If you’re a regular reader of feature journalism on the internet, you have encountered what we at Deadspin sometimes refer to as the “Snow Fall” treatment, after the famous New York Times story that launched the phenomenon. This is when a publisher packages a (typically lengthy) feature story with fancy hanging graphics and elaborate multimedia presentation, either (in a charitable reading) to supplement and enhance the story or (in a less charitable reading) to dress it as Serious Prestige Journalism so that smarmy media types will know to tweet a link to the story with “Wow, fabulous reporting by [whoever]” without even having to bother reading it first, or ever.
Publishers have been flirting with the absurd logical endpoint of this trend for a couple years now—just as an example, SB Nation’s “Best of SB Nation Longform” compilation page is, itself, presented in Snow Fall format—but today I believe we have reached it. For today, ESPN gave the Snow Fall treatment to a 790-word blog (with two authors!) about a stray dog that reads like a book report turned in late by a seventh-grader. My friends, I give you: “Arthur,” either the dumbest or the best thing I have read in many months, or both.