opinion | What some lame spoofs say about the state of media parody

Newspapers have history with examples from editors and journalists to make jokes or talk. In the 1800s, editors jammed their pages with made-up stories about monsters, disasters, and spectacular hogwash to keep their readers engaged. long stories about man eating tree, life on the moonAnd cotton picker monkeyAs the scholar Frank Luther Mott reports in his 1942 article, “Vocal News Writing, 1833–1883”. This practice became so common in the early 20th century that New York World established a bureau to eliminatefake and fakeAs I’ve written before, H.L. Mencken wrote fakes for Baltimore newspapers. Ben Hecht did the same in Chicago. Walter Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his fake coverage of the Soviet Union. Contemporary Era In the U.S., most journalistic fakes are not written to make a point or get a laugh, but because the author failed to get the real story and had to file something down. See Janet Cook, Stephen Glass, jack kelly, jason blair And jay foremanFor example.

This current round of mischievous headlines echoes the parody issues of newspapers and magazines that Harvard Lampoon (and then national lampoon) became popular in the 1960s and 1970s, and then through similar efforts National Lampoon. In 1978, a fake version Of new York Times The nation’s leading newspaper, written by members of the Journalism Literary, was dispatched with pitch-perfect mimicry. in 2008, wall street journal got the cure, and in 2019, it was Washington Postturn of But unlike the new social media parodies, the parody issues were transparently funny and were not designed to fool anyone.

The deceiver(s) currently spray-painting fake headlines on social, don’t easily fit into any of the taxonomical categories we’ve established over the years. Their japs ​​are not as spectacular as those of the cotton-picker monkeys. they don’t make a constant joke like this inscription-Type print parodist. They are not failed writers at creating stories to complete assignments. And worst of all, they’re not very funny. Compare their efforts with that of daily wage workers New York Times Pitchboat on twitter, who decodes Times, especially its opinion section, to great comic effect. (Example: “Opinion | Between Trump being impeached twice and Biden being twice Covid, both sides seem to be repeating themselves,” by Frank Bruni.) A liberal speculation prompting a typographic comedy of traitors to them Social critics who are happy to send an assortment of political figures at the same time as the establishment take a dig at the press. An unfair assessment would admit that they are trolls who are too lazy to attempt anything more ambitious than painting a mustache on a campaign poster.

there is a reason april fools day Publishing is the weirdest day of the year. Talking with a parody is hard work and should not be attempted without thinking deeply. It may sound strange to stick gum in a vending machine coin slot, but as quality jokes go, it’s fine to put a flaming sack of dog buds on a suburban porch and ring the doorbell. It’s just a prank in action, the cheapest joke.

Perhaps this is a very harsh decision. Fraudsters may have more concrete motives behind their pranks. Maybe they’re being genuine in their attempts to send the silliness of online headlines, which often sensationalize the blah copy they preview. Authority deserves every kick it gets, and it goes for it the AtlanticThe new York Times, CNN and Fox News and the entire journalism establishment. Maybe they are demonstrating the credibility of web-readers and want to fool them. They may have made their headlines to democratize parody – to show that not only Harvard grads and established journalists can play the game!

as PJ O’Rourke, best parodists of our time Once put, the two greatest joys in life are making things and breaking things. Vandalism needs no more recognition that the destructive act itself. So, go ahead and rookie and do your job. Just understand that you are harmless.

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What is your favorite O’Rourke piece? For personal reasons, mine is the piece that was originally titled “Vacation in Lebanon” and later Collected in book form. send your favorite [email protected], No new email alert subscriptions are being offered at this time. My Twitter Feed is parody free. My RSS Feed is all parody all the time.

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