penalty shouts: deadspin is literally dead
This is Penalty Shouts, The Tartan’s sports column inspired by the The New Yorker’s column Daily Shouts. This satire-fueled column will focus on anything and everything funny in the sports world that is deserving of our comedic attention.
I usually like to keep penalty shouts pretty short. After all, brevity is the soul of wit or something. But this past week, there was a news story that hit close to home, as the interim editor-in-chief of Deadspin was fired after refusing to capitulate to the demands of their owners, G/O Media Group.
Usually, Deadspin does exclusively sports coverage. However, their current owners recently pushed a mandate that boiled down to “stick to sports,” and sticking to sports coverage is not a good look for anybody. Exclusive sports coverage doesn’t make money and is often extremely tedious.
Additionally, the political suggestions of asking people to “stick to sports,” as Colin Kaepernick has been told many times, ignores that placing sports in a box where it has no connection to the real world and is simple entertainment means there is nothing to it. There is no meaning behind the violence perpetrated in any sport. The thousands of deaths in professional sports in the 20th and 21st century look no different than a death in a gladiator’s ring. We watch the NFL per panem et circenses.
As of Friday, all of the writing and editing staff at Deadspin quit their jobs in protest. It’s been a long few months, where the company has changed hands twice from Gawker Media to Great Hill Media to G/O Media, and the interim editor in chief rose to the position after the previous editor in chief left because of her relationship to Great Hill Media.
Megan Greenwell, the old editor in chief who quit because of Great Hill Media, published an essay on her last day of work for Deadspin titled ("The Adults in the Room")[https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/the-adults-in-the-room-1837487584]. She writes, “A metastasizing swath of media is controlled by private-equity vultures and capricious billionaires and other people who genuinely believe that they are rich because they are smart and that they are smart because they are rich.” In the essay, she talks about how everyone in the writer’s room just wants to help the company make more money, but the supposed adults in the room — the owners of the media groups — refuse to play the part. They won’t listen to the people who know where the money comes from.
Our newspaper, The Tartan, doesn’t really have to worry about money, fortunately. We do sort of, but if we really got into trouble, the college would be there to help us out. Although, it might mean that the college (read: corporation) would try to turn us into another media office of theirs. We would have no obligation to report on anything, except the things the corporation would tell us to report. Currently, our only obligations are to ideals of newspapering. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to have another person’s agenda breathing down your neck, like the case of Deadspin.
How do I make this funny? It’s been, like, a news article so far. How am I going to dig myself out of this hole? First, break the fourth wall. Second, follow in the footsteps of a canonized satire. With the first step complete, it’s time to "A Modest Proposal" this situation.
I’m inside the offices of Deadspin right now, and it’s a ghost town. Every desk is empty, but the papers and photos and office supplies are still lying around. The lights are shut off, and the blinds are drawn. As I walk around the office with its open floor plan and fake potted plants, I decide to take a peek at a few desks. That’s when I see it. A note scribbled on paper in blood, or just red pen, reads, “AHHHHHHHHH.” And on the next desk: “they’re eating her!” And on the final desk: “and then they’re going to eat me!” Oh my god. What happened here? Did some deleterious demon destroy the entire staff of Deadspin? I had to find out. My investigative journalism skills took over.
I traced people’s steps, their shoe prints outlined in blood. My hard-hitting journalistic abilities told me to follow the bloody prints. My hard-hitting journalistic abilities also told me to head down the ghostly hallway with blood splatters on the wall, a lonely light in a room at the end of the hallway, and gnashing jaw sounds coming from the room. I wasn’t scared. My journalism skills made me not scared. Because journalism isn’t human. It’s journalism. Anyway, I crept down the hallway. It smelled metallic. A soft, musical noise was drifting down the hallway. It was Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” My hand went to the doorknob, slowly pushing it open, and the gnashing sound stopped. There was a low growl.
I peeked around the corner.
Inside, a Babylonian beast with the words “G/O Media Group” written on the side was consuming the non-sports related content off of a rebellious sports news website site. In that instant, website turned into a baby, and the baby’s face morphed into the logo of Deadspin, but it didn’t last. The baby's face returned in a bright flash of light. I stood in silence. A giant bird ripped off the ceiling of the building. It revealed a cloudless sky, and I looked up to see the stars.