Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

[P]
AP Style Fake News No Longer Funny

By wji in News
Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 11:27:22 AM EST
Tags: Humour (all tags)
Humour

NEW YORK (AP) -- Writers of parody news were saddened to learn Monday that merely writing their stories in the clipped, authoritative style of the Associated Press does not make them funny.


The classic AP style has long been used by publications such as The Onion, which bills itself as "America's Finest News Source", as a standard gag. But a study published June 31 in the Bulletin of Humor Studies showed that the style was considered "generally not funny" or "only a little funny" by 87% of those surveyed.

"It confirms what many had already suspected," study co-author Charolette Horne said. "AP style parodies are more of a crutch for lazy writers than anything else. No amount of stylistic dressing-up can obscure stale and unimaginative jokes."

An editor for a noted humor magazine reluctantly concurred. "Frankly we'd been hoping nobody would notice. I have it on good authority that The Onion replaced half of its staff with a computer that re-writes articles from Google News with a special pithyness algorithm."

The computer program was even capable of emulating the AP's paragraph style, he said.

Other humourists contend that the study was flawed. B. McGraw of Canada's The Hammer said the study did not take into account the use of funny sources for quotes. "Like, you can get these stupid-ass quotes from people, eh, and they make things, like, real funny. And it's great cause they don't know you're making fun of them, like, they think you're serious, eh? So it's more than that writing style we use."

The study did not discuss implications for the commercial success of AP-based humor publications, but co-author David Ashkenaz speculated there would be few. "Sadly, people seem to prefer predictable, safe pseudo-humor over the leading edge."

"Since the concept of a joke requires an unexpected twist, we could debate whether this is really humor at all," he added.

The study comes on the heels of revelations that so-called meta humour, the use of ironic self-reference, has been unfunny for at least a year.

Sponsors

Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure

Login

Related Links
o Google
o Also by wji


Display: Sort:
AP Style Fake News No Longer Funny | 90 comments (54 topical, 36 editorial, 0 hidden)
Film at eleven. (3.85 / 7) (#1)
by Hide The Hamster on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 10:20:28 PM EST




Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

*Walter E Kurtz mode engaged* (3.00 / 3) (#3)
by Laiquendi on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 10:25:46 PM EST

The irony... the irony.

Right, it's not funny. (4.12 / 8) (#4)
by toy on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 10:32:25 PM EST

And it never was.




My buddies



+1 FP (3.30 / 10) (#6)
by A Proud American on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 10:39:46 PM EST

I'm in a sadistic mood tonight.  Please hit me.

____________________________
The weak are killed and eaten...


Were you thinking "masochistic mood"? (none / 0) (#79)
by akamoe on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 10:35:30 PM EST

I'm in a sadistic mood tonight. Please hit me.

If so... No.

[ Parent ]
Ironic. (4.43 / 16) (#9)
by zipper on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 11:14:58 PM EST

You're right, it really isn't funny.

---
This account has been neutered by rusty and can no longer rate or post comments. Way to go fearless leader!
This just in... (3.66 / 9) (#11)
by igny ignoble on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 11:25:22 PM EST

Stories about things being not funny are not interesting.

This just in... (none / 0) (#89)
by ZorbaTHut on Mon Jul 07, 2003 at 06:31:32 PM EST


Stories about things being not interesting are not funny.

Now if only these were stories we could watch them mutually collapse into a black hole of suckiness, taking all of k5 with them.

[ Parent ]

Loved it! +1, FP. (4.00 / 5) (#12)
by Akshay on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 11:32:17 PM EST

Doesn't seem to have too much support as of now, but do post it to your diary if this gets dumped.

I am amazed (4.47 / 21) (#13)
by ZorbaTHut on Tue Jul 01, 2003 at 11:34:38 PM EST

You've written a story about how your story isn't in the least bit funny, which makes it funny, and therefore, it isn't funny.

I should print this out and give it to a logician I hate. I think it would make his head explode.

+1fp from me. :)

Thank you. (5) (4.66 / 3) (#23)
by opendna on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 01:13:37 AM EST

I needed a laugh and the article didn't do it for me.

I should print this out and give it to a logician I hate.

Classic!



[ Parent ]

Thank you. (5) (5.00 / 6) (#27)
by rmg on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 02:01:42 AM EST

I needed a laugh and that comment didn't do it for me.

Classic!

I love that word!

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

Thank you. (5) (none / 0) (#59)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 09:11:51 PM EST

I needed a laugh and that comment didn't do it for me.

I love that word!

I love the fact that you love that word.

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Thank you. (5) (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by ToastyKen on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:18:39 AM EST

I needed a laugh and that comment didn't do it for me.

I love the fact that you love that word.

I thought we just established that meta-humour is no longer funny?

[ Parent ]

Thank you (5) (5.00 / 1) (#83)
by daragh on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 09:35:18 AM EST

I needed a large Gin and Tonic and am now halfway through one.

