Friday, April 24, 2015

It turns out that boredom is an interesting topic. And, American fans are mostly bi.

Well, with about a week to go, it's a foregone conclusion that this month will be in the top-four all-time months on this blog. The only question remaining is, will be #3, #2, or even #1?

Ironically, most of this traffic comes as a result of the big debate (read the posts just below) about the dearth of interesting content online. I guess there are a few thousand people at least who find an argument about boredom to be, itself, quite interesting.

Nowadays, there are more people who wonder whether Rossi's still alive than there are who wonder if he's gay. But I still get a measurable spike in traffic after a Rossi victory. The question is, why does it come from the U.K., and not the U.S.?

The other traffic driver is Valentino Rossi's surge into the lead of the 2015 MotoGP standings. With his novice-class-style mistake in Argentina, Marc Marquez has dug a hole for himself that threatens to make the rest of the season quite interesting. The thing is, I hardly ever write about MotoGP. My blog gets a surge in traffic whenever Rossi wins, because of posts I put up years ago, when I sacrificed any chance of ever getting a Dorna media accreditation by writing about the persistent rumors surrounding his sexual orientation.

The first of those posts, which is my all-time highest-traffic post, is here. About a year ago, I wrote an April Fool's post, admitting that as far as I could tell, the verdict was in on Rossi: straight.

Most people agree with me. Because back in 2008, if you opened a Google search window and typed, "Is Valentino Rossi..." Google filled in 'gay', and 'homosexual' as suggestions. But if you do it now, it offers 'married' as a suggestion.

The thing is, if you do ask Google if he's gay, one of the first places Google sends you is to this blog. (As if I'd know. I actually never thought he was, I was only interested in the reaction the question itself drew.)

Anyway, there's an interesting wrinkle to this. Or at least, a boring one. It's that the surge in traffic when Rossi wins doesn't come from the U.S. It comes from the UK, Australia, and South Africa. So why is that? I have a theory... or maybe two.

Theory #1 is that the U.S. (Indiana notwithstanding) is less homophobic than the U.K. and, as such people here just don't care.

Theory #2, which probably gets closer to the truth, is that homophobia tracks inversely with education and social status. In the U.S., MotoGP fans are mostly bi… coastal. They live in big cities, concentrated on the coasts, and have good educations; they're less homophobic, as a group, than the country as a whole. I suspect that in the U.K., MotoGP fans are drawn more or less evenly from the population as a whole, or even skew working class. While those people aren't all homophobes, there's enough of 'em in there to kick up my traffic with every Rossi win.

The bummer for me is, those little spikes in traffic don't really correlate with little spikes in book sales. It's to the point where I sometimes think I should pull the posts down, since they're skewing my traffic figures. (Between the people who still wonder whether Rossi is gay, and the Russian spiders monitoring my blog, it's possible that my traffic's not really even trending upward in any meaningful sense.)

Anyway, I haven't and probably won't pull the posts down, even though they generate bogus traffic—because the second one is genuinely funny and the first still opens a worthwhile discussion.

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