Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan and the art of phoning it in

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"One option would be to find columnists devoted to their craft, eager to consistently discuss this wonderful thing called "Sport" and to take up really nonlinear problems like, 'Why didn't we see this resurgence in the Twins coming before it came?'" Gutenfrog

Reader John-Grady Cole responds to Miguel Sano hits a baseball into his shin, Star Tribune's Jim Souhan writes about... his weight?

Whether you ultimately agree with Mr. Mullin's thesis here (that is, the idea that Souhan is at least sometimes truly unhinged), I think you have to agree that this is a refreshingly restrained and wise article. Columnists for our papers (whether City Pages or the Strib) should use their pulpit responsibly.

One of Souhan's go-to moves, I claim, is to act irresponsibly -- in a really lazy, cynical way. He does this when his ideas run out and the strategy behind this filler conscious and incredibly cynical:

1) If you agree with his toxic nonsense, his thinking goes, then you will happily click away the next time you see one of his articles posted.

2) If you disagree or you recognize it as one of those columns produced on one of those days that Souhan is phoning it in, you will get an emotional charge out of your outrage at the sheer irresponsibility of the writer, and you will therefore also be likely to click away the next time you see one of his articles posted.

I'm not saying anything new here, I know. This strategy is just the definition of "clickbait" -- something that provides either an affirming nod or an emotional release.

Many thanks to Mr. Mullin for calling out this nonsense. I understand that the Strib has to make money to survive, and that they've long since abandoned the strategy of actually selling newspapers. The goal now is to make money online because there's no other choice.

One option would be to find columnists devoted to their craft, eager to consistently discuss this wonderful thing called "Sport" and to take up really nonlinear problems like "why didn't we see this resurgence in the Twins coming before it came?" if not head on, then at least obliquely. A second option is to produce clickbait.

I guess it's just tough to find truly devoted columnists. But it seems to me that City Pages has one in Mr. Mullin.

Great article!!
 


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