No work.
[ Parent ]

Thank you. (5) (none / 0) (#90)
by Ta bu shi da yu on Sat Aug 02, 2003 at 12:04:17 PM EST

I needed a laugh and the irony of your comment caused me to crack a smile.

I thought we just established that meta-humour is no longer funny?

lol!

Yours humbly,
Ta bù shì dà yú

---
AdTIה"the think tank that didn't".
ה
[ Parent ]

Yeah but the dayly show with john stewart is still (3.55 / 9) (#18)
by Nigga on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 12:30:14 AM EST

pretty damn funny.

--------
The fuck happened to Nigga?

Speaking of clipped paragraph style (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by ethereal on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 12:39:29 PM EST

I still miss Norm MacDonald on Weekend Update from SNL. He was deadpan, and then some.

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

As funny as the onion itself (4.25 / 4) (#32)
by megid on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 04:18:41 AM EST

Abstained.

Too sad that SatireWire went down, that guy had at least creative ideas.

--
"think first, write second, speak third."

+1FP, the word needs to get out. (2.66 / 3) (#35)
by gilrain on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 07:25:15 AM EST



Netcraft (3.72 / 11) (#40)
by duxup on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 10:29:51 AM EST

Until Netcraft confirms it, I won't believe it.


Netcraft confirms AP article satire is dying (none / 0) (#49)
by randyk on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 05:33:49 PM EST

s/BSD/AP article satire/g

[ Parent ]
Boo! (none / 0) (#53)
by duxup on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 06:09:28 PM EST

I want the whole thing before I belive it.

There's got to be a netcraft script out there somewhere.

[ Parent ]

Sorry. (none / 0) (#58)
by randyk on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 08:29:32 PM EST

Not only am I a pompous ass, I am also a lazy one.



[ Parent ]
Heh, +1 Section, clever (4.33 / 3) (#42)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 11:49:08 AM EST

And I got a good laugh out of it too.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
But there's always a counterstudy... (4.00 / 3) (#44)
by samuel4242 on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 12:23:05 PM EST

Everyone knows that even the real studies aren't conclusive. Is the Atkins diet good or bad for you? Hundreds of scientists could be out of work if someone stumbled upon the real truth.

The thing you must remember is that the Onion could easily make up another study showing that AP style news stories are funny. In fact a fake poll could even show that 85% of Americans rolled on the floor laughing after reading a fake AP story. Once the second study comes out, well, this story won't be worth much will it.

Gosh, it's a good thing that fake stories have nothing to do with real stories.

Suggested STATShot (none / 0) (#45)
by epepke on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 01:45:48 PM EST

Most common reactions to "humorous" fake AP stories:

  1. Projectile vomiting
  2. Rolling around on the floor laughing
  3. Excessive purchase of Celine Dion CDs
  4. The collapse of the Internet bubble and resulting worldwide depression
  5. Hives

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Are you implying... (none / 0) (#54)
by wji on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 06:43:37 PM EST

...that there are non-excessive levels of Celine Dion purchase? Sounds to me like saying "be sure not to hurt anyone with those nuclear weapons".

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Not at all (none / 0) (#66)
by epepke on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 02:18:43 AM EST

Any number greater or equal to zero plus epsilon for an arbitrarily small epsilon is excessive.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
The Atkins diet (none / 0) (#73)
by jt on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 05:18:11 PM EST

It's bad for you -- after going on it, you will slip on a patch of ice and crack your head open.

[ Parent ]
K5 Humor sucks. (4.50 / 6) (#47)
by Pink Shirt and Leather Pants Radar on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 03:16:43 PM EST

A smile, maybe, but never a laugh. We need more articles that exploit how white people do something really lame, but show how black people do it much cooler.

Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by igny ignoble on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 01:06:33 AM EST

Have you ever noticed how white people are like "We need more articles that exploit how white people do something really lame, but show how black people do it much cooler," but black people don't?

[ Parent ]
Laughing (5.00 / 2) (#78)
by skim123 on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 10:23:43 PM EST

You're right, we're so lame!

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
-1 you just proved your own point (4.00 / 2) (#48)
by nodsmasher on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 05:24:06 PM EST

<n/t>
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
+1 FP for that very reason (n/t) (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by offline on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 05:37:55 PM EST


Chris Rose
-----
Fly, you fools!


[ Parent ]
It's funny 'cause it's true (4.50 / 2) (#55)
by jmzero on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 07:06:08 PM EST

When reading The Onion, people often can't seem to disentangle "I agree with the satirist's point" and "This article is funny."

Likewise, this article may not have been funny, but I found it so - likely because I've been received far too many annoying Onion links by e-mail.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

Yeah (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by wji on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 08:00:59 PM EST

The idea was sort of that it's not funny, but in a twisted way the blatant acknowledgement that it's not funny makes it funny.

