Okay, so I haven’t blogged in a few days for reasons I won’t divulge but, as someone desperately clinging onto my four days of fame as a Barstool Idol contestant last Summer (bow down to my fucking greatness), I thought I’d share my thoughts on the most recent controversy regarding yet another article written by someone I refuse to name because I don’t think he/she/it deserves the 1.5 page clicks this blog would send his way. Also, I only read about 3 paragraphs of the original article but it’s one of those rinse and repeat type deals.
Just to clarify: I’m a fan of Barstool but I’m also not one of their “fanboys.” I don’t blindly agree with everything they do; however, I just thought that since I have some experience (albeit, incredibly short-lived) coexisting in that environment, I’d have slightly more argumentative leverage than your average Twitter account.
Objectively speaking, a lot of the controversial shit Barstool has done is indefensible in my opinion but let’s not forget when Barstool controversy arises, it usually manifests from some hit piece penned by some blowhard nobody with an axe to grind. The guy who wrote this is just one of the many “brave” individuals who stand on their soapbox and assert themselves as some paragon of virtue, lecturing us commonfolk on how we should exercise our recreational habits.
For the record, I won’t claim Barstool is bereft of shortsightedness or insensitivity. Obviously they flirt with the line—it’s the foundation of their brand for God’s sake—and I vehemently disagree with how the vocal minority of their fan base elects to conduct itself but for all these self-righteous columnists to shotgun off these long-winded, agenda-driven, regurgitated op-eds intended to generate a short-lived social media pop in the name of “journalistic integrity” is a joke.
In other words, if you think Barstool is responsible for spearheading the deterioration of contemporary journalistic practice, that’s fine. But in the grand scheme of things, they haven’t dictated the current, sociocultural climate—they’ve simply capitalized on it. And for those keeping score at home, they’re thriving…
Blame Barstool all you want but when it comes down to it, that short-lived social media controversy is what ultimately galvanizes/solidifies their fan base. I’m not going to condemn a product for how their consumers elect to employ it. It’s similar to when people were suing McDonald’s or the tobacco industry for their health complications—no one’s sticking the business end of a shotgun down your mouth and forcing you to embrace it.
In other words, your gripe shouldn’t be with them; it should be with the consumer demographic that has overwhelmingly chosen their model of sports journalism over what “actual sports journalism is supposed to be.”
As for Portnoy, he shoots from the hip and he’s allowed to do so because he’s earned it. The face of any other company isn’t granted this luxury because they didn’t build their brand from the ground up on this model. People should know what to expect when you associate yourself/engage with that brand. It’s like sticking a fork in an electrical outlet and blaming electricity for the shock. Don’t be so stupid. If these anti-Barstool people are so right, water will find its level and they’ll die out. Either that or they’ll slowly rot away with their pride in a dying industry. Their choice.
Not to mention, it seems like Barstool is the only media outlet who faces the music in these scenarios and I think that’s some soft serve bullshit.
You can’t completely absolve one side from any fault because they plead victim. Journalists like the one who wrote this piece live to launch these 5,000 word onslaughts on Barstool and when their fanbase reacts exactly the way everyone knows they will, they pull the lollipop from their pocket and start skipping down the road as if their initial intention was anything other than to incite controversy and rake page clicks.
The “behavior” on Barstool’s part could obviously be refined, but as someone who’s been a fan of the site for a decade, very rarely do they just fire off unprovoked attacks—that comes from the opposition. People poke the beehive because they know it’s a catalyst for social traction and they benefit from it for a couple days, revert to the lab, and go right back to the well when their irrelevancy sets back in. Rinse and repeat…
Long story short, the article I mentioned above has been written 5,000 times. I understand he technically did his due diligence by reaching out for comment, but why in the hell would I ever extend someone with a clearly adverse agenda a comment for a piece that I know is intended to hurt my bottom line? Morality’s subjective to an extent and in my opinion, you’re begging for it at that point. I refuse to express sympathy for the tears of a crocodile.
As I said, I’m not speaking on behalf of Barstool. I don’t work there and probably never will. I blew my shot. That said, I refuse to hold resentment or join the likes of these clowns on social media who exist to bury those more successful than them. Grow up, build an audience through content predicated on authenticity and talent, then we’ll discuss if you have a point…
– Joey Boats (@joey_boats)