October 8, 2008

"How to write a bogus trend story..."

"Start with something you wish were on the rise. State that rise as a fact. Allow that there are no facts, surveys, or test results to support such a fact. Use and reuse the word seems. Collect anecdotes and sprinkle liberally. Drift from your original point as far as you can to collect other data points. Add liberally. Finish with an upbeat quotation like 'My cat takes priority over the new relationship. Realistically, unless there's something absolutely amazing about [the woman I'm dating], he wins.'"

Slate mocks a ridiculous NYT style article, sets out the formula (above), and requests reader email. Can we outdo the Slate readers? I think so.

18 comments:

Original George said...

Bogus trends?

The entire global economy is built on bogosity.

Need a new car every three years? Bogus. Need a new purse every season? Bogus. Need bottled water? Bogus. Need to travel somewhere on vacation? Bogus.

Need a bowl of soup? Not bogus.

Trooper York said...

Dr. Surprise: [laughs] Settle down, kids! Just settle down! Yes! Are you ready for another surprise?
Kids: Yeah!
Mom at Party: What am I supposed to do?
Dr. Surprise: Right into the box, my little cinnamin bun. Here is the big surprise! Are you ready in the closet?
Mom at Party: Yes I am, Dr. Surprise
Bogus: Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.
Dr. Surprise: Sim Sola Bim!
[the mom is turned into a dog, the audience cheers]
Girl at Party: [gasps] Mama! Where's my mamma?
[cries]
Girl at Party: [Albert shakes his head at the girl that it was just a magic trick]
(Bogus, 1996)

Palladian said...

That was a brilliant take-down of the ridiculous "Style" section of the New York Times. One of the (many) problems with the Times is that they write the entire newspaper using the "Style" trend formula. Read any of their political reporting and see if it doesn't perfectly conform to Slate's formula.

Trooper York said...

Dr. Surprise: [laughs] Settle down, kids! Just settle down! Yes! Are you ready for another surprise?
Kids: Yeah!
Mom at Party: What am I supposed to do?
Dr. Surprise: Give me a copy of your stock portfolio and your 401K.
Mom at Party: Ok I guess, here it is.
Bogus (Secretary of the Treasury): Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.
Dr. Surprise: Sim Sola Bim!
[The mom is turned into a pauper as her stock is worthless and her 401K, has disappeared, the audience cheers]
Girl at Party: [gasps] Mama! Why are you hitting that nice man over the head with the coat stand! Mama I’m scared!
[cries]
Girl at Party: [Albert shakes his head at the girl that it was just a magic trick]
(Bogus, 2008)

rhhardin said...

The Indians in South America walk in single file. At least the one I saw did.

blake said...

I'm trying to imagine a trend in sanity but it's just too far out.

Chip Ahoy said...

Dr. Surprise: [laughs] Settle down, kids! Just settle down! Yes! Are you ready for another surprise?
Kids: Yeah!
Mom at Party: What am I supposed to do?
Dr. Surprise: Fill out this application for a no down payment loan , one that will have you paying interest for eternity, and balloons into an amount greater than your present earnings and never earn you any equity
Mom at Party: "That doesn't sound like a very good idea".
Dr. Surprise: Com'on, be a sport! Everything's OK, it's a Fannie May and that's almost backed by the government!
Mom at Party: Well, if you think it's OK
Dr. Surprise: Sure it's fine. Plus I get a bonus every time I do a dozen of these things.
Mom at Party: Fills out form. Hands it over.
Dr. Surprise: Glees. Claps. Dances.
Girl at Party: Becomes sullen.
Bogus (Secretary of the Treasury): Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.
Dr. Surprise: Sim Sola Bim!
[The mom realizes she's been had. Packs everything she can grab into a U-Haul and drives off to another part of the state and finds work and an apartment under a variation of her name. Doesn't give phone number or address to past associates. ]
Girl at Party: [cries] "Mama! Mama! Why did I have to change schools? I miss all my friends." [weeps unconsolably]
Girl at Party: [Albert shakes his head at the girl that it was just a magic trick]
(Bogus, 2008)

Chip Ahoy said...

