Here’s a fun game: Below are two examples of actual opinion headlines from the New York Times today, and one example of an opinion headline from RC and the team at Pinkbike. See if you can guess which one is which.
- “It’s time for Congress to fix loopholes in a gun control law meant to save women’s lives”
- “The Great American Tax Heist”
- “I went on a bike trip once and some stuff happened”
Tough game, I know.
Now, to RC’s credit, there was an actual argument buried deep in his article. Yes, after 10 winding expository paragraphs to introduce his themes and characters, he finally got around to the totally uncontroversial and uninteresting truth claim of “I like natural resource preservation.” After that, he even said he disagreed with the president regarding policy. Groundbreaking stuff, to be sure.
But I had to spend almost 1000 words scratching my head, checking and rereading the headline and byline, and trudging through a seemingly pointless narrative before reaching any discernible thesis. Maybe this was a sort of bold, experimental style that was wasted on my untrained eyes, a sort of gonzo journalism by RC, where the writer puts me in his shoes, seeing and feeling the turn of events in real time from his perspective before arriving at a jolting, contentious, in-your-face indictment of the status quo.
But probably not. It’s an editorial on Pinkbike, after all, and Pinkbike editorials are as interesting and controversial as a discussion about file cabinets:
“Most people use a bigger file cabinet than they need. They’d have more fun with a smaller file cabinet, because they’d have to be more creative with the space.” -Mike Levy
“I use the biggest file cabinet I can find, and you should to, no matter how many files you have.” -Paul Aston
“File cabinets should be more inclusive to women.” -Pinkbike editorial board, at least once a year
“I made a file cabinet once in my backyard, like 30 years ago, and I know Jeff Steber.” -RC
While we’re on the topic of things I hate, I hate this:
Is it, Ross? Is it THE interview? Just for fun, here are four other Greg Minnaar interviews I found on Pinkbike in a few seconds of browsing:
So Ross Bell’s Minnaar interview isn’t THE only Minnaar interview. Is it THE most special? Apparently not, because two of the other interviewers had the stones to claim the title of “THE Greg Minnaar interview.” So that means three different Minnaar interviews each claimed to be THE definitive Minnaar interview.
Well, at least no one else on Pinkbike uses this trope.
Oh… wait… never mind.
Attention Pinkbike: not every article needs to be THE most important article in the world. In fact, only one article gets to hold that distinction at any given time. Most of the time, it’s just an article, and you know what? That’s okay. How about this for a headline:
An interview with Greg Minnaar
Pinkbike Interviews: Greg Minnaar
2017 Recap: an Interview with Greg Minnaar
or go with a more honest title
You can’t get him to say anything bad about anyone, and yeah this interview is kinda boring: Greg Minnaar
I would call “THE interview” THE most tired trope in mountain biking, but in reality it’s just a tired trope. Among the many tired tropes, it’s podium material at best, and that’s only if we’re talking a five-deep regular season podium. In a sea of overused journalism tropes, it’s realistically not World Champs material. Maybe on a good day.
“THE interview” is like the Troy Brosnan of annoying MTB tropes. It’s always there, ever present and in the mix, but it’s never really at the top of the list.