You know, I said I wasn't going to do this. I swore to my boss, your god, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka that I knew this was a bad idea. There is no more masturbatory practice in the field of writing than compiling a list of your own best work, and if I wanted to masturbate on the internet, there are plenty of other places to do it. But here's the deal: today is the twenty-first of September, unless you're reading this on Monday, in which case yesterday was the twenty-first of September, or if you found this in the news archives, in which case you're way too desperate for entertainment. In any case, today is the one year anniversary of my very first article for SA. It's been a fantastic year and I've had a great time writing for all of you loyal readers around the world. Over that time, I've grown a lot as a writer, and even moreso as a cynical bastard. Working for SA has taught me a lot, most notably that people who are different from me should be ridiculed for their stupid beliefs, interests, and hobbies, especially if they have poor web design skills.
We've been through a lot in the past year. Together we've seen the evolution, enactment, and resolution of a war, we've seen a natural wonder come crumbling down, and the death of some of the world's most beloved celebrities, including Dolly the sheep and Mr. Rogers. When I started out with this prestigious company, I was a fresh-faced college student with a head full of hair and a killer tan. Now I'm a pale, bald recluse clinging to the fractured remnants of what once were social skills. I'm not saying that working for a website automatically atrophies your interpersonal abilities, but, well, I spend a lot of time reading the forums. What I'm trying to get at is that this first year has been a terrific experience for me. And I'm not at all bitter that while my friends go out partying, I've been spending my Saturday nights hunched over my keyboard so that I can grind out a some more free entertainment for you people. So in the spirit of this occasion and as a way of cutting down the actual writing that I have to do this week, let's take a look at what I think are some of my finest moments so far. And then, just so this article doesn't turn completely into a one-man circle jerk, we'll take a quick glimpse of some of the things that I'm not quite so proud of. Not that I'm saying I've ever posted work that I didn't feel was of the absolute highest quality, it's just that some of my stuff sucked.
The BestThe seal of quality.
"Elephant - Poaching them for their ivory tusks is illegal, but fighting them mano e elephanto and then eating them is an afternoon! And afterwards, what the hell, pick your teeth with the tusks. Who's going to complain? Not the elephant!"
The second article I ever wrote was also one of the most popular. In it, I founded the now world famous organization Eating Lethal and Endangered Animals While They're Still Alive (ELEAWTA). The group was dedicated to the humanitarian purpose of finding ways to defeat nature's most dangerous and also endangered creatures in one-on-one combat, then eating them so that we can document their flavor before these beautiful animals disappear forever. I couldn't have known then that this endeavor would draw the response that it did. ELEAWTA has spawned several further articles, and newsletters and now boasts over one hundred members. As the president of this illustrious organization, I have personally received over two hundred pieces of hate mail from pissed off animal rights activists, environmentalists, and people with consciences and/or no sense of humor. I feel like this was the article that really allowed me to make my mark on Something Awful, at least among the handful of people who actually bothered to read my stuff at the time.
"When Iraq invaded Kuwait, we spanked them so badly that every Iraqi had to wear a nametag that said "Hello. My name is Spankedy McSpankedyspank-Spanklestein" and walk around like that for a whole week. We also gave Kuwait t-shirts with "I'm with Spanked" written on them, and an arrow pointing to Iraq. It was classic."
This was back when it was still conceivably possible that we weren't about to go to war with Iraq, and was my first attempt at writing about an actual news event. On the whole, we tend to stay away from anything that could be called journalism, preferring to leave that sort of thing to other humorists, such as The Onion or Fox News. I was able to have a lot of fun writing this one, because at the time the general feeling toward the war was that it was so preposterous that even if it actually happened, nothing could possibly go wrong. The thought of having to rebuild the Iraqi infrastructure had yet to even cross our minds. Of course, soon that became a sobering thought that weighed heavily on the mind of many Americans. Unfortunately, none of those Americans were part of the Bush administration. Overall, I think this article was so successful because it was able to address a serious subject without getting too bogged down in the politics of it or getting overly silly. Also, it introduced my tried and true formula of creating names out of words to make cheap, easily-assembled jokes! Use it for fun and profit!Fritz (l) prepares to hurl Olga like a Jewish corpse, while Hans (r) checks to make sure his socks are still pulled up comically.
