Now a days, it's 200% frizzle, frazzle, and gimmicks the Fake News. Some jamoke punches up a 60 word "article", snaps on a snazzy title, scripts on about 700 ads, and then publishes it. It's crap, man. Total crap is what it is.
You're sitting there thinking, yeah of course Fake News is a buncha crap wasn't it always this way? As to which my reply is ... No, it was NOT always as crappy as this. Yes, Fake News was always crappy but it was fucking funny and EFFORT was put into it.
There was a Golden Age for Fake News and it ran from about 1981 to about 2005 and it was called ... The Weekly World News.
Cover from its later more-sillier years.
It wasn't like The Onion where 100% of people were 100% sure it was satire/fake .... it danced the line between fakery and reality ... but rest assured .... 90% of people 90% of the time were sure it was a bunch of nonsense.
One of the editors of Weekly World News once stated that it's readership was based on two kinds of readers which were referred to as Reader A and Reader B. It is explained that Reader A believes what they are reading and purchases the News to be shocked by the stories in it ... whilst Reader B is not retarded and knows Weekly World News is a lark and laughs at the foolishness of the stories.
The News got whackier and whackier as time went on until its demise. In the early 1980s its readership was probably 90% Reader A and 10% Reader B but by the late 1990s the stats reversed and only 10% were Reader As and 90% were Reader Bs (9/10 people bought it to laugh at/with it and didn't believe it).
To WWN, making money was their goal, just as Fake News is today, but they really tried to give the readers quality-ass shit and really make the reader laugh or be entertained. They really did, dude.
I actually prefer the early archive of WWN of the 1980s, where it was 90% Reader A, when it was threading a fine line between believability and down-right unquenchable stupidity. The Shock Value of the later years is sort of a little too worked, I find. I really do prefer the subtle yet retarded era of WWN.
They had their paranormal/aliens stuff in the 1980s too but on a much smaller scale and a thousand times less ridiculous. The main tenets of the early WWN was a hash of Crazy Newz Stories, Celebrity Gossip, Harrowing Tragedy and/or Miracle Newz Stories, Fake Help Columns, and Angry Blow Hards ... and for the most part the ridiculousness was subtle but still there.
So today, I want to speak specifically about a main tenet of 1980s era Weekly World News, the tenet of Harrowing Tragedy and/or Miracle Newz Stories ... and specifically the tried-and-true tale of children getting trapped in ice.
We shall be (A) Explaining what a "Trapped in Icer" article is, we shall be (B) Narrating a paragraph by paragraph example of a "Trapped in Icer" ... and finally (C) We shall witness as I make a valiant attempt of my own to write a classic "Trapped in Icer" with hopes of meeting the approval of the reading audience.
A Trapped in Icer
Weekly World News went to the Ice Well a lot, it went to the Well a lot too. I don't mean just the expression either ... I mean they literally went to the Well a lot, as in articles about children being trapped in Wells ... but not more than articles about Kids Getting Trapped in Ice. They went to the Ice Well far more than they went to the Well Well.
This is a big go-to plot device in other venues too ... like the Simpsons did it ... and I recently saw the new Pee Wee Herman movie where Pee Wee makes a new Best Friend and is invited to his birthday party but unfortunately gets trapped in a Well and can't make it. I remember there was a movie called Simon Birch where this cute dwarf child gets trapped in some ice (or did he save a kid from ice? I don't remember). Those kids on Lassie were always getting caught in wells or burning barns. Christopher Walken saves a kid from an Icy Lake death in that one where he shoots the President too. I like when they do this in movies and things ... there's a subtle beauty to getting trapped in a well or trapped in some ice.
