Friday, April 27, 2007

The A/V Club Will Save Us from Ourselves

The anger and melancholy that this blog is lately fomenting reminds me of a comment war that flared last year on the Tigers blog I frequent. People were posting thousand-word diatribes at 3 AM about the relative merits of Craig Monroe and Marcus Thames, and in the end the administrator had to ban some of the commenters for vulgar and threatening language. It was like witnessing road rage in an adjacent lane of the highway.

After a Tigers game, that same blog occasionally reproduces the game’s FanGraph. These show how likelihood of victory varied over the course of the game:
I can’t think of anything that’s less like a baseball game than one of these graphs. Of course, some future human who grows up poring over these graphs in the e-paper every morning might say the same thing about box scores.

The graphs remind me of Kurt Vonnegut’s unsuccessful anthropology dissertation at the University of Chicago, where he tried to graph stories in order to compare and contrast them. That didn’t work, but I do think that the guys at FanGraphs could make a positive difference in the world. Maybe we could graph political campaigns. Or international conflicts. Or romantic relationships. Then, when you break up with someone, you can find out if it’s fairest to compare your two months together to the 1984 Democratic primaries, Mark Buehrle’s no-hitter, or the Galveston Flood. We will put an end to bad analogies. No one will be unfairly smeared, and my boss’s secretary Hannah will have to stop telling our coworkers that my innocent invitation to coffee was “reminiscent of the Bay of Pigs invasion.”

5 comments:

Hannah said...

This post, despite being more or less the right length, is mildly annoying.

DrGravitee said...

hannah,

You should consider putting the so-called annoyingness of this post on an x/y axis. Might help to concretize your otherwise unsubstantiated and annoying comment.

-DrG.

Hannah said...

Dr G.,

You (and Musa) are right, this makes it much easier to see what I've expressed.

And here's a pie chart of how annoying your comment is.

DrGravitee said...

hannah,

Man, as soon as I saw my annoyingness in pie chart form a little lightbulb went off in my head and then a little voice spoke from within the lightbulb (a female voice, strangely) repeating over and over again, "be less annoying."

I do not like to admit defeat, but in the face of this formidable evidence, I have no other recourse. I am sorry for my transgressions. I will listen to that female voice in my head going forward.

Fondly,
DrG.

Musa D said...

Clearly, I have developed a new scientific format whereby a blog post presents a hypothesis and the ancillary comments serve as a proof the post. And as a bonus we figure out who is annoying.