Monday, December 21, 2009

ESPN columnist's argument against Big Ten expansion empty of facts

Memo to ESPN online columnists: Can you please cut back on the mindless cultural psychobabble impersonating a rational argument?
Sunday gave America two pieces of sociological gobbledygook from ESPN. One was comparing the SEC to the Yankees, and complaining about the fact that SEC coaches get paid more than other coaches and school officials. Big deal. Then Jeff MacGregor wrote an even more mindless piece against Big Ten expansion.
It wouldn't have been bad if MacGregor was basing his argument on something like hard facts. Instead, he gives vague generalities without any useful information to prove his argument. Take this piece of psychobabble, for example:

"Is there a single corner of American life, from housing to Hollywood, coffee shops to shopping malls, left unruined by our compulsive half-century rush to bloat? Or by our obsessive need to profit from our obsessive needs?

American houses: bigger. American mortgages: bigger. American cars: bigger. American movies: bigger. American banks: bigger. American stores: bigger.

Americans: Bigger

How's all that working out for you?

America! Too big to fail!"

That's pretty much the article: a lot of talk-radioish bluster more worthy of a Deadspin parody of a Peggy Noonan column (if Noonan was a liberal). MacGregor's piece is totally devoid of any genuine facts to back up his assertion.

Any kind of facts would have helped MacGregor's point. A passing mention of how well ACC expansion has gone would have been argument enough. But an endless string of baseless assertions and generalities doesn't make a persuasive argument.

It also ignores the truth. The Big Ten is getting irrelevant because of the lack of a championship game in December. A Chicago Tribune article uses pretty good facts as to why the conference needs to expand. MacGregor could've used it as a good template for his argument on why it shouldn't.

(via ESPN)

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