Not Every Black Man In America Is Martin Lawrence

To keep the comments as fresh and outstanding as they've been up to this point, we've commissioned Commenting Guru Rob Iracane to write a bi-weekly Comment Ombudsman column. It runs every other week. This is that week.

Mr. Iracane is the guy who approves and deletes comments around here, and the fellow to whom you should address any comment account requests, and he will explore issues involved in commenting, what makes a great comment thread, what's working, what isn't, answer your questions, so on. We want the place to continue to be as much fun as it is every day, and it's not an execution thread like our friends at Gawker do. We like to be inclusive here, because if we're not, we'd be forced to rely on our own wit and knowledge, and that's a scary thought indeed.

So here's this week's column, on proper commenting relative to photos, is after the jump. Of course, don't be afraid to let him have it in the comments.

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Sometimes, Will and Rick (and our many closers) deign to grace a blog post with a notably hilarious photo. I'm not talking about the times when the picture IS the blog post, but rather, the times when the photo is relevant to the accompanying story. Certain personalities make news rather frequently and their faces will show up in odd ways, paired with odd folks. We, as commenters, have no choice but to attack these photos with fervor. But please, this is Deadspin, and the number one rule is to be funny.

Captioning a picture can be great. Hey, Gawker is even using the concept as a vehicle to harness the collective power of the commenter. For a recent example, let's look at a comment by perpetual r.o.y. about Amare Stoudamire's latest attempt at business casual attire. Oh, I get it. But there are other ways to make jokes using the photo, some good, some shitty. Lend me your ear and follow my rules:

First and foremost, identifying lookalikes in the background of photos is hack. It's not even a joke! This may be hard for our Minnesotan commenters to hear, but not every black man in America is Martin Lawrence. Why isn't this practice funny? Think about it: do I come to your place of business and tell you that the co-worker in the next cubicle looks like Sandra Bullock or that your boss looks like a tall version of Jason Alexander? No, because nobody cares that I have the ability to match regular quotidian faces to those of celebrities. I also have no idea where you work.

On the other hand, the "has really let one's self go" meme is a commenting crutch that even I use because it can still be amusing. You just have to pick your spots and choose the right celebrity. "But Rob, you just told me not to identify lookalikes!". True, but if you make us laugh, you can break any combudsman code you want. Remember, rule #1 of Deadspin is "be funny".

Somebody told me last year that LOLcats would be so over by 2008. Well, somebody was wrong because we're almost a week into 2008 and the LOLcat meme keeps getting funnier. How can they be used on Deadspin? Well, just a couple weeks ago, commenter neckbeardedclam gave us this gem on a Woody Paige item. It's true, he's very hungry!

These commenters, however, didn't leave me hungry because their Comments of the Fortnight filled me up with hilarity:

Re: Chris Jessie grabs a loose fumble
Dany Heatley Speedwagon: I thought Radio was black?

Re: Zhang Bin's Wife and Her Wacky Accusations
ProtectYourNeckBeard: Eating crow won't be too much of a hassle for her. I hear it's a delicacy.

Re: Kansas' citrus-y victory
Weed Against Speed: It that's what oranges looked like, we would all have scurvy.