Running's influencers, editors and "journalists" are now indistinguishable from each other
Getting paid to spread careless, aggressive, narcissistic falsehoods has practically become a contest in a sport long respected—from within—for its intrinsic guardrails
For the past eight years, the New York Times has employed a rabble-rousing columnist, or at least word-sequencer, named Lindsay Crouse. She ran a little at Harvard. Her bio identifies her as “a senior editor and writer in Opinion” who “produced the Emmy-nominated Opinion Video series ‘Equal Play.’” Without saying how, the bio alleges this series to have “brought widespread reform to women’s sports.”
On Twitter, where her activity is more revealing than—and often contradicts—her columns, Crouse is currently pushing her most recent laughable attempt in the NYT to talk sister-to-sister to—but still down at—whoever is lapping up her ongoing slurry of self-congratulatory burbling: “Why I Stopped Running During the Pandemic (and How I Started Again).” But before getting to that sloppily contrived bit of deceit, I should offer more background on this person I’ve occasionally sniped at (how the holy hell could I not? She wants the attention).
I’ve mentioned Crouse’s work here before. She is simply awful at a job she’s fundamentally ill-suited for and intentionally abusing on top of that, and getting worse by the unabashedly untrue mailed-in column (Why has no one noticed that the title of this one doesn’t even match the content?). Even without the benefit of her Twitter activity, it’s plain to any teenager of normal social sophistication that she is both too driven by personal neuroses and too unwilling to acknowledge, much less confront, her many serious errors to be capable of ever rising to the level of, well, capable. This could be shortened to “She lies about practically everything” with no loss of information, but it’s of some interest why someone given her lofty position would treat it with such shocking disrespect, and why few people seem to care that the NYT charges subscribers to read what amounts to clumsily written victim-fiction, if that’s even a genre.
Crouse has averaged about a column a month during her career at the NYT, with the bulk of her workday, like that of many members of the paid media, evidently spent flitting around on social media. All of the columns I’ve sampled are bad to varying degrees, and if I didn’t know better, I would ask how someone with so little command of her own dazed intellect and impulses got into Harvard. But the most unwittingly self-debasing of these columns is, fittingly, the one she seems most proud of so far: Bragging that at 35, she was running faster than ever, bragging that she took a stab at the Olympic Trials standard and missed by a mere eight-plus minutes, bragging about all the great things she’s done for running despite this near-miss at world-class status at an advanced age.
Absent from this was the fact that 35 is only old if you’re a single liberal woman with a herpetic persona, an aversion to the truth, and a Manhattan address who believes, against all reason, that she should be a finalist on The Bachelorette.
Deena Kastor was 35 when she won the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials. Shalane Flanagan was sixth at the Olympic Marathon at 35 and won the New York City Marathon at 36. Desi Linden was a few months shy of 35 when she won the Boston Marathon in 2018. Sara Hall ran a personal-best 2:20:32 marathon in December at 37. Stephanie Bruce, who turned 37 in January, has set all of her significant personal bests after turning 35. Bringing up Keira D’Amato probably seems like overkill, but D’Amato didn’t emerge onto the scene until after Crouse ejaculated her farcical look at meeee flyyyyy! column.
Crouse knows very well who all of these women are and how old they are, because she sucks up to them at every opportunity (and sadly, in a grim symbiosis, some of the pros reciprocate). She also understands, though, that there are differences between those elites and herself that have nothing to do with talent, and doesn’t want to face these because she’s convinced that she’s Special.
The piece is also revealing for what Crouse visibly does not engage in: One instant of self-reflection, an absolute must for any serious competitive runner. If the goal was 2:45 but the time was 2:53, what went wrong? Not enough training? Race-day strategy blunders? Skipped aid stations? The wrong perfume or hair-tie? Hairy, flatulent males gruffly drifting into and out of her path for miles on end? These are all, or mostly, things both Crouse and readers could learn from, if she, the NYT, and those readers actually gave a rip about reading an honest testimonial, and if this were not all performative art for white professional women wallowing in First World emotional ruts.
In her latest piece, dated March 7, Crouse, rather than puff her chest over her running and professional chops, tries to play the role of “I overcame inertia and maybe you can too” guru, saying that she quit running during the pandemic despite starting the shutdown in the prime of her athletic life:
So last month I finally started running again. At first all I did was sprint for 30 seconds. I ran on the same path in Central Park, where a year ago I would log 20-mile workouts that now feel like dreams. I can’t hit those speeds right now for even a minute.
Crouse’s drivel about dragging her sorry ass back onto the Upper East Side (that’s actually a guess) is supposed to be “inspiring,” but nowhere in it is there anything a real runner could hope to use. Or maybe there is, and it’s left gasping by the gaping holes in the greater narrative.
“Last month” is obviously sometime in February (and the fact that she doesn’t give an exact date for what should have been a triumphant event is suspect, but as you’ll see, not required for this shredding). Yet in mid-January, Crouse posted this:
It wasn’t a one-off. Crouse’s public Strava profile has her running sporadically for most of 2020, but she rallied to put in about 110 miles in both December and January, even getting over 50 miles in a single January week, before apparently stopping, not starting, in or just before February. (I can’t prove she hasn’t been running 10, 15 or 50 unlogged miles a day for weeks on end, but the presence of activity during a supposed hiatus is harder to explain.)
