This Week In F—k You: Footnotes

06.14.11 6 years ago 77 Comments

3. Screw you.

We’re now in the dreaded post-draft stretch of the NFL offseason. There’s no football on, and there still won’t be for months, if not longer. You’re hurt. You’re angry. You’re hateful. We understand. At KSK, hating things is what we do best, which is why we have the offseason series, This Week In F–k You. This week: Footnotes.

Billy from Greenwich unleashed his new website on the world last week. And I’m not gonna bash Grantland because A) It’s nice to see ESPN allow a few “assholes” and “fucks” in their articles, B) It’s got some fun things to read, C) It’s not even a week old, and it’s going to need a few months before it turns into the despicable sports version of Slate we all hope it will be, and D) Ripping on the site will immediately cause people to accuse you of being a JELLUSS HATUR. However, checking out the site did remind me of something very important, and that is that I fucking hate footnotes. Or sidenotes. Or whatever the fucknotes. I hate them. Viciously.

When I was in school, I had to do a lot of history papers. And when you did a history paper, the teacher made you source all your quotes using footnotes or endnotes (your choice! Neat!), and made you stick a detailed bibliography in the back. I fucking hated doing this. It was worse than writing the paper itself. But there seemed to be a few kids in every history class who just LOVED amassing a giant bibliography and littering their papers with both endnotes AND footnotes. As if having a comprehensively sourced paper wasn’t enough for them, they had to go out and be all Ms. Overachiever by also throwing in the occasional footnote that let you know about some tangential historical tidbit (“4 – Incidentally, Churchill named the car Florencia, after a young lady he squired around in his formative years.”). They reveled in that shit. I saw pages of papers that had just two inches of main text and the remaining space allotted to fucking footnotes. I wanted to stab these people in the eye with my highlighter.

And that’s what I think about anytime I see some pretentious writer start doling out the fucking footnotes. Listen, asshole. If you think I should read something, just put it in the fucking text. [1] Any time I see a little superscript number above a sentence in the middle of paragraph I want to go find a Labrador and run it over. And any time I see multiple footnote citations in a single paragraph, I wipe my dick across the monitor. [2] And God help you [3] if you do it midsentence. I’m already reading your shit, asshole. Don’t go pissing me off by tossing little miniature bonus reading assignments in there in 8-point font. You are pushing your luck.

Because I know why you’re doing it. You think you’re so clever, so erudite, that you just HAVE to interrupt your story with a little EXTRA story or thought that shows off all the zany things you know. OOH! OOH! OOH, LOOGIT ME! I KNOW OF ONE OTHER FACT THAT ISN’T WHOLLY RELATIVE OT THE TEXT, BUT I’LL JUST DIE IF I DON’T SHARE IT WITH YOU!

Stop bombarding me with your stupid footnotes. It’s like putting a commercial in the middle of an article. And the worst part is… I CAN’T IGNORE THEM. I can’t simply move right past them and get on with my life. No, because I apparently have reading OCD, I feel immediately compelled to stop dead in the middle of the passage and skip down to the bottom. Oh, for more on this I should check out “Elston’s Standard Book Of British Birds”? Okay, thanks for the tip! I’ll do that sometime fucking never. It’s even worse on a web article where you have to scroll down to read the stupid thing before scrolling back up and trying to ascertain where you were (NOTE: Not a problem at Grantland, since they’re at least nice enough to throw them in the sidebar).

Now, I know a lot of people go all batshit for footnotes because David Foster Wallace used them. But there’s only one of that guy, and he’s fucking dead. He was a genius who wrote very long novels I almost certainly won’t ever read and just because you use footnotes and type on a typewriter and write with a fucking bandanna on your head doesn’t make you him. So fuck off and quit pestering me with all your little footnotes. Or at least have the goddamn common courtesy to make them endnotes and jam them at the back of the book, where I can happily ignore them. Because if I see one more oh-so-precious footnote sitting in the middle of something I’m reading, like an arrogant little turd, I will choke a bitch.

[1] Hi! I’m here to distract you! Did you know the Turkish Stingray has over a million stingers housed directly inside its genitals?

[2] See how irritating it is? THE FUCK, MAN?

[3] Or Allah, if that’s your preferred term. HA HA CASUAL WITTY SIDEBARZ!!!

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