If you’re someone like me who wastes at least 37 hours a day online, you are no doubt familiar with Slate, the online magazine founded by Microsoft and now owned by the online publishing arm of the Washington Post Company.
Slate is notorious in online circles for being a constant hive of contrarian thinking. There isn’t a popular opinion out there that Slate isn’t happy to play Devil’s Advocate against, often at the expense of all logic and reason. Click onto Slate any given day, and you may find yourself subject to headlines such as, “The Godfather: Was It Really All That Good?,” or, “Why Hugging Is Cruel,” or, “Forget The Water Shortage. It’s All About the Gin, by Christopher Hitchens”. Things like that.
But this week, Slate has reached its nadir. Yesterday, a writer there named Jonah Weiner penned an opinion piece explaining why universally loathed nu-metal band Creed is actually crazy awesome.
If your impulse on hearing that it has reunited is to groan, stifle it long enough to locate a copy of Creed's 2004 Greatest Hits collection. It's a fantastic baker's dozen of first-rate schlock-rock, courtesy of one of the most underrated and unfairly maligned groups in pop history.
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Stop right there, Weiner. I’ll be judge of whether or not I think Creed still blows.
/puts on headphones
/listens to “With Arms Wide Open”
No. No, that’s just as horrible as I remembered. This is not the first time Weiner has tried to convince you that you should like music you inherently dislike. He wrote virtually the same missive for Limp Bizkit back in April.
What's revealed is a band at once more stupid, more fun, and more interesting than history has given it credit for.
Now, perhaps you like Creed and Limp Bizkit. I’m not going to judge you for that. Whatever floats your boat.
What I disagree with here is the sort of purposeful widespread contrarianism both these articles represent. Weiner doesn’t really like Creed all that much. He simply likes the idea of being the first person to go against the grain and embrace them as a nostalgia act. He’s trying to stay ahead of the hipster curve. AND, should Creed’s somehow ever become popular with white people who live in Brooklyn, he gets bragging rights for being the first to foresee such a turnaround in reputation. He’s so cool, he stakes out uncool positions right before they become cool! COOL!
There’s no doubt that conventional wisdom needs to be blown up with sound thinking on occasion. The men who wrote “Freakonomics” can now eat caviar for breakfast every day for doing it. But there are people out there like Weiner, and ESPN demon puppet Skip Bayless, who seek out the unpopular opinion and cling to it in hopes of being vindicated at a later date. And they present that opinion as definitive. Creed is underrated. Bizkit never got enough credit. It’s purely an exercise in egotism. EVERYONE WAS WRONG ABOUT THIS ONE THING AND I’M THE ONLY ONE SMART ENOUGH TO SEE OTHERWISE! Don’t be fooled. Or else, you may end up subjecting yourself to “Nookie” again for no good reason.
Drew Magary is the author of “Men With Balls: The Professional Athlete’s Handbook” and a columnist for Deadspin.com.