Apparently someone slept through their correlation and regression class. The point here is not just that large cities have both a high suicide rate and a larger number of country music stations, it’s also that this anecdote is the way that almost every course on introductory statistics introduces the problem of confusing correlation with causation. The only running joke as ubiquitous among number nerds is the spherical cow.
Granted that this kind of low-level innumeracy isn’t that unusual among bloggers. Just remember the next time he deigns to lecture us science-y folk about not taking him seriously about the genetic stupidity of black people, a point that depends entirely on advanced methods in correlation, that Sullivan has a slight problem with the basics.