When a man constantly screams wrong-headed opinions, it's safe to assume he's either a) a deranged moron b) a raving sociopath c) a subversive provocateur, inhabiting a trollish character to prove a satirical point. With Jay Mariotti, you can probably rule out the third option. Mariotti used his Chicago Sun-Times sports-column platform to foster fire-everyone hysteria, pursue personal vendettas and make petrified pop-culture references. He also appeared on ESPN's Around The Horn, giving viewers unfortunate enough to be watching the show in HD a graphic view of his grotesque, meticulously waxed eyebrows. Mariotti abruptly quit the Sun-Times last August, taking a sabbatical during which he presumably visited locker rooms just as infrequently as when he was actually employed. Former co-worker Roger Ebert took a break from reviewing movies in order to deliver a scathing zero-star critique of Mariotti's cowardly exit. And then, blissful silence.
Sadly, Mariotti resurfaced Monday on AOL Sports, touting himself as a prescient trailblazer for moving from newsprint to the Internet, because as all computer-savvy sorts know, America Online is the wave of the future. His debut column contains a timely Fatal Attraction reference; the phrases "animal penis," "staggering number of eyeballs" and "I'm obviously jacked;" a brain-corrupting mental image ("my torrid fling with Madonna"); and a butchered misquoting of the "I'm Bill Kurtis, and I've just found the Internet" ads. Same bullshit, different venue. Any hopes of the newspaper-to-blogs shift resulting in journalistic Darwinism just suffered a wretched death.
"Don't you get it? What we have to understand is it's them or us. It can't be all of us, or one. It's got to be us, or they become it. Then we lose what makes us we."
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