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.

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"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.

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George Gurley's infamous "floppy woo" piece uncovers disturbing trend of large-twatted women.

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David Amsden breaks "guys jerking off to Internet" story.

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Ralph Gardner, Jr., discovers wives who earn more than their husbands and withhold blowjobs.

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Republicans: Hip and edgy! (Warren St. John continues to atone.)

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Jennifer 8. Lee writes "The Man Date." Irrevocable decline of trend piece can be traced directly to this moment.

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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.

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Nick Sylvester found guilty of crime every other trend-piece writer commits: making shit up.

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Women fuck their contractors
People like skulls.
Rose-fucking-ay.

Now, Less Than Ever: The Decline of The Trend Piece [NYO]