Faith In Humanity Restored: People Don't Trust Buzzfeed

Buzzfeed is not your friend. They started out as SEO whores, graduated to Reddit recyclers, and now they only publish stuff unless it displeases their corporate masters.

Thankfully, a lot of people don't trust them when it comes to political news. Good. That's a start.

They're not a news organization. They're an advertising agency disguised as a news organization the same way Vice is. Buzzfeed may tell people they have editorial standards, but it's bullshit. 

And here's the kicker about Buzzfeed, never forget that if they knew there were pageviews to be had in coming after you, they'd totally do it and not think twice.

As Maddox once said, "I Hate Buzzfeed". So should you.

What If She Was Really Racist? She Wouldn't Be So Wise Then, Would she?!

I'm not crazy about the local news. Your time is valuable, don't waste a single minute of it on this bullshit.

For example, your usual 11 p.m. program goes like this: "Guess who got mugged tonight? No it wasn't you, but check out this shocking footage of someone else being mugged! That was crazy, right?"

"In other news, we had a couple of rapes, a bank robbery, which is something we get really excited about here because it makes for great television, and not one, not two, but three decapitations. Boy this city is crazy. Aren't you glad you live here? And now for sports ..."

But the thing that really drives me to stockpile gasoline for use in a future arson enterprise about the local news are human interest stories.

(Here's an old but fun one I was in.)

Human interest stories are the ones where the news broadcast stops long enough to direct your attention away from tonight's murder and toward something soft and chewy. 

I guess what I'm saying is, if the local news is a frozen shit sandwich, the human interest sandwich ... sorry. I'm getting really hungry. The human interest story is the caramel ice-cream sundae you get to have along with the rest of the meal at no extra charge. 

Some people think human interest stories are bad journalism. Those people are stupid, because bad journalism is the other 99.9% of the local news broadcast. All you have to do is look at how much time they spend on an important story to figure that one out.

But if I can only pick one thing that drives me nuts about the human interest story, I'm always going to pick that line at the end. The neat little wrap up line at the end of every human interest story that's meant to put a bow on the thing you just watched.

Here's an example from WKYC in Ohio about a 107 year-old-woman and her advice on how to live a long life. 

(Spoiler Alert: She says to stop complaining. I totally agree with her and think this young lady should be made QUEEN OF AMERICA for that statement alone. We are nothing if not a nation of whiners. Myself included.)

At the end of this video the journalist says for his wrap up line, "One thing she'd like to see in her lifetime she says though is for countries to stop fighting, Russ, another reason for us to be listening to the older, wiser ones among us."

But that got me thinking ... Should we? Should we really?

What if she's really racist, and that was the one piece of advice she gave to the journalist that he could air? What if she said, "I've lived for a century because my hatred for the garlic eaters has kept me strong". 

What then? Would they air it? Would they have to explain what a garlic eater is by saying she's really old and that's what they called Italians back then?

Or would they do that thing where people live past their seventies and they become completely bulletproof over racist things they might say. "Oh don't listen to Aunt Tilly, that's just what they used to call black people." 

How many times have you had THAT conversation in your life? I bet it's a lot.

You see, the little bow at the end of the story is stupid. You don't know everything that old lady said or did in her life. So to try and boil it down in order to fit a narrative that may or may not work is kind of outrageous.

Who knows how she actually spent her life? Haven't you seen Apt Pupil?

I guess what I'm saying here is, don't arbitrarily trust old people and what they say because you saw them on the news. 

Specifically people who have lived past 100, everyone else is probably fine. 

As far as we know. 

Except maybe the people putting together your local news broadcast. Don't trust them either. They don't have your best interests in mind. Not unless you're an advertiser.

P.S. This post was inspired by the fact that Bob Schieffer is retiring this Sunday and so few of you know or care about who that is. Go look him up and read his books. They're pretty great, and so was he as a television journalist.

The List (Or How I Learned To Just Write Funny Stuff)

Where do I start?

Ok, how about with this: As some of you know, back in the Summer of 2013 I had a near-death experience. Ever since then, I've had a lot of trouble rectifying the person I was after that event with the person I was before it. I don't want to belabor that point anymore beyond saying I strongly dislike the person I was before, and he did a lot of damage. Some of which I won't ever be able to fix.

Almost a year later, when I found myself on stage in Atlantic City giving a presentation, I decided that I didn't want to do the marketing thing anymore. That was the other guy's passion. Not mine. From then on I was going to focus entirely on writing, and lucky for me, I had the opportunity to ghost write a book, which is now nearing completion. 

(Can't tell you who it's for or what it's about, but I like it a lot and it was fun to research.)

Now that the second book is coming to a close, I realized a couple of things:

1. I'm a really slow writer, but I do generate good stuff. This means I have to be really specific and focused on whatever the next thing is, otherwise it'll be longer than two years before I put out a book. That seems to be the length of time it takes me to write and research one.

2. There's a ton of stuff I want to write next. So I made a list. Or THE List as I'm calling it.

Nearly dying isn't something I'd recommend for anyone, but it did put a lot of things into perspective. Some of that included a lot of projects I had stopped and started over the years because the pre-2013 me was an asshole. These are projects I'd like to complete going forward now that I'm done with the marketing thing:

A list of all the things I want to write

The years next to the titles are the time(s) I wanted to originally write them before flaking on it:

1. The Brandon Show (2001ish-2006)  <--Where the name of this blog comes from.

2. Turbulence In The Airplane Bathroom (2007)

3. Astonishing Tales Of Mediocrity (2008)

4. Soap Box Included (2009) This one is strikethroughed (not a word) because it became Social Media Is Bullshit, which was put out by St. Martin's Press in 2012.

5. Dracula & Kittens (2009, then 2012, parts of 2014) (I later renamed this Cold Hilarious Fate)

6. Liberty (The comic book) 2014

7. So Your Dad Bit You (2010, but picked up again in 2015)

(Weird writer's quirk: I only italicize the titles of books that were published, so that's why Social Media Is Bullshit is italicized but the others aren't yet.)

Liberty is really expensive to do. It ran over $1,200 to put together the eight page preview comic, which you can check out here. Technically, it's finished. I set out to do only the preview to send to comics editors, so it shouldn't be on the list, but I'm keeping it there because I plan to do the full issue #1 when I can put the money together to do it. 

Turbulence In The Airplane Bathroom, Astonishing Tales Of Mediocrity, The Brandon Show, and So Your Dad Bit You are non-fiction books ala David Sedaris. The first one, Turbulence In The Airplane Bathroom, just got sent out to the agent. 

Astonishing Tales Of Mediocrity, So Your Dad Bit You, and The Brandon Show are actually planned prequels to that book.

Will a publisher pickup Turbulence In The Airplane Bathroom? I don't know yet.

The last book did well, and the concept is fun (story of a guy who lives out of hotel rooms), but maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. I'll let you know here.

If not, then I'm just going to post the stories planned for Turbulence and its prequels here, which is why this new blog exists. I'll also be moving any future Liberty and Cold Hilarious Fate updates here too.

From now on, outside of any freelance writing elsewhere, this is the only place to find my stuff. 

Hope you enjoy it. I know I will. Because if I ever have to talk about PR or marketing again, I'm going to have to strangle someone with piano wire.