Local is global

The world has many wonders. Therefore, to read a newspiece of a man who had his thumbs surgically altered to suit the iPhone better is to think, this guy is crazy. But the story in itself is plausible.

Generally, stories published in a straight news category are intended to be taken seriously. There is one exception: any story published on the 1st of April may be a jest, and everybody knows it. But it is not enough, generally, that people know that the day is a jest day: a serious paper litters the April’s Fool story with blatant clues. For example, a Finnish story last April said that the principals of the story enjoyed their traditional herring in muddy water – referring to the traditional Finnish April’s Fool refrain: “April’s Fool, April’s Fool, eat herring and wash it down with muddy water!” (“Aprillia aprillia, syö silliä, juo kuravettä päälle!”)

Perhaps the original story, published by a community newspaper, contains clues that are visible to the local readers. Perhaps there is something about the locale of the story that tells the locals that this is a false story. Or perhaps the names are ridiculous to native speakers of the American language. Certainly, the paper seems to think that the story contains sufficient clues: Careful reading of the piece makes it clear to any critical consumer of information that the piece is pure humor and not news or reported as fact, the editor claims.

The original story is in the “news” category. It is written in a flip style, but then again, many “the world is crazy” style stories are. I have now read the story twice, and I find in it no clue that the story is a hoax (or satire, as the newspaper in question likes to style it).

The paper made an error in judgment, that the story would only be read in the community where the story is published. They forgot that we all like to read stories of crazy people who live far away.

The editor ridicules us for not noticing the satire, but the real joke is on them: they did not have the balls to acknowledge their mistake. I acknowledge mine. I was fooled. Anybody got some muddy water to spice up the herring I’m having for dinner this evening?

2 thoughts on “Local is global”

  1. Well, if it helps at all I’m American and nothing in the piece registers as an obvious indication of satire to me. Perhaps you are right and there is something about the names involved that provides a clearer indication for local readers of the paper.

    In my opinion it is a poorly executed attempt at comedy that the editor would rather defend by appealing to his reader’s delusions of genius than retract or revise.

  2. The clue is “whittling”.

    “new surgical technique known as “whittling.””

    to “whittle” usually means to take a knife and shave off pieces of wood from a stick. This can be used, for instance, to make a pointy/sharp stick.
    Or a tooth-pick.

    I’m not sure how obvious it is, since I knew it was a joke before reading it, but “whittling” is a fairly common word in the US south and south-west.

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