"The Oktoberfest observer may find himself assaulted with roving bands of fat people with brass instruments, lederhosen, and untold numbers of food products with unnecessary German prefixes, such as German potato salad, Bavarian chocolate pudding, Attila the Hunburgers, and Still Repenting for the Holocaust sauerbraten."
Ah, I remember that night well. All week I had struggled to come up with a topic that would make a good article, since my article from the previous week had been... less than stellar. We'll get to that one later on. Saturday rolled around, and still I had nothing. Frustrated and getting worried, I went to dinner at the school cafeteria with a few friends. Coincidentally, that night the cafeteria happened to be having it's "Oktoberfest Night." While we ate, I cracked a version of the joke featured above. It got a minor chuckle. "Alright," I thought. "A minor chuckle! I'm onto something now!" When I got back to my room, I had managed to refine that joke into its final form, and I think I had the beginnings of another one going through my head, but that was about it. The moment I sat down, though, I started typing up a storm. I don't know where it came from, but I think it still stands as one of my funniest articles. The high point of the article, in my opinion, is when I try to explain why Germans think poop is sexy and fail miserably. I remember writing that and actually thinking I was putting a logical spin on the scat fetish, then realizing that I actually hadn't done that whatsoever, which made me feel a little better.
"Personally, I'm not the sort of person who would make fun of someone else for being a waddling blubber depository. Wait a minute, yes I am. In fact, that's precisely the sort of person I am. If you don't like it, you can just cry into your next box of Ho-Ho's, Fatty Arbuckle.
What started as an excuse to to make fat jokes turned into a longer excuse to make fat jokes and quickly became one of my personal favorites. The actual news item that inspired this article - the parents suing McDonalds because their children were tubby little piles of goo - was already so ludicrous that I barely had to do anything to make this one funny. I just threw together some new slurs to call fat people and let sweet mother Comedy work her magic. But as if so often the case, the article took on a life of its own, and that life had a voice, and that voice cried out to me, "I'm not long enough! Come up with other stuff to say!" Knowing better than to disobey the verbal commands of inanimate objects, I kept writing, and the article developed another level. I got a chance to really expose the frivolous nature of so many of the lawsuits that plague our cluttered court system. Later on I tried to do another article about lawsuits that was nowhere near as good. I'll probably take another crack at it further on down the road, since people are always coming up with new moronic reasons to try to sue one another, and I'm usually short on ideas.This statue captures Jesus doing what he did best - bawling like a little girl.
"Judas, he who was called Judas the Never Would Betray People... Guy, raised a brow, followed by a hand. He asked of Jesus what he did mean by the bread being his body, when clearly his body was seated in a chair before his eyes. The Son clasped his hands together and soothed Judas' roiling mind by telling him that it was naught but a metaphor, and that the bread was in fact bread, and not his body. Judas was reassured by this, as he explained that he thought eating the body of Jesus was sort of creepy and vaguely homoerotic."
If I had to choose, I'd say that this is probably my best article to date. Published on Easter, it took a few shots at all of the major world religions. What I really took heat for, though, was when I made up some flagrantly false Bible passages. I don't think I've ever had so much fun writing an article as I did with this one, and I don't think I've ever received more angry responses. On the whole, I think people were cool with it. Since Something Awful is a humor site and all, I think it was pretty clear that I was just kidding around. I ripped into my own faith quite a bit, too. But some overly sensitive people (read: Catholics) decided that I was the spawn of Satan. And believe me, they told me so. I got emails comparing me rather unfavorably to Hitler and accusing me of spreading religious intolerance to billions of people worldwide. I got absolutely flooded with letters trying to covert me to Catholicism so that I might see the error of my sinful ways and be saved. For the record, I'm still a Jew and when I reread that article I still think it's funny as hell. Deal with it.
George: "Nah, we's gonna bust some caps up in this piece. You down, sheezy-Poweezy? Gonna score some fly honeys on the four-one-one with my P. Diddy Method Man! Downin' Colt .45 on the curb with yo momma! Aye-eeeeeeeeeeeeet!"
Colin Powell: "Mr. President, I appreciate the effort, but for the last time, I'm black, not retarded."
Dialogue is my favorite thing to write, and this was the first time that I got to show that off on Something Awful. The political commentary aspect of it is pretty weak. It's nothing more than making the point that George W. Bush is dumb, but I had a good time getting that across. The response was hugely positive, with the exception of a few people who feel that SA should never, ever be political at any time. Since those people are clearly idiots, I consider this article to be a big win. As enjoyable as it was for me to finally get to show off what I consider to be my greatest strength as a writer, I don't think I'll be doing another script for SA for a while. It took me longer to format the whole thing than it did to write it, and that's just not cool.