That’s really it: Lindsay Crouse, a senior editor at The New York Times, is not only lying in her columns, but she obviously doesn’t care if she gets caught. (I considered the idea that she’s just really bad at covering her tracks, but she can’t be that stupid…right?).
Shouldn’t people care about this? Why do I feel like a conspiracy nut for suggesting that journalists—even op-ed writers—should aim for the truth? But once more, this is part of the slow burn of Wokish tactics, where they co-opt language (e.g., “white supremacy” as a baseline condition of Western society) as well as lie en masse (“Trans women are biological women!”) until people in the non-Twitter-engaged or otherwise distant world just stop resisting at all.
Crouse, by the way, was not interested in explaining to me the gross discrepancy between her column and her Strava data.
Lindsay Crouse @lindsaycrouseThe newsletter @thesmallbow asked me to chat — one of the questions was about being proud of never dropping out. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. https://t.co/0wWMm3H091 https://t.co/QNkfKKzlN2
Regardless of Crouse’s personal peccadilloes, the message in these “I am upper-class and white and woman, and these are my struggles” columns in outlets like the NYT appears to have shifted over the years from
"I'm struggling and having a hard time overcoming my human weak spots, and that's okay. Here's what my struggles look like."
"I'm struggling and lying about triumphing over my human weak spots, and that's okay. Here's what my lying looks like."
That’s pretty sad. What have we become when people can’t just admit they’re in a funk and stuck there and that’s how it is? Be really vulnerable instead of a lecturing princess?
Or maybe the sport, to include the awkward, 180-beats-per-minute parades known as road races, has simply grown too large. Perhaps some people really just shouldn’t pretend that they are real runners at heart, even of they’ve flogged their flesh hard enough to bumble across a few finish lines. If you need a constant kick in the ass, and sit on that ass for most of a pandemic despite having nothing better to do besides masturbate weepily to “Poker Face,” you’re not naturally compulsive enough to consider yourself an actual runner. You may be “off,” but in the wrong ways. At best, you can regularly put yourself in a position to follow directions, or “feel” inspired, if congratulated often enough along the way. I say these things because the running world would be much improved if its sizable contingent of posers just admitted they want the burned calories and toned glutes (that doesn’t really work; my ass is naturally hard), but don’t really enjoy all that huffing and puffing and sweating alone, and slunk off to some other pursuit with an equally welcoming gateway to Instagram fame. (The noisy con artists, I mean, not everyone suffering from legitimate motivational or other problems, or with a penchant for showing a lot of skin—those are the cons’ marks.)
Such are my thoughts on “inclusion.” Honor the sport in whatever way your God allows, whoever you are and wherever you come from, or take the wounds and baggage you have brought into running—running hasn’t done bitch-tits to you—to your therapist. (Or do both, like I do at times.)
I suppose this could all end with Crouse declaring a mental-health emergency and blaming stress, or me, or some other external factor for being a highly paid newspaper editor with a longstanding disregard for facts. But I’ve left something out: Crouse doesn’t have any excuses. She knows just what she’s doing, and she’s royal scum of the earth. I would prefer to report these ideas, pleasantly, directly to her cherubic, pleasant face.
I make this claim because Crouse has risen to the defense of a fellow NYT degenerate, a really bad one, named Taylor Lorenz.
Lindsay Crouse @lindsaycrouseAfter watching what my talented colleague @TaylorLorenz has been going through it is so outrageous to see these stories keep unfolding. Just because it hasn't happened to you or someone you know yet—there is no reason to think it won't. All these women did was succeed.
I’ll dig into why Lorenz is a smirking harpy next time, but please do read this (paying attention to the title) and this first. The little shrew should be out of a journalism job and cleaning urinals with her face in whatever gym Joe Rogan goes to.
There is a sound if dispiriting reason that preachy, unmoored-and-unmonitored dingbats like Crouse and gaslighting fools like Lorenz, who seem to have no handle on what their job entails and screw it up on social media even when not writing inaccurate stories, are able to remain employed in good standing, and it all comes back to Wokish misandry and other form of open and accepted contempt for people not in the right ethnic, gender or age groups anymore.
The second part of this is almost written, but I’m sensing that tossing out posts topping 3,000 words, or 2,500, or even 2,000, might not be the best way to encourage people to read them when they arrive by email (or at all). So, starting today, I’m making an effort to stop typing when the scroll bar on the right has shrunk to a barely visible sliver. Or before.
Plus, thinking about this stuff on a real level bothers me. I become a worse person as I type, then ruminate over how much of the venom to neutralize before distributing the result. Every dive into a new Wokish pool starts out as interesting in a ghastly way, and then I realize that society has lost its mind, or at least one of the parts of society I’m invested in. It also brings up not-so-distant memories of this crank. And unlike the problems and attendant miseries of my own making I used to create, digging into this crap is entirely optional. Maybe.
So why bother? This feels worthy, but it’s optional stress.
At the same time, a serious wizard curse (spell?) on anyone who’s been a part of these sad, sorry, gelatinous displays. You all know who you are, and if I were an ignorant, self-loathing-but-blame-externalizing coward, I suppose I’d hide in the safe shadows of the other dregs too.