Dr. Surprise: [laughs] Settle down, kids! Just settle down! Yes! Are you ready for another surprise?
Kids: Yeah!
Mom at Party: What am I supposed to do?
Dr. Surprise: Fill out this stack of voter registrations in different hand writing and pen colors using this list of names
Mom at Party: I don't feel good about this. Are you sure this is legal?
Bogus (Election official : Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.
Dr. Surprise: Sim Sola Bim!
[The mom is turned into an ACORN operative in a tie-died tee-shirt]
Girl at Party: [gasps] Mama! Why are those men dragging you off in handcuffs?
[cries]
Girl at Party: [Albert shakes his head at the girl that it was just a magic trick]
(Bogus, 2008)

Chip Ahoy said...

Dr. Surprise: [laughs] Settle down, kids! Just settle down! Yes! Are you ready for another surprise?
Kids: Yeah!
Mom at Party: What am I supposed to do?
Dr. Surprise: Purchase these securities, my little cinnamin bun. Here is the big surprise! They're a brand spanking new financial instrument!
Mom at Party: They seem kind of expensive. Are you sure this is safe investment
Dr. Surprise: Safe Schmafe, they're exciting and new. The higher the risk the greater the payback.
Mom at Party: But how are they backed?
Dr. Surprise: Silly little goose, they're backed by real estate and there's nothing safer than real estate.
Mom at Party: OK then, Dr. Surprise, if you say so. Here I go. [buys securities]
Bogus: Hmm, hmm, hmm, hmm.
Dr. Surprise: Sim Sola Bim!
[the mom realizes her securities cannot even be valued and she cannot sell them.]
Girl at Party: [gasps] Mama! Why are you breaking my piggy bank?
[cries]
Girl at Party: [Albert shakes his head at the girl that it was just a magic trick]
(Bogus, 1996)

Peter V. Bella said...

The trend in elementary schools has been to seat the children in alphabetical order. But the PC police stepped in. It seems that children who were altitudinally challenged had trouble seeing the front of the class. So teachers tried to seat the children by height. Some though that this was also unfair.

They went to a real expert. Yogi Berra told them to seat the children in aphabetical order by height. Now we know why we have the trend of failing schools.

kynefski said...

It might be a bogus trend story, but, when I read the Slate piece, I was reminded of riding a bus in Toronto last year and overhearing a woman talking about her relationship with a man who kept both a dog and a cat. She praised the dog and expressed confidence that she could persuade her lover to get rid of the cat.

So maybe it's a gendered power thing. Men are keeping cats and challenging women to accept them.

Or maybe it's a bogus trend story.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Hey, I'm extremely straight, although not single, and I've had a cat (excluding dormitory days) for about 50 years.

My current cat, an alley cat roughly the size of a small bobcat and twice at tough, is the perfect man's cat.

Being denied any sexual pleasure, he spends his days eating and sleeping, a good job for a guy.

As all straight guys know.........

there is nothing like a little, ah, pussy cat.

Methadras said...

There is nothing wrong with a man having a cat, the problem is in the fact that cat will think it owns you. I'm an unabashed dog man myself, I will never have a cat, unless it is hurt or needs TLC. Beyond that, NO!

Lawgiver said...

I personally love cats. I generally go down to the humane society once a month on gassing day and pick up a couple of plump ones. Skin'em up, section them, marinate overnight, and you have some mighty fine eats to throw on the grill. I usually have my NY Giants lovin buddies over and let them have at a case of Shiner Bock, then we chow down. I tell them it's goat meat,what we call cabrito. Course being from NYC they believe me when I tell'em they's eatin midget mexico goats.

Lawgiver said...

Or if you're a lonely, friendless, single straight guy you can just visit the local Chinese restaurant and get you fill of cat.

rastajenk said...

Cats are low maintenance. End of explanation.

Susan said...

Next up: a story about the trend of men carrying rhinestone-collared chihuahuas around in their manbags.

Richard Dolan said...

The Styles section? Just an unfunny cartoon painted with words, on a paint-by-numbers template. How to write a bogus trend story? Fake but accurate works every time. After all, it's just entertainment for the witless and homebound.