As an unemployed white male in his mid-20s, I spend nearly all of my waking hours reading Grantland.com, the popular sports and pop culture blog. Founded in 2011 by the curious triumvirate of Disney, Subway Sandwich Artists, and Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons, the website offers genuinely intelligent and entertaining analyses of a super diverse array of subjects, including and not limited to advanced sports analytics, Shia LaBeouf think pieces, and postmodern Drake concert reactions. Few websites, if any, produce content as broad without being like so dumb. Simmons’s weekly mailbags are as dementedly hilarious as they are bottomless, with occasional word counts in the tens of thousands. The website’s NBA analyst, Zach Lowe, writes about professional basketball with the facility and fluency of Stephen Hawking writing about wormholes. Steve Hyden may be the only living music critic worthy of the title and Molly Lambert’s Mad Men recaps are works of brain-reprogramming poetic brilliance. Even its pun-hobbled TV and film critics, Andy Greenwald and Wesley Morris, present enough nuance in their criticism to offset their general tastelessness. If I were writing a blog post titled, Who’s The Best Writer on Grantland?, there’d be no shortage of viable candidates. Unfortunately, I’m not determining which writer is the best. I’m after the worst.
Because in addition to its team of laudable writers, Grantland also employs an extensive collection of dizzyingly shitty ones. (Like this blog concentrations of shitty.) To glimpse these writers’ names in a byline is to receive simultaneous sledgehammer blows to both eyes. That these individuals are paid to write in any capacity is at once profoundly depressing and gimme-goosebumps inspiring, like watching a split screen of Amour and Rudy. Which is a simile one such Grantland writer would totally use, “like watching a split screen of Amour and Rudy.” On the one hand, you’re saddened at having stained your brain with their horrible writing. On the other, you are emboldened by the belief that one day, if you’re lucky, you too could be paid by the Walt Disney Corporation to stain brains all over the world. If you’re lucky. Here are the worst of the worst.
Who’s The Worst Writer on Grantland?
(Editor’s Note: These rankings were assembled using a complex qualitative algorithm known as WER [Writer Efficiency Rating]. The scale runs from one to one hundred, with zero being a blank page, and 100 being Steven Millhauser. Accompanying equations, formulas, and proofs can found by clicking these words.)
#5: Matt Borcas
Explication: Relatively new to the site, Borcas’s 12 WER rating is influenced mostly by his being a 12-year-old elementary school student. Besides covering all Nintendo 3DS and bounce house news for the site, Borcas also works Grantland’s coveted “Cleveland beat,” which is a fate as charmed as a shotgun blast to the face. If his criticism of The Fault in Our Stars is any indicator, the stars aren’t close to the limit for this young up-and-comer: “This is a perfect date movie…if you can keep from sobbing the whole time.” Spin in your grave, Roger Ebert. Spin.
#4: Emily Yoshida
Explication: Limited to GIRLS recaps, Gwyneth Paltrow exegeses, and discards from other writers, the ceiling is ankle-low on Emily Yoshida’s WER. Sentences like, “It was the spring of 1999, I was in eighth grade, and Episode I was a bantha’s breath away,” aren’t helping her cause either. Scientists would be hard-pressed to engineer a Grantlandier sentence than one that begins with a tenuous personal connection to the subject and ends with a reference of gag-me corniness. Yoshida also co-hosts Grantland’s “Girls in Hoodies” podcast with Molly Lambert, arguably the site’s best writer. Listening to them discuss what their broverlords deem “ladies issues” is one hundred thousand nails on ten thousand chalkboards.
#3 Mark Lisanti
Worst Offense: See Above Photo
Explication: If his status as a former editor at Defamer, Gawker’s L.A. gossip blog, doesn’t adequately justify Lisanti’s WER, his weekly Derek Jeter fan fiction should do the trick. (Honestly, Gawker, L.A., gossip, and blog may be my four most hated words in the English language.) Lisanti loses additional points for acting as editor (with Emily Yoshida!) for Grantland’s pop culture blog-within-a-blog, The Hollywood Prospectus. I once saw a quintuple split infinitive in one of their articles. Consequently, all future Sasquatch sightings will be met with a shrug.
#2: Rembert Browne
Worst Offense: “God’s Not Dead (He’s Playing Now in Movie Theaters)”
Explication: Like all great institutions on this country, Grantland is owned by and geared toward awful white males like myself. In lieu of constructing a truly heterogenous staff at their companies, what these bloodsucking honkies will often do is hire an employee who embodies all of their under-represented demographics in one fell swoop. Rembert Browne is Grantland’s under-represented demographic representer. He’s young! He’s black! He’s from the south! If only he could write well. While I agree with the majority of Rembert’s arguments, specifically his passion for Drake, his work is the apotheosis of blog prose, colloquially known as blose, a storm of comma buts, capitalized thens, and lazy cliche. No eyed person should ever read it. Apply his blose to Grantland’s condescending propensity to assign him any and all pieces about minorities, and a 6.5 may be generous.
#1: Andrew Sharp
Worst Offense: “Take Your Pick.”
Explication: The alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. The sports writing of Andrew Sharp knows no equal in its depravity. Whether he’s entirely misreading the anti-LeBron sentiment or writing his consciously terrible #HOTSPORTSTAKES with very unconscious ease, all of Sharp’s articles inspire the same reaction: who the fuck is this guy related to at Disney? A Harvard statistician literally calculated the shittiness of his writing. Since my words frankly cannot do justice to his, I’ll let the worst writer at Grantland speak for himself. To quote, “Have a great day and #FREE #THE #CATS.”