The all-purpose snarky internet article

by Toby Manhire / 19 November, 2013
The ultimate generic Opinion Piece on A Controversial Topic - complete with user comments.
An XKCD classic.

Sometimes the internet seems to be made up entirely of a snide denunciation of this, a snarky defence of that.

And into that diatribe soup arrives an all-purpose example of the form, from Edward Sharp-Paul at the Australian pop culture website Junkee.

Under the headline “An Opinion Piece on A Controversial Topic”, he writes: “I was inspired to write this piece by Currently Fashionable Polemicist”.

He offers the assurance that “In case you think that I have taken a knee-jerk stance without giving the Issue due consideration, I used The Google to do some research”.

And: “I also have a deeply personal and sad experience, which I will bring up here to invalidate your objections.”

He offers “an unattributed stock photo”, a digression to a completely unrelated matter and a baffling attempt to conflate the issues.

If you disagree with me on the relationship between this issue and the one at hand, here’s a false equivalence comparing the Issue to slavery, or Nazism, or some other horrific historical example.

A concluding flourish:

You might have noticed that I have spent more time attacking the hypothetical positions of my opponents than actually clarifying my own position on this Issue. I will grant you that tiny concession, hypothetical-reader-with-whom-I’m-carrying-on-a-conversation, but you have failed to take into account that, prior to submitting this article, I also found some statistics. It’s basically checkmate.

And the sign-off:

Author byline with impressive achievements, a plug for a recent publication, and a lot of loaded buzzwords.

It’s a barbed and funny piece – and the selective quotation doesn’t quite do it justice – but even funnier are the comments.

The first few, of more than 300:

On a related note, the year’s most incisive, and hilarious, picking-apart of internet discourse is Top Phillips’ “29 Stages of a Twitterstorm” at Buzzfeed UK. If you haven’t already, go read it now.


See also: Goldmine or gutter - the debate over online comments

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