Tag Archives: Grantland

Oral Histories are All the Rage and Need to Stop

I blame Bill Simmons and Grantland for many things including the current trend of smug, middle-aged, white men from New England telling everyone with whom they cross paths that their opinion is the most real and relevant.  This is the exact mentality that allowed a flaccid cantaloupe to get himself elected president and move us one step closer to the literal apocalypse.

However, the thing that Grantland championed and that gets under my skin the most is the oral history.  What is an oral history?  Basically, take source material interviews and vomit the content all over the page as if that were “real” journalism.  It is the equivalent of a millennial dragging themselves out of bed on a Sunday to eat brunch with his bros.  It is lazy and useless.

Grantland would publish long, even for that site which is amazing because every article had to start with some blatant New England bro talk about the Patriots, Red Sox, or Celtics being the representative pinnacle of something, oral histories.  Somewhere along the way everyone thought this was the Popeye’s chicken of modern web journalism and jumped on the bandwagon.  Miss the Little Nicky reference?  Your loss.

Here is the rub: the format is lazy.  Journalism is about crafting a story.  Oral history is about keeping it real and unvarnished thus no editing.  Editing is the essence of good story telling.  Sit in on a creative writing workshop the first time that pretentious guy from down the hall gets told that his story needs to be tightened up.  It’s the right critique and it will make the story better, but he is an artist and his twelve hundred page manuscript about the family dynamics of eighteenth century herring fishermen will not be abridged by philistines.

In an era of fake news and alternative facts editing is critical.  If “journalists” just puke out interview text with no editing or commentary we might as well read the comments section of your favorite blog.  Isn’t that the ultimate evolution of an oral history?

Heck the format has even wormed its way into actual book length manuscripts.  Nothing says good times like reading two hundred pages of unedited interviews between multiple people switching at random.

Please do not feed the oral history beast.

Friday Linkage 2/22/2013

By the time this is published I will be on my way to Kauai.  Therefore, this is the last post for a while but I should have a lot to talk about once I get back from paradise.  That is if the chickens let me sleep.

On to the links…

Eat Bray Love—I used to be a Tony Bourdain fanboy.  I loved Kitchen Confidential and No Reservations, not the silly movie with Catherine Zeta-Jones, was a must-see Monday night event.  What happened?  The bitch god of success has suckered him into playing a diet version of himself on a show with a third rate contestant from Top Chef.  How the mighty have fallen.

What’s It Like to Wake up from a Tea Party Binge?—If you want a preview of what the world would be like if the current crop of Republicans had their way, visit Florida.  If you are rich, it’s great.  If you are not…it basically sucks goat phallus.  I am sure Ayn Rand would have liked it that way.

Chinese Companies Projected To Make Solar Panels for 42 Cents Per Watt In 2015—Between 2009 and 2012 the cost per watt of Chinese solar panels dropped almost 50%.  If the targets are met in 2015, the price will have dropped another 30%.  At what point does solar PV become ubiquitous?

New Outdoor Industry Data Show The Power Of The Recreation Economy In Every State—People value the outdoors.  People are willing to pay money to recreate outdoors.  These do not seem like crazy statements, but to some people the idea is foreign.  Almost socialist.

Here’s How Billionaires Launder Their Climate-Denial Cash—It’s basically a front for billionaires to funnel money into pet causes that might cause them public embarrassment and force some sort of contrition.  Alas, it’s all a big dark pool.

15 Uncanny Examples of the Golden Ratio in Nature—If nature does not, in general, blow your mind on a daily basis then you are probably not looking around very much.  It is amazing the order that has developed out of chaos.  Sorry, I am not buying the whole “God did it” argument even if that would make things easier to explain to my daughter.

Why Food Workers Need Paid Sick Days—That person handling your cheeseburger?  Rockin’ the flu.  The person who picked your salad?  Strep throat!  The people who handle our food are some of the most under protected and it endangers all of us.

The Dark Side of How Flavored Coffee is Made—Basically, when you buy flavored coffee you are getting stale beans that have been soaked in chemicals to mask the real flavor of the coffee.  Sounds good?

What Does 200 Calories Look Like—Just an interesting set of photos showing you how much or how little food is represented by 200 calories.

Effort Growing to Ban Styrofoam in Boulder—It would come as no surprise to anyone who has spent any time in Boulder that there is an effort to ban Styrofoam food containers.  It may seem fringe right now, but I am sure that is what people said about banning plastic bags years ago.

Trashy No More—People who manage to do massive reductions in lifestyle like this amaze me because I am overwhelmed by the stuff in my own life.  Okay, I do not have twenty something dining chairs or multiple tables.

Girl Scout Cookie Infographic—The tables are set up outside every store right now and half of my co-workers seem to have passed the order sheets around.  What time is it?  Girl Scout cookie time:

girl-scout-business info_