Thursday, May 17, 2007


I have a standard routine I run through every morning once I arrive in the office. I check my various email accounts, my bank account, my stat tracker (because what blogger isn’t secretly, or not so secretly, obsessed with the stats), then I look at my different fantasy leagues to set lineups and other related activities. I think that’s something pretty common to most people, no one comes into work and gets cracking immediately, it’s not possible. Don’t lie. The last part of my routine is to read and to peruse a few of the headlines, check the box scores, and see if anything else peaks my interest. Lately though there has been slight change, or addition, to the routine which can probably be blamed for my recent blog inactivity. ESPN has added a comment section to many of its articles and I’m absolutely fascinated by it. I’m not very smart as a whole but there are a few subjects I have a fair amount of expertise on and one of them is sports, baseball in particular*. Because of this knowledge these comment section leave me utterly fascinated and thoroughly entertained. I have a slight knowledge of cancer but you don’t see me on oncology message boards telling people about chemotherapy so why are there so many clueless a holes who post on these baseball message boards? It’s incredible, a solid 85% of comments are totally asinine, and I love it.

I realized this morning that I actually seek out these comments because it pisses me off how stupid most of the people are. That got me thinking about this phenomenon as a whole. It’s been called irritainment by people who are cleverer with words than me. Our society can’t seem to turn away from media sources, be it television, radio, websites, blogs, that drive us absolutely insane. It’s certainly not new but it is something that seems to have spiraled completely out of control lately. I’m really confused about what we get out of this though, it’s sort of creates a negative view of the society when we can’t just accept things we enjoy, we need to be stimulated by things we hate. People constantly complain about what despicable people Paris Hilton, or Britney Spears, or Lindsey Lohan are, but Perez Hilton gets millions of hits a day on his blog because people eat there lives up. They have to know what they done now to screw up. The sports equivalent of that would be the Yankees/Red Sox. People who aren’t fans of the teams constantly complain about this rivalries coverage and hype. They call it an east coast bias and declare that baseball is in fact played west of New York, yet the comment section of an article relating to one of these teams easily reaches 100-200 a day while most other articles rarely receive more than 10 or 15. How many people have declared how sick they are of hearing about Barry Bonds and yet and article about his older brother received over 500 comments yesterday. The point is that most people gain far more entertainment hating Bonds or the Yankees than they do rooting for their own favorite teams. If they didn’t have these things to criticize its likely their interest in the entire sport would wane quickly.

I’m fairly certain that VH1’s entire original programming strategy is based around the viewer wanting to throw up after every show they watch. Did anyone watch I Love New York for any other reason than to hate all the characters on that show? We love watching disgraceful, unintelligent, uncultured people on television. It even spills over into politics. How many liberals watch Fox News just to further develop their hatred off Sean Hannity and Bill O’Rielly? How many republications switch to MSNBC to see examples of a liberal media bias? Actually probably not many, they don’t need evidence because those aforementioned republican pundits told them so, but you see my point.

Can anyone explain irritainment to me in a way I can understand? Is there a feeling of superiority we gain from ingesting so much that makes us angry? I don’t get it, but hey, maybe if there are enough comments on this post we’ll provide some pleasure for people who hate me and all my readers!

* Although, as Matt and Jason can attest, my misinterpretation of a rule the other day was kind of embarrassing and makes me question that knowledge.


Lucy said...

It makes us feel better about ourselves if we see other people screwing up and acting dumb. At least that is my opinion. Take for example Super Nanny. People love that show mainly because they think "I must not be doing that bad of a job, because my kids certainly don't do that". It is all about making yourselve feel better.

JW said...

I agree with Lucy. I'm addicted to those MTV reality shows because I know I can't be THAT crazy compared to those people.

David said...

What rule? I have to know.

dave said...

i noticed this years ago when i started watching jerry springer. it made me feel very very good about myself

Eric said...

David - The were runners on first and second a ball hit between short and third. The third basemans momentum was carrying him towards second so he kept going tagged the runner from first, then the runner of second, who remain standing on second. For some reason I refused to believe that the runner on second still had the right to second base, I thought he had to be forced to 3rd because there were 2 runners on base. Clearly I forgot every 3-6 double play I ever turned where the firstman tagged first then through to me and yelled tag because the force at second was no longer on. I'm an idiot.

honeykbee said...

I agree with jw and Lucy, but would also like to add that hiding behind the keys (and/or in front of the boob tube in Springeresque type scenarios) makes a lot of people feel stronger than they otherwise are.

Irritainment. Nice. I'm totally going to use that.