There is a new blog post circling through Facebook that lays into runners about stickers on cars – and generally why we are all the worst. We aren’t going to link to that post, but wanted to bring back a few entries from last November, where there was a similar post by Chad Stafko at the Wall Street Journal called “OK, You’re a Runner. Get Over It.” We feel this post is once again viable for the newest incarnation of runner bashing. Enjoy.
In the wake of a certain Bizarre Angry Rant in the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago, the internet has been flooded with responses from runners that feel a need to justify their existence to a livid little man who lives in a tiny village in Illinois. In the midst of all this noise, everyone has forgotten the obvious. As Chad Stafko himself pointed out, millions of Americans are racing these days. The majority of us enjoy running or walking, or know someone who does and are competent to understand that another’s happiness doesn’t take away from one’s own joy. Stafko might as well have come out in favor of flag burning or against apple pie– and really, who’s against apple pie? It’s disingenuous.
Rather than recycle my fellow runners’ cogent arguments that attempt to engage or parody the WSJ article, I have a hard truth for all of you. You’ve been duped. “OK. You’re a Runner. Get Over It” is nothing more than silly, vacuous click bait that insures the writer will have future journalism gigs. What is click bait, you ask? Click bait is any headline that’s specifically calculated to grab your attention and mouse click, regardless of whether the article on the other side can hold water. The clicks are counted and if the metrics show that an author is popular, he’ll likely get another stab at writing for the publication. The title of this article you’re reading now is click bait, because if you’re a runner (and you probably are, if you’re reading Run Oregon) you want to know why on earth another runner would defend that awful man.
I’ll be the first to admit– I was sucked in by his headline, too. I’m guilty of clicking on Stafko’s article at least a dozen times, hyper-linking to it in this piece, and googling this mediocre “monster.” Was he a hard-hitting journalist no one had ever heard of before? And the answer is a resounding “no.” Without the benefit of the Wall Street Journal’s editors, he is at best a very average writer who has essentially self-published thirty-five rants on the online-only, open-source, conservative American Thinker. I was duped along with everyone else, and it has changed the way I look at the internet and my favorite publications’ online presence.
Chad Stafko is a genius– or at least the folks at the WSJ who wrote his headline for him are. Coming out “against” something millions of Americans love ensures just as many website hits, shares, and viral responses. Everyone knows this nobody’s name now, and for that, I commend him.