Monday, April 17, 2006

The Grups Award #2

I didn't think it would happen this quickly, and yet here we are, and it's time to award another Gruppy. Time flies when you're reading gross generalizations. Those unfamiliar with the illustrious-but-brief history of The Grups Award can read about it here. For those who are impatient, The Grups Award is an occasional honor bestowed for overstatements, particularly those that appear astute at first glance.

And the Gruppy goes to...

...Slate for this article on how lacrosse players suck. It is just a terrible article about a potentially interesting subject (the idea that lacrosse exists at the crossroads of Preppie elitism and Jock brutality), but it does no real reporting. The elements mustered to paint lacrosse players in a bad light are: a high school locker room comment experienced by the writer, the widely reported rape allegedly commited by members of the Duke lacrosse team, a poster in one of the player's rooms, Stifler from American Pie, and an urban legend. That's about it.

The problem is that there are real questions that arise from the Duke case about class, race, college sports, and, yep, lacrosse players, unfortunately, the writer doesn't engage any of them. He relies on lazy stereotypes and the willingness of his readers to fill in the blanks, instead of relying on facts, data, interviews, and the like. I'm as happy as anyone to beat up on the obnoxious and the pampered (I can think back to a few meathead Lax players from my own East Coast prep school past), and for a second I bought the article (it's well-written and carefully constructed), but, really it's just empty. A waste. C'mon, do better, Slate. Please. No more lazy opinion pieces made up to look like anthropological studies.

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