Transmissions from the alternate universe

Posts Tagged ‘volcanoes’

Fake-News journals struggle to make volcanoes funny

Posted by oldancestor on April 21, 2010



By Eric J Baker


Whether it’s The Anvil, a venerable, 270-year-old institution with hundreds of employees, or a no-budget upstart like The Onion, which is run from a $300 laptop by an unemployed “communications specialist” (whatever that means), fake-news organizations depend on wringing laughs and irony from serious topics of the day.

Politics and celebrity are natural sources of inspiration for fake news, given the exaggerated personalities and near-constant controversy involved. Science and religion can also spur satire, although in the latter case it is important to avoid editorializing or displaying veiled hostility, because religious people are wackos who might kill you. Despite, to this heathen’s knowledge, none of your gods (which can’t all be the true god) tolerating murder. Furthermore…

[Just get on with it – Ed.]

Then what of natural disasters? Sure it’s funny when people you don’t know get hurt or killed, but that kind of humor often requires the “sight gag” to be successful, such as news footage of an exploding car or police officers beating an innocent man. However, unlike earthquakes and tornados, volcanoes seldom kill, and most people claim lava footage is “beautiful,” a word that is damn near the opposite of funny. For example, Esquire magazine’s Thirty Most Beautiful Women in the World list could easily bear the alternate title, The Thirty Least-Funny Women in the World.

“It’s been tough,” said The Anvil’s head writer, Eric J Baker. “I’ve been wracking my brain for a week trying to think of a funny volcano idea, and I just can’t.”

After taking a drag of his unfiltered cigarette and a swig of bourbon from the bottle next to his Clark-Nova typewriter, Baker added, “If I were to post a fake-news article about Iceland’s volcano today, it would be a week late and seven dollars short. You have to be topical in this business.”

That doesn’t mean others haven’t tried. Fake-news journalist [name deleted for legal reasons] wrote a false volcano story for last Friday’s edition of [name deleted for legal reasons] that critics are calling “horrifically unfunny” and “An embarrassment to [himself/herself] and all [his/her] readers.”

The article was so painful to read, say sources, an angry mob burned the writer’s house down and blew up [his/her] car with [him/her] in it. In an ironic twist, the entire attack was caught on film, rendering it hilarious.

Posted in Science | Tagged: , , | 5 Comments »