UnNews:Small-town newspaper announces the launch of its new 'Silly Survey' campaign
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13 November 2008
SKINNER’S RIDGE, Norfolk-Editors of The Skinner Orator, the local newsletter of the small and conveniently obscure Norfolk town of Skinner’s Ridge, announced yesterday that their newsletter would be launching its new ‘Silly Survey’ campaign. Every Wednesday from next week onward, the newsletter will be publishing the results of surveys taken of the town’s local population regarding subjects considered random, trivial, nonsensical, unconventional or otherwise ‘silly’ by the reporters and by human rationality in general.
Graham Donmore, founder and chief editor of the newsletter, stated that the primary motivation for the starting of the campaign was the recent decline in the newsletter’s sales.
Donmore, a former editor and weekly columnist for The Sun, fired after submitting a highly controversial and remarkably stupid column regarding a supposed political connection between the confectionary trade, the American Zionist community and the faking of the moon landing, founded The Skinner Orator in 1989, several days after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and primarily aimed it at the town’s relatively uninformed senior community. ‘I mean, it was great back then,’ said Donmore. ‘I’d just moved to this town, ‘cause I was sick of seeing newspapers all over the city reminding me how monumentally I’d failed, and I figured out that almost none of the old folk ‘round here bought newspapers, and didn’t even get the news channels, and most of them didn’t even know what the Berlin Wall was. So I started to write out these one or two pages of world news every day, in this insultingly big print, and went around selling it to them for what they thought was a sweet deal-of course, if they could even think the word ‘economics’ without getting a headache, they might have figured out that all creating the thing set me back was a typewriter, a few reams of paper and a newspaper subscription. And it was then that I figured out that half of them barely knew what the Cold War had been, either, so I started including bits about that every day, and the newsletter sold like hot cakes with hot honey on them on hot plates carried by hot hookers. God, I love small-town economics.’
Recently, however, Donmore said, the sale of the newsletter had dramatically decreased due to the town’s gradual modernisation.
‘Some son of a heated hedgehog bought the old people at the retirement home a plasma TV last year.’ said Donmore. ‘Now they just sit there all day watching self-adoring American news programs and the bloody antiques show and playing checkers with bits of the remote, and they don’t bloody need my newsletter any more. So we’ll be throwing in the results of these ‘Silly Surveys’ on the third page every Wednesday. How will pointless and stupid statistics help improve sales, you may ask? Well, I thought about that for a while after coming up with this so I could make it seem like more than a blind whim like the one that got me fired, and I realised, it’s because they’re unique! I mean, sure, other magazines and newsletters have statistics, but how many have actually taken ones that are intentionally completely pointless? You can’t find this anywhere else! That’s gotta increase the sales! That’s logical, isn’t it?’
The survey questions, asked of the town’s general population over a period of several weeks, varied greatly. Among them was ‘Do you believe the rumours that the recent election of Obama has caused Michael Moore to grow several extra chins?’, ‘Do you support the countrywide Spitting on Gordon Brown Movement if he attempts to make contact with one of those labour unions that have niggers in them?’, ‘Do you agree that all children’s charities should be forced to sell out and donate the money toward the effort of finding, digging up and unfreezing Walt Disney?’ and ‘Was your grandma a midget hooker?’
Donmore stated that the survey’s results would only be published in graph form if the newsletter’s editors figured out how to use the recently acquired Excel by the deadline-‘I’m not hopeful, frankly,’ said Donmore. ‘They say they get dizzy every time they look at the “glowing little rectangles”.’
Although the proposed campaign has met largely with indifference from the town’s local population, several prominent members of the community have voiced strong opposition to it. Bernard Colte, an ex-spitfire pilot generally considered the unofficial ‘spokesman’ of the town’s senior citizen population, stated ‘The whole idea is ridiculous, stupid and humiliating. Our town is already ridiculed enough with things like that bloody ridiculous contest the nursing home holds every year for pies and pastries baked in the shape of extremist political symbols. This blatant effort to be ‘silly’ will seal our reputation as a bunch of backwater parsnip-heads.’
Donmore’s secretary, Lydia Hillock, also stated that Donmore had received numerous phone calls regarding the proposed campaign, several from prominent newspapers and news magazines, including Time and Good Morning America (‘They kept saying peculiar things like “You’ve violated the essence of universally useless news stats!” and “You’ll be a number in the next statistic results for ‘People killed in ways too hilariously elaborate and/or overdone to be tragic’!”’, said Hillock).
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