(Lupica – now on the interweb!)
I should mention, up front, that I don’t get The Huffington Post. That is, I don’t see its appeal as a reading experience and I’m baffled by its apparent popularity and profitability. It’s not that I don’t think there should be a place on the internet for risible/irresponsible quasi-medical quackery or Jim Lampley’s thoughts on election fraud. It’s just that I think the place for all that manifest uselessness is already filled, by the broader internet itself. The ugly, frantic mess of half-information and gossipy leering and fervid political doofery that is the Huffington Post does a good job at exactly one thing, to my mind — miniaturizing and uniting all of the defining goofinesses of the internet together in one place. Although CSTB’s revered Chicago Bureau Chief does write for them on occasion, so they’re at least doing something right.
One thing they weren’t doing at all, until recently, was writing about sports. That changed when they launched their sports page, which employs the usual mix of broadly loathed establishment dudes (Mike Lupica, ladies and gentlemen), revered internet sorts (the tireless and very great Dave Cameron), and random grad students demanding that the Mets “get younger” and trade Carlos Beltran. Oh, and Dave Zirin. Tim Marchman got into media critic mode after the launch of Huffington Post Sports — HuffPoSpo, if you’re terrible — and was not wowed.
Whatever credibility they get for running Daves Cameron and Berri (not a little, as those two are terrific) is more than lost by what may be the single most ridiculous block of sports-related text I’ve read this year, a 789-word paean to Hideki Matsui by his agent, and… the stuff they’re ‘aggregating’ is mainly a bunch of boring nonsense about sex and drug scandals. Surely there are things the world needs less than an amalgam of the worst elements of a New York tabloid and Deadspin, but they have to be in the line of SARS and poisoned baby formula.
It’s a short post, and worth clicking over to. The funniest part of it is not quoted above, and involves the Huffington Post’s aesthetic. I think Marchman may be jumping the gun, though — in three months, the sports page will probably have de-emphasized the Lupica and ramped up the “Bret Saberhagen Spreading Unsubstantiated BS About the H1N1 Vaccine” element. It has (inexplicably) worked before, after all.