"As the show's writer, you will need to write in scenes that display some of these emotions. Fortunately, the most common emotion is "patriotically stoic," so you get off easy, there. However, each of the main characters should have at least one episode per season where they get to completely spazz out, thus winning an Emmy."
I'm a huge fan of The West Wing, which is why today's Awful Link is particularly disturbing to me. When I decided to take a stab at this article, I just hoped that I knew the show as well as I thought I did and that I could convey that in writing. Apparently it worked out, as I heard from a ton of fellow West Wing watchers who felt that I got it right on the nose. I even heard from three separate people pretending to be a pissed-off Aaron Sorkin. That touched me. Really, it did. I actually hadn't seen the show in a few months when I wrote this, but the day it went online, Bravo coincidentally showed a marathon of the first few episodes. I remember sitting on the couch watching the show and thinking, "man, they're playing right into my hands." Once again, reality has bent to make me right. I love it when that happens.
The clever title couldn't save this one. I was new to internet writing and getting fan/flame mail. I was so excited about the whole thing that I thought I'd ask for a little more. My inbox still hasn't forgiven me. Oh God, what the hell was I thinking? Ugh.
Relative Shittiness: Being gnawed upon by a pack of angry weasels.A perfectly nice random high-top sneaker floating in the middle of a crazy space grid, and - oh no! A wormhole! (Damn, this article sucked)
Okay, I was at home for Thanksgiving break, and I didn't have access to Photoshop. The only pictures I had to work with were the ones I sent myself from school before I came home, intending to do a hilarious article about wormholes. Guess what I learned! Wormholes aren't funny, and neither am I! Oh God, this was bad.
Relative Shittiness: Being forced to consume your own aborted fetus.
I thought I had a good idea - a nice, controversial explanation of why everyone else's opinions about The Simpsons are wrong and mine are right. The problem was, it turned out I didn't have anything particularly controversial to say. The first article was brutally unfunny, and unfortunately by making it a two-parter, I forced myself to have to waste another week with this crap. I'm really, really sorry about these.
Relative Shittiness: Crashing into a cop car. Then crashing into the cop.
The rivalry between Reid "Frolixo" Paskiewicz and myself had spawned a few good taunts and a couple funny images, but it was getting old. I thought it was time to settle things once and for all. The article did its job, but it wasn't what one would call "good," or "funny," or "at all worth reading." What did we learn, kiddies? When a writer pokes fun at another writer, it's funny. When a writer devotes an entire article to it, it's crap.
Relative Shittiness: Getting beaten up by your little sister in front of your friends.
I thought I had a good thing going with the whole taunting the Christians gimmick. After all, it worked on Easter. As it turned out, the Easter one was funny because that was a well written article with a lot of clever jokes. This one blew. Oh well.
Relative Shittiness: Finding out your penis is huge because there is a tumor in it.
Well that just about finishes up my tribute to myself. The past year has been a wild ride. I've tried to tackle a lot of hard-hitting subjects and hopefully got you to laugh a few times over the year. Now it's time to look forward to the future. In the coming year, I promise to do my best to provide you with a good read every Sunday. And also I promise to restrict the really shitty articles to a maximum of one per month. And, uh, in case I don't do so well next week, this one doesn't count.
Beat the heat and hit the street!
Jedidiah "Leadfoot" Kirchner here. Not content with just being the only site to give Midnight Outlaw Illegal Street Drag the extensive coverage it deserves, Something Awful is also going to be your premier source of hints and tips for the game. With a song in our hearts and nitrous in our veins, we've assembled a blazin' hot strategy guide to everyone's favorite hyper-realistic manual transmission simulation.
The game will occasionally try to "flip the script" on you by secretly replacing girl at the starting line with a break dancing female undercover police officer. Always try to seduce her with your suave charm and street racing ways. Should you find that for some reason the game engine doesn't allow you to exist as a temporal entity outside of your car, feel free to reinterpret these instructions as "run the fucking bitch over repeatedly".
Lay it all on the line and race towards this brand new article while I make a trip to Shop & Save to replenish my supply of XXXtreme sports drink. Adios.
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The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.