There were issues of the WWN with multiple Icers in the same issue. I mean how many kids can get trapped and miraculously rescued from an icy lake or icy ravine in the same damned week? There's an issue with THREE trapped in icers! At that point when you get to the second one you're like, another kid got trapped in some ice!? You're still probably gonna read it anyways and not skip it because the first Icer was so well written for a short news article ... and then you'll soon see and realize that the second Icer article is even better than the first one! By the time you get to the third Icer, you still have to ask yourself how in the heck THREE kids got harrowingly trapped and miraculously rescued from Ice in the same week ... but you'll be damned if you aren't gonna read a THIRD icer in this issue because, holy crap, they are soooo good. While reading Weekly World News, you know you can't take the paper too seriously and hold it to too many standards when the cover story was "Les Nessman from WKRP in Cincinnati Attacked by Unidentified Flying Object on Set!" ... so who really cares if they want to do three articles (two back-to-back) about children trapped in ice.
When you do this many Icers, or anything really, colleagues start competing to see who can out-do each other and out-ice another. This is what happened, I think, with the WWN's Icers. There were so many people doing them that they all tried to be the Ice Bearer. These things turned into literal Russian Tragedies by the umpteenth one. These were no longer reports on kids trapped in Icy Ravines but short novels written about the fragility of life.
Let's take a look at an example (this is just one of many .... I'm not saying this is necessarily the best one of all time) ...
One of many,
Nine year-old boy spent 3 terrible hours trapped in the .... wait for it ...... ICY JAWS OF DEATH. OH NO! First of all, before you think anyone's making fun of a terrible situation ... I'm almost 99% sure that kid over there in that bed was never trapped in any god damned ice and is a stock photo or other.
Now that's how you open up an Icer, you let the reader know that this isn't just some regular dopey ol' dumb ice or anything, this is a veritable Tomb of Ice and this child is helplessly a prisoner in this tomb with no way out. Plus this isn't some lake that some other kids are skating on or playing pick up hockey on that cracked open ... this tomb of ice is on a Deserted Winter Beach. So from the opening paragraph we learn of a child that is helplessly encased in a tomb of ice on a deserted island with no way to escape. Great opener for an Icer, just great.
Obviously, these news reports become stories pretty fast. Somehow someone knew how the boy felt and verbatim what he said throughout this harrowing ordeal on a "deserted winter beach." I guess a stenographer was there with him trapped in the Ice as well.
I remember Mike Walker from the National Enquirer used to come on the Howard Stern show and do a test of three news stories and you guess which is the false one ... and I never got one wrong. Never. The fake one would always be written like this .... as a story with verbatim quotes and the characters thinking to themselves.
If I saw this in a respectable publication, this story telling, I'd be immediately turned off by it, but the cover story for this week's Weekly World News where this article ran was "Ronald Reagan's Youngest Son Living in Squalor on the Dole Line Waiting for Hand Outs of Free All Dressed Hot Dogs!!!" so my standards for news reporting are obviously quite laxed whilst engaging in a Weekly World News article.
....As the icy fingers of the ridge. Oooooh, I like that part. That's good. You can use like "Meanwhile..." and other plot devices too when you write Icers. It's not to be taken as a real news report so it has a lot of give when you do these.
Oh this is a good one. We find out in the closing paragraph that the blue shape battling along the ice bed (or Ice Tomb if you will) was the child's innocent but relatable to Milwaukee Brewers batting helmet. The blue helmet stood out in the web of white ice and that let his parents and rescuers find him and save him. That's how you write, man. That's how you write. Yeah. Iron. Hard. Ice. Walls. Yes. Write lady, write your ass off! Yes.
No, mamma don't stop your babies from wearing silly things, all mammas everywhere listen up and listen good... please, if your kid wants to wear a baseball batting helmet to school or to the park ... just let them! It might be the difference between life and death! That Brewers helmet saved Adam Rosenzweig's life! It's miracle's miracle! It was a miracle's miracle!
...and then look how fucking shaggy it ends. Oh wow. That ordeal? It wasn't that bad. That dog wasn't even that shaggy, man. That kid'll never go back to that icy old beach ever again.
My Own ... Trapped in Icer.
