Sports and pop culture writing have always been polarizing, but in recent times, the nature of the Internet has made them even more so.
These days, when something newsworthy happens out there in the zeitgeist, it hits everyone at more or less the same time (if we’re vigilant). We get notifications. We comment. And we discuss every detail, no matter how minute. Then, we wait eagerly for writers for magazines and websites to provide their commentary, so we can staunchly agree or disagree with it, often vehemently, in comments sections or blog posts or tweets of our own.
This urgent need for opinion has bred something many have taken to calling the “Hot Take.” There are many definitions for the “Hot Take” out there, but I take it to mean that someone has written impulsively about something popular without employing much rational thought, research, or, sometimes, basic humanity. These writers take a midlly insane view on whatever they’re writing about, mostly in the interest of page hits, though they will unfailingly tell you it was to “start a dialogue.” It usually comes from a point-of-view that few rational people would agree with, and is very obviously the work of someone who is attempting to be a contrarian for the sake of contrarianism.
The “Hot Take” is here to stay, I think, and since it is we may as well start finding ways to use it to our advantage. Like, for example, you could spout off a “Hot Take” loudly while at a party. (To start a dialogue!) Before you know it, people will be gathering around your position on the couch, sitting Indian-style around the coffee table to debate your “Hot Take.”
Here are a few to get you started, you contrarian, you!
*Disclaimer: the writer of this article does not at all agree with any of these “Hot Takes,” as he bills himself as a “mostly rational human being.” In fact, writing some of these was difficult for him on a moral and ethical basis. That’s how easy it is to write a “Hot Take.” You just take something you kind of believe to be true, and write about the radical opposite.
1. The way James Harden plays basketball, with his constant creation-of-contact and bearded flailing that stops the game often so he can shoot free throws, is absolutely awesome for the popularization of the NBA over NCAA basketball.
2. Nickelback has some serious artistic merit.
3. Additionally, the Hack-A-Shaq thing they’re doing in the NBA Playoffs is so great. I mean, they’re just exploiting the rules. How can you not love that??
4. Jeb Bush seems like someone who is really qualified to run a country.
5. Tom Brady should totally get a longer suspension than Ray Rice, since Brady’s action—though of course not as terrible as hitting a woman and knocking her out—gave his team an advantage on the football field. The NFL shouldn’t care so much about what happens in society at large! That’s what the Baltimore police are for, right? (Yeah, I know, Rice hit his wife outside of Baltimore’s jurisdiction. But this is a Hot Take, remember? It doesn’t necessarily have to make sense. It just has to be inflammatory.)
6. Glen from Mad Men should totally get a spinoff. He was the best!
7. The most entertaining thing to see in New York City is probably teenage men playing music loudly and doing pole dancing routines on the subway, right in the middle of everything.
8. Lima beans are the fucking BEST.
9. Planet Earth has only existed for about 6,000 years!
10. Global warming isn’t a real thing and you know what? Neither is love. We’re all just fooling ourselves.
11. If you’re a true feminist you don’t hold the fucking door for ANYBODY.
12. Look, if you can’t understand Scientology as a viable religion and way to live one’s life, then you’re just not intelligent enough to get a full grasp on it.
13. Cats are like so much better than dogs.
14. Food poisoning is a viable method for weight loss.
15. We should all hope our kids grow up to be like Justin Bieber.
16. The Smiths are so much better than The Beatles or The Rolling Stones.
17. Louis C.K. isn’t funny.
18. Bill Cosby is hilarious.
19. Kanye West seems like he’d be a fun person to hang out with.
20. I’m all for paying collegiate athletes (in addition to the education and room and board they already get if they’re on scholarship, of course), but not in actual money. I say we pay them exclusively in a combination of free tattoos, crab legs and clothing sold at the local Dillard’s.