Friday, June 15, 2007

Murky Words Mad Libs

Is it me, or has journalism gone to the dogs? Not all of it, of course. There's still a fair bit out there that worth reading, but when cares more about the sisters' Hilton than, say, global warming, the war in Iraq, or the New England Patriots, then you know something is seriously wrong.

But it's not even that so much. In their (failed) quest for objectivity in journalism, most media outlets spew forth stories that all sound the same. It's as if they all have the same template, and they just fill in the applicable words.

And now, we have the template - or at least one of them. The Morning News has provided us with a sort of Mad Lib, which any journalist, aspiring or otherwise, can use for their next general interest piece. I gave it a shot and this is what I ended up with:

"The city was invaded by small balls over the weekend when a convention landed here, drawing 973,921 fans of Gymboree.

Slaphappy-T-Grunt, otherwise known as Gunther, a 64-year-old software engineer, was dressed in motley as he waited in line to pay the $81 fee to carouse, enjoy turkish delight, and discuss bat guano with others drawn to this, the greatest spectacle in the tri-state region involving Gymboree.

“This is it. This is the Olympics of Gymboree,” said Deiter, a 23-year-old video-store clerk whose mother drove him here all the way from Las Cruces for the event. “Everyone who’s anybody in the world of Gymboree would give his left nostril to be here with his co-equals.

“I spent the last 10 years of my life making sure I had every last large plastic ball, watched sweatshirts for 42 hours this week and spent $ 310 having my mom sew up this costume—all in preparation for this,” he said. “This is the most important thing in the world to me for reasons that will make absolutely no sense to me once I get a girlfriend. Unless, of course, she’s into this, too, in which case I’m going to become really weird.”

The co-founder of the event, Gertrude, a 46-year-old sheet folding-store owner, said the event would also feature sheet folding and a tarot-card reader.

“The rest of the world could really learn a lesson from this,” she said. “I mean, where else can so many different people of different backgrounds get together so peacefully and have a good time like this? Except for the Skeksis and Gelflings.”

While taking a break from popping zits, Arturo addressed the mainstream criticism of Gymboree fans as socially inept people who use their obsession with an inconsequential and unconstructive esoterica to escape from reality and avoid dealing with the challenges of improving their own lives or the world around them.

“We’re not geeks or Thoughtprints members,” he lisped. “We may be netherweavers, but we’re also human beings. If you prick us with a magic wand, do we not bleed? We’re not here in this soulless, overpriced and plastic-smelling convention hall just for the amusement of the quote-unquote mainstream with their 40-ounce beers, wildebeest in a bowl or gazelle in a cage. We’re here to be with other people like us, other people who are scared of the real world like we are. We’re here to be the mainstream for a brief few hours before we have to go back to a real world that relegates us to the fringes. Here we’re not freaks.”

With that, Slaphappy-T-Grunt lifted up his kettle and disappeared into a crowd of raisins.."


Actually, never mind. There might be something to the study of journalism after all. Knew my alma mater was good for something...

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