I've never been this nervous before writing, the reason being that, I fear I will not correctly capture the essence of the "Trapped in Ice" article. It seems so easy to do one but at the same time .... so difficult. Everyone thinks it's so easy to just sit down and write a heroic tragedy-turned-miracle but it's just not that simple. It's not. I have great respect for articles about kids getting trapped in wells, and kids getting trapped in caves, and kids getting trapped in ice .... they are good writing and the task is daunting for I fear I cannot give homage to this style with the justice it deserves.
Yet, in the opening statement, I did in fact make an assertion that I would make an attempt to preform this writing style .... and I'm not one to back down from bold claims in intros. This blank page below sits in front of me empty, its emptiness like a void that needs to be filled ....
.... It's just you and me now Blank Page. Mano-Y-Mano. Just you Blank Page, and Me and a child .... a child who just happens to be trapped in some ice. You can stare at me all you want Blank Page ... with your white deadness and lifelessness .... but you cannot daunt me to the point of surrender. No way. I know you Blank Page, saying to yourself that there's no way I can write about a child trapped in Ice .... well guess again. You think you're so much better than me Blank Page? Yeah right. You cast doubt upon me Blank Page but that will be your undoing .... now get ready ... get ready to be filled with a short story about some kid getting trapped in some ICE!
"Small Child Swallowed by the Encroaching Abyss of Deadly Ice whilst Spelunking in Near-By Cave .... Can he Survive???"
-A Short News Article
|Paul Strohmayer wrapped in warm blankets....|
Albeit a quaint township it was no stranger to erratic weather and on September the 17th of the year 1989 this small American town experienced a blizzard like no man or woman had ever seen.
The snow was falling down in veritable sheets. Layer upon layer of cold hail dropping down unto this poor American hamlet. As layer upon layer of sheet-like ice pelted the countryside it was as if Mother Nature had declared war on Michigan.
It was only September, the fall-weary Michigan authorities were in no way prepared for such an assault on their beautiful state and the wonderful denizens of East Lansing did nothing to deserve such a Winter's Blasting.
As the snow continued piling upon pile, and the ice begast mounting upon mount ... one mother's voice began to crack amongst the pelting waves of winter's malfeasance. It was the town's nurse, Heather Strohmayer....
"My son? Where is my one and only beautiful son?" her voice declared as she scanned the living room for her beloved boy child.
Yet, her son was no where to be found for he had gone off to spelunk in a near by cave. The boy was the adventurous type who loved exploration and adventure .... yet, sadly his body was not built to engage in such follery.
Paul Strohmayer was a handicapped boy, born under an unlucky star so to say, at birth he was barely even one full pound and the doctors told his parents he had zero chance to live. Paul was a born fighter with a never-say-give-up demeanor since his very first day on God's Green Earth. Paul indeed defied the Doctors visions and made it past the rearing stages of infancy ... and now despite having wee-legs that were much too small to hold up his 3 foot frame .... he was a healthy 10 year old child who was ...
..... trapped in ice!
Winter's impromptu storm had caught poor Paul off guard just like the rest of Michigan. Paul was alone in that cave, for Paul had no friends. The other children laughed at him and jeered him for being so short and for having such wee legs. The other children often casted rocks and stones at him simply because they felt he looked different than them. He was a loner, a small, cast-about, loner who always was by his lonesome.
"The only friend my son ever had is that mangy scrappy dog that always tagged alongside of him. He was a varmint that dog, I, I, I didn't let it in the house because I thought it might carry something, like a disease, you know? That scrappy mangy thing was Paul's only true friend ..." explained Paul's mother Heather.
That dog may have had matted hair and a funny eye .... but he was Paul's only voice to the outside world now that he had tumbled down a cave's hole and lay motionless and afraid. Paul asked the dog to find help .... to tell anyone ... anyone who'd listen that he was incapacitated in a cave's trench whilst the ever-encroaching icy hand of old man winter clawed at him in his crippled state.
"Please, Isaliah, please, your a good dog and I know you can get this message out ... please tell anyone who'll listen that I'm trapped in a cave and cast-upon by winter's icy clutches.. Please" implored Paul to his trusty dog.
