In a stunning display of craftsmanship, Observer writers Samuel Jacobs and Jonathan Liu today provide an anatomy of the trend piece, "a journalistic form in crisis." Jacobs and Liu do such a thorough job that we're not going to bother to restate any of their findings here; you must read the entire article. (We will offer a warning to the two intrepid Observerites: Be careful who you offend. Daniel Radosh wrote a brave and honest takedown of the trend piece years ago; now he's the blogger who does those caption contests.) In any event, as amplification to the article, we've provided a quick chart that graphs the decline in the fortunes of the trend piece. You can find it below.
"Metrosexuals Come Out." Warren St. John writes the platonic ideal of trend piece; ensuing controversy forces him to prove his manliness by watching shitloads of football.
George Gurley's infamous "floppy woo" piece uncovers disturbing trend of large-twatted women.
David Amsden breaks "guys jerking off to Internet" story.
Ralph Gardner, Jr., discovers wives who earn more than their husbands and withhold blowjobs.
Republicans: Hip and edgy! (Warren St. John continues to atone.)
Jennifer 8. Lee writes "The Man Date." Irrevocable decline of trend piece can be traced directly to this moment.
A couple of women Louise Story knew in college "put aside their careers in favor of raising children." Made front page of NYT. Was entirely anecdotal.
Nick Sylvester found guilty of crime every other trend-piece writer commits: making shit up.
Women fuck their contractors
People like skulls.