When Nate Silver launched the new FiveThirtyEight.com I was chuffed—excuse my early morning Anglophile, the coffee isn’t working yet—because this was going to usher in an Age of Reason in online media. Sure, there’d be bumps and clickbait along the way. Bills have to be paid. I don’t get to frazzled by the vulgarities of the business, the historical perspective on media does that for me.
Then came the Burrito Bracket, and I just fucking gave up hope.
The Burrito Bracket project aims to determine the “Best Burrito in America” using a rigorous—totally subjective—scoring system and a bracket tournament structure.
Set aside that this is the kind of playful clickbait that has existed in the news media long before there were clicks to bait for. Set aside that this appeals to the worst sensibilities of pseudo-objective consumer reporting, the kind that has kept gamers in a froth for two decades as they argue about review scores. Yes, set all that bullshit aside.
Because the point is that the bracket is pointless: the best best burritos in America are in San Francisco. We all know this.
Hell, I’m a Bay Area ex-pat who has traded side to hated Los Angeles (irony: no one here thinks there is a rivalry outside of baseball, we just don’t care) and Im the first to argue this.
All this is prompted by the tweet that came through my feed today:
I just can’t take FiveThirtyEight seriously anymore.