The ice filled up the crevice he had tumbled into, soon the ice and snow had accumulated up to his neck, and only his poor bullum head could be seen above the cool embrace of snow. Paul openly inwardly wondered if this is a fate best suited for a child no one ever loved .... a child cast out by the other children for being odd in appearance. He wondered if this prison of ice was actually where he belonged ... the ice couldn't judge him, the snow couldn't cast upon rocks upon him, the snow and ice may be cold but they were kinder to him than any friend he ever had.
Was this where he belonged? Was this Cold Abyss of Ice and Snow where he was destined to find peace? The cold made his body numb, it was somewhat painful, but unlike when children throw pebbles at him, this pain from the icy abyss was almost peaceful in comparison. Lying numb in the cold embrace of Ice .... Paul thought that maybe the outside world was the real Abyss and this Embrace of Ice was where he really belonged...
.... but then he switched gears. He remembered as a small new-born the doctors telling his parents that this child was meant to die .... that his body was too weakened and cast-about from the painful embryonic stages which saw the umbilical chord get wrapped around his neck and cutting off much needed oxygen to his young brain and body.
How was this different than untangling that umbilical chord? How was this ice prison any different than being ushered into a world where everyone expected him to die? Ever since he was a baby, Paul didn't understand that word Death ... and this whirling prison of ice and snow was no different than anything he hadn't conquered before. He braced tight and went into total meditation ... the Ice became his Eyes .... the Snow became his Ears .... he became the Abyss.
To defeat your enemy ... you must become your enemy ... and now that Paul was the Abyss all ways became One to Him. His mind wandered and he entered a dreamscape. He was surrounded by frozen children, hair bleached from the snow and ice to be as white as cloth. The children told Paul ...
"Paul, we are the Children of the Ice .... we all perished in an icy grave hoping someone would come save us ... please Paul ... breathe .... hold out for one more hour .... and .... tell .... our story." The children told him.
Paul did thus that, he braced himself and waited in this veritable Icy Tomb. Once again he started to lose consciousness ... but in the back of his mind he could hear the faintest murmur of the barking of a stray dog ....
Yes Paul, it was Isaliah, your only friend on this earth barking and re-entering the scene of your icy demise ... and behind her was your mother and the Michigan State Authorities who were primed and ready to lift you out of that Icy Abyss.
As they freed you Paul they noticed something peculiar ...
Your hair had turned bleached white as white as cloth! It confounded the authorities and when they returned the child to town it confounded the local medical people as well. Why would his hair turn white like that with no way of going back?
His mother implored they take him to the local East Lansing barber to cut the white disheveled locks from the boy's scalp .... yet Paul vehemently refused!
"NO!" He shouted.
"No, my hair will remain White as the Ice for as long as I live! It will remain this way to remind the world about all those children who weren't as lucky as me and who died in the Icy Abyss after being trapped in a lake or a ravine of horrible ice and snow! Every time someone looks at my sheer white hair they will remember that it could happen to any child! Any child can get trapped in some ice! Their memories are not lost! They live on in the survivors! Survivors like ME! And if those punks at school want to throw rocks at me for having white hair then so be it ... for now I am the Abyss .... and rocks cannot hurt me .... and your scorn has no effect on me. I am Ice! I am the Abyss ... and the memories of all Children Trapped in Ice LIVE ON INSIDE MEEEEEE!!!!!!" -proclaimed Paul Strohmayer
All the children, parents, and authorities clapped for Paul after his resounding heart-felt plea, and when asked by reporters what he planned on doing now that he was free from the veritable cold prison of cold death he said...
".... Well, lady. I'll tell you one thing. You'll never catch my ass in that stupid cave again."
Blammo! Yeah. Take that, Blank Page, you said I couldn't do it? Yeah right! I even worked in some kid with the Green Hair shit in there. I was all over that piece! Yes.
Fake News? It used to mean something. Now? It's just a buncha frizzle, frazzle, razzle, dazzle, n' gimmicks.
Back in the day people used to put actual EFFORT into fake news. You kids these days .... you don't even know what the word EFFORT even means!