The last paragraph is the kicker.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

It usually works out that way (none / 0) (#71)
by hardburn on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 12:54:54 PM EST

IMHO, every story in the Onion is funny in two places: the title, and the last pargaraph. The stuff in between is just filler.


----
while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }


[ Parent ]
give people some credit (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by sesh on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 09:12:34 PM EST

I found this article very funny - +1 FP. However, I didn't agree with it. Does this mean I am more intelligent than most people?

I still read The Onion, and I still get a good laugh from it, but I can imagine many K5 readers feeling very conflicted over it because of its obvious left leanings.

For example, Id say that staunch conservatives visiting the site would not want to deride it because of its political content (this would imply a certain amount of insecurity) so attack its style as predictable, worn out and tired. This is also how people attack conflicting political arguments.

I'm not saying that either of you are doing this; just that most of the criticism Ive heard of The Onion is from people who disagree with its politics, and the criticism never cites the politics as the problem. Of course on the other hand, the reason I find The Onion so funny may also be because I agree with its point of view...

[ Parent ]

my conflicted comment (none / 0) (#61)
by sesh on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 10:46:34 PM EST

Man was that a conflicted comment. I just realised that in my argument as to why jmzero should give people more credit, I criticise people in exactly the same way [s]he does.

I suppose that the point of my comment was really that it works both ways. Perhaps people find themselves agreeing with a point because of the way it was delivered (as jmzero suggests) but people also criticise form/literary quality of an article because they disagree with the subject matter.

In any case, hopefully the good people of K5 can realise when we are rationally criticising the form of an article and when external prejudices are affecting our judgement. Its certainly not easy. I believe that this is also the inherent flaw of the comment rating system.

[ Parent ]

I'm a communist. [nt] (none / 0) (#62)
by wji on Wed Jul 02, 2003 at 10:56:56 PM EST



In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
I'm as leftist as they come (none / 0) (#69)
by JahToasted on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 11:58:19 AM EST

I find the News in brief somewhat amusing at times, but really the onion is just mildly amusing, not funny. I guess I found it funny at first, but after a while it just seemed more of the same.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]
Leftist? (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by epepke on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 07:00:05 PM EST

The Onion seems to be a good mirror. Right-leaning people will see it as leftist, and left-leaning people will see it as rightist. I think, however, that they try to skewer everyone. Consider the following examples:

This ain't The Nation, folks.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Incidentally, (3.66 / 3) (#65)
by Akshay on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 02:09:36 AM EST

I don't know if anyone else visits this place, but Borowitz Report is funny. Occassionally.

adequacy.org (4.33 / 6) (#67)
by anonymous pancake on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 03:03:59 AM EST

Was very funny..


---
. <---- This is not a period, it is actually a very small drawing of the prophet mohhamed.
but onion *is* a bore (3.00 / 1) (#68)
by dimaq on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 05:26:31 AM EST



Please ignore this comment. -NT- (2.20 / 5) (#72)
by jforan on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 04:37:50 PM EST


I hops to be barley workin'.
Please don't give him any more 0's guys (none / 0) (#77)
by wji on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 08:53:09 PM EST

I just want it to be hidden, that's all.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
That pithy algorithm (none / 0) (#74)
by mmsmatt on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 05:47:38 PM EST

is most likely a product of the Pathologically Elclectic Rubbish Lister. I mean, There's More Than One Way To Make Bad Jokes.

But... (none / 0) (#76)
by gidds on Thu Jul 03, 2003 at 07:00:25 PM EST

No-one ever claimed that a writing style in itself was funny. What writing style does is provide a context and a point of reference in which other stuff can be funny. And it still works at that, provided (as always) that there's funny stuff written in it.

(At this point I was going to write a long essay about the nature of humour, Scott Adams' '2 from 6' rule, my own multiple-interpretations theory, the nature of expectation and its contradiction, and similar stuff, but I really can't bothered. And I bet no-one would be bothered to read it, anyway. But you can probably guess the gist...)

Andy/

Gr. (none / 0) (#82)
by limekiller on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 07:35:06 AM EST

Dude.  That's seriously not funny.  =(

Regards,
limekiller

Unfunny article (none / 0) (#84)
by t reductase on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 01:43:39 PM EST

Apparently irony and Onion style humor is a bad mix.

Does anyone get it? (none / 1) (#86)
by Nekro on Fri Jul 04, 2003 at 10:05:31 PM EST

This article is written in the AP style as a parody. It's not about the onion at all, it's satire on itself!
I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire.
Good job (none / 0) (#87)
by labradore on Sun Jul 06, 2003 at 05:23:31 AM EST

I can't believe I've just read a dozen comments all putting this article down. I chuckled reading it. It's good. What a twisted group we have here that can't just appreciate a well written humor piece.

AP Style Fake News No Longer Funny | 90 comments (54 topical, 36 editorial, 0 hidden)
Display: Sort:

kuro5hin.org

[XML]
All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!