the best writer is the guy (or girl) with the best writing, best points and most clever delivery? This “Heartbeat of the Bronx” character truly is an idiot. His writing is full of logical fallacies, hyperbole, and poorly delivered arguments. He believes that he is the pulse of the Yankees, but has to make up ridiculous ideas like “What if the Yankees were animals?” and the all time Catholic team. If you are reading this, “Heartbeat,” I hope you have an especially painful poop today.
I know that this article might get us kicked off Bleacher Report, or at least harassed by all those people that Revo warned us about, but that would be kinda cool.