Kristen Gwynne is having a bad day. I’m sure it started out well enough. Her byline appeared on a piece for Rolling Stone’s website. Most of us would be thrilled to be featured in a huge publication, even if it is a crappy magazine with questionable cover choices. I imagine she woke up basking in the euphoric glow of what I refer to at my house as “post day.” Your piece is up. It’s being shared, getting hits. A couple of tweets can turn into dozens just like that. You check back, read the comments, and delight in your own clever banter with your fans. Ahhhh, the life of a writer.
20,000 “likes” and more than 1,300 comments later, Ms. Gwynne is the laughing stock of the internet. After writing what can only be described as the least informative, factual, articulate, or comprehensive piece of journalism in the history of ever, Gwynne is likely hiding under a rock.
The headline looms ominously; “The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America”. What could they pick? The AR-15? AK-47? Anything with “assault” in its name? I wasn’t even close. In the interest of saving you five minutes of your precious time and perhaps a few brain cells, I give you The 5 Most Dangerous Guns in America:
5. Derringers (Seriously)
Somewhere the Musket and the Muzzle loader are drowning their sorrows in a bottle of Jack, wondering what it’ll take to crack the top five.
I’d have had more respect for Ms. Gwynne if she’d just admitted she missed her deadline and was forced to use Wikipedia and the guy next to her on the subway as her sources. She’s like the kid that spent all semester partying only to remember the term paper for the class he slept through is due in twelve hours. Copious amounts of Mountain Dew, coffee, Cliffs Notes, and the internet can only do so much. The difference? That kid knew he was turning in a big pile of crap. I think Ms. Gwynne fancies herself a real journalist. I think she patted herself on the back for an amazing, insightful hit piece on guns. “Take that NRA! I have a byline! And stock photos!”
Gwynne starts out weak and doesn’t show much improvement: “Contrary to what those who defend the right to own high-powered assault rifles believe, not all guns are created equal. Due to a combination of availability, portability and criminal usage the following five types of guns are the country’s most dangerous.”
After giving a top five list that my eight year old could have written with more clarity, she ended her dazzlingly stupid piece with this:
While high-capacity-magazine assault weapons have bee [sic] linked to large number [sic] of mass shootings over the past 30 years, varying definitions of ‘assault’ rifles make comprehensive information difficult to access. We do know, however, that assault weapons — loosely categorized as semi-automatic, rapid-fire weapons designed for combat use — are used in a small minority of homicides and other gun crimes.
But didn’t your opening suggest “assault rifles”…wait, what? You can see where one might have assumed she’d go into a tirade about “assault rifles.” Except now I’m pretty sure she has no idea what an assault rifle even looks like.
After staring at the computer screen for a full minute wondering if I’d accidently stumbled upon theonion.com, I perused the comments section. Maybe it was just me.
Some of the best reactions:
Top 5 things Rolling Stone can actually write about:
Five ironic names Kristen Gwynne could use as an alias:
2. Rocket Scientist
5. Master of Knowledge
And my personal favorite:
The 5 most popular hair colors:
5. Red again, but cut short.
Ms. Gwynne, maybe you should stick to your usual pro-pot shtick. After reading this, I’m starting to think it’s a subject you know quite well.