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

Follow the Listener on Twitter or Facebook.

 
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and present lend their support
86105 2018-01-19 15:45:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern pregnant: Politicians past and pres…

by RNZ

Politicians from at home and abroad are reaching out to offer congratulations to the Prime Minister mum-to-be.

Read more
Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND a mum
86091 2018-01-19 12:36:44Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern is going to be a Prime Minister AND…

by Katie Parker

New Zealand’s newly minted PM and bizarrely cool and normal lady Jacinda Ardern has announced that she and partner Clarke Gayford are expecting a baby

Read more
Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy
86074 2018-01-19 11:11:36Z Politics

Jacinda Ardern announces pregnancy

by RNZ

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that she is pregnant, with the baby due in June.

Read more
What the media silly season taught us
85933 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

What the media silly season taught us

by Graham Adams

To the eternal gratitude of media chiefs, each holiday period seems to throw up at least one minor scandal that runs in the absence of anything newsy.

Read more
Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyranny of events
86009 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Politics

Richard Prebble: Jacinda Ardern will face the tyra…

by Richard Prebble

I predicted Bill English would lose the election and the winner would be Winston Peters. But no forecaster, including the PM, predicted her pregnancy.

Read more
Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’
85966 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z World

Aokigahara: More than just the ‘suicide forest’

by Justin Bennett

It's known as a 'suicide forest', but Justin Bennett found Aokigahara's quiet beauty outweighed its infamous reputation.

Read more
Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance of Len Lye
85816 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Arts

Truth and Lye: New perspectives on the brilliance …

by Sally Blundell

New essays on New Zealand-born US artist Len Lye elevate him to the status of Australasia’s most notable 20th-century artist.

Read more
Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infertile couples
86046 2018-01-19 00:00:00Z Health

Brain activity may hold the secret to helping infe…

by Nicky Pellegrino

For about a third of infertility cases in New Zealand, there is no obvious reason why seemingly fertile couples struggle to